This was a mighty shame!

Gra­ham Bud­dry re­calls Mighty Mogul

Racing Ahead - - YESTERDAY’S HERO -

When the new Na­tional Hunt sea­son fi­nally gets into full swing own­ers and train­ers up and down the coun­try hope and dream that their horse will claim one of the Cham­pi­onship events at the Chel­tenham Fes­ti­val, hav­ing won count­less other prizes on the jour­ney to get there. Whether a novice,a classy con­tender or a sea­soned pro, the ul­ti­mate prize is to be ac­claimed as a cham­pion and have your name etched on the roll of hon­our and be re­mem­bered for all time.

For many this will be just a dis­tant dream.For a lucky few re­al­ity awaits them but for oth­ers there can be heart­break. Even worse, a cham­pion in all bar the ac­tual deed,with a name which had been on ev­ery­one’s lips, a horse peo­ple would flock to see race could be­come just a vague and dis­tant mem­ory,if even re­mem­bered at all. Such was the sad lot of Mighty Mogul. Shirley Rob­bins had long had horses of good qual­ity in train­ing, first with Jenny Pit­man in Lam­bourn and later with David Ni­chol­son in Glouces­ter­shire. Her best in­cluded Won­der Man, Bay­don Star and Sil­ver Wedge but Mighty Mogul was far bet­ter than these, a true once-in-al­ife­time horse.

Foaled on 29 March 1987,Mighty Mogul named Deep Run as his ma­ter­nal grand­sire, a stal­lion as im­por­tant to Na­tional Hunt rac­ing as North­ern Dancer was to the Flat.

Brought pa­tiently along, Mighty Mogul made his race­course de­but at Towces­ter on 19 De­cem­ber 1991 in an 18 run­ner novice hur­dle.Start­ing at a gen­er­ous 33/1 as the sta­ble sec­ond string, the geld­ing put in a ster­ling per­for­mance with the first three fin­ish­ing 30 lengths and more clear of the rest.The hot favourite, Mrs Pit­man’s other run­ner, won well enough with Mighty Mogul clearly in need of the run, less than two lengths be­hind in sec­ond place and a David Ni­chol­son-trained hur­dles debu­tant,Carobee,a sim­i­lar dis­tance back in third.

A month later and Mighty Mogul was back at the same course for an­other 18 run­ner af­fair, this time as an odds on favourite and ac­counted for the oth­ers with a facile ease.

An­other month and an­other race with the geld­ing get­ting phys­i­cally stronger each time.This was a trip to Chep­stow for the Grade 2 Per­sian War Novice Hur­dle and a meet­ing with some more se­ri­ous ri­vals. Mark Pit­man moved his mount into sec­ond at the penul­ti­mate flight, took the lead ap­proach­ing the last and drew smoothly away on land­ing to win by an un­chal­lenged four lengths from Sweet Duke and a dis­tance back to the best of the rest.

Chep­stow was again the venue for his next ap­pear­ance but Mighty Mogul didn’t get things all his own way this time, fin­ish­ing be­hind the use­ful Galaxy High.Fur­ther in front was the race favourite, Ni­chol­son’s Carobee,far im­proved since the first time they had met.

Carobee was an­other who had the world at his feet but his next race at Ain­tree, record­ing his fifth win from six starts would prove to be his last af­ter trounc­ing the likes of Halkopous and Flown. Carobee de­vel­oped end­less leg prob­lems and never saw a race­course again.

Back to Mighty Mogul though, and the Chep­stow race would prove to be not only his last of the sea­son but also his last un­der the care of Jenny Pit­man as he and the other Robins’ horses were trans­ferred to David Ni­chol­son’s care af­ter their sum­mer break.

Ni­chol­son,who had many ex­cep­tion­ally good horses al­ready, was as­tounded by the work Mighty Mogul did at home. He started the 1992-93 sea­son at Newbury and pro­duced on the track ev­ery­thing he had at Jack­daw’s Cas­tle.

Know­ing he was still well hand­i­capped Ni­chol­son sent him three weeks later back to Chep­stow for the Tote Sil­ver Tro­phy over 2½ miles.The ex­tra dis­tance proved no ob­sta­cle as Richard Dun­woody had

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