This was a mighty shame!
Graham Buddry recalls Mighty Mogul
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