Racing: Punters find new allies

Click to follow
THE 1992-93 National Hunt season closed on Saturday night and despite the peaks reached by Jodami, Run For Free and the late Mighty Mogul, it is the flagging and flapping at the start of 'the Grand National that never was' that will stay in the mind, writes John Cobb.

Even if the National had taken place, the prize-money would have made no difference to positions at the pinnacle of the trainers' table. Martin Pipe remained impregnable there, although he failed to reach the 200 mark for the first time in five seasons. David Nicholson and Nigel Twiston-Davies got closest to Pipe in cash terms, the latter by using similar training techniques, and were also the pair whose improved performances proved of most benefit to punters. Nicholson's loyal followers were over pounds 147 better off to a pounds 1 stake, while the same support for every horse Twiston-Davies saddled yielded pounds 80.95.

By the season's end, Nicholson had lost his jockey, Richard Dunwoody, to Pipe, while Twiston-Davies had the benefit of a new full-time assistant, Peter Scudamore. The former champion retired from the saddle on 7 April but retained second spot in the championship. Adrian Maguire, who was only four wins behind by the season's end, teams up with Nicholson next term.

Jamie Osborne, who many expected to take over from Dunwoody at Nick Henderson's yard, lost that opportunity to Mick Fitzgerald, but recorded a century for the first time. He was notching figures as low as the mid-twenties four seasons ago.

The most improved equine was surely Jodami, the Gold Cup winner from Peter Beaumont's 18-horse Yorkshire stable, but his supremacy is likely to be quickly challenged by the exciting Cab On Target.

Granville Again won the Champion Hurdle, but nothing else, and most observers' idea of the season's outstanding hurdler was Mighty Mogul, who won all five of his races before a fatal break at Cheltenham in January.