Former star racehorse excels in new hunting career

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  • Finian’s Rainbow, former winner of the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham and the Melling Chase at Aintree, has found a new career in the hunting field.

    The 12-year-old, owned by Michael Buckley and trained by Nicky Henderson, is now with the Marchioness of Blandford.

    Lady Blandford said: “It’s an honour just to sit on him, let alone hunt him. He is an absolute gentleman – he’s huge, a gentle giant – and it’s very flattering to have him.”

    Finian’s Rainbow won a bumper and two hurdle races before going chasing in November 2010.

    He won his first three races over fences, including the Grade Two Kingmaker’s Chase at Warwick, before finishing second to Captain Chris in the Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival.

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    He won the Maghull Novices’ Chase at Aintree and the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton before going on to beat Sizing Europe in the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2012.

    The Melling Chase that year was his last victory, and he retired from racing with an injury in November 2013.

    “I took him showjumping to pop him over a fence before taking him hunting, and he has an unbelievable jump, as well as being very well-schooled,” added Lady Blandford.

    “He has had one day’s autumn hunting with the Heythrop so far and will go again quietly like this week.

    “We had a little trouble getting him to eat when he came, and now he has a glass of cider in his feed, night and morning, which he absolutely loves. He’s a lovely horse.”

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