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Equine Influenza UK outbreak - Eight horses who could beat the horse flu virus

Peter Easterby (right), trainer of legendary Night Nurse.

In a moment of light relief, we highlight eight horses who would have little to fear from the current equine health crising blighting the UK horse racing calendar.

The equine influenza outbreak continues to wreak havoc on the UK horse racing calendar, and with the Cheltenham Festival just around the corner it is a worrying time for all concerned with the sport whether the outbreak can be contained quickly enough in order to racing to recommence and the greatest show on turf to unfold as planned next month.

In a moment of light relief however, we’ve put together a racing stable that would have had little to fear from the current outbreak of equine influenza. Can you think of any more to add?

NIGHT NURSE


The legendary Night Nurse was only a fair performer on the flat, winning just three of his fifteen starts prior to switching codes and going hurdling.

Jumping obstacles was clearly to the Falcon gelding’s benefit as he won his first ten starts over hurdles which includes a Champion Hurdle triple-crown, winning the Welsh and Scottish titles as well as the Cheltenham showpiece.

His hampion Hurdle success is arguably the greatest ever renewal of the race, beating the likes of Sea Pigeon and Monksfield, Comedy of Errors and Lanzarote and earning a mark of 182 - the highest rating ever afforded to a Champion Hurdle winner.

Having repeated the feat twelve months on, he would go on to feature in a dead-heat at Aintree with Monksfield, the most famous dead-heat in racing history.

While he didn’t quite match his successes when switched to chasing, he did finish runner-up to Little Owl in the 1981 Gold Cup; victory would have seen him become the first Champion Hurdle/Gold Cup winner in history - five years before Dawn Run became the first to manage the double.

Not bad for a horse that cost £1000! 

The great Night Nurse, a two-time Champion Hurdle winner.


DOLLY COUGHDROP


The Titus Livius mare was only a moderate sort on the flat for Karl Burke with just one win to her name from 17 starts.

That success came when beating High Style at Catterick back in August 2006 when winning a soft ground handicap at odds of 7/1 under Franny Norton.

Her last run came when failing to beat a rival home behind Coconut Queen at Carlisle the following June, beaten 13 lengths having been sent off a 14/1 chance. 

From a career-high mark of 77 obtained in the wake of her sole success, she contested her final race from a mark of just 60 and she was put out to grass having earned just over £12,000 from her 17 runs.

SIR THOMAS BEECHAM(s)


Trained by Simon Dow, the Daring March gelding was a useful sort at a relatively modest level on the flat, winning five times in all which included the Warwick Cesarewitch.

Suprisingly given his speed-bred pedigree he was actually a dour stayer on the flat, and he also tried his hand over hurdles where he won once from five attempts over timber with a win at Plumpton, and he achieved a fairly respectable 104 rating in that discipline.

His winnings were however very modest, and he collected just short of £20,000 from his six career wins under both codes. He was last seen finishing down the field behind Cuango in a race on the flat at Nottingham back in April 1996 when rated just 56.

FISHERMANS FRIEND


Little is known about Chris Wall’s charge, who ran just twice in his career - both over hurdles - with the Pal O Mile gelding failing to trouble the judge in either start.

Pulled up on his debut at Warwick back in December 1989 behind Apollo King, he subsequently finished 13th of 15 runners over hurdles at Southwell on the all-weather when jumping was still allowed on the surface.

Subsequently gelded, he never reappeared on the racecourse, and he failed to collect any prizemoney for his two outings.

MR MEDIC


Robert Walford’s charge is still racing, and he has shown himself to be a decent chaser having failed to strike over hurdles.

The Dr Massini gelding has won five times over fences, most recently when outpointing Graded winner Flying Angel to score at Ascot last November, rewarding punters at odds of 20/1. He hasn’t managed to add to his five wins since however, finding Frodon too strong in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup in December, and then finishing a well-beaten sixth behind Cyrname at Ascot in January.

Currently rated 141 over fences, he is a clearly very decent performer who could still have his best days ahead of him.

Mr Medic.


DOCTOR HARPER


The smart Presenting gelding was a Grade Three winner over hurdles, winning four of his seven starts over timber prior to switching to chasing where he never quite managed to scale the same heights despite some solid performances behind the likes of L’Ami Serge and Garde La Victoire.

Trained by David Pipe, he got off the mark over the larger obstacles at Leicester, beating Deep Trouble; but that was to be his sole win over fences although he went closest to adding to his tally when denied by a short-head at Cheltenham on New Years’ Day 2017 behind Tour Des Champs.

He was last seen pulling up in the 2017 Grand National behind One For Arthur, having finished seventh in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival the time before.

Rated 140 over fences and 139 over hurdles, he amassed over £68,000 in win and place money. 

DR DEVIOUS


A high-class performer on the flat for Peter Chapple Hyam, which included winning the Dewhurst in a four win haul during his juvenile campaign, the Anonoora entire would bounce back from a couple of lesser outings the next season to defeat St Jovite in the 1992 Epsom Derby before suffering a reversal behind the same rival next time at the Curragh in the Irish Derby.

Peter Chapple Hyam’s charge would gain revenge on his old rival by prevailing by a short-head to capture the Irish Champion Stakes after which he would finish in that season’s Prix de l’Arc De Triomphe.

He was retired however in the wake of his final run in the Japan Cup where he finished down the field and sent to stud, firstly at Coolmore in Ireland and then moved to Italy where he was champion sire twice.

A winner of six of his 15 career starts, he amassed prize money in excess of £800,000 in his career.



OLD VIC(KS)


A top-class performer for Sir Henry Cecil, the Sadler’s Wells horse won six of his first seven starts which included successes in both the French and Irish Derbies, beating Observation Post to the prize in the latter-named contest.

His only defeat in that time had come on debut at Newmarket behind Pirate Army; but following his Curragh success he would run just twice more during his four-year old campaign, tasting defeat each time although his tussle with Belmez in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes was one for the ages.

Retired after, he stood at stud where despite failing to garner much success with his flat progeny, his jumps progeny enjoyed much more notable successes with notable offspring including two Grand National winners in Comply Or Die and Don’t Push It, as well as the likes of Kicking King, Snoopy Loopy, In Compliance and Old Vic amongst others.

He raced just nine times in his career, reaching an official rating of 136 at his peak and from his six career wins he collected just over £700,000 in prize money.


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Equine Influenza UK outbreak - Eight horses who could beat the horse flu virus

In a moment of light relief, we highlight eight horses who would have little to fear from the current equine health crising blighting the UK horse racing calendar.

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