Racing: Knight's Demon can mark Mate's anniversary

If this is a day fraught with feelings for Henrietta Knight, they will be in the present, not the past. A year ago at Exeter the much-lamented Best Mate collapsed and died and although the fact of her running two horses in the Grade Two contest in which he met his end - Impek, in the same famous claret and blue colours, and rising star Racing Demon - has a certain poignancy, no welling emotion will be involved.

"The public who loved him, the fan club, may feel it," she said yesterday, "but not me. Anyone who works with horses knows these things happen. You can't dwell on them. I'm glad we had him and you remember the good times with pleasure. But at Exeter we'll be looking forward, not back."

Racing Demon will be running for the first time since disappointing as favourite for the Arkle Trophy. But his is the talent that kept minds at West Lockinge focused forward, right from the moment he announced his burgeoning talent in the race immediately after the terrible, fatal one. The six-year-old, having swerved a meeting with Monet's Garden at Carlisle on Sunday, makes his eagerly awaited seasonal debut in the race now known as the William Hill Gold Cup.

Knight admitted that in an ideal world she would not be running both her chasers in the same contest, especially off the top two places in the handicap and over a distance probably too short - two miles and an extended furlong - for both to boot. "There's no other real alternative, the way the programme book is framed," she said. "I was even thinking of a hurdle race for Racing Demon, but I couldn't find one of those either.

"But we've got to start somewhere and we're looking forward to getting them out. They're in good form but will come on for the run."

Knight has won three of the last five runnings of the race, two with Edredon Bleu and before him with Best Mate, who launched his second fencing season in it. Partly due to his own ability and partly because of the waiting vacuum, Racing Demon was rather hyped as the natural successor to the late, great one, but it is a comparison that Knight is keen to play down.

"We'll try to keep that low key, especially on this occasion," she said. "He'll be better over further and though he has won at Exeter and the ground will be OK, a bit softer might have suited us better because it might have slowed the faster, lower weights down a bit."

Impek has the Peterborough Chase, which he won last year, at Huntingdon in 18 days' time, as his next target, and Racing Demon is being aimed at Sandown's Future Stars Chase at the start of December. Last season the son of Old Vic, who today is ridden by Graham Lee for the first time in public, was likened to a hyperactive schoolboy in temperament, but Knight reports that he has matured in mind as well as body. "I think he's growing up," she said.

The spotlight will, because of circumstances, be on the Knight pair, but interest extends well through the rest of the field, which includes Dempsey, brought down early in last year's Champion Chase, and two of last season's smartest novices, Hoo La Baloo and Chilling Place.

Today, the race won last year by Racing Demon marks the fencing debut of one of this term's most exciting recruits, Denman. The six-year-old was beaten over hurdles only once, by Nicanor in the Royal & SunAlliance, last season and trainer Paul Nicholls is another havering over today's distance. "It's probably a trip short of his best," he said, "but he's going nicely, has schooled well and we're looking forward to it."

The 11-strong first wave of European challengers for Saturday's Breeders' Cup arrived safely in Kentucky yesterday, with the five from Ballydoyle, including George Washington, due in today.

Ouija Board, trying to regain the Filly & Mare Turf she won in 2004 and lost so narrowly last year, was first into quarantine at Churchill Downs after a smooth trip to Louisville. Robin Trevor-Jones, the head groom who has as many air miles as the Ed Dunlop-trained mare, reported his charge her usual unfazed traveller.

"Same old story," he said. "Everything has gone great. She was on her own in the van at the head of the convoy and is like the queen waiting to take back her crown. She's drunk up well, exercised in the barn and, all being well, will soon be out on the track.

"I've been on to the course and it's quick, just like when she won the Hong Kong Vase, two Oaks and a Nassau Stakes. It's just perfect for her."

Chris McGrath

Nap: Viewforth (Catterick 3.30)

NB: Musical Script (Wolverhampton 6.20)

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
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: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick