Racing: Katabatic's courage conquers quagmire

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SABOTEURS will have a hard job bettering the weather's attempts to ruin racing at Aintree yesterday. The effect of the incessant rain was best exemplified in the Melling Steeple Chase when horses of the calibre of Travado, Deep Sensation and Remittance Man staggered home.

The one animal that did not slow down was Katabatic, who jumped beautifully to record the 17th success of a career which has now brought connections almost pounds 350,000 in prize-money. It may also have been a swansong. 'We'll think about whether he should be retired,' Josh Gifford, the 11- year-old's trainer, said. 'The owners care a lot about him and they don't want to see him going downhill. .'

A horse going in the other direction is Monsieur Le Cure, who ran himself close to unconciousness to capture the Mildmay Novices' Steeple Chase. The Sun Alliance Chase winner at Cheltenham is as low as 12-1 for a Festival follow-up in the Gold Cup next year. 'Apart from Pearlyman, this is the best horse I've trained,' John Edwards said.

Another who was supposed to come on from Prestbury Park to score here, the Champion Hurdle third, Large Action, was washed away in the Mersey Novices' Hurdle. Kadi won an Oddbins Handicap Hurdle which would have been appropriately taken by Rising Waters.