Racing: Pride to ride on wave of emotion

Richard Edmondson expects a casualty of the sport to be given a golden tribute today
Click to follow
The Independent Online
THERE is promise of a further heart-rending Irish story in the Cheltenham winners' enclosure this afternoon. While Tuesday and Istabraq's Champion Hurdle was as much about the deceased John Durkan as any of the living connections, Dorans Pride in the Gold Cup is also associated with a man who will never again take an active part in the horse's career.

Shane Broderick used to ride Dorans Pride with boldness and success until it all ended at Fairyhouse last Easter. Riding a horse called Another Deadly, Broderick was fired into the earth so seriously that his spine was irreparably damaged. He is now confined to a wheelchair.

Dorans Pride has had dreadful moments of his own. In 1996 the nine-year- old was almost ferried into another world when ravaged by an attack of colic. A tug-of-war length of intestine was removed from his gut.

Dorans Pride is now happily restored and, each time he wins a race, the name of Broderick is invoked. If the chestnut captures the Blue Riband much of the glory will be funnelled towards his former partner. And his chance is obvious.

Dorans Pride is already a Festival winner. He won the Stayers' Hurdle of 1995 when ridden by a 20-year-old Broderick having his first ride since losing his apprentice allowance.

It was a first Festival winner also for the formidable Michael Hourigan. The trainer might be on the small side, but he has a pugilistic look about him and if you tried to be nasty he'd probably make a mess of your pelvis.

Hourigan has developed Dorans Pride into one of the most potent weapons in these islands. He was third in the Gold Cup last year when still a novice and now attempts to become only the second Irish winner of the race since 1986.

There will certainly be no shortage of vocal encouragement. The gelding is owned by Tom Doran, one of 14 children, most of whom will gather at Prestbury Park today. Doran is now an affluent building contractor in London, though he does not let money and ownership of a great horse make him too aloof. At weekends he can be found pulling pints at the hotel owned by his girlfriend's family. Today the Dorans will all be pulling for one horse.

The Irish horse's chance is hardly compromised by the ground. The New Course will almost certainly ride good when the smoke comes out of the revolver today, but this will not inconvenience Dorans Pride as much as several rivals.

The principal one, See More Business, would certainly like more juice underfoot. He is aiming to become only the sixth horse to win both the King George VI Chase and the Gold Cup in the same season. As the others include Arkle and Desert Orchid, a special place is glittering in the mountains for him.

The information from his camp is that Timmy Murphy will ride the horse fairly close to the pace. Connections believe See More Business has improved since last season and indeed he needs to have done. During the last campaign he was beaten twice by Dorans Pride.

See More Business's latest victory was in this setting in January's Pillar Chase, when he had Cyborgo as his nearest pursuer. As that runner-up is thought by his trainer, Martin Pipe, to have since improved greatly he has a chance, though, again, the going is against him.

Charlie Brooks is doubly represented, but the best of the pair may not be the most obvious. Suny Bay is yet another who would not choose this going and he has also been rushed to get here. The Gold Cup may transpire to be his Grand National preparation race.

Couldnt Be Better worked well with his stablemate recently and he is one, at least, certain to enjoy the puffs of smoke thrown up from the drying grass. As he was third in this contest two years ago to Imperial Call, he has credentials to run into a place at long odds.

For the win portion of the betting slip there can be only one selection. It is the one which will induce the greatest cheering, the one that will swirl together both joy and a certain sadness. For the second time this Festival we are going to witness a greatly poignant moment. DORANS PRIDE (nap 3.15) is about to win the Gold Cup.