Deaths draw shadow over racing

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  • The racing world suffered the tragic loss of two high-profile chasers, Behrajan and Take Control, who both suffered fatal falls in the Tote Classic Chase at Warwick on Saturday.

    Nine-year-old Behrajan, trained by Henry Daly and owned by the Behrajan Partnership, had 11 wins from 30 starts, in spite of a novice season much hampered by the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

    The gelding was not known for his speed, but there was a relentless quality about him that marked him as a true star. He narrowly missed victory in the 2001 Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, but made up for this agonising second place with a brilliant win in Ascot’s 2002 Silver Cup. His annihilation of the field in the Pillar Chase at Cheltenham was considered by many to be the highlight of his career.

    Trainer, Henry Daly said on Sunday: “The Pillar Chase was certainly one of his best moments, but he won some nice hurdle races, the only unfortunate thing was that his novice season was cut short by the foot and mouth outbreak.”

    Other great moments in Behrajan’s career include finishing an admirable fifth to Best Mate in the 2003 Cheltenham Gold Cup, as well as being one of only 10 horses to complete the 2003 Martell Grand National. The horse had been expected to be a contender in the race this year.

    The Martin Pipe-trained Take Control was renowned for his battling qualities and ran some great races, even in defeat. Winning the Scottish National under Ruby Walsh in 2002 was undoubtedly one of the proudest moments for owner David Johnson.

    David told the Racing Post: “He gave [Ruby Walsh] a great ride that day. He was such a great servant and he did not know how to run a bad race.”

    Saturday’s tragic events cast a shadow over the racing world, and were a sad reminder of the extreme passions the sport generates.

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