Hourigan's last orders for Beef Or Salmon

A standing dish is soon to be taken off Ireland's racing menu. It was announced yesterday that 10-time Grade One winner Beef Or Salmon will step out on to a track to compete for the last time at Punchestown in 14 days' time. The 12-year-old will take on his youngers – and now betters – in the Gold Cup at the last of the season's jumping festivals but win or lose is guaranteed the ovation of the meeting.

"He'll go there, ground and weather permitting, and that will be it," said trainer Michael Hourigan. "We thought it would be a good place to retire him and wouldn't it be mighty if he went out on a high note."

With this year's Gold Cup third Neptune Collonges and 2005 Gold Cup winner Kicking King, plus his own talented stablemate Mossbank, confirmed as rivals, that is probably wishful thinking. But the old warrior need bow to none, even in defeat. Since he first appeared in May 2001, Beef Or Salmon has galloped 150 miles in anger, won 19 of his 50 starts, and earned £983,636 for owner Joe Craig.

His 10 wins at the highest level, which include the Punchestown Gold Cup four years ago, put him in elite company, for only two horses, hurdles legend Istabraq and two-mile chasing superstar Moscow Flyer, have compiled a better total. Beef Or Salmon has won twice at Punchestown, but his happiest hunting ground has been Leopardstown, where he won three editions each of the Lexus Chase and Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup.

The switch-tailed chestnut's victories have included two Flat races under talents as diverse as Mick Kinane and his trainer's teenage daughter Laura, but the one blank on his CV is a victory outside his native Ireland. He ran in five consecutive Gold Cups, doing best when fourth to Best Mate in 2004, and finished second and third to Kauto Star in two Betfair Chases at Haydock.

His most recent appearance was when he was pulled up in last month's Irish National after running respectably for a long way under top-weight in atrocious conditions. "We spoke about retiring him after that," said Hourigan, "but I've never seen him jump so well. We won't risk him on quick ground at Punchestown, but we'd be hoping that it will come right for him and he can go out on a stage where he'll be recognised."

The horse who took over from Beef Or Salmon as Ireland's highest-rated staying chaser was Kicking King. The 10-year-old, off the track for two years because of injury, was a late absentee from the latest Gold Cup after a minor interruption to his rehabilitation, but his work yesterday morning confirmed all was well again. "He looks great," said trainer Tom Taaffe, "and is right on course for Punchestown."

The season's last senior Grade One chase was taken 12 months ago by Neptune Collonges, who ran such a sterling race when very nearly splitting his more celebrated Paul Nicholls stablemates Denman and Kauto Star at Cheltenham. "He's in fine form and this has been his target since the Gold Cup," said Nicholls.

Mick Fitzgerald, taken by stretcher off the track at Aintree after the Grand National, is to have a second operation on his neck after initial surgery on Sunday stabilised damage incurred when L'Ami fell. The 37-year-old Irishman had vertebrae and discs realigned at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and it is planned to move him to the Nuffield, nearer his Oxfordshire home.

With the Aidan O'Brien-trained Listen ruled out of the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks after a setback, the filly who has replaced her in most betting lists at the head of the market after something of a gamble, Muthabara, will make her seasonal reappearance in a trial next week. The weather, and subsequent ground conditions, will govern whether that is the Nell Gwyn Stakes at Newmarket or the Dubai Duty Free Stakes at Newbury.

The daughter of Red Ransom, trained by John Dunlop for Sheikh Hamdan, won both her starts last year before incurring a minor injury. "All the signs are that she's moving well and has a lot of enthusiasm," said the Sheikh's racing manager Angus Gold yesterday. "I just hope this bookmaker talk is right."

* Jamie Spencer deputised for the absent Natalia Gemelova at Lingfield yesterday to give Newmarket trainer Michael Squance his first victory. Spencer found space for Hessian a couple of furlongs out. Gemelova had been unhurt in a car accident but gave up the ride.

Grade One honours list

Istabraq 14 wins

Moscow Flyer 13

Beef Or Salmon 10

Brave Inca 9

Florida Pearl 9

Kauto Star 8

Baracouda 7

Flagship Uberalles 7

Native Upmanship 7

News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: In House Counsel - Contracts

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat