Racing: Man figures high in all-time list

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The Independent Online


If ever a horse did not need the help of the handicapper to be conferred with greatness then it is One Man after chewing up the reputations of nearly all his serious rivals to the title of best chaser in Britain in Saturday's King George VI Chase. Nevertheless, the British Horseracing Board's handicapper, Christopher Mordaunt, has officially confirmed what every follower of racing had assumed since Saturday by placing One Man at the head of his ratings.

The grey, successful in 10 of his 11 completed starts - the exception being when a well-beaten ninth to Monsieur Le Cure in the 1994 Sun Alliance Chase - has made a steady rise to the top since his first outing over fences at Ayr in November 1993 and on Saturday he reached the summit.

"I have raised One Man to a new mark of 179 from 169, to make him the best chaser in training at the moment," Mordaunt said.

"Monsieur Le Cure ran his best race for some time [on Saturday], if not his best race ever, and he has been raised from 160 to 167. Master Oats definitely did not run to his best and he remains on a mark of 175. He started the season on 180 after his Gold Cup win but I decided to pull that down 5lb after his run at Chepstow.

"I was extremely impressed by the way One Man did it on Saturday. There is no ceiling to his form, not one occasion that you can point to and say, 'He got well stuffed there', to hold the form down.''

Mordaunt's counterpart at Timeform, their senior jumps handicapper Simon Rowlands, was equally impressed. "I have rated One Man at 183 with a small "p" denoting the probability of further improvement," he said. "He beat what we all know was a strong field with great authority. A couple of horses ran below form and Coulton almost certainly didn't stay, but horses like Val D'Alene and Young Hustler ran well enough to suggest that the form is solid enough.

"That performance puts him up with the best horses of recent years. Since the first Chasers And Hurdlers annual was published in 1976, only Desert Orchid and Burrough Hill Lad have had higher annual ratings."

Richard Dunwoody, whose confidence in One Man allowed him a long look back as his rivals struggled on the home turn, has been snapped up by Simon Dow to try and secure another big prize on Chief's Song in the Ladbroke Hurdle at Leopardstown on Saturday.

The Ulsterman had several offers in the race, but yesterday told Dow he was available. "You wouldn't want anyone else if you could pick them," the Epsom trainer said.

n Today's Plumpton card is cancelled due to waterlogging.