29 October 2000

Brough Scott on how the former Gold Cup winner mercilessly galloped his rivals into the Wetherby mud

SEE MORE BUSINESS is no fair-weather friend. Good thing too, as conditions for his winning comeback at Wetherby were more suited to clippers trying to round Cape Horn and his three opponents looked like shipwreck survivors by the time Mick Fitzgerald coasted past the post a long way clear of Bobby Grant.

The 1999 Gold Cup hero was winning this Charlie Hall Memorial Chase for the second year running and was in the sort of ruthless mood which did for Looks Like Trouble last October.

Despite what seemed a good lead round the first turn, Fitzgerald soon pressed ahead. On good ground it would have made things tough. On this surface it was positively brutal.

So much so that after a circuit See More Business was already well ahead of Bobby Grant with the others having only finishing on their mind. Time was when watching See More Business was a nerve-racking occupation, no race being complete without one total “miss” at the fences. But since blinkers were fitted for that Gold Cup win he has been much more accurate. He was here. At least until the third-last.

As See More Business seemed to be too close to his fence Fitzgerald hooked him left just before take-off to give himself room. He got the room all right but See MoreBusiness dived so far left he nearly unseated Fitzgerald into the bargain.

“It looked worse than it was,” said Mick. “He’s a real professional now. If he can get into his rhythm, and the ground isn’t too fast, he’s a tremendous performer. In the Gold Cup this year things weren’t right.”

See More Business is actually only 10 years old, still a prime age for a steeplechaser. But with 23 races over six seasons, not to mention the small matter of 14 successes and now over half-a-million pounds in prize money, he has long been writ large in the memory. So too his trainer, Paul Nicholls, who was saddling his 21st winner from just 78 runners this season. This may be some way off Martin Pipe’s 83 winners so far but that is from no fewer than 323 runners. It’s a long haul to Cheltenham.

That’s when we all stand by to repel boarders from across the Irish sea. Yesterday the invasion began early with trainer Mouse Morris shipping both Boss Doyle and Puget Blue over from Tipperary to collect the two races following the Charlie Hall Chase.

Boss Doyle is only eight but like See More Business seems to have been around for ages, this being his 11th win from 27 public outings. Three years ago he was being hailed as one of the best novice chasers of his generation but things did not work out until he was moved back to the lesser demands of hurdles. It may be, in rider Charlie Swan’s cryptic words, that “he keeps a bit to himself,” but when a race rolls in his favour Boss Doyle is still a formidable opponent.

Supporters of See More Business’ stable companion Earthmover will certainly think so. He set off determinedly in the lead and had all but Boss Doyle hung out with the washing by the time he turned into the long straight. But bravely though he plugged on, and well though he overcame his faulty jumping reputation, the Irish challenger still stalked him.

At the last, Swan switched towards the rail and then had too many guns on the run-in. Swan, the long-time Irish champion, now forswears chasing rides to concentrate on his burgeoning training career so it was David Casey who steered Puget Blue to victory over Tony McCoy and Tresor de Mai.

A race later Swan resumed duties for Morris on Monifeth Manin, but this time it was he who found the mud getting deep and McCoy who coasted past on the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Minis Sensation.

All this jumping talk should not take away from brave efforts across the sapping turf of Newmarket. Most of all 18-year-old Chris Catlin, who brought Greenaway Bay through to beat 28 rivals in the Autumn Handicap. It was a career best for Catlin and the third win this month for Greenaway Bay, a perfect advert for the training skills of Karl Burke.

Before then the Flat racing circus goes international. Next Saturday we will all

be collected at Kentucky’s Churchill Downs for Breeders’ Cup XVII and the likes of Giant’s Causeway, Petrushka, Kalanisi doing duty for Team Europe. It will be a great showdown but, being Flat racing, it will, in many cases, be the last time we see them. No such early exit for See More Business.

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