Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Christmas quizzes

I'd been planning to complete the Racing Post Christmas Quiz, but sadly I got bogged down on Question 29 (of 50). This one, you might recall, asked which Classic-winning racehorse owner had recently recalled that his life had been one of "drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll". The quiz being multiple choice, we were given a choice of four answers, the obvious one of which was Crysalis Records supremo Chris Wright. However, I'm pretty sure that the correct answer might be (d) Lord Derby. (By which, I presume, they mean Ouija Board's owner, rather than Hyperion's owner - the latter, of course, would have had to make this revelation via a medium. And to widespread astonishment.). Anyway, I spent so long mulling over this puzzle that I ran out of steam, and failed to finish the quiz. But it has got me thinking whether we ought not, in the light of this statement, to re-consider our opposition to Lord Derby's plans to develop Hatchfield Farm: while these plans are clearly contrary to the interests of Newmarket as a training centre, I feel that one ought so to admire a man who is so candid about having mis-spent his life so splendidly that one oughtn't to stand in his way over anything.

Instead of completing a quiz, therefore, I'm going to set one. You might enjoy puzzling over this. I've been puzzling over it and I don't know what the right answer is, whether there is a right answer and, if there is a right answer, how many right answers there are. When I went to Folkestone about ten days before Christmas, I enjoyed reading the 'This day in ...' snippet in the Racing Post because that day in 1985 had seen a Saturday race-meeting at Ascot at which Desert Orchid had won the novices' chase and Burrough Hill Lad had won the big race, the SGB Handicap Chase. That paragraph was a nice trip down memory lane for me because what, understandably, wasn't mentioned was that the final race on that programme, an amateurs' handicap hurdle, was the first in which I rode (unsuccessfully). Anyway, recalling this race-day got me thinking that that would have been a very rare instance of two Cheltenham Gold Cup winners (past, present or future) winning different steeplechases on the same programme. So, my question is this: is that the most recent occasion on which that has happened? I don't know, but it's fun to think about it. On the vast majority of occasions when two Cheltenham Gold Cup winners run on the same card, they run in the same race - which is no use to answering our question. Hugh pointed out that one of the most likely occasions for this to happen would be Kempton's Boxing Day programme, with the King George and the Feltham Novices' Chase both being races quite often won by Gold Cup winners. However, has this happened since 1985? I don't know. My thought was that Gold Cup Day is another occasion on which it could happen, because once in a blue moon the Gold Cup is won by a former hunter 'chaser, who might well have won the Cheltenham Foxhunters on a previous Gold Cup Day. I did look up to see whether Cool Dawn had completed the double, but he only finished second in his Foxhunters. So that's the question and I'll leave it with you.


Wayward Lad said...

That's a good brain teaser!
If you don't mind, I'll post that up on twitter tomorrow as there are a few racing bods on there.
The Feltham at Kempton is not the race to look at as no winner of that has gone on to win the Gold Cup in a lifetime.
Ian (Wayward Lad)

Rory said...

Not a correct answer, per se, but Desert Orchid and Dawn Run actually won consecutive hurdle races at Kempton on Boxing Day 1983, before Wayward Lad took the King George. Burrough Hill Lad won the Welsh National the following day at Chepstow.

stone_fox said...

A few examples of Gold Cup winners winning on the same day - and card - but not after BOTH have won the Cheltenham race.

Best Mate v Looks Like Trouble, Dec 3, 1999:

Desert Orchid had won, but Garrison Savannah had not when they won on Feb 8, 90

Imperial Call and Master Oats won on Dec 27, 93.

John Berry said...

Bloody hell, Stone Fox - terrific research. I think that Desert Orchid winning the main chase and Garrison Savannah winning the novice chase at Wincanton on February 8th 1990 is our new leader in this competition. That really did take some digging up. Any example more recent than that of two Cheltenham Gold Cup winners (past, present or future) winning different steeplechases on the same card? See if any of your twitterers can come up with one, Ian.

Although it doesn't answer the question, unearthing the fact that Imperial Call won a hurdle race at Limerick on the same day that Master Oats won a handicap chase at Huntingdon has to take the fact-finding of the month award!

Matt Trounce said...

Denman and Kauto Star both won at Newbury in February 2007. Kauto taking the Aon and Denman winning the novice chase on the card.