|Carruthers on the way to victory. Photo by Emma Kerwin
For the second consecutive week National Hunt racing produced a fairytale with the thoroughly deserved victory for Carruthers and jockey Mattie Batchelor in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury. Every part of this wonderful story provokes emotion. The utterly lovable Carruthers who is so honest that he gives his heart and soul in every race he runs, had fired a warning shot at Cheltenham two weeks ago that he was back in business with a good third to Galaxy Rock. He jumped for fun that day and finished in front of Hey Big Spender who scored at Newcastle on Saturday as well as such names as Festival winner Chicago Grey and old favourite Fair Along.
Looking back at the form book, the 10/1 he returned at on Saturday was huge but you can understand why when his last victory was nearly two years ago. You can put a line through every race he ran last year as he was under the weather with a virus. He ended the 2009/2010 National Hunt season with a terrific run in the Grade One Totesport Bowl, finishing second to What A Friend where he practically made all, only to be headed by the winner at the last. Before that he was just touched off by Mon Mome for third place in the Cheltenham Gold Cup behind Imperial Commander. As a novice he won the Grade Two Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot before finishing fourth to Cooldine in the Grade One RSA at the 2009 Cheltenham Festival. So the form was there albeit a way back but his connections never lost the all important belief which has now been rewarded. There is a lot to be said for keeping the faith, granted it’s hard to do in the darker moments but a light can and will shine again
Next on the agenda is the Welsh National on 27 December where he will again face his Cheltenham conqueror Galaxy Rock along with the winner of last year’s race Synchronised who stays forever and like Carruthers favours the now expected soft going. Carruthers may make the odd mistake as we saw on Saturday; but he has never fallen in twenty starts over hurdles and fences.
I think I’m going to write a letter to Santa asking if for Christmas he could give me the gift of Kauto Star winning the King George and Carruthers winning the Welsh National. Just imagine that, cue unbridled euphoria.