On the 23rd of January Whiskey Chaser headed to Bangor-On-Dee for his third race of the season. After securing a second place in his last outing the team were confident that Whiskey would mount a strong challenge in the 14:50 Stella Artois Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase, a race over 3 miles with a prize fund of £7000.

The weather at Bangor was glorious for the time of year, if a little cold. The going was soft and conditional Jockey James Cowley would partner our horse. A seizable turn out of our syndicate meant that Whiskey had plenty of support in the betting ring. He was installed as the race favourite at 15/8 with the on-course bookmakers. The second favourite was Drumviredy, who our team considered the main threat.

I decided to watched from the hill just below the parade ring, the race started and Whiskey Chaser and Moorlands Mist immediately opened up a large gap from the rest of the field. The two horses traded blows and shared the lead for the majority of the race. With four fences to go Whiskey Chaser and Moorlands Mist paid the price for setting the early pace, the duo began to fade away, which opened the door for Drumviredy who had been patiently stalking the leading pair. The Venetia Williams trained Drumviredy finished strongly in first place followed by Hallow Blue Sky in second.

Whiskey Chaser was pulled up and I walked back to the parade ring. We had a debriefing from the team and I trudged back to the Owners and Trainers lounge. On the way I met an old friend who I hadn’t seen for a couple of years. He’d come to see Whiskey Chaser run and it cheered me up to know our boy has his fans outside of the syndicate.

Over time you get to meet all the other syndicates and I’ve often watched Whiskey Chaser on the gallops at Bankhouse running alongside the other Deva Racing horses. So I was keen to get back to the owners and trainers lounge so I could watch another Deva Racing horse (Subtle Grey) race at Newcastle.

Any disappointment I had about our race was soon forgotten as I watched the talented Subtle Grey taking the lead with just two fences to jump. I thinking how excited the Deva Racing Subtle Grey Partnership would be to see their horse land another win. Unfortunately, Subtle Grey crashed through the second last fence and fell awkwardly. He was soon on his feet but sadly passed away later. A devastating loss for trainer Donald McCain, the lads and lasses at the yard, Deva Racing and all the syndicate members. A day which started with so much promise ended in tragic fashion. It’s on days like these you realise results don’t really matter that much. RIP Subtle Grey.

Photo Credit (Nigel Kirby Photography)