Barton Bank - Racing Career

Racing Career

Barton Bank entered the 1993 Sun Alliance Chase as the favourite after betting support on the day. However, he broke a blood vessel and he had to be pulled up. The eventual winner was ante-post favourite Young Hustler.

The next season he won a classic battle with Bradbury Star for the King George crown. Back in third was The Fellow who had won the last two renewals of the race. Fourth and fifth were Young Hustler and Zeta's Lad. All five horses jumped the second last together resulting in commentator Graham Goode shouting 'Five in line - would you believe it'. Barton Bank made a mistake at the fourth last with Goode saying 'God knows how!' about him staying up and another commentator elsewhere stating 'He never looked like falling'. Barton Bank was one of the favourites for the Cheltenham Gold Cup of 1994 but he suffered an injury in the build-up and was forced to miss the race.

Barton Bank went to the 1994 King George VI Chase well supported. He looked to have the race sewn up when he approached the last fence 15 lengths clear. However, he met the fence all wrong and gave Adrian Maguire no chance of staying on him (photo of Maguire falling off him) Outsider Algan took the prize. Barton Bank's trainer David Nicholson got into trouble for hitting a photographer who was taking his picture after this had happened. Barton Bank went to run in the Pillar Chase where he was well beaten by Master Oats. He then went to run in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He was still running strongly when he hardly rose at the fifth or sixth last fence and crashed to the ground. The race was won by Master Oats. This was his third fall in four races. There has been a view that his jumping problems were caused by an old injury which meant he couldn't just pop easily over a fence. Peter Scudamore said about his King George fall 'He just does not shorten'. He then went onto the Martell Cup Chase where he was last of six runners.

The following season he ran a very poor race in the King George VI Chase (ran that year at Sandown) where he was pulled up. He then went on to another attempt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup. John McCririck stated on Channel 4's Morning Line programme that at 16/1 he was good value. Fellow pundit Ted Walsh jokingly asked whether they were omitting the open ditches on the course as these were the sort of fences the horse had problems with. In the end he was a creditable fourth but never looked like winning. He then came second in the Martell Cup Chase.

Barton Bank ran in the 1996 King George VI Chase. He was placed but due to the rare fast ground at that time of year (which some considered to be dangerously frosty) only five horses turned up. One Man retained his crown. He then came close to defeating One Man in the Pillar Chase where the latter's stamina worries came to the fore. He wasn't really considered for the Cheltenham Gold Cup although the Racing Post newspaper felt his early morning price of 66/1 was some value. This was his best effort in the race as he stayed on well to finish second behind Mr Mulligan. He then convincingly won the Martell Cup Chase at Aintree. His season ended in the Whitbread Gold Cup where somehow he managed to unseat his jockey at the water jump.

In the autumn of 1997 he ran another great race, this time in the Hennessy Gold Cup where he was second to Suny Bay (Peter O'Sullevan's last commentary). He returned for another crack at the King George VI Chase, Pillar Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup. However, he was well beaten in all three and was retired from racing.

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