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The good, the bad and the just plain bizarre - we had them all.

Byline: Rodney Masters

Posthumous award for a champion in all but name

Depressing, but this must come first. Valiramix. It was merely a question over his winning distance, six lengths . . . seven lengths, and how many seasons he was likely to retain the crown-two, perhaps three? For some racegoers, the tragedy instantly soured a Festival they'd looked forward to for so long. Tony McCoy For the football player of the same name see Tony McCoy (football player).

Anthony Peter "AP" McCoy MBE (born 4 May 1974, Moneyglass, County Antrim, Northern Ireland) is a Northern Irish horse racing jockey, and is widely regarded as the greatest jump jockey to date.
, Martin Pipe, and all connected with the brilliant grey looked crushed. How we felt such desperate sorrow for elderly owner Jim Weeden who, a few days earlier, had said he lived for the horse.


As a small crowd waited patiently in darkness Adv. 1. in darkness - without light; "the river was sliding darkly under the mist"
 outside the stable block for the arrival of Istabraq on the eve On the Eve (Накануне in Russian) is the third novel by famous Russian writer Ivan Turgenev, best known for his short stories and the novel Fathers and Sons.  of the meeting, an old-fashioned horsebox horsebox

Brit, S Africa, NZ, & Austral a van or trailer used for transporting horses

Noun 1. horsebox - a conveyance (railroad car or trailer) for transporting racehorses
 not much larger than a bread van pootled up, with Guillaume Macaire's jockeys Jacques Ricou and Benoit Giquel, one driving, the other navigating with maps sprawled across the cab. After unloading Jair du Cochet and Japhet, they returned to unpack See pack.  other equipment, rugs, brushes and saddles before spending half an hour sweeping out the box. "I rather doubt McCoy and Johnson are required to do that," observed one onlooker. For Ricou, there was to be a whip-lashing from the trainer for making too much use of Jair du Cochet in the Stayers' Hurdle.

Marion Jones Marion Jones, also known as Marion Jones-Thompson (born October 12, 1975 in Los Angeles, California), is an American former athlete in track and field. She was the winner of five medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, which she later relinquished after  gold medal gold medal

traditional first prize. [Western Cult: Misc.]

See : Prize

No need for starting blocks or spikes for Henrietta Knight Henrietta Knight may refer to
  • Henrietta Knight (racehorse trainer), English racehorse trainer
  • Henrietta Knight (poet) (1699-1756), British poet
 as she sprinted out of the mini tent behind the weighing room where she had viewed Best Mate's win on television. It was just a shame nobody had a stopwatch to time her over the first 100 metres.

Can do better, must do better

Magnus, whose presence under 12st in the Coral Eurobet Cup considerably suppressed the weights. His performance led to Martin Pipe-who had five others in the race, including 25-1 winner Ilnamar-being fined pounds 2,000 after the stewards decided the horse had not run on its merits. Jockey Barry Geraghty Barry Geraghty (born 16 September 1979 in County Meath, Ireland) is an Irish jockey. Geraghty rode his first winner in January 1997, three years later he became the Irish Champion jump jockey for the first time. He won the Grand National in 2003 on Monty's Pass.  was banned for 12 days and Magnus, at pounds 340,000 the most expensive jumper bought at public auction, was suspended for 40 days.

The alternative Best Mate Best Mate (bay gelding, 28 January, 1995 - 1 November, 2005. Sire: Un Desperado, Dam: Katday) was a famous English trained racehorse and three-time winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.  award

It seems Real Madrid's Steve McManaman Steven "Steve" McManaman (born 11 February, 1972, in Liverpool, England) is an English former footballer of the 1990s and early 2000s, who played as a midfielder in a career spanning two of European Football's biggest club football sides in Liverpool F.C. and Real Madrid.  and AP McCoy are as thick as thieves. The England international keeps in touch with the champion jockey on a regular basis, talking on the telephone at least three times a week, and is an avid viewer of SIS in his apartment in Spain's capital. McManaman, who owns a number of horses with Martin Pipe, including Arkle runner-up Seebald, says: "We're good friends. I trust him completely. God bless him, he knows everything about everything."

The Lancet award for short-term illness

McManaman's ownership partner, Robbie Fowler Robert Bernard 'Robbie' Fowler, (born 9 April 1975 in Liverpool) is an English footballer who currently plays for Championship side Cardiff City.

Fowler's career began with Liverpool,with whom he made his debut in 1993.
, who allegedly cried off an interview in the paddock with Derek Thompson Derek Thompson (born on April 4, 1948) is a Belfast, Northern Ireland-born British television actor, most notable for playing Charlie Fairhead in the long running series Casualty. , saying he was suffering from an allergy to racehorses and needed medical attention.

Most empty chairs at a post-race press conference

No surprise, this one goes to Michael Krysztofiak, part-owner of the oft-rehoused Flagship Uberalles. Why is the horse with his third trainer? He declined to say-again. Meanwhile outside, Paul Nicholls Paul Nicholls (born Paul Greenhalgh on 12 April 1979) is an English actor. His earliest role was in the BBC drama Earthfasts, but it was his character of Joe Wicks in EastEnders, which he played from 1996 to 1997, that first brought him fame. , one of those former trainers, said of the horse: "He's a bit like Joan Collins-she has a different husband every year, and he has a different trainer. I'm pleased for Philip [Hobbs] and the horse, but glad we don't have the hassle any more."

Biggest groan

Emitted by those who'd joined in the gamble on 5-2 favourite Rhinestone Cowboy In general, a rhinestone cowboy is any man who wears the elaborate, stylized western wear made by rodeo tailors, especially as contrasted to a working cowboy or ranch hand.  in the Champion Bumper The Champion Bumper is a Grade 1 National Hunt flat race in the United Kingdom for four to six-year-old horses. It is run over a distance of 2 miles 110 yards (3,319 metres) on the Old Course at Cheltenham Racecourse during the Cheltenham Festival in March.  when the stewards declined to change the result in his favour after his double bump from Edward O'Grady's Pizarro.

Most sensible escape from a raw easterly wind

After winning on Pizarro, Jamie Spencer dashed from the course to catch an overnight flight to Dubai, where he competed in the UAE (Uninterruptible Application Error) The name given to a crash in Windows 3.0. In subsequent versions of Windows, a crash was called a "General Protection Fault," "Application Error" or "Illegal Operation." See crash in Windows and abend.  1,000 Guineas. Luca Cumani's stable jockey admitted he was so nervous at the inquiry he couldn't get his words out.

Ride of the week

Paul Carberry, on Frenchman's Creek in the William Hill National Hunt Handicap Chase. A masterclass in patience on a character some feared may chuck in the towel, but who won barely knowing he'd been at the races At The Races is a British television channel, originally co-founded with Channel 4, but now owned by a partnership between British Sky Broadcasting, Arena Leisure PLC and 28 (out of the 59) UK racecourses. . The experience, in a race won by Grand National stars Rough Quest and Seagram, will have done the chaser's confidence no end of good as he heads to Aintree.

Hero (equine)

Shared by the defending champions Istabraq and Looks Like Trouble, who were both on missions that would have carved chapters in Festival history. After their glories of yesteryear yes·ter·year  
1. The year before the present year.

2. Time past; yore.

, they felt the pain as they limped off a stage they'd graced so honourably. We shall miss them.

Hero (human)

Collectively, the jockeys. A breed apart, a bravery apart, from the majority of others earning a living from sport.

When the wife isn't looking award

Hundreds of potential recipients who took advantage of a break away from home to get first-hand experience of Cheltenham's first-ever lap-dancing bar, licensed for just the three days over the Festival.

Best Channel 4 sequence

Following the every move, and every emotion, of Lisa Burge, the headgirl to Philip Hobbs and groom to Flagship Uberalles, before, during and after the Queen Mother Champion Chase The Queen Mother Champion Chase is a Grade 1 National Hunt chase in the United Kingdom for five-year-old and above horses. It is run over a distance of 2 miles (3,219 metres) at Cheltenham Racecourse during the Cheltenham Festival in March. . Superb.

The `can you have too much of a good thing?' award

One hour of airtime on TalkSport on Thursday morning was devoted to the question of whether the Festival should be increased to four days, with the Gold Cup on the Friday. One of the points raised was that the Champions League has become almost tedious for being expanded, and another that there would be the need for the invention of a new feature race. The consensus was not to meddle med·dle  
intr.v. med·dled, med·dling, med·dles
1. To intrude into other people's affairs or business; interfere. See Synonyms at interfere.

2. To handle something idly or ignorantly; tamper.

Non-event of the week

Despite rumours fanned (or more likely originated) by national newspapers that Richard Johnson and Zara Phillips would announce their engagement during the week, nothing was forthcoming. Johnson was prepared to offer 50-1 about it happening this year, though he would have impressed all those at BP-evidently that's how the royals refer to Buckingham Palace-with the supreme performance on Flagship Uberalles in the Champion Chase named in honour of his potential great-grandmother-in-law.

The Gazza Trophy for sob of the week

No lack of candidates, including Terry Biddlecombe and Richard Johnson, but the award must go to the previously too-often-troubled Dean Gallagher, who gave us the full water works after his Champion Hurdle win on Hors La Loi. It was easy to understand why.

Natural high award

Racecourse commentator Mark Johnson, who sounded like a Radio 1 DJ on speed before a race developed in earnest.

Best commentator

Shared between Channel 4's Simon Holt (who recovered quickly from mis-calling Adamant Approach) and Radio 5 Live's Lee McKenzie. Controlled, accurate and amusing.

Most missed friends

The Queen Mother, who, according to one national newspaper report is unlikely to be seen on a racecourse again, and, of course, the injured Adrian Maguire.

Sheer horror award

Poor, poor Rouble ROUBLE. The name of a coin. The rouble of Russia, as money of account, is deemed and taken at the custom-house, to be of the value of seventy-five cents. Act March 3, 1843. , who shattered both cannonbones in a similar accident to the one that claimed the life of Valiramix. Winner of his last three races, and entered for the Champion Hurdle, he had the talent to be one of the best. A grievous loss to connections and to jump racing in general.

The up the Pole award

With his triumph in the Royal & SunAlliance Hurdle, locally trained Galileo, a winner from five furlongs to two miles in his native Poland, emerged from the shadows of a namesake who won the odd decent Flat race himself.

Biggest ovation in history for a favourite pulled up before halfway


Just leave him alone award

To all those who didn't pester Tony McCoy, badgering him to smile and cheer up. He was hurting deep down. After that horrific first day he'd been in bed at 9pm but didn't sleep until 1am. We can appreciate why. His first-and only-strike at the meeting, on Royal Auclair in the Cathcart, did nothing to ease the pain.

The `just following orders' award

To Jim Culloty, who more or less followed Terry Biddlecombe's gameplan throughout on Best Mate. Biddlecombe, three-times champion and a Gold Cup winner himself, had plotted the route while walking the course during a howling gale on Sunday afternoon.

The one man and his dog One Man and His Dog (1976 to present) is a television series in the United Kingdom featuring sheepdog trials, presented by Phil Drabble with commentary by Eric Halsall, and later by Ray Ollerenshaw, Robin Page, and Gus Dermody.  award

Not won this year, owing to lack of sheep on the course.

Running terrified ter·ri·fy  
tr.v. ter·ri·fied, ter·ri·fy·ing, ter·ri·fies
1. To fill with terror; make deeply afraid. See Synonyms at frighten.

2. To menace or threaten; intimidate.
 of JP award

Bookmakers who went odds-on throughout the winter about Baracouda, 13-8 winner of the Bonusprint Stayers' Hurdle-though, to their credit, they called it right.

Proudest dad

Francois Doumen after his son, Thierry, much maligned ma·lign  
tr.v. ma·ligned, ma·lign·ing, ma·ligns
To make evil, harmful, and often untrue statements about; speak evil of.

1. Evil in disposition, nature, or intent.

 for his style by the UK press, delivered Baracouda from last to first with the coolest of rides.

Darned darned  

Adj. 1. darned - expletives used informally as intensifiers; "he's a blasted idiot"; "it's a blamed shame"; "a blame cold winter"; "not a blessed dime"; "I'll be damned (or blessed or darned or
 good effort

Fiona Needham, with darned holes in the sleeves of her riding jumper on her father's 20-1 shot Last Option, winner of the Christie's Foxhunter Chase. They are lucky colours, worn by Dad, Yorkshire farmer Robin Tate, when he was riding decades ago, so she's reluctant to bin them.

Unluckiest losers

Jonjo O'Neill's Keen Leader, travelling best of all when exiting two out in the Royal & SunAlliance Novices' Hurdle, and the Willie Mullins-trained Adamant Approach, whose storming challenge would surely have

cut down Ireland's banker Like-A-

Butterfly (9-4 to 7-4 favourite) in the Gerrard Supreme Novices' Hurdle The Supreme Novices' Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race in the United Kingdom for four-year-old and above novices. It is run over a distance of 2 miles 110 yards (3,319 metres) on the Old Course at Cheltenham Racecourse during the Cheltenham Festival in March. . He came down at the last, a departure

that clobbered the betting ring for a

cool half a million, some of the cash heading the way of the mare's owner, JP McManus.

Hot lips award

Must go to Alastair Down who, on his favourite playground, appeared so happy he wanted to kiss anything that moved, preferably female, though he didn't seem too bothered.

Missed chance of the week

Cheltenham provided a free service to drag motorists from the muddy car parks when a fiver a tractor tow would have boosted the track's coffers.

The `are you sure?' award

TalkSport's Mike Parry, who likened the sun to an octopus as it came up over Cleeve Hill on Thursday morning, throwing, he claimed, its tentacles of light over Prestbury Park.

Notable absentee

Sven Goran Eriksson. The England manager never appears to miss a big football occasion, so it was surprising he wasn't in evidence with so many top-class players in one place at the same time over the three days. Had they suspected a seat had been reserved for him in the grandstand-as it seems to be at most grounds across Europe-they could have arranged an impromptu kickabout by the water jump.

Don't call me, I'll call you award

Venetia Williams, who when asked for her views on a race in which she had a runner, told the Racing Post reporter she considered it "a bit of a cheek" that trainers were being asked to write the paper. How about trying your hand at the Hereford analysis to help us out on Easter Monday, Venetia?

One-liner of the week

Mark Winstanley, discussing Istabraq's prospects on SIS. "There's more chance of Will Young getting a Father's Day card than there is of this horse winning."

The `don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)

"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party.
 whether to laugh or cry' award

Scolardy, in the JCB JCB

trademark, Brit a large machine used in building, that has a shovel on the front and a digger arm on the back [initials of Joseph Cyril Bamford, its manufacturer]

JCB® n abbr
 Triumph Hurdle. His disqualification by the Leopardstown stewards cost connections the bonus of n100,000 offered for winning both races.

Longest queue

Apart from the toilets, the one outside the tent where Jenny Pitman was signing copies of her thriller.

Touch of reality award

Off-duty nurse Jane Price from Birmingham was amused by a pre-racing interview when a trainer mentioned the stresses of preparing a horse for Cheltenham. "Perhaps he should try a Saturday night in casualty," she smiled.

And finally . . . the fangs for the memory award

Bookmaker Gary Wiltshire, who readily accepted a set of false teeth, reportedly valued at pounds 700, from a punter in lieu of cash who did not have 200 readies to hand for a bet. The toothless gambler later returned to retrieve his gnashers from Wiltshire's bag and settle his losses.


(Clockwise, from above): Dean Gallagher after the Champion Hurdle; Paul Carberry, who gave the ride of the week on Frenchman's Creek; Fiona Needham sports her tatty silks; and Jamie Spencer, who flew to Dubai straight after lifting the Bumper
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 16, 2002
Previous Article:Irish success eclipsed by farewell ovation for Istabraq.
Next Article:A hell of a victory, even on sober reflection; Gold Cup star `bubbling and in excellent shape' after Cheltenham exertions but Knight is not tempted...

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