Racing: Tory opinion swings behind Fountain

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The Independent Online
WHEN the jockeys mount before the pounds 50,000 Newton Chase at Haydock on Saturday, Kings Fountain will be reunited with Anthony Tory, the only jockey to have ridden him to victory. The question is how long they can remain united once the race starts, writes John Cobb.

Kings Fountain has come home without his rider in three of his last five outings and on the latest occasion dumped the champion jockey, Peter Scudamore, when still leading the race for the King George VI Chase.

Tory was the rider deposited in the Mackeson and Cheltenham Gold Cups, yet has no qualms about partnering Kings Fountain over Haydock's stiff drop fences. 'The drops won't bother him,' Tory said yesterday. 'It's taking off he has problems with, he's such a long-striding horse. When I won six novice chases on him he'd be going so well it was easy to set him up for a fence. In these races there isn't always time.'

Nevertheless, Tory remains convinced that Kings Fountain will be able to cope in a field that is likely to include top two-milers in Katabatic and Waterloo Boy and perhaps the Haydock specialist Twin Oaks. 'He's brilliant except for those odd mistakes,' Tory insists. 'He'll come up with Waterloo Boy or Katabatic. They won't take a length out of him at a fence.'

Particularly frustrating for Kings Fountain's followers has been that his falls have come when still travelling like a winner, so it is unsurprising that Tory's faith extends to visualising the horse taking the Gold Cup. 'You can't make a case for anything beating The Fellow except Kings Fountain if he puts in a clear round. He's the one with the potential.'

Tory's season too has been one of unfulfilled promise as his main stable, that of Kim Bailey, has spluttered and sneezed. 'I had nine wins from my first 50 rides and then 10 out of 100,' Tory said.

The vets were also called in after Kings Fountain's Mackeson fall. 'He didn't take off at all that day. The vets said maybe he'd trapped a nerve in his back.' A problem with nerves does not extend to Tory.

NEWTON CHASE ENTRIES: Bradbury Star, Deep Sensation, Gale Again, Gold Options, Katabatic, Kings Fountain, Last 'O' The Bunch, Multum In Parvo, Twin Oaks, Waterloo Boy.