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Monday 22 November 2021

Beech Road

Owned by Tony Geake and trained by Toby Balding, Beech Road was a highly successful hurdler and steeplechaser, probably best remembered for winning the Champion Hurdle at the 1989 Cheltenham Festival at odds of 50/1. At the start of the 1988/89 National Hunt season, the intention was to send Beech Road over fences and, after two unsuccessful starts over hurdles, he duly made his steeplechasing debut at Newton Abbot on Boxing Day. He was in second place when unseating his rider, Rae Guest, behind odds-on winner Sabin Du Loir, which led to Guest being replaced by Graham McCourt on his next start at Cheltenham. Sent off even money favourite in a three-runner novices' chase, Beech Road was upsides eventual winner Waterloo Boy when falling at the final fence, but lay motionless on the Prestbury Park turf for 15 minutes before rising to his feet.

That spelt the end of an abortive chasing career, at least for the time being. Two starts later, returned to hurdles and re-united with Guest, Beech Road won the National Spirit Challenge Trophy at Fontwell and, in so doing, beat Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Vagador, who was conceding 12lb by 20 lengths, unchallenged. Nevertheless, despite arriving at Cheltenham 'in the form of his life', according to Guest, he was still sent off 50/1 twelfth choice of the 15 runners, behind 11/8 favourite Kribensis. Settled off a fast pace, Beech Road was among the back-markers at the top of the hill, but made good headway on the outside from the second last flight, led at the last and ran on strongly up the hill to beat Celtic Chief by 2 lengths.


Mulldog said...

Loved Beech Road

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