Ruby Walsh’s miraculous recovery on Killultagh Vic at Leopardstown on Sunday revived memories of other famous exploits in jumps racing over the years.
Here, Keith Hamer relives five of the best from the sport’s archives:
Mandarin — 1962 Grand Steeplechase de Paris, Auteuil
Fred Winter’s heroics in Paris is the stuff of legend.
Ill and weak from starving himself to make the weight, he had to find the strength to get Mandarin round after the bit in the horse’s mouth snapped after three fences. Without brakes or steering, Winter somehow conjured victory by a head, even after the horse had broken down before jumping the last.
Rhyme ’N’ Reason — 1988 Grand National, Aintree
His chance looked to have gone when he sprawled on all fours at Bechers on the first circuit.
Left in last place, jockey Brendan Powell showed patience is a virtue as he allowed Rhyme ’N’ Reason to recover in his own time. Such was his progress that he was left in the lead five out. Though he was headed by Durham Edition at the second-last, David Elsworth’s charge found more to get back up and win by four lengths.
Desert Orchid — 1990 Irish Grand National, Fairyhouse
Just a month after losing his Gold Cup crown, when third to 100-1 outsider Norton’s Coin, Desert Orchid rewarded his loyal supporters with a dramatic triumph in Ireland.
Sent off the even-money favourite, despite giving 28lb to all but one of his rivals, the flying grey ran his rivals ragged and was well clear coming to the last. However, he made a complete mess of the fence, bringing gasps from the crowd. Thankfully Richard Dunwoody sat tight and the partnership pulled away to win by 12 lengths.
Kingscliff — 2003 coral.co.uk Handicap Chase, Ascot
Andrew Thornton longevity in the weighing-room is renowned and his career can be summed up with this winning ride on Kingscliff.
The left rein broke jumping the third fence which sent him broadside into the inside rail.
Unperturbed, Thornton kept the combination intact for the remainder of the three-mile journey to win easily.
Wichita Lineman – 2009 William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase, Cheltenham
Even by AP McCoy’s standards, this was an extraordinary ride.
His horse was never travelling and never jumping with any fluency, and yet was lifted to victory by the not-to-be denied perennial champion. Only 10th at the second-last, McCoy had driven him into third place at the final fence and then finally got a positive response as Wichita Lineman locked on to overtake Maljimar in the shadow of the post as an expectant Cheltenham crowd roared him home.
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