Racing can be a very tough game

News today that one of the most exciting young chasers in training, Fountains Windfall died, in what was apparently a freak training accident, as he was being prepared for a race tomorrow.

Fountains Windfall, was one of the favourites for the RSA at next month’s Cheltenham Festival. He was also the flag bearer for up and coming trainer Anthony Honeyball, for whom this loss will be felt massively.

His bare form figures may not have suggested greatness, with falls in two of his last three races, but this was one of those records that didn’t tell the full story. His fall on Boxing Day at Kempton was in the G1 Kauto Star (Feltham) Novice Chase, when he looked to me as if we was about to run right away from eventual winner Black Corton only to suffer a soft fall, what some people call “not getting his landing gear out in time” down the far side.

A subsequent Kempton win in a handicap showed him as a progressive horse with a serious engine. But that promise disappeared on the gallops this morning.

It is hard to imagine the pain that an owner, a trainer and the staff who are closest to the horse must feel when these things happen. In this case even more so now, with so much to look forward to.  I guess you know it is always a possibility but you hope and pray it doesn’t happen, whether it is your horse – or any horse. Last Sunday at Leopardstown the cheer that went up when Killultagh Vic got up after his final fence fall was as loud as almost anything over the weekend.

Some say that it only happens to the good ones. I’m sure that is not true, but we only hear about the good ones. Fountains Windfall looked liked a good one. I backed him at Kempton on Boxing Day, and he would certainly have been on my shortlist for the RSA. It is terribly sad, my best wishes, for what they are worth, go to the connections. Let’s hope the owners, The Fountains Partnership, can get a good one next time and the Honeyball team bounce back with many winners in the coming days.

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