Outback Way too tough

By Sue Montgomery at Cheltenham

By Sue Montgomery at Cheltenham

14 November 1999

Who dares wins, and it was Norman Williamson here yesterday. In the decisive move of the Murphy's Gold Cup he of the stormin' sobriquet launched The Outback Way, his willing partner, at the last fence like a lightning bolt. The tactic won the day; the near-black nine-year-old flashed fast and low over the fence and landed running and, although his momentum slackened up the steep climb to the finish, he had poached enough of an advantage to repel the late flourish from Stormy Passage by a neck.

Williamson's style was in sharp contrast to that of Andrew Thornton on the runner-up, although, in fairness, on the approach to the obstacle his mount had seemed safely held. Thornton played safe and popped before asking Stormy Passage for an effort and when the ground-devouring response came it seemed to catch him almost unawares. His urgings may have come too late, for which he could arguably be blamed, but the view of the local stewards that they were not too little is surely wide of the mark.

Their decision to refer Thornton to the disciplinary committee in London over his use of the whip left an unsatisfactory shadow over a stirring contest. "I'm a horseman and I don't abuse horses," said the aggrieved jockey, "I gave him six smacks after the last and he responded each time. I've been riding for 11 years and I've never once been in front of the stewards for excessive force."

In taking the season's first high-profile steeplechase, The Outback Way put the spotlight firmly back on Venetia Williams, his trainer, who has had a quiet enough start to the season by her high standards. The gelding, who runs in the colours of a holiday company, had warmed up with a victory over the course and distance last month. "His great asset is that he is terribly athletic and quick through the air," she said, "and you can put him anywhere at a fence and he'll cope." It was second time around for the victorious team in the race that started life as the Mackeson Gold Cup. Nine years ago Williamson was on board Multum In Parvo and Williams was assistant to John Edwards, his trainer.

The Irishman is convinced that the long-term future for The Outback Way, who will return here next month for the Tripleprint Gold Cup, lies at Aintree. "I know it is a long way off but if we got fast ground he could be a National horse. He has a high cruising speed and his jumping is a huge asset."

Although The Outback Way appeared to be fading at the end of yesterday's extended two and a half miles, Williamson did not ascribe it to lack of stamina. "Going to the last there was no way he was going to stop up the hill. But he was caught out by the funnel effect of the noise and the crowds. If there had been another fence he would still have been galloping."

The outsider Sounds Like Fun plugged on into third place ahead of the early pace-setter Northern Starlight. But the big disappointments were the two market leaders Call Equiname, who was pulled up, and Majadou, eighth. Mick Fitzgerald was hard at work on Call Equiname as the field passed the stands first time and called it a day at the tenth. The grey's mystified trainer Paul Nicholls said later: "He finished distressed, though he's sound, which is the main thing. He had been working beautifully but in the race he just had no sparkle."

The day after David Nicholson announced his imminent retirement another career came to an end. The jockey Graham Bradley's greatest moments came here - on Bregawn in the 1983 Gold Cup and on Collier Bay in the 1996 Champion Hurdle - but after steering Ontheboil home at Haydock he announced the end of his 20-year career. Bradley, born a month before Fortria won the first Mackeson in 1960, was suspected, arrested and cleared over allegations of race-fixing earlier this year and had been looking for one final winner in the six months since. He said: "I was very keen on riding another winner. I didn't want anyone else to finish me, not the police, the Jockey Club or the Press. I'm going to miss it like mad, but I know I couldn't go on for ever."

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Assistant

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Maintenance Assistant is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?