There is something wonderfully humbling to be in the presence of an old racing warrior. To know his battles, the miles travelled, the races he won and lost – and the reasons why, is to know why the great races are so remembered. It is all about context and great horses make for great races. But there is something else too; these aged heroes transport us back to a more youthful time when we were surrounded by perhaps friends and family no longer with us.
Meeting Another Coral, now a sprightly 31 year old, certainly took me back to my youth and a time when I had my leg in plaster but no end of excitement for the 1991 Mackeson Gold Cup, very much the real opening of the jumps season back in those days.
Owned by farmer Michael Deeley, he was one of two outstanding horses that were sourced by Anthony Stroud, a man who went on to become Sheikh Mohamed’s Racing Manager. Deeley purchased the two yearlings for the princely sum of £7,000; in hindsight an absolute steal! The more expensive part of the deal was the £4,000 purchase of a chestnut horse, who in time would come to be known as Waterloo Boy, acquiring his name after a friend’s farm.
“Another Coral won five times around Cheltenham and both horses are in the Cheltenham Hall Of Fame now,” Deeley is proud to state.
Waterloo Boy went on to win 16 races and over £329,000 in prize money and was the horse Richard Dunwoody won most races on during his fabulous and prolific career.
For the Deeley family racing was already well and truly in the blood, long before Another Coral and Waterloo Boy were born in 1983. Michael Deeley’s father had been a successful owner, most notably thanks to the exploits of the remarkable Coral Cluster in the 1960s, who in total won 29 races.
“That was how Another Coral came to be named,” he says, “we couldn’t call him Coral Cluster so Another Coral seemed appropriate. Back when Coral Cluster was racing though, I was at home most of the time, working on the farm, whilst my father went racing.
Deeley had first become involved in ownership through his friendship with Ben Brooks, another owner – and he took shares in Leney Dual, a very smart handicap chaser trained by David Nicholson, who had perhaps his biggest win when landing the 1981 H & T Walker Marie Elizabeth Handicap Chase at Ascot, beating smart chasers like Approaching, Mac Vidi, Peter Scot, Easter Eel and Artifice.
“We thought we’d won the world when we won that,” he laughs, “that was our first real big win.”
Leney Dual carried those famous maroon and white silks with the orange and white quartered cap with distinction, winning seven times from Ludlow and Windsor in 1980, to Newbury the following spring and autumn, that Ascot triumph, another good handicap chase in October 1982 and a staying chase at Sandown Park that same November.
Deeley has a lovely framed photograph of Leney Dual and Peter Scudamore jumping a fence and jokes: “Peter once said that he liked that picture as it was the only one that made him look like a jockey!”
Eventually Leney Dual was sold and Deeley had part-ownership in Solar Cloud, a horse indelibly marked in Cheltenham folklore as the one that finally broke the Duke’s Cheltenham Festival hoodoo with victory in the 1986 Triumph Hurdle.
For Deeley, it was a day of great pride, for a trainer he cannot speak highly enough of: “David was the best trainer of horses and jockeys. He made it all so exciting and was extremely organised,” he reflects.
“Solar Cloud was an expensive yearling but his career on the Flat didn’t amount to much and we were able to buy him at a much cheaper price. Later on that afternoon, David trained his second Festival winner with Charter Party and it was also the day when Dawn Run won the Gold Cup,” Deeley recalls.
By that time Another Coral and Waterloo Boy were already being prepared for their future careers, in the care of Bev White, who very much came as part of the package when Michael Deeley purchased a hunting and point-to-point yard, as she remembers:
“Mike took over the yard when Michael Dickinson – a well-known figure on the point-to-point scene sold up – and I stayed with the yard rather than relocating. The yard had been a great success before then and among the good horses I had in my care were Whitgee, Irish Quick Steps and Soray – who was a real star!
“All of these were winners but were not really considered trainable. But they made good! Paul Webber was our jockey at the time and he rode many a winner for us. So before Mike Deeley bought the yard my racing career had been formed but I was always concerned for the welfare of each and every horse. My life was to make it good for them.
“When Mike first took over the yard from Michael Dickinson, he had a horse called Leney Dual; he was such a lovely boy, I had great fun with him but he was eventually sold to a Mr Pritchard and even competed in the Grand National one year, although he fell off when Leney made a mistake.
“At the time, Mike had bought these two six month olds from Ireland for £7,000 – one of whom was by the prominent National Hunt sire of the time Deep Run and the other by Green Shoon. They went on to become Waterloo Boy and Another Coral respectively!”
Mike Deeley remembers that his acquisition of Another Coral was not quite in the plan though:
“Anthony Stroud went over to Ireland to buy a horse and came back with two! He was told not to buy a horse by Green Shoon and he came back with a Green Shoon horse which was Another Coral!”
At first the young horses needed time to settle into their new environment, as Bev White recalls:“They were two very frightened boys at first by Boy settled the best. Coral was very highly strung and he had many quirks but I managed to correct most of them, although he was still easy to upset.
“Both were fully broken in at three years and both went showing in light weight hunter class from an early age (in hand). Even then Boy excelled and was always placed, but Coral just could not hack the crowds and the noise – I persevered but it was a losing battle so I stopped in-hand showing Coral.
“The yard where Boy and Coral were brought up was in a small village just outside of Bicester, called Merton. It was an old cow shed which had been made into stables and was such a nice place to be; there was a river at the back where I used to stand the horses in to cool those legs down. It was very therapeutic, especially for any horse with a tendon or splint problem, it was very handy.
“For the gallops, Mike created a large area for me to get them three quarters fit for the time they would go to David Nicholson’s yard. Alan King always attended when the boys were to be packed up to go to Jackdaws. They had lots of road work and both were excellent in the traffic.”
White tells a story of how the nervous youngster one day managed to escape from his field, leaving evidence which exists to this day:
“When Coral was three he escaped from the field via the post and rails and to this day I don’t know what happened; but as a result of that he suffered a blow to his jaw which is still somewhat deformed even now, as well as a nasty gash to his near back leg. He still holds those scars.”
Meanwhile, the much more easily placated Waterloo Boy continued to make serene progress in his development.
“Boy just cracked on with life and was soon in charge of the other horses at the yard. He was a cheeky rascal but he had a big heart. I knew instinctively that he would do well. As for Coral, well I had not a hope for him, he was a complete nutter! Even so, I felt he had something to give at the right time.”
When it came to selection time, White recalls that the syndicate all plumped for Another Coral, including David Nicholson and Richard Dunwoody! Bev White however remained adamant that Waterloo Boy was the big star of the two horses!
“Boy and Coral went to David’s at Jackdaws Castle for work with the other horses when they were four years old, in order for David to see what potential they had. He was so impressed with both and said to me that Boy had been saving himself for what he was bred to do.
“It was still a wrench to see them leave the yard however, after spending so much time nurturing them.”
Before leaving for Jackdaws Castle, both horses had been extensively schooled in jumping by Bev White, who had visited Ginger McCain in Southport and now adopted an approach she had seen McCain use with his greatest champion:
“As for their jumping skills, they were both taught how to show jump (my passion) and then I let them race at the fences, both were natural and could jump well.
“I remember how years ago Red Rum had poles on the ground so he could judge himself. This was of course whilst he was in training with Ginger McCain and I used this as a guide with all the horses in my care.
“This process works Poles in front of the fence for stride and poles after the jump for concentration and awareness. You never know during a race if a horse is going to fall in front of you,” she asserts.
The two young horses were then off to Jackdaws Castle where the final preparations took place before their careers as National Hunt racehorses got under way.
“After a few weeks David phoned me up and said that Coral looks like a racehorse and Waterloo Boy can’t put one foot in front of the other! But as soon as he raced it was a different story. His timing when jumping was brilliant and he always passed other horses in mid air.”
“Coral got himself very worked up at races. Before he raced David took him to the races on two or three occasions and walked him around the paddock just to get him used to all of the noise. He got the band to stop playing when he won the Mackeson.
“They both had their maiden races at Ludlow; Boy finished second in his race but Coral I am afraid had run his race in the parade ring beforehand. It was a National Hunt Flat race. Coral was a huge character but he really was a person on the edge. David worked so well with him.” White recalls.
“I remember how Waterloo Boy stayed on from a very long way back and finished strongly at the end of his race to almost catch Bullet Train on debut,” Deeley adds.
Both horses made their mark over hurdles, Waterloo Boy winning a novice hurdle at Newbury in February 1988 and Another Coral landing novice hurdles at Leicester and Bangor the following winter. However, with time, growth and strengthening up, steeple chasing was always likely to be their forte and so it proved.
Waterloo Boy was the first to go chasing, winning a novice handicap chase at Worcester in October 1988 and once again showing great resolve in doing so. Having jumped the last fence in fourth place he found tremendous reserves to make ground on the leaders and get up in the shadow of the post to deny Acclaim by a head in a thrilling finish. It was the start of great things to come as Waterloo Boy embarked on a five-timer over fences.
He followed-up at Bangor on December 2nd, 1988, on a memorable day for the Deeleys, as Another Coral won his novice hurdle at the same meeting! Waterloo Boy was always prominent in this race and benefitted from the heavy fall of Eyetrap two fences from home but ran out a comfortable winner under Jamie Osborne, who also rode Another Coral on the same card.
Commenting on a BBC TV interview afterwards, Deeley delighted in the Bangor double saying: “The two at Bangor was as good as almost anything!”
Waterloo Boy was by now becoming an adept novice chaser and further victory followed around Towcester’s exacting undulations just before Christmas. Given a nice lead into the home straight by Nodalotte, Waterloo Boy powered up the Towcester hill to complete a hat-trick of novice chase wins.
The four-timer came in a dramatic race at Cheltenham on January 2nd, 1989, when taking on the classy hurdler Beech Road in a three-runner contest for the Steel Plate & Sections Young Chasers’ Qualifier. On a really gloomy afternoon, Waterloo Boy was granted a soft lead and jumped the first 3-4 lengths clear of Dictalino and Beech Road. The order remained pretty much the same, although his pursuers closed as the trio raced downhill for the home turn.
At the second last fence, Waterloo Boy was still full of running, but Beech Road was closing under pressure. Meanwhile, Dictalino appeared to be beaten off but fell. Racing to the final fence, it was still Waterloo Boy and Richard Dunwoody, holding a narrow advantage from the ridden Beech Road, who crumpled on landing at the last, leaving Waterloo Boy in splendid isolation.
There was a sombre mood afterwards as Beech Road failed to rise and the screens ominously went up. Typical of the man, David Nicholson was one of the first on the scene at the final fence, to see if he could do anything for the stricken horse.
While Waterloo Boy had enhanced his Arkle Chase credentials, after an eternity Beech Road got up – and two and a half months later recorded a remarkable victory in the Champion Hurdle, clear proof of just how good Waterloo Boy was!
At the end of January Waterloo Boy faced another unbeaten chaser in the Kim Bailey trained Positive in the Bic Razor Novices’ Chase at Kempton Park, in front of a national television audience. Waterloo Boy was in front by the first fence and jumped well as always, taking a breather down the back straight but disputing the lead still with Cashcanon. In the home straight Waterloo Boy stamped his class on the race, romping clear for an easy victory, with Positive flattering to deceive when finishing fast at the death, when the race was already sewn-up.
In February Waterloo Boy’s unbeaten record over fences finally went. He met the hugely talented 10 year old Sabin Du Loir, a one-time Michael Dickinson inmate who had beaten Dawn Run as a novice hurdler! That had been many years and some horrible injuries ago but now trained by Martin Pipe, Sabin Du Loir was starting to fulfil the promise of his youth. He would become a regular rival for Waterloo Boy down the years.
Their first meeting came in Ascot’s Daniel Homes Novices’ Chase over two miles, where Sabin Du Loir was in another class on this occasion, easily defeating the 6 year old Waterloo Boy by 20 lengths.
“Afterwards Richard Dunwoody said we would beat him at Cheltenham,” Deeley recalls. “And in the Arkle we stuck to him like glue and then beat him!”
Both horses were then prepared for the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham, where Sabin Du Loir would start the 5/4 favourite and Waterloo Boy went off at 20/1.
While all of this was happening, Another Coral had continued his education in novice hurdle races and the week after Cheltenham 1989, ran second to Wide Boy in a handicap hurdle at Wolverhampton.
Meanwhile, at the Cheltenham Festival, 14 horses lined-up for the fast and furious Arkle Trophy. Sabin Du Loir and Waterloo Boy led the field over the first two fences and settled down for another confrontation. However at the next fence Sabin Du Loir made a mistake, as the fancied Nos Na Gaoithe fell.
By the eighth fence Sabin Du Loir was back in front of Waterloo Boy and Feroda, with the field well and truly strung out. At the top of the hill, Southern Minstrel and Nohalmdun were the only other two horses still in contention.
At the third last fence Waterloo Boy jumped superbly, while Feroda was on his knees. Racing to the second last Richard Dunwoody and Waterloo Boy were travelling strongly and Sabin Du Loir all of a sudden looked vulnerable.
At the final fence, the pair had been joined by Southern Minstrel but it was Waterloo Boy, racing between his rivals, who touched down in front and in a desperately stamina-sapping climb, he bravely held on from Southern Minstrel, with Sabin Du Loir a courageous third. If ever a race emphasised the big heart that Bev White had always witnessed, it was this Arkle Trophy.
“When Boy won the Arkle I was so happy. Oh my god, what a race to win! I had put some money on him (not a lot) and I remember that my friend’s bitch was whelping at the same time – we were both jumping around so much and the puppies came out fast! These things are so memorable, they never leave you,” she laughs.
David Nicholson, as magnanimous as ever, gave special mention to Rob Cavendish, the lad who rode Waterloo Boy out every day, in his post race BBC TV interview.
That was it for Waterloo Boy’s magnificent season which had seen him climb through the jumping ranks. As for Another Coral, we he had made an encouraging start to his career and would follow Waterloo Boy over fences the following autumn.
After plenty of schooling, Another Coral made his chasing debut at Cheltenham in the Coventry Novices’ Chase on November 11th, 1989. With the favourite Abbreviation out of the race, the nearly black 6 year old jumped round to record a neck victory from the useful Campsea-Ash, under Richard Dunwoody.
On January 1st, 1990, he returned to Prestbury Park to compete in the race won by Waterloo Boy the previous season, when Beech Road the Champion Hurdler had taken his fall. Another Coral faced one more rival than Waterloo Boy did and in the event was one of the first winners of the new decade, beating the smart Elfast by 4 lengths.
Another Coral continued to take in the same races that Waterloo Boy had run in the previous season, finishing 3 lengths second to Decided at Kempton Park and then failed to carry 12 stone at Ascot, finishing 17 lengths behind Wink Gulliver and Western Dandy, who were each receiving 10 pounds in weight advantage.
Next stop for Another Coral was a tilt at the Arkle Trophy and just like Waterloo Boy, his starting price in a field of 14 was 20/1. In a classy field the race was won by Commandate, with other runners including Young Snugfit and Celtic Shot the Champion Hurdle winner. As Young Snugfit charged off in front, Another Coral, surely affected by the hullabaloo of the occasion, failed to take off at the second fence and crashed to the ground. It was an unsatisfactory ending to his first season chasing, but one that had given him plenty of experience.
Waterloo Boy in the meantime, had finished 2 lengths second to Deep Colonist on his return at Worcester in November 1989. That put him cherry ripe for Chepstow, where he beat a second Champion Hurdle winner in Celtic Shot, by a neck in early December in an Arlington Premier Chase Qualifier – and he was giving Celtic Shot 7 pounds!
At this point in time, Waterloo Boy was running over 2 ½ miles and for his next run, it was decided to take him over to Ireland and one of the highlights of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival, the Black and White Whisky Champion Chase. In a terrific finish, Waterloo Boy just failed to concede 5 pounds to the super racing mare and Irish Grand National winner Maid Of Money, going down by just ½ a length.
“The jockey felt that the horse thought he had won as the rail stopped and we were only just beaten by a narrow margin by Maid Of Money,” Deeley recounts.
At the end of January, he went back to Cheltenham and took on old rivals Sabin Du Loir and Celtic Shot in a very classy renewal of the Arlington Premier Chase Final. This was one of Sabin Du Loir’s finest days though as he saw off Celtic Shot by 2 ½ lengths, with Waterloo Boy trailing some 25 lengths further back.
After that disappointing effort Waterloo Boy’s preparation for a first tilt at the Queen Mother Champion Chase was far from ideal, as Michael Deeley remembers:
“He had trouble with his feet, and we had to train him in the pool that was owned by Gold Cup winning jockey and trainer Jim Wilson. In the event he ran a terrific race at Cheltenham and was just beaten ½ a length by Barnbrook Again but there was a lengthy Stewards’ Enquiry and we waited for quite a while and were worried that we were keeping the Queen Mother waiting! He went right across us and I think these days we would have got the race.”
It was a magnificent performance given the disruption to Waterloo Boy’s preparations as Barnbrook Again won his second Champion Chase. On very fast ground Sabin Du Loir had tried to dictate the pace and in almost a carbon copy of the 1989 Arkle Trophy, there were three horses virtually in a line at the final fence.
This time, Waterloo Boy challenged on the stands side, from the previous year’s winner Barnbrook Again in the centre and Sabin Du Loir coming under pressure against the rails. Waterloo Boy held a narrow lead over the last but as Sabin Du Loir faded out of contention, Barnbrook Again dug in deep and headed his younger rival as the pair dourly battled up the Cheltenham Hill. In the end it was experience that just gained the day but proved beyond all doubt that Waterloo Boy was from the very top drawer.
“It also showed us that 2 miles was his best trip,” Deeley adds.
The 7 year old chestnut was to have one more race that season, travelling north to Liverpool for a crack at the competitive Captain Morgan Aintree Handicap Chase on Grand National day. The combination of top weight and lightning fast ground did not play to Waterloo Boy’s strengths and in the event he ran a fine race to finish 6 ¾ lengths fourth to Nohalmdun, Prize Asset and another horse who would become one of his regular rivals, Katabatic.
Both horses then enjoyed the glow of a wonderfully hot summer in 1990, before returning to Jackdaws Castle for the serious business of limbering up for the new jumps season.
Another Coral was the first to run, on November 1st he travelled to Stratford and went down by just a head to the useful Broad Beam, whom he was conceding 13 pounds to. It was a terrific pipe-opener and platform from which to build.
Five days later Waterloo Boy reappeared in the Plymouth Gin Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter, taking on the likes of Desert Orchid and his old foe Sabin Du Loir. On this occasion Waterloo Boy uncharacteristically unseated Jamie Osborne, the only time in his career he finished riderless. Up front Sabin Du Loir got the better of a terrific scrap between the veterans, beating Desert Orchid by 6 lengths.
Another Coral was not left resting on his laurels and eight days after his seasonal debut, he comprehensively turned the tables on Broad Beam as he lumped 11 stone 8 pounds to a 1 ½ length victory over Royal Cracker in the 2 mile John Seyfried Mickleton Handicap Chase.
Just over a fortnight after his Exeter disappointment, Waterloo Boy bid to make amends up at Haydock Park in the 2 mile Standard Life Handicap Chase. With hindsight he faced an almost impossible task that day, failing by 1 ½ lengths to catch Katabatic, whom he was conceding a stone and 10 pounds. Katabatic went on to win the Champion Chase at the end of the season, a mark of what a massive performance Waterloo Boy had put in.
With both horses in fine form, David Nicholson had the pair out again in quick succession, as Another Coral travelled to Newbury’s Hennessy Meeting in late November 1990 and recorded back-to-back victories with a 2 ½ length defeat of the useful Guiburn’s Nephew, who was receiving 5 pounds in the Arlington Premier Chase Qualifier.
Just over a week late, Waterloo Boy travelled to Sandown Park for a mouth-watering Tingle Creek Chase featuring Desert Orchid, Young Snugfit, Cashew King and of course Sabin Du Loir.
Desert Orchid set off in front with Young Snugfit, as Waterloo Boy settled in third place towards the inside over the first fence.
Racing down the back-straight Waterloo Boy uncharacteristically didn’t quite meet his fences with his usual rhythm as Desert Orchid continued to lead the closing pack. At the water jump Young Snugfit went on and Cashew King stumbled and fell.
Five fences from home Sabin Du Loir went on from Young Snugfit, with Waterloo Boy passing Desert Orchid but still not jumping with his usual fluency. Racing to the Pond Fence, Sabin Du Loir held the aces with Young Snugfit travelling well in second d and Waterloo Boy very much within touching distance. Even that grand veteran Desert Orchid was not entirely done with.
Over the second last Sabin Du Loir quickened again and raced away from the fence still travelling well, with Young Snugfit and Waterloo Boy perhaps looking booked for second spot. However Young Snugfit rallied on the approach to the last and that final leap proved the launch pad for a final assault up the Sandown Park hill, with Young Snugfit finding the reserves to pass old Sabin Du Loir. There were 10 lengths back to Waterloo Boy who ran a quiet race but beat Desert Orchid.
With Christmas just around the corner, David Nicholson opted to run Another Coral as Ascot’s big SGB Chase meeting, stepping up in class in the 2 mile Frogmore Handicap Chase. On this occasion Coral proved no match for the prolific Blazing Walker, who was at the height of his powers for Arthur Stephenson. Eventually Another Coral finished 5 ¾ lengths fourth.
Wetherby’s Christmas Festival always features the Castleford Chase and in 1990 saw a rematch between Waterloo Boy and Young Snugfit, with Green Heart, Antinous and Clever Folly thrown in for good measure.
On this occasion Waterloo Boy proved a very different proposition to Sandown, tracking Greenheart and always travelling and jumping well. Turning for home with four fences to jump, Wetherby specialist Greenheart still had the call but racing to the third last fence Waterloo Boy began to assert, drawing clear of Young Snugfit who moved into second place.
A super jump at the last saw Waterloo Boy sprint clear as Young Snugfit blundered any chance he had away and Boy was left to saunter home by 15 lengths for one of his biggest wins to date. However Waterloo Boy was then off the track until the Cheltenham Festival in March and it was left to Another Coral to keep the Deeleys occupied over the early months of 1991.
After his Ascot race it was just over a month before Coral ran again, travelling back to Cheltenham at the end of January and running disappointingly in the Arlington Premier Chase Final, eventually pulling up in a race won by Al Hashimi.
As the winter weeks whiled away towards Cheltenham, Nicholson gave Another Coral another run at Kempton Park, towards the end of February in the Portlane Handicap Chase over 2 ½ miles. In a dramatic race, Another Coral accounted for Combermere by 2 lengths, despite conceding a stone and 2 pounds. The only other finisher Mou-Dafa was a distance behind as four of the seven horses failed to complete.
So Cheltenham Festival 1991 dawned and Michael Deeley’s two horses both went into battle with strong credentials. They had come such a long way since first entering the yard as babies.
Much of the credit of course goes to David Nicholson, who would pay attention to the most minute of details, as Bev White recalls:
“David Nicholson was a lovely man; he loved all his horses and he worked hard with them to get them just right.
“Another Coral was a good example of David’s expertise; the horse does not like noise and crowds. So when Another Coral appeared at Cheltenham, what did David do? He stopped the Cheltenham band from playing!
“I admired David’s passion to get things just right. His love for Waterloo Boy was immense. Boy was buried at Jackdaws, I went along to see the grave and all I could see was him running up the gallops. Such a wicked shame he had died so soon in retirement. He had been kicked by another horse and broke his leg.”
Both horses ran terrific races at Cheltenham in 1991, with Another Coral first up in the last race on the opening day of the meeting, which had already seen Morley Street crowned as Champion Hurdler.
Another Coral took part in the Grand Annual Handicap Chase over 2 miles, racing again 11 rivals. In the event he ran a fine race, finishing 7 ½ lengths third to Aldino and Star’s Delight.
On the Wednesday, Waterloo Boy took his chance in the Queen Mother Champion Chase again. This time around he was made even money favourite, but old rivals Katabatic and Young Snugfit were back and the beautiful grey Irish horse Blitzkrieg was also highly regarded.
Blitzkrieg set the pace over the early fences with Waterloo Boy prominent, racing alongside Young Snugfit but the latter then went on to join Blitzkrieg in cutting out the pace. At the top of the hill Blitzkrieg still led from Young Snugfit and Waterloo Boy, with Katabatic creeping closer up the inside.
Racing to the second last fence, Waterloo Boy travelled strongly down the outside to join issue with the grey in front who quickly dropped away, leaving Young Snugfit bang in contention. Out wider Nos Na Gaoithe came into the reckoning, while on the inside Simon McNeil and Katabatic continued to patiently bide their time.
Turning into the home straight, Waterloo Boy held a slender advantage from Young Snugfit but Richard Dunwoody was asking for more effort. As the two horses approached the final fence, McNeill produced Katabatic between the pair with a beautifully timed run and Katabatic’s momentum upon landing took him into the lead, with Waterloo Boy sticking resolutely to his task as Young Snugfit cried enough. As brave as Waterloo Boy was, he simply could not match the effort of Katabatic, who had saved ground and energy all the way round and stormed up the hill – however it was still a noble effort.
Two placed efforts was not a bad return at all for the two Deeley horses who both came out of Cheltenham in good heart and were given the go-ahead to compete at the valuable Aintree Grand National meeting.
Another Coral once again was the first to run but took a fall in a race won by Guiburn’s Nephew. Waterloo Boy meanwhile, took part in a dream of a race which featured the likes of Katabatic, Blazing Walker, Barnbrook Again and Sabin Du Loir – all taking part in the Glenlivet Melling Chase over 2 ½ miles.
This was the day when Blazing Walker truly came of age. This prolific winner was still only a 7 year old and injury had meant he missed the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He truly showed his class and potential on this day however, defeating Katabatic by 10 lengths, with Waterloo Boy a further 2 ½ lengths back, but in front of old adversaries Sabin Du Loir and Barnbrook Again.
Another Coral was not long on the sidelines and was back in action at Ascot just six days after his spill. However that Aintree fall seemed to have knocked the confidence of this horse who was often on edge – and the result was another fall in the Peregrine Handicap Chase. That was enough for his season and he was sent away for his summer holidays.
Meanwhile Waterloo Boy also had one run left in the 1990/91 campaign, returning to Cheltenham for the valuable South Wales Showers Caradon Mira Silver Trophy Chase. At the end of a long season, Waterloo Boy ran an absolute cracker of a race to finish a head second to Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Norton’s Coin – despite conceding 3 pounds in weight! Boy also had 6 lengths to spare over that grand campaigner Pegwell Bay, with Aston Express well beaten. In many ways it was a fitting end to a frustrating season for Waterloo Boy, packed with top class races and near misses like the Tingle Creek, Champion Chase and now his defeat to Norton’s Coin.
Both horses rested up over the summer, in preparation for what would become a truly memorable 1991/92 season.
Another Coral was the first to run, taking part in the Standard Life Handicap Chase over 2 miles 5 furlongs at Cheltenham in mid-October. He ran a super race to finish 4 lengths second to that wily veteran Clever Folly, a performance that would have blown away the cobwebs of those lazy summer weeks.
Waterloo Boy made his return back at Exeter for the Plymouth Gin Haldon Gold Cup, where once again he took on plenty of old foes. Once again it was Sabin Du Loir, now a gallant 12 year old, who proved the master around the Exeter circuit, beating Waterloo Boy by 6 lengths, with Beech Road fully 10 lengths further back and Young Snugfit most disappointing. It was a fine first run of the season and both horses were back with great promise.
Just 4 days after Waterloo Boy’s run, came the first really big test of the jumps season as Another Coral was one of 15 horses for the prestigious Mackeson Gold Cup over 2 ¼ miles of Cheltenham and 14 fences.
Former winner Pegwell Bay headed the weights and off just 10 stone 1 pound, Another Coral looked to have a very competitive weight and started third favourite behind Major Match and Anti Matter.
Cuddy Dale and Toranfield were the first two to rise over the first fence, with Guiburn’s Nephew towards the inside and Hogmanay also prominent, with Another Coral on the leaders’ heels in about sixth place.
Cuddy Dale and Toranfield continued to take the field along with Sword Beach as the field turned into the home straight on the first occasion. After jumping the first in the straight something went amiss with Hogmanay who was pulled up and would miss the next year of action.
As the rest of the field went out into the country for the final circuit, Toranfield had been joined up front by old Pegwell Bay, with Sword Beach, Guiburn’s Nephew and Ida’s Delight next, closely followed by Another Coral, who was receiving a quiet ride towards the inside by Richard Dunwoody.
The tempo appeared to quicken racing along the back side as Toranfield jumped for fun, just ahead of Pegwell Bay and Guiburn’s Nephew, this trio a small margin ahead of Another Coral who had plenty of space and was enjoying himself. Towards the back New Halen and early leader Cuddy Dale were beginning to make mistakes and struggle.
At the final ditch, at the top of the hill, Toranfield leapt well and led from Pegwell Bay, but Guiburn’s Nephew dived at the fence taking a crashing fall and nearly colliding with Another Coral who skipped out of the way just in time – Bev White’s pole training was seen to great effect.
Swinging downhill Toranfield led from Pegwell Bay with Cashew King looking a danger and Another Coral still in contact despite just avoiding the stricken horse. Toranfield off a light weight was certainly not stopping under young Adrian Maguire but Another Coral and Dunwoody started to quietly move into contention, taking much closer order and moving into second place just a few strides after the third from home.
Racing to the tricky second last fence Toranfield still led but now Another Coral looked to be travelling the stronger of the two, while Anti Matter had also come into the reckoning down the outside. Further back Pegwell Bay and Cashew King had run mighty races but were beginning to struggle.
The three principles all jumped the second last fence well and rounding the home turn Another Coral poked his nose in front of Toranfield for the first time and had yet to be asked a serious question by Dunwoody, while Toranfield was now under pressure.
Racing to the last fence the pair drew away from Anti Matter and Another Coral, given a couple of cracks by his jockey, had asserted. Both horses measured the final fence with precision and Another Coral began the long lung-bursting run up the hill to the winning post. But Toranfield was not yet through and gamely fought back on the inside, the pair racing wide apart. There was little to separate them and neither horse would give way and they raced past the post in full flow, with Another Coral getting the verdict by ½ a length, giving his Irish rival 6 pounds in weight. It was a further 15 lengths back to Sword Beach in third place.
This was a truly magnificent result and Coral’s fourth victory at Cheltenham. For a horse with such a nervous disposition everything had gone right in front of one of the biggest crowds he would face.
Three weeks later Waterloo Boy was back in big race action, attempting to make it an even more memorable start to the season for Michael Deeley in the Mitsubishi Shogun Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park. At this stage of his career, the 8 year old, his Arkle Chase aside, had been something of a nearly horse in the truly big contests.
He faced 5 rivals, with Barnbrook Again the former dual champion shouldering 12 stone and Waterloo Boy next in the weights with 11 stone 13 pounds, giving weight away to Young Snugfit (11 stone 8), Moment Of Truth, Campsea-Ash and Cashew King.
Young Snugfit set off in front of Waterloo Boy and Campsea-Ash and that was the order, with old Barnbrook Again in last place as the field set out with a circuit to race.
Before the Railway Fences Barnbrook Again was pulled up, while Cashew King and Moment Of Truth began to feel the pinch. Up front Young Snugfit, sporting blinkers, was jumping beautifully and was pursued by Waterloo Boy and Campsea-Ash as the runners headed to the Pond Fence, where Waterloo Boy joined Young Snugfit.
Turning into the home straight the pair jumped and landed together, but Young Snugfit pecked slightly and that gave the advantage narrowly to Waterloo Boy. Racing to the last fence Dunwoody gave Waterloo Boy a couple of cracks and the horse responded, going into a lead of a couple of lengths and soaring over the last fence with plenty of room to spare.
Young Snugfit tried gamely to battle back but drifted over to the far rail, losing ground in so-doing, while Waterloo Boy plotted a far straighter course to the winning line, beating his old rival by ¾ of a length to land one of the really big and prestigious 2 mile chase prizes of the season. It had been a momentous November for Michael Deeley, David Nicholson and Richard Dunwoody. But for Waterloo Boy, this was just the start of another purple patch.
Another Coral meanwhile was readied for his next outing at Cheltenham’s pre-Christmas meeting, where he would attempt the tricky task of adding the AF Budge Gold Cup (formerly known as the Massey Ferguson Gold Cup) to his Mackeson crown.
On this occasion he bumped into a fast-improving, powerful rival in King’s Fountain who had impressively won the H & T Walker Gold Cup by 15 lengths from Far Senior a week after Another Coral’s Mackeson triumph.
Toranfield and Ida’s Delight were back in opposition, along with an improving young chaser from up and coming trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies, called Tipping Tim.
Toranfield and Tipping Tim took the closely bunched field along but the giant King’s Fountain went on as the runners headed out for their final circuit. Another Coral raced quietly on the inside once again and took closer order as the runners headed down the back straight, where Cashew King was an early faller.
At the top of the hill, Luberjack had been pulled up after a bad mistake, Ida’s Delight had dropped way and a bad mistake had put paid to Tipping Tim’s chances. That left King’s Fountain still bowling along in front of Toranfield and Another Coral, with Nos Na Gaoithe still in touch.
Turning for home King’s Fountain was still full of running and powered around the home turn, clear from the two Mackeson Gold Cup rivals but Another Coral began to make ground on the leader racing to the second last fence in the home straight.
Both horses jumped the final two fences well but try as he might, Another Coral could not get on terms with King’s Fountain who poured it on after the last to record a really impressive victory. It had been a terrific effort by Coral back in second and he finished clear of Ida’s Delight and Toranfield.
The busy Christmas period saw both of Michael Deeley’s stars in action again, with Waterloo Boy heading north to Wetherby again for the Castleford Chase and Another Coral returning to Cheltenham on New Year’s Eve.
Waterloo Boy was up first on December 27th and put in a sparkling display to beat Last O’ The Bunch by 7 lengths, with Cashew King and Greenheart well beaten off. At this point Waterloo Boy truly was a horse at the peak of his powers.
On December 31st Another Coral took part in another competitive handicap at Cheltenham, shouldering 11 stone 10 pounds and finishing 7 ¾ lengths third to Nodform (who was carrying 10 stone 12 pounds) and Wigtown Bay (10 stone). It was still a highly respectable effort and Another Coral had that fine chaser New Halen behind him. Weight can stop any horse in a race.
1992 duly arrived and was not very many days old when Waterloo Boy reappeared, looking to complete a hat-trick of wins by landing the Victory Chandler Handicap Chase – a race with a short, but illustrious history.
The Tingle Creek winner had to carry 11 stone 10 pounds – conceding 8 pounds to his old foe Young Snugfit, with Sure Metal, Cashew King and Good For A Laugh completing the line-up at Ascot.
Young Snugfit was away quickly from Sure Metal and Waterloo Boy and the front pair took no prisoners, setting a quick pace and opening up a big lead from Waterloo Boy as the field raced out with a circuit to go.
As the field jumped the water, with about a mile to race, Sure Metal’s run had petered out and Young Snugfit’s advantage was greatly reduced, with Waterloo Boy and the Irish challenger Good For A Laugh taking closer order. Cashew King had made a bad early mistake and was tailed off.
At the third last fence, Young Snugfit still led but was beginning to feel the pressure and blundered, letting Waterloo Boy move up on his inside. Good For A Laugh was now under pressure despite receiving lumps of weight and the two rivals settled down for yet another battle.
Turning for home Young Snugfit held a narrow lead while Dunwoody had switched Waterloo Boy to his outside and was still travelling well. Both horses jumped the second last well, but further back Good For A Laugh fell. On the Flat between the last two fences, Young Snugfit found more reserves and again they jumped the last fence as one. On the run-in however, Waterloo Boy found extra to surge on with ½ a furlong to race, running on with plenty of class to defy his top weight and beat Young Snugfit by 2 lengths, with a distance back to Sure Metal in third.
Both Another Coral and Waterloo Boy then headed to Newbury on February 8th, in a bid to repeat their Bangor double of a few years earlier.
Another Coral once again found himself up against that venerable warrior Pegwell Bay in a competitive race for the 2 ½ mile Harwell Handicap Chase. However the lightly-weighted Laundryman cleaned up here from Western Counties, with Coral 7 ¾ lengths back in fourth, just behind Pegwell Bay.
Waterloo Boy meanwhile, ran in one of the day’s big contests, the Game Spirit Chase, where he shared top weight of 11 stone 10 pounds with the exciting young chaser of Jimmy FitzGerald’s, Uncle Ernie. Also in the field were the head-strong My Young Man and the remarkable Master Rajh, who had won his last 8 races. The useful Irish horse Redundant Pal was there and Campsea-Ash was back for another battle with a Deeley horse!
My Young Man set off with his customary exuberance, with Waterloo Boy several lengths back in third ahead of Uncle Ernie. The order continued pretty much unchanged but as the field headed to the Cross-fence, with five to jump, My Young Man’s lead had been whittled down by Waterloo Boy and Redundant Pal.
At the first fence in the straight, Waterloo Boy touched down just in front as y Young Man brushed through the top and surrendered his long-time lead. In behind Uncle Ernie was still travelling strongly under a patient ride, while Redundant Pal was not out of the contest.
Racing between the final two fences, Richard Dunwoody got busier on Waterloo Boy, maintaining his advantage from the still patiently ridden Uncle Ernie but a great leap at the last saw Waterloo Boy find plenty of momentum on the run-in to run away from his challenger with a touch of real class on the Flat.
In the end the winning margin was 4 lengths, with Master Rajh running on late for third place ahead of the game My Young Man. Waterloo Boy for the second time in his career had completed a four-timer and all roads now led back to the Queen Mother Champion Chase and a third attempt at the two mile crown.
Both Deeley horses were set to run on March 11th, 1992 at Cheltenham, where Waterloo Boy was first up in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Despite his magnificent record in the season, he faced a formidable rival in the shape of Nicky Henderson’s Remittance Man, a small horse who had, like Boy, won the Arkle Trophy – and had in fact won 8 of his 9 chases to that point, only disappointing when third over the 3 miles of the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day. Remittance Man had also won at Newbury on the day of the Game Spirit Chase and it was he who started favourite over Waterloo Boy, former champion Katabatic, Master Rajh, Redundant Pal and Star’s Delight.
The grey Star’s Delight went straight to the front as the tapes rose, followed by Waterloo Boy over the first fence. The sextet jumped soundly throughout and racing to the final ditch, Star’s Delight still led from Waterloo Boy and Remittance Man.
Racing down the hill, the three leaders jumped the third last fence virtually together, with Star’s Delight brushing the top and then dropping back and leaving Waterloo Boy narrowly in front from Remittance Man. The pair matched strides and jumped the second last and landed in unison, chased hard by defending champion Katabatic.
Rounding the home turn and racing to the final fence there was little between the front two but Remittance Man inched into a slight lead as the two horses jumped the last perfectly but it was little Remittance Man who scooted up the hill best of all, with Waterloo Boy fading and Katabatic giving brave chase but unable to catch the young star. Waterloo Boy’s runs of wins had been ended but he had put in a fantastic performance until the final furlong.
Later on that afternoon Another Coral had to carry 11 stone 7 pounds in the 19 runner Mildmay Of Fleete Challenge Cup and eventually finished 22 lengths seventh to Elfast. That was Coral finished for the season but he ended it as a Mackeson Gold Cup winner.
Waterloo Boy meanwhile, went back to Cheltenham in mid-April for a second tilt at the South Wales Showers Silver Trophy Chase, where he had to give weight to Katabatic and Gold Cup winner Norton’s Coin, as well as the very capable Golden Freeze. At the end of a long tiring season, losing by 8 lengths to Katabatic who was in receipt of 3 pounds, was no disgrace for Waterloo Boy, who like Another Coral, had enjoyed a brilliant season, winning most notably the Tingle Creek Chase, Victor Chandler Chase and Game Spirit Chase.
The following October, Another Coral was back in action at Prestbury Park, running 7 lengths second to the rising force that was Tipping Tim, who was receiving 9 pounds from David Nicholson’s charge in the Standard Life Handicap Chase. It was a fine warm-up for the Mackeson Gold Cup for both horses.
Waterloo Boy meanwhile, headed back to the south-west for a third tilt at the Plymouth Gin Haldon Gold Cup, where Katabatic and Golden Freeze were back in opposition, along with the fit again Hogmanay and Setter Country.
In glorious early November sunshine, Waterloo Boy set off in front of Katabatic, before Golden Freeze, who had disputed the running with Carvill’s Hill in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March, pressed on.
Golden Freeze led for much of the final circuit but a succession of spectacular leaps from Waterloo Boy saw him take up the running at the second last ditch, the pair a few lengths clear of Katabatic, with Hogmanay and Setter Country struggling to go the pace.
Turning for home Golden Freeze had gone on again but was joined by Waterloo Boy and by the third last, another brilliant jump had given Boy a lead of 2-3 lengths from Katabatic, with Golden Freeze now under pressure. However Waterloo Boy was far from fluent at the second last fence although his momentum kept him going and Katabatic was making heavy weather of breaching the gap.
At the last fence Waterloo Boy was much better and galloped out to the line a smooth winner from Katabatic and Golden Freeze. It was very much a case of third time lucky at the Exeter Chase and again set Waterloo Boy up for an exciting season.
As had happened in 1991, a few days after Exeter, Another Coral headed to Cheltenham for the 33rd Mackeson Gold Cup. In a classy renewal with 16 horses, King’s Fountain – who had been travelling well when unseating in the Gold Cup, carried top weight ahead of the Irish challenger General Idea. Tipping Tim looked on a handy weight on 10 stone 10 pounds, carrying 2 pounds more than Another Coral. Toranfield was also back along with Beech Road and Golden Freeze, while Edberg attracted plenty of market support.
As the tapes went up on a drizzly afternoon, the almost white horse Howe Street was instantly recognisable in front with Milford Quay and Sirrah Jay, as the field streamed over the first fence. As the field sorted themselves out, Another Coral and Richard Dunwoody held their usual inside position, tracking the leaders in fourth place.
Howe Street and Sirrah Jay continued to set a fast pace but as the field raced down the home straight on the first circuit, Brandeston rushed up to take the lead. Racing out into the country Howe Street and Brandeston opened up quite a lead with Golden Freeze in third ahead of King’s Fountain. Milford Quay was a faller early down the back straight but by the time the field had got to the first ditch, the two leaders were coming back to the field. Howe Street belted the ditch and gave his rider no chance of staying in-tact, which left Brandeston in a narrow lead from a swathe of horses, with Another Coral very much in touch in about sixth place.
At the final ditch Brandeston still led from General Idea but King’s Fountain, travelling strongly at the time, never took off, taking a heavy fall and for the second year running at that fence, Another Coral’s pole training stood him in good stead as he skipped over the strewn horse in front of him. Even so, this action hampered Another Coral at an important moment in the race. In behind, Tipping Tim and Carl Llewellyn also had to take evasive action.
Brandeston meanwhile made the best of his way down the Cheltenham hill, chased by General Idea, with Tipping Tim rushed up into third place ahead of Another Coral who was being re-gathered by Richard Dunwoody.
At the third last fence Tipping Tim had switched to the outside and disputed the lead with Brandeston and General Idea, with Another Coral and Beech Road in close order as the crowd roared what promised to be a terrific finale. In behind Toranfield had run well but was unable to go with the leaders.
At the second last fence, the loose grey Howe Street led Tipping Tim over ahead of Brandeston but still Another Coral was a danger as the crowd gave another road. Tipping Tim raced around the final bend with Another Coral in hot pursuit in the rain and mud. However Tipping Tim opened up a lead on the Flat and jumped the last well and bravely battled up the as Another Coral hit the wall on ever-softening ground. In the end Tipping Tim won by 7 lengths – as he had done a month earlier, with Another Coral showing plenty of guts to just hold Beech Road for second place in a gruelling race.
It had been a brave effort to win back-to-back Mackesons and far from bottoming Another Coral, the race seemed to bring him on, for what would prove his optimum season.
Waterloo Boy meanwhile was also enjoying a terrific time of things. Having finally cracked the Haldon Gold Cup, he travelled to Sandown Park bidding for a second successive Mitsubishi Shogun Tingle Creek Chase on December 5th, 1992.
For once there was a relatively different list of challengers, with Young Snugfit an absentee. Uncle Ernie was there however, along with an exciting young chaser from Josh Gifford’s stable called Deep Sensation. Edberg and Mr Felix completed the line-up for a race run on soft ground.
The outsider Mr Felix bowled along in front over the first few fences, with Waterloo Boy, the streetwise, battle hardened, top class chaser in his prime, settled in second place ahead of Edberg.
With three fences jumped Waterloo Boy went on and gave an exhibition of jumping along the back straight and over the railway fences. Belying his odds, Mr Felix was running out of his skin while Uncle Ernie had edged closer as the quintet raced towards the third last fence, the Pond Fence.
Over the third last Waterloo Boy was very much the hare, as the young pretenders Uncle Ernie and Deep Sensation kept close order, the trio moving further and further away from the now toiling Mr Felix and Edberg.
At the second last fence it was all to play for up front but rounding the home turn Waterloo Boy showed his class, quickening up again to move a couple of lengths clear and again jumping with pin point accuracy. Again he quickened on the Flat and racing to the last fence had Uncle Ernie under pressure, while Deep Sensation had failed to pick up.
Waterloo Boy cleared the final fence and set up that Sandown Park hill, but the race was not yet over as Deep Sensation’s stamina began to come into play and the lead was cut back. However Waterloo Boy was not for catching and dug deep as always, showing great guts to hold on after a magnificent front-running performance.
Just how great a performance Waterloo Boy had given can be measured by the fact that on the day, he was conceding 1 ½ stone to Deep Sensation, who just over three months later won the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Arguably this was the single greatest victory of Waterloo Boy’s stellar career.
One week later, Another Coral was back at Cheltenham for the newly-created Tripleprint Gold Cup Handicap Chase – the race he had finished second to King’s Fountain in 12 months earlier.
Once again Tipping Tim was in opposition but this time around the weights were very much in favour of Coral, who was receiving 10 pounds from his old rival. It proved a decisive factor as Another Coral put in another of his best efforts, giving 4 pounds and a 5 length beating to the young Irish horse Second Schedule, with Tipping Tim a further 3 lengths back in third.
Another Coral had now won a Mackeson and Tripleprint Gold Cup – not a bad haul for a horse with his fair share of quirks and a disliking for big crowds.
As per usual, Waterloo Boy spent his Christmas being prepared for the journey to Yorkshire for the Castleford Chase – this time he was bidding to complete the hat-trick of victories in this fine Wetherby race. However, he met a Katabatic back to his very best form and eventually finished 10 lengths behind the former champion, with Boro Smackeroo 3 ½ lengths back in third.
Another Coral headed to Newbury on January 2nd, 1993, for the intriguing Hungerford Handicap Chase over 2 ½ miles. At this stage both Boy and Coral and just celebrated their tenth birthdays, while the remarkable Sabin Du Loir, carrying 12 stone in this race, had just turned 14!
Carrying 11 stone 7 pounds was still no small task for Another Coral but he was a horse in the prime of his life, beating Very Very Ordinary by 1 ½ lengths, despite conceding lumps of weight. Very Very Ordinary had been touted as a possible Gold Cup contender. Sabin Du Loir was beaten a long way but still finished third. The question now was where next for Another Coral? His handicap mark was becoming an issue after his Cheltenham wins and Newbury performance.
David Nicholson’s solution was to have a try at a Gold Cup trial and the Timeform Hall Of Fame Chase over 3 miles 1 ½ furlongs was selected as the race to really test the mettle of Another Coral. Hindsight is a wonderful things and looking back at this field, Another Coral took on two Cheltenham Gold Cup winners in Garrison Savannah and Cool Ground and two Grand National winners in Party Politics and Miinehoma. Off level weights, he beat the lot, but was just denied victory by ¾ of a length by the Hennessy Gold Cup winner Sibton Abbey.
It was a superb effort by Another Coral, one that stamped him a worthy Gold Cup contender and one who ought to stay the Gold Cup trip. He truly had come of age.
However fate was about to play its fickle hand and on the morning of the race, Another Coral was discovered to have heat in a leg, causing him not only to miss the Gold Cup, but the rest of the season. Newbury proved to be the final victory of Another Coral’s career although in February 1994, he ran a fine race to finish 2 lengths second to the exciting but sadly ill-fated See More Indians in the Jim Ford Challenge Cup at Wincanton.
Eventually Another Coral tried his hand at hunter chases but didn’t really take to it and on May 1st, 1996, the 13 year old had his 49th and final start under rules, pulling up, fittingly at his beloved Cheltenham.
After disappointing in the 1992 Castleford Chase, Waterloo Boy again locked horns with Katabatic in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury in February 1993. Also in the field was another old adversary in Young Snugfit as well as Feroda, while the field was completed by Martin Pipe’s exciting young chaser Cyphrate.
On a murky afternoon, Waterloo Boy took the field along from the outset, chased by Katabatic who was conceding 3 pounds this time. At the Cross Fence, Waterloo Boy put in a fantastic leap with his ears pricked and rounded the home turn still full of running. At the final ditch Katabatic and Cyphrate got closer but Young Snugfit blundered and unshipped his jockey.
As the young horse tired, Katabatic put in a tremendous challenge and the two old-timers battled over the last fence and up the run-in, with Richard Dunwoody and Waterloo Boy simply refusing to be headed and going on to record another brave, brave victory by a length. That was one of the great traits of Waterloo Boy and one of the reasons he was such a much-loved horse in the public domain. He wore his heart on his sleeve and so many of his wins were achieved the hard way. Nobody could ever say that he shirked the issue.
However Waterloo Boy and Katabatic were now considered among the elder statesmen of the upper echelons of two mile chasers and Cheltenham 1993 ushered in the next generation as Deep Sensation beat Cyphrate and Katabatic on good to firm ground, with Waterloo Boy uncharacteristically out of the money in sixth place.
Aintree 1993 is remembered of course for all of the wrong reasons after the false start fiasco of the Grand National. It was also a meeting to forget for Boy as he pulled up in the Melling Chase. Somehow Aintree never quite seemed to gel for him.
With Another Coral still convalescing, Waterloo Boy once again made his seasonal bow in the Plymouth Gin Haldon Gold Cup as the old man of a field of five. Once again he disappointed and was pulled up, as the youngster Travado routed Champion Chaser Deep Sensation by 20 lengths.
Waterloo Boy then went back to Sandown Park for an vintage renewal of the Tingle Creek and he gave several years to all of his six rivals, who included Travado, Deep Sensation, Cyphrate, Storm Alert and Sybillin, with Valiant Boy completing the line-up. Incredibly, Waterloo Boy started as fifth favourite, at double figure odds – something that had not happened since his Arkle Trophy victory of 1989!
Storm Alert and Deep Sensation led over the first fence with Waterloo Boy in close contention. As the field went out with a circuit to race, at the third fence the front three were virtually in a line, a couple of lengths clear of Travado. Here Storm Alert pecked badly on landing however.
It did not take long for Waterloo Boy to move on into the lead from Storm Alert and Deep Sensation as the field basked in glorious December sunshine. Boy continued to gallop along in front, clearing the water jump and revelling in his front-running role, with his ears pricked. However, over the Railway Fences, his timing was slightly off and he was a little awkward over all three obstacles. Valiant Boy and Cyphrate had also made mistakes and had dropped back – and racing out of the back straight Deep Sensation pressed on ahead of Boy as they raced towards the Pond Fence, but in behind Sybillin was starting to make eye catching progress from the back of the field.
Waterloo Boy forced his way back in front at the third last fence but on the turn for home was passed by Deep Sensation and Sybillin, still travelling sweetly. The two younger horses went on at the second last and settled down for a battle royal as they made their way to the final fence. In behind Waterloo Boy plugged on, unable to bridge the gap but bravely sticking to his task.
At the last fence Deep Sensation held a narrow lead and halfway up the run-in extended his advantage. But then, as so many times in the past, the Sandown Park hill took its toll and gravity brought Deep Sensation back to Sybillin who forged on to a famous win. Just 4 lengths back in third came Waterloo Boy, running yet another courageous and genuine race – and beating the exciting young chaser Travado by 3 ½ lengths.
Bad winter weather in January 1994 saw the Victor Chandler Chase move to Warwick and Waterloo Boy had to concede a stone and more to 3 rivals. Among those was the next generation of 2 mile chaser from Jackdaws Castle and Richard Dunwoody swapped Boy for the ride on 7 year old Viking Flagship.
From a winning perspective it was the right move as the youngster continued his education with a 2 length defeat of Egypt Mill Prince, with Waterloo Boy a long way last. Viking Flagship of course in time would become a two-time Champion Chase winner.
A fortnight later Waterloo Boy returned to Cheltenham one last time, to compete in the Lobb Partnership Hall Of Fame Handicap Chase over 2 miles and 5 furlongs. Shouldering 12 stone, the 11 year old had to give weight to the likes of Southern Minstrel, Ryde Again, Romany King and former Gold Cup runner-up Toby Tobias.
Southern Minstrel lead Wide Boy and Waterloo Boy over the early fences – remember Southern Minstrel and Boy had met in that memorable Arkle Trophy some 5 years earlier!
The order remained the same as the runners raced down the back straight, with Toby Tobias getting closer in fourth.
Racing downhill for the final time, Southern Minstrel still led but Waterloo Boy was now travelling strongly and poised to challenge in second place but with Ryde Again looking a threat towards the outside.
As the field turned for home Southern Minstrel led from Waterloo Boy still travelling well, while Richville had made a move into third place. Waterloo Boy’s two rivals were receiving 26 pounds and 2 stones in weight respectively.
Waterloo Boy narrowly led over the second last fence but was then marginally headed by his two rivals to his inner. But as always, Waterloo Boy’s gameness and resolution would not let him concede and he fought back to lead at the last before sticking his head out to grittily hold Richville by a head for an emotional win.
There was time for one more race as Waterloo Boy took on other old-timers in the Racing In Wessex Chase at Wincanton in February. The former Gold Cup winner Garrison Savannah came back to form on this day, defeating Ryde Again by 3 lengths, with Waterloo Boy an honourable 5 lengths further back in third. Again he had given weight to all of his rivals.
That proved to be Waterloo Boy’s final race as he was retired.
“We just felt that he had done enough,” Michal Deeley recalls. Of course Another Coral raced on for a couple more years but the two horses had very different retirements.
For Bev White, there was the angst and pride of watching her two boys enjoy such terrific careers:
“When my boys raced I was out of the scene as such, but I was always aware of their progress. I had to leave horses because of a back problem but I kept up with my boys’ careers.
“When Coral won the Mackeson I was living in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. Mike sent me a cheque for £100 and a note to ask if I had seen the Mackeson that year. Oh yes! I followed my boys! I was so proud of them both in racing and out of training.
“I was in fact working when Coral won the Mackeson; but we had the radio on in the office, I could not move or speak. All my office mates were shouting “Come on! Come on Coral!” – and when he won I burst into tears I was so happy for him. Oh gosh, such good times!
“Coral’s retirement was exciting in one respect as he went to Jockey School to help up and coming jockeys. He was a very naughty horse and dumped loads of people – but it makes me laugh to think back because I never ever got dumped by him! Yes he was lively – but he never tried to get me off. We connected from an early age.”
Sadly Waterloo Boy never got the long retirement he so deserved and that his connections craved for him. He stayed with David Nicholson’s string as a hack and was very happy but sadly one day was kicked by another horse and broke a leg. His connections were utterly devastated.
“When Boy died I was in total shock,” White recalls. “I so wanted to show jump him because I know he would have excelled. I know if I had been able to give both boys a new career they would have been mine to do so. But Coral is good to this day and Boy is looking down on us.
“I have been so lucky to have been involved in the Deeley Empire and to witness David Nicholson’s talents as a trainer. I now follow Alan King who was David’s right hand man and I wish him all the best.
“Mike Deeley has just been the most wonderful owner. I hold him high in respect and the way he has looked after Coral. He is a credit to racing and his love for his horses. Just amazing!!
Upon meeting the magnificent 31 year old Another Coral in his field, I was immediately struck by the sense of humility. The old boy came straight to us when called, patiently waiting for his bucket of feed.
He still takes a little time to feel comfortable with a stranger and was a little shy of me at first, until the mints came out!
“We have Coral and through all his misdemeanours he is 31 and looking good. The old bugger tried to kick me the other week – he had a cob on! He will never change.
“Coral now resides at Launton through the summer months where I go to play with him,” says Bev White. “He has a network of friends looking after him and I am proud to be one of them. The main person though is Mike; he is a credit to the profession.
“He has been in racing for years and his sisters and brothers have also had horses that have stayed with me. At the end of the day I was a girl with so much love for horses and I had to help them in their time of need. Whatever they need I was always there 24-7 and I even slept with them to calm them down and also laughed and played with them. It is all for the making of a good horse, to be loved and brought up in love and they all loved it.”
A couple of years back Another Coral did give everyone a major scare as Deeley remembers vividly: “He did collapse two years ago on Christmas day and the girl looking after him rang the vet to call the last rites but when she walked out he just got up and walked away!
“We try to feed him twice a day and he’s got to the age now where he either puts a lot of weight on or takes a lot off. He is fine now and is a very happy horse.”
Looking back, Deeley has great pride in the horses he has owned and can reflect upon many big race triumphs: “They are all a pleasure really aren’t they? At that level it was tremendous really! The funny thing is that I expected to win every day race!”
“Waterloo Boy ran 38 times over fences and was in the winners’ enclosure on 32 occasions. At Exeter they even named one of the bars after him!”
Aside from Leney Dual, Waterloo Boy and Another Coral, Deeley was lucky to be involved with top class staying hurdler Hebridean, winner of the Long Walk Hurdle. Like Another Coral, he went to the British School of Racing after his racing career had finished, where Deeley says they regarded him as the fastest horse they had ever had.
Circus Star was another very smart horse Deeley was involved with through partnership, finishing second to Commanche Court in the 1997 Triumph Hurdle, while Shining Light won 7 races.
“Having a horse with David was brilliant really because he made it all so exciting. He had some jolly good horses there but it was always a big fun day there.”
“I found him easy to get on with. He was totally in charge. He was a very shy man and overcame it by being just the opposite. I remember taking the father in law around there was and he was treated just like a saint.”
“A friend sent his boy to David’s yard and he reckoned he learned mere there in four weeks than he had in four years of school He had to have a haircut the next day!”
Richard Dunwoody of course rode Boy and Coral to many of their successes in a long and fruitful partnership with David Nicholson. He was Champion Jockey three times and rode 1,699 winners in Britain. Nowadays he is a charity worker and global traveller as he leads riding holidays for an adventure company. He very kindly gave his own assessment of Another Coral and Waterloo Boy as he was travelling to Bhutan:
“They were two great horses to ride. I believe I won more races on Waterloo Boy than any other horse. I was very fond of them both.”
Our final thoughts are left to Bev White though, who worked intimately with both horses from an early age.
“In summary Another Coral was highly strung, a pain in the butt at times, but got his act together eventually. He was a problem as a 6 month old and still is in a good way! He was always his own person but he earned his respect. He also had a big heart but I feel it was on his terms. He was and still is just a complete star!
“Waterloo Boy was loving, caring and possessed a big heart. He took control and was a funny horse in many ways. He was loved by all and really wanted to be loved. He showed respect and pushed himself to the limit in racing but was relaxed at home and enjoyed being pampered! He left us way too soon.”
Certainly David Nicholson will be looking down with great pride and delight to see how strong the bond remains between his former owner and Another Coral, a fabulous link to magical days gone by.