Saturday 10 December 2016

Tearful Geraghty leads tributes as 'horse of a lifetime' Moscow Flyer dies

Johnny Ward

Published 22/10/2016 | 02:30

Heron Heights (left), with Philip Enright up, clears the last on the way to winning the Novices’ Steeplechase at Cheltenham from stablemate Full Cry. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Heron Heights (left), with Philip Enright up, clears the last on the way to winning the Novices’ Steeplechase at Cheltenham from stablemate Full Cry. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Moscow Flyer, one of the most popular jumpers to grace a racetrack, has died at the age of 22.

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The brilliant chaser, who won 26 times at the track, had been suffering from colic and his death was announced yesterday by the National Stud, where he had been enjoying his retirement.

His death came ten years after he retired. Barry Geraghty, his regular rider, admitted shedding a tear at the news, while trainer Jessica Harrington hailed "a legend" who will not be forgotten.

Harrington said: "He'd been in great form at the National Stud. He wasn't doing the shows any more; he gave that up three or four years ago.

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"I think the day he was at his best was Sandown in the 2004 Tingle Creek. A horse of a lifetime, I'll never have another like him."

Meanwhile, Cheltenham announced that the 2017 National Hunt Chase will be run in memory of JT McNamara on the day that racing returned to the famous track.

It was a memorable afternoon for Henry De Bromhead, who saddled a 1-2 in the staying novices' chase. Heron Heights and Full Cry were both sent off 6/1 and, while Full Cry ran a huge race, the Phillip Enright-handled Heron Heights outstayed him up the hill.

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The Irish were out of luck in the opening novice hurdle, Charles Byrnes' Black Warrior going down by three parts of a length to El Bandit, whose trainer Paul Nicholls doubled up with Marracudja in the two-mile novice chase.

Teenager Jack Kennedy is facing another spell on the sidelines - up to six weeks - after suffering a fractured leg in a fall at Thurles on Thursday.

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