Swashbuckling Captain Redbeard delivered the perfect Christmas present for Stuart Coltherd when his stable star stormed to victory in last year’s Tommy Whittle Chase.
And the Scottish farmer, who only took out a licence a decade ago, admits that success at Haydock Park provided him with his proudest moment in the training ranks.
“That was a huge day at Haydock Park, an occasion I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” said Coltherd.
“When we got down there the going was heavy, and I did wonder whether we’d made a long trip for nothing because he’d never really tackled that type of ground.
“It was a wonderful sight to see him coming out of the mist on the home straight and leaping over that last fence to win the Tommy Whittle Chase in such grand style.
“I believe Captain Redbeard was the first Scottish-trained winner since Earls Brig won for Billy Hamilton in 1985, so that also made it extra special.”
Captain Redbeard joined an elite group of jumping stars who have triumphed in the Tommy Whittle Chase.
And tomorrow’s renewal will revive memories of Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Little Owl and Forgive N’Forget, who both lifted the famous old trophy in 1982 and 1986 respectively.
“The race has tremendous history, with The Thinker (1988), Twin Oaks (1992) and One Man (1995) all having won it, so to see Captain Redbeard’s name on that roll of honour does make me so proud,” added Coltherd.
“The horse loves Haydock Park, and I don’t think he’s ever been out of the frame there in his six races at the track.
“He followed up his win in the Tommy Whittle Chase by finishing second in the Peter Marsh last January, so there’s something he really likes about the track.
“Captain Redbeard hasn’t got many miles on the clock, so the plan is to possibly run him in next month’s Peter Marsh Chase and hopefully get to the Grand National again.”
Meanwhile, The New One, a winner of 20 races, a quarter of them at Haydock Park, will be honoured by Haydock Park next month.
The 10-year-old was retired last weekend after winning £1million in prize money. Now Haydock will name the Grade Two Champion Hurdle Trial, due to be staged on January 19, The New One Unibet Hurdle.
Nigel Twiston-Davies, who trained the brilliant hurdler, said: “The New One was unbeaten in his five races at Haydock Park and that’s some record.
“We love the racecourse and we’re really excited about bringing him up to parade before the race in a month’s time.
“It is just a shame he won’t be running in the race and it was certainly very emotional when we made the decision that he had run his last race after the International Hurdle at Cheltenham last Saturday.”
Tickets are still available for tomorrow’s Tommy Whittle Chase at Haydock Park.at www.haydock.thejockeyclub.co.uk or 0344 579 3006.
First race tomorrow is at 11.50am