Racing: Return for Cup winner

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The Independent Online
AS Garrison Savannah returns so Seagram, his conqueror in the 1991 Grand National, departs the scene for good. Jenny Pitman's chaser, who defeated The Fellow in the Cheltenham Gold Cup prior to his National run, makes his first appearance for 418 days in today's John Bull Chase at Wincanton. The 10-year-old has been plagued by back trouble.

For Seagram, the hard-fought National success was a turning point. He won 15 races before Aintree, but not a single one since. His trainer, David Barons, and owner, Sir Eric Parker, took the decision to retire him after the 13-year-old was pulled up at Sandown on Saturday, the latest in a sequence of below-par performances.

'You don't close the door on horses like that very easily,' Barons said. 'I didn't want to be accused, or have it suggested, that I was being unkind on a horse that has been such a good servant.'

Certain to face a gruelling test are the horses destined for Ascot's meeting this weekend. After much rain yesterday, the official going there was changed to heavy, but there is optimism at the course that the two-day fixture will go ahead.

Because of the ground, David Nicholson reported that he is most unlikely to run Al Hashimi in the Victor Chandler Chase, which leaves Richard Dunwoody available to partner Freeline Finishing for Nick Henderson.

Wincanton will inspect at 7.30am today. Despite an inch of rain yesterday, the clerk of the course is confident the card will go ahead.

Harcros, the timber suppliers, have extended their involvement in racing by investing approximately pounds 200,000 in a series of 20 staying races on the Flat next season.