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Thread: Captain Christy

  1. #1
    Stable Fat Jockey (Moderator) Old Vic's Avatar
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    Apr 2012

    Captain Christy

    Noticed that Listowel have named the updated reserve stand bar the Captain Christy. A rare winner of the Gold Cup as a novice in 1974 other big wins included ...

    Irish Sweeps Hurdle (1972)
    Scottish Champion Hurdle (1973)
    Cheltenham Gold Cup (1974)
    King George VI Chase (1974, 1975)
    John Durkan Memorial Chase (1975)
    Irish Champion Hurdle (1973)
    Powers Gold Cup (1974)

    and Captain Christy memories/stories out there ?

    I'll post what I have below
    Last edited by Old Vic; 23rd September 2012 at 02:12 PM.

  2. #2
    Stable Fat Jockey (Moderator) Old Vic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Gold Cup

    CAPTAIN CHRISTY did not receive due credit for his 1974 Gold Cup win, when too much attention focused on the departure of the brilliant Pendil, who was brought down by the 100-1 chance High Ken three from home. Make no mistake, Captain Christy was a very good Gold Cup winner indeed, although what he achieved that day was to some extent merely an appetiser for the banquet he served up at Kempton on the next two Boxing Days.

    As connections of Grands Crus debate whether to go for Gold, they might do well to consider Captain Christy's career, for he too was a seven-year-old novice when he won the race and that, sadly, turned out to be his only real opportunity in it. He could not cope and was pulled up in 1975, when conditions were so desperate that the meeting was called off immediately after the race. By the following year his career was already effectively over.

    They did things differently in Captain Christy's day, for when he lined up at Cheltenham he was running for the ninth time in a season that had started with two wins over fences but had then seen him flirt with hurdles again, placing in two red-hot races including the Sweeps Hurdle, before two more chase wins in the run-up to the festival.

    Pendil and The Dikler, separated by a short head 12 months before, headed the market, but Captain Christy was travelling just as well when Pendil departed and looked set for a very easy win when cruising past The Dikler, only to blunder badly at the final fence and give the reigning champion another chance.

    Nine months later at Kempton Captain Christy confirmed there was no fluke about his Gold Cup win by making all to beat Pendil by eight lengths in the King George. Another 12 months after that he returned to Kempton for one of the greatest steeplechase performances of all time.

    The 11-10 joint-favourite with dual Champion Hurdle winner Bula in a field which also included previous King George winner Royal Marshal, Captain Christy put on a show that had to be seen to be believed. With the claimer Gerry Newman substituting for injured stable jockey Bobby Coonan, who had himself taken over from Gold Cup-winning rider Bobby Beasley, he was jumped straight out into the lead again and set such a scorching pace that they never saw which way he went.

    Bula's vain pursuit had been seen off with the best part of a circuit still to go, and Captain Christy stormed home a full 30 lengths clear, breaking the course record by more than four seconds.

    Two months later he injured his off-fore when being prepared for a campaign that was to include the Gold Cup, the Grand National, the Whitbread Gold Cup and the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris. He made two brief returns but was never the same again.

    He had been the top-rated steeplechaser for three consecutive seasons - after a hurdling career that had earned him third place behind Comedy Of Errors in the 1973 Champion Hurdle.

    King George - 100 best races


    Captain Christy's brilliance King George VI Chase, Kempton, December 26, 1975 1 Captain Christy 11-10jf 2 Bula 11-10jf 3 Royal Marshal 33-1 Winning owner: Mrs J Samuel Trainer: Pat Taaffe Jockey: Gerry Newman Distances: 30l, 2 1 /2l

    What made it great Those classic riding instructions of `jump off in front and improve your position all the way' have seldom been better demonstrated than they were by Captain Christy. He could be the most exasperating of horses, as more than once his erratic jumping blundered away golden chances, but when he was good he really was very good. There was one minor blemish in this round, but it made not the slightest difference and a horse as good as Bula was left struggling in vain pursuit a mile from home. To win a race such as the King George by 30 lengths after leading from start to finish and, by and large, jumping like a buck in the process, speaks for itself. That winning margin deserves repetition - Captain Christy won by 30 lengths. GE
    Best King Georges Ever ( pre Kauto)

    THE King George VI Chase should be considered the true championship event for steeplechasers, because over the last 30 years it has usually been won by the champion (i.e. best) steeplechaser; the Cheltenham Gold Cup hasn't.

    Desert Orchid won the King George in four of his five championship seasons but was never required to show his best form in the race, which is why he does not feature in the following list of the six greatest winning performances.

    1 Arkle 1965

    The supreme champion's only victory at Kempton was marred by the fatal fall at the 15th fence of the great two-miler Dunkirk, whom he had just headed. Thereafter the 1-7 shot had only to canter round under Pat Taaffe to beat Dormant by a distance (i.e. more than 30 lengths). In the 1966 renewal, Arkle broke a foot but still finished second to Dormant in the last race of his career.

    2 Captain Christy 1975

    This brilliant but erratic triple champion, trained by Pat Taaffe, scored his second King George victory with the greatest, most breathtaking run of his career. He set off in front at a blistering pace and kept improving his position, jumping and galloping his rivals into the ground and triumphing by 30 lengths from Bula in a record time. It was a performance of dazzling brilliance, but injury compromised his subsequent career.

    3 Captain Christy 1974

    Although Captain Christy had won the Gold Cup as a novice in 1974, Pendil, who had been brought down, was odds-on to beat him in the King George and gain his third consecutive win in the race. However, the wayward Irish ace led all the way, jumped impeccably, and galloped on relentlessly to beat his rival going away by eight lengths. He was even more spectacular the following year.

    4 Mill House 1963

    Mill House had just beaten Arkle in the 1963 Hennessy when he ran in the King George for the only time. Having scared away all but two of his potential rivals, 'the Big Horse' led all the way and strolled home 20 lengths clear of top-class two-miler Blue Dolphin, thus strengthening his aura of invincibility. Less than three months later, Arkle destroyed that aura in the Gold Cup.

    5 Cottage Rake 1948

    Vincent O'Brien's first champion had already won one of his three Gold Cups when displaying his best form in his only victory at Kempton. He was waited with and used his formidable Flat-race speed in a strong burst after the final fence to beat front-running Roimond (received 5lb) by five lengths. The following year Cottage Rake finished second, just failing to give 11lb to Roimond's stablemate Finnure.

    6 See More Business 1999

    Having won the Gold Cup the previous March, See More Business put up the performance of a great horse when scoring his second King George victory, two years after his first. Relishing the softish ground, this blinkered champion led approaching the third-last and galloped on to score by 17 lengths from Go Ballistic (also his Gold Cup runner-up), with even wider margins back to the other finishers.

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