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Foot-and-mouth a real kick in the teeth for Istabraq followers; THE LIST Unlucky losers.

Tied Cottage Tied Cottage is one of only two chasers to have run in five Gold Cups and he must also be just about the unluckiest not to have his name on the roll of honour.

Runner-up to Davy Lad in 1977, he set a hot pace two years later but was still in front at the final fence only to crash out and hand the prize to the challenging Alverton.

He had enough left to land the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse later that spring and he returned to set the record straight at Cheltenham the following year - or so it seemed.

Everything went fine on course for the 12-year-old, who made all and came home eight lengths clear to equal the record for the oldest winner of the race. But a tiny quantity of a prohibited substance showed up in his post-race dope test and he was disqualified.

Dr Leunt The bigger the field the bigger the certainty... that you will find trouble in running. That is what happened to Dr Leunt up against 25 rivals in the Triumph Hurdle in 1995. He was forced through the rails soon after the fifth flight, costing him more than a dozen lengths and his momentum.

He rejoined the field and performed wonders to get back into contention. He was beaten only two and a half lengths into second, and surely he would have won had he not been hampered.

To make things worse, he was denied second prize-money as he was disqualified for taking the wrong course, and jockey Trevor Horgan fined for continuing.

Granville Again Martin Pipe won no fewer than 34 Cheltenham Festival races but the 1992 Champion Hurdle was one that got away. Granville Again, unbeaten in four previous races that season, looked to be travelling the best when he fell two flights out and the way Royal Gait eventually scrambled home from Oh So Risky and Ruling suggested he would have won had he stayed on his feet.

But there was a happy ending as Granville Again returned to set the record straight by lifting the crown 12 months later.

Crimson Embers Nobody who remembers the 1985 Stayers' Hurdle will claim that stewards 25 years on are reluctant to throw out winners.

It looked an open-and-shut case.

First past the post Rose Ravine had hung right from approaching the final flight, all but carrying rival Crimson Embers into the stands' side rail on the run-in - the luckless second rallied to be beaten just a neck and looked sure to be awarded the race.

But there was no objection - as first and second were both owned by Sally Smart and trained by Fulke Walwyn - and somehow the stewards judged the interference did not affect the result.

Istabraq Luck did not enter it as Istabraq dominated the Festival in the last years of the 20th century, landing a big gamble in the SunAlliance Hurdle before recording a hat-trick of wins in the Champion Hurdle.

But it deserted him when on the verge of history in 2001. Then nine, he looked as good as ever in romping to victory in the Irish Champion Hurdle and appeared sure to become the first four-time winner of the big one at Cheltenham.

But that was reckoning without a foot-and-mouth outbreak. The festival was cancelled, and the chance was gone.

David Carr

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Tied Cottage: disqualified after first past the post in 1980 Gold Cup
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 14, 2010
Words:573
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