Racing: Detroit City motors home to stir fond memories of a late great
Saturday 18 March 2006
The years rolled back here yesterday as a gallant grey gelding and a jockey clad in bright yellow silks powered to victory up the hill. Terry Warner bought Detroit City, the winner of the Triumph Hurdle, because he shares the silvered coat of Warner's beloved Rooster Booster, who died in December.
"You lose one, and you find one," he said. "That's the way it goes. And watching today tugged at the heartstrings a bit."
Detroit City, ridden by Richard Johnson, beat Fair Along by five lengths to give the Philip Hobbs stable a one-two, though Detroit City, the 7-2 favourite, hit an alarming flat spot at half-way, dropping back to fifth.
"The one thing he does is stay," said Johnson, "and he tries. So I kept at him and he was back in front by two out. And it was a long way home from there."
The only things Detroit City and Rooster Booster have in common is their colour and colours. "They are very different," said Hobbs. "This horse is much bigger and stronger, and wouldn't have two-mile speed. There will be no Champion Hurdle for him; it will be the stayers' race if anything. But we might go chasing with him."
The following three-mile novices' hurdle will have concentrated Hobbs' mind on fences for Detroit City, for Black Jack Ketchum produced a performance that marked him as a marathon star of the future. The Jonjo O'Neill-trained seven-year-old cruised to the front at the second-last, hard held by Tony McCoy, and sauntered away from Powerstation after the last for a nine-length victory.
"The first day I won on him at Uttoxeter I had him marked as a machine," McCoy said. "He has a great attitude and never gets bothered by anything."
The gelding's trainer, O'Neill, absent with flu, experienced both sides of the coin. Another of his charges, Buck Whaley, died in a fall in the last race, taking the meeting's death toll to eight.
McCoy was pipped to the leading rider's award by Ruby Walsh; both men rode three winners and were split by runners-up. Walsh had to win the finale, the County Hurdle, to seal things, and did so with aplomb on Desert Quest.
The top trainer was Nicky Henderson, who brought his score to three when Greenhope took the Grand Annual Chase. It was the one victory he really wanted, for the contest is dedicated to his late father Johnny, a long-time vital cog in the Festival management.
Greenhope, ridden by Andrew Tinkler, was one of a four-pronged Seven Barrows attack.
"This was always the plan," said Henderson, his voice breaking and his eyes brimming with emotion. "Fairy tales don't often work and that this one did was very special."
Latest in Sport
England 'favourites' to host 2018 World Cup after Sepp Blatter resignation - Qatar and Russia under pressure
Sepp Blatter quits as Fifa president live: South African government admits 'thin line' between bribery and legacy contributions
Sepp Blatter resignation: The exit of the Fifa president must lead to real change
Fifa corruption: Europe plots to stage an 'alternative World Cup' in place of Russia 2018
Brendan Rodgers' job safe for now but Liverpool owners plan for improvement
- 1 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: Whats the opportunity? A pro-act...
Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: Whats the opportunity? The small...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fabricator welder required for ...
£14564 - £15311 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound Customer Service Adviso...