Wolverhampton off

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The Independent Online
Last Night's meeting at Wolverhampton became the first fixture of the new National Hunt season to fall to the weather when it was called off following a 7.15 inspection yesterday morning, writes Ian Davies.

Clerk of the course Ashley Bealby explained: "We have abandoned this evening's meeting at Wolverhampton due to waterlogging on the course."

When Wolverhampton came under threat from the weather earlier this week Bealby had hoped the meeting could be switched to Southwell but because of the East Midlands track's proximity to Nottingham, who also race tonight, the move was not sanctioned. Bealby added: "We had hoped to move the fixture to Southwell but because Nottingham race tonight we couldn't do it."

The former Epsom trainer Ron Smyth died on Friday afternoon aged 81. "Ron Smyth died quietly in his sleep yesterday afternoon," his son-in- law Giles Pritchard-Gordon revealed yesterday. "It was just old age."

Smyth, former champion jump jockey and winner of the Champion Hurdle three times, first took out a licence in 1947 to train at Clear Height Stables, taking over from his father Herbert. He was the last of the famous racing family to hold a trainer's licence. His reputation for placing his horses and landing touches with them, principally in handicaps, earned him considerable respect down the years.

Smyth rated Convamore, winner of the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot and runner-up to Meadow Court in the 1965 Irish Derby, the best horse he trained. He was equally adept at handling jumpers and enjoyed great success with the two-mile chaser New Romney.

He retired from training in 1991 and for the last 12 years of his career trained for Khalid Abdullah, winning the Victoria Cup, Bunbury Cup and Cambridgeshire with the talented handicapper Tremblant in 1985.

Other good horses he handled were Patient Constable, successful in the 1966 Stewards' Cup, the 1973 Cesarewitch winner Flash Imp, who went on to finish second in the Champion Hurdle two years later and Boxer who won the 1971 Triumph Hurdle to give the trainer a double in the race following his success with Blarney Beacon in 1965.

Pritchard-Gordon has fond memories of his father-in-law: "He bought Heaven Knows for us and she won Group Three races and is the grand-dam of our horse Prince Babar, who is with Jack Banks and has done really well."

Smyth leaves a widow Mary.