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01 Jul 13 02:17
Date Joined: 05 Apr 02
| Topic/replies: 19,933 | Blogger: themightymac's blog
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Pause Switch to Standard View Flyingbolt - The Forgotten Horse
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Report dod July 1, 2013 7:44 AM BST
I have not forgotten Flyingbolt, Arkle, or my fav horse Millhouse they are the reason i started loving horse racing as a kid.
Report pauli July 1, 2013 8:33 AM BST
I think Flyingbolt was a better horse than Arkle at his peak.  His performance in the 1966 Irish Grand National was quite simply staggering.  He was conceding 40lbs to Height O'Fashion who was a very good mare and he did it just weeks after winning the Champion Chase and finishing 3rd in the Champion Hurdle on consecutive days at the Festival.  There is no way Arkle would have done that imo.
Report dod July 1, 2013 8:48 AM BST
You will probably find Arkle fans disputing that pauli and we will never know i just loved Millhouse and was sad he was around the same time as the two superstars.
Report pauli July 1, 2013 8:56 AM BST
There is no bigger fan of Arkle than myself dod and his overall record proves him to be the greatest of all time imo.  I also loved Mill House and the three horses were a major part of that Golden Era of NH racing in the 1960's.  I just think that for a brief period in 1966 Flyingbolt was the best around.
Report salmon spray July 1, 2013 10:26 AM BST
Flyingbolt after his novice days was only at the top for one season,whereas Arkle was for 3 and a half. For that one season he was certainly very close to Arkle,who was himself at his absolute peak. Flyingbolt got brucellosis and left Dreaper's after a shock defeat the next season and made a comeback some time later for at least two GB trainers but he was nothing like the same horse,wheras Arkle was still at or very close to his best when he got injured and retired. That's two reasons why one is a legend and the other is just the second best chaser ever.  A mention of the horse that won that Champion Hurdle would be appreciated       Grin
Report pauli July 1, 2013 10:32 AM BST
I certainly think that Salmon Spray deserves a mention salmon.  He was a worthy winner in 1966.  I read somewhere that Salmon Spray ran in a novice chase in the same season that he won the Champion.  Are you able to confirm that salmon?
Report johnnywilkinson July 1, 2013 10:38 AM BST
Report salmon spray July 1, 2013 10:40 AM BST
I think he had a sequence of novice wins the season before. He got slaughtered by Flyingbolt and was switched back to hurdles by Cheltenham ( where he fell at the first but won later at Aintree ). I rather doubt he ran over fences the following season when he wouldn't have been a novice.
Report pauli July 1, 2013 10:49 AM BST
Thanks salmon.  I noticed that you finished a few lengths behind Flyingbolt in June.  Are you going to reverse the form in July?
Report ged July 1, 2013 10:51 AM BST
Flyingbolt was more precocious than Arkle. Arkle was of little consequence over hurdles, but Flyingbolt came over for the Gloucester Hurdle (now the Supreme Novices) with the reputation of being the best novice hurdler Ireland had sent over for many years. The reputation was principally based on winning the Scalp Hurdle (which morphed into the Irish Champion hurdle), where he won in a canter, beating the reigning champion hurdler in receipt of only 6lbs, being a 5yo novice having just his 3rd race over hurdles. The Gloucester Hurdle was his 4th hurdles race, he won in a canter, beating a good field, at 4/9, still the shortest price ever for a winner of the race.
Report ged July 1, 2013 10:53 AM BST
I#'d say there's little doubt he woyuld have won a champion Hurdle if he'd been kept to hurdling, but he was sent chasing after 1 season over hurdles, and when put back to them (in Salmon Spray's CH), he somewhat ballooned his hurdles (something he didn't do as a novice).
Report salmon spray July 1, 2013 10:55 AM BST
I am hoping to beat Flyingbolt again pauli one of these days.
I agree Arkle wasn't much of a hurdler ged but whether he improved for fences or whether he just improved generally we will never know as he never ran over hurdles after the age of 5.
Report ged July 1, 2013 11:01 AM BST
True - and Tom Dreaper did briefly threaten to try to win both the CH and the Gold Cup at the same festival with him, but the owner wouldn't have it. For a day or so, until the venture was rejected, the bookies offered Evens on Arkle winning the CH, and 6/4 the double.
Report salmon spray July 1, 2013 11:07 AM BST
I'd forgotten that. I remember one year there seemed to be a fairly concrete plan to run him in The Queen Alexandra Stakes ( a better class race in those days as geldings were barred from The Gold Cup ). That would have been interesting but of course that fell through as well.
Report dunlaying July 1, 2013 11:10 AM BST
No one who saw him will forget him.
Report dod July 1, 2013 11:15 AM BST
salmon spray just for the record i loved salmon spray along with kirriemuir, birds nest,night nurse etc.
Report ged July 1, 2013 11:16 AM BST
Another comparison between the 2 would be their Massey-Fergusons at Cheltenham. Flyingbolt won the '65 race by 15 lengths carrying 12-6 in the mud (2nd top weight carried 10-9). The year before, Arkle was beaten in the race carrying 12-10 - though in his defence, he had won the Hennessey 7 days previous (hence a 3lb pen), and in Buona Notte, arguably met a classier rival at a similar weight difference.
Report pauli July 1, 2013 11:16 AM BST
Very interesting thread.  I didn't know about the Queen Alexandra plan salmon.
Report salmon spray July 1, 2013 11:24 AM BST
It may have been another one Dreaper fancied but the Duchess didn't.
There's an argument that Flyingbolt was the better all-rounder,but apart from his relative longevity at the top Arkle on good ground ( he could handle mud but wasn't quite at his best on it imo ) at 3m plus was the better of the two. Just.
Report blackbarn July 1, 2013 11:27 AM BST
Someone will no doubt confirm, but I am sure the handicapper framed at least one race (the Whitbread?) with both Arkle and Flyingbolt in it.  Not sure of the year but he had them 2lbs apart at 12st and 11-10.  I think the next horse in the handicap was allotted 9st something and that horse was What a Myth!
Report dod July 1, 2013 11:30 AM BST
Seem to recall two separate handicaps for arkle don't know if it applied to flyingbolt.
Report ged July 1, 2013 11:31 AM BST
blackbarn - there was 4lb between them when the weights were published for the 1966 Irish Grand National (Arkle on top). I don't know about the Whitbread.
Report salmon spray July 1, 2013 11:32 AM BST
That would have to have been the Whitbread of 1966. I have a feeling you're right blackbarn about the weights given to the two but not sure. I am sure that Arkle was going to run but was pulled out too late to raise the weights and all the 6 or so that ran carried well under 10-0. I THINK What A Myth won with 9-9.
Report wildmanfromborneo July 1, 2013 12:43 PM BST
Pat Taaffe was a brilliant horseman but he was shocking in a finish,the ride he gave Flyingbolt in the Champion Hurdle was one of the worst rides I have ever seen,when you take into consideration Flyingbolt had won the Two Mile Champion Chase the day before he was a certainty beat.
Report elise July 1, 2013 1:05 PM BST
salmon, in ivor herberts book, he mentions the whitbred and that  arkle got 12st allocated, 11st 10lb to fbolt, handicapper was mr meredith but he produced the weights before fbolts irish national win

his view was at that point in time was; "therefore there are only ounces between the two giants", he was quoting 1/3lb difference on a line through height of fashion

long time since i've read the book, might read it again now
Report salmon spray July 1, 2013 1:12 PM BST
Yes the line was through Height of Fashion. I think it slightly favoured Flyingbolt tbh but there were questions about Arkle being fully wound up,the state of the ground etc. For me Arkle put up the best ever steeplechasing performance at Sandown that season and his long-term consistency was greater than Flyingbolt's. But as I said Flyingbolt could well be considered the better all-rounder.
Report themightymac July 1, 2013 1:19 PM BST
Would be interesting to hear from Flyingbolt himself. Crazy Where is he?
Report salmon spray July 1, 2013 1:21 PM BST
He won't appear on threads with me.
Still sulking about 1966        Wink
Report elise July 1, 2013 1:26 PM BST
yes salmon, it also says that as well (arkle not fully fit)

fairly sure somewhere in that book there's also a quote from pt that he always thought arkle would beat fbolt if they met as he had a better turn of foot at the end of a race, surprised me as i thought it would be the other way around
Report salmon spray July 1, 2013 1:38 PM BST
I think the thing about speed is probably right despite Flyingbolt proving himself at 2m. He always looked a relentless galloper. Arkle was ridden to beat Mill House for speed in the famous 1964 match-up,which he did comfortably. That was when Mill House was at his best which he wasn't after that season imo.
Report salmon spray July 1, 2013 1:45 PM BST
The other thing is that Arkle was something of a puss ycat. He was often photographed with visitors feeding him carrots etc. Flyingbolt was a very abrasive character ( which will surprise nobody who reads this forum  Wink). They daren't let the public anywhere near him. Arkle definitely had the better PR.
Report ged July 1, 2013 1:58 PM BST
elise - Flyingbolt was a front-runner. His normal gallop was enough to head most fields, and he could quicken off it. I think he made all in the Irish National, and he was up front in the Champion Hurdle, despite jumping a bit big, and making a mess of the 4th last, he led the field into the straight. Pat Taaffe considered Arkle had the better turn of foot, and he usually rode him for it - though not always, he raced up front in the Massey-Ferguson, because it was short of 3 miles and felt he needed to use the horse's stamina - and he challenged Mill House up front in the 2nd of their Hennessey meetings, and basically galloped and jumped his rival into the ground. I think he also made all in the Whitbread - there's youtube footage of much of the race, and I think he didn't really stop pulling for over a circuit, despite being in front.
Report howard July 1, 2013 2:04 PM BST
I strongly suspect  Flyingbolt was overated. It is clear he stayed all day. A long distance stamina test in the mud was what he wanted to show his best form wasn't it ? Champion chase and placed champion hurdle form sounds good but were there any sea pigeons / night nurses in the race ? A guineas derby and leger second  ( camelot ) sounds good from last year.
Report ged July 1, 2013 2:07 PM BST
Flyingbolt was by a Derby winner, and his dam had The Tetrarch as her grandsire. The impression of his win in the Scalp Hurdle (as reported by a journalist who was there) was one of "blinding speed".
Report wildmanfromborneo July 1, 2013 2:08 PM BST
I remember Flyingbolt running in England after his halcyon days and always felt this was one of the reasons Arkle was not let race after his recovery.

Flyingbolts victory in the Two Mile Champion Chase of 1965 was Sprinter Sacre like and to think he was asked to run in the Champion Hurdle the next day where to put it mildly he didnt get much assistance from the saddle,he was a great racehorse and one Tom Dreaper never eressed an opinion about whether he was the equal of Arkle.

I think the handicapper got it right when he put four pound between him although I think that was later to truncate to two pound.
Report Cork Langer July 1, 2013 2:10 PM BST
Couldn't agree that Flyingbolt was overrated. True legends of the turf Dreaper/Taaffe refused to compare him with Arkle and as stated earlier Flyingbolt did have the disease to contend with.
Report ged July 1, 2013 2:18 PM BST
Flyingbolt was by a Derby winner, and his dam had The Tetrarch as her grandsire. Arkle was jumps bred. On the day Flyingbolt ran in the Gloucester Hurdle, the journalist in the Glasgow Herald previewed the race, saying about him "Flyingbolt is headstrong, but P Taaffe is a great rider, and between them a sufficient measure of Flyingbolt's blinding speed should be conserved for what could be a testing finish indeed".

Flyingbolt won at the Cheltenham festival 3 years in a row, 3 different races, all at 2 miles.
Report ged July 1, 2013 2:19 PM BST
..sorry my previous post disappeared fom view, so I've repeated myself a bit (but did a bit more research the 2nd time!)
Report salmon spray July 1, 2013 2:51 PM BST
2 of Flyingbolt's wins were in Novices. There was no novice hurdle over further than 2m then at the festival.
Report sparrow July 1, 2013 2:59 PM BST
Did the ownership of Flyingbolt change after his illness?
I think it was terrible seeing him running in this country against sub standard opposition.
Report salmon spray July 1, 2013 3:15 PM BST
I'm not sure about the ownership but he wasn't hopeless by any means,simply nowhere near where he had been. He did finish 2nd in The King George for instance,though in those days that wasn't run at level weights and Flyingbolt was getting quite a few pounds from most of the others because he had no recent big wins.
I am sure we were less sentimental about this then though. I started following racing in 1963 and I remember noticing previous Champion Hurdle winners Merry Deal and Bandalore running in sellers. They must have been 13 and 12 at the time. I'm almost certain Merry Deal was sent novice chasing but don't remember anyone complaining.
Report blackbarn July 1, 2013 3:15 PM BST
Flyingbolt overratedAngry - returning to the Whitbread Handicap (and leaving Arkle out of the equation for a moment) Flyingbolt was given 11st 10lbs and the next (and only) horse in the Handicap on 9st 8lbs was What a myth.  Everything else in the race was given less than 9 stone. What a myth (according to Herberts book - Thanks Elise, my memory not playing tricks for once!)remember had been a heavily backed second favourite for the National under 11st 4lbs.
Report salmon spray July 1, 2013 3:17 PM BST
And won The Gold Cup at 12.
Report ebulGery July 1, 2013 3:23 PM BST
At his best he seemed very near to Arkle,
producing similar weight carrying performances

but then after his brucellosis
when he came back, he looked distinctly ordinary
he will always be something of a puzzle to meConfused
Report salmon spray July 1, 2013 3:29 PM BST
He was beaten at very short odds-on early in the 1966-7 season in a non-h'cap by two useful but not great horses,Tibidabo and Gort. At that time he was still with Dreaper and Arkle who was two years older was still running at his best. It's possible he had something wrong with him then but I don't remember anything being said at the time. I think that damaged his reputation even before his GB comeback years later.
Report ebulGery July 1, 2013 4:15 PM BST
increases the puzzle

I can only think the answer is
that for a brief spell he was one of the greats
but horses are not machines he lost it
although some say it was just training.. but that early 1966-7 defeat would  question that

yes he was 3rd to you in Champion Hurdle(looked u/l) after winning Champion Chase the previous day
amazing natural ability
something happened to him
Report ebulGery July 1, 2013 4:17 PM BST
easy to see there is no proper racing todaySad

old farts reminiscing over the pastWink
Report alun2005 July 1, 2013 4:21 PM BST
Report ebulGery July 1, 2013 4:38 PM BST
ta alun
Report salmon spray July 1, 2013 6:55 PM BST
Told you Flyingbolt was a nasty piece of work.
Report ebulGery July 1, 2013 8:11 PM BST
you was right

I wonder if he was in pain racing...they said that of Carvill's Hill

his latter deterioration is slightly that it  threatens Arkle's own form

as his form looked so close at one time....

But I cannot downgrade Arkle myself

so Flyingbolt will always be a bit of a mystery to meConfused

as indeed most racing form isSad
Report salmon spray July 1, 2013 8:18 PM BST
No. If that article is right he had brucellosis by the time he got beaten in late 66. Tibidabo and Gort were quite exposed and as far as I can remember reasonably consistent chasers. Flyingbolt ran about 3st below form. It was two years at least before he turned out again and it may be he had been weakened by illness or just that he had gone past his peak. As ged said earlier he was quite precocious.
Report themightymac July 1, 2013 8:46 PM BST
Salmon Spray - apart from yourself obviously - what other good horses carried Mrs John Rogerson`s famous silks? Pas Seul springs to mind. And did Bob Turnell train all the Rogerson horses?
Report ebulGery July 1, 2013 8:56 PM BST
one last theory

Tom Dreaper got him slightly wrong, he had fantastic natural ability,

because Tom had Arkle, he thought he had another one....

he asked far too much too soon.... he delivered but he was never the same again

not that I would ever question such a trainer

just theory
Report blackbarn July 1, 2013 9:24 PM BST
Mightymac - Pas Seul was trained by Bob Turnell but was in the ownership of Mr Rogerson I think (Dark Blue, Light Blue hooped sleeves and cap)  Mrs Rogerson's colours were as you'll remember Navy Blue, Pink and Green sash and hooped cap.

Good thread by the way.  I like these "oldie" reminiscences.
Report johnnywilkinson July 1, 2013 9:36 PM BST
Report Cork Langer July 1, 2013 9:50 PM BST
Personally I believe that but for the illness Flyingbolt incurred, he would have proved to be Arkle's equal, such is racing though, if's, but's and maybe's...!
Report johnnywilkinson July 1, 2013 9:51 PM BST
Report blackbarn July 1, 2013 10:03 PM BST
No need to shout Johnny, we are old but not deafWink.
Report ebulGery July 1, 2013 10:08 PM BST
if's, but's and maybe's...! all to true Cork

yes the simple explanation, he somehow went wrong, probably  brucellosis
they should have retired him

Personally I think if they had met I don't think he would ever have beaten Arkle
Arkle was that good.
Comparing collateral hcap form indicates otherwise, but I am not totally convinced that is right myselfConfused

still it is all opinion, it could just have been the brucillius
Report ebulGery July 1, 2013 10:15 PM BST
Arkle could sit off any pace, jump at any speed and at about 3 miles would still come at you
in the closing stages... he could not be held off
Only monster weights and one bad mistake when he first met Mill House stopped him
he broke Mill House thereafter......
He would have broken Flyingbolt or was it the brucillius
Report ebulGery July 1, 2013 10:20 PM BST
No need to shout Johnny, we are old but not deaf
Report themightymac July 1, 2013 10:47 PM BST
Thanks for clarifying that blackbarn.
Report salmon spray July 1, 2013 11:34 PM BST
Sorry been out.
Tbh I never took much notice of owners when I was young.
Trainers I did and Turnell was my favourite for some reason. Flash Bulb,Rondetto,Buonna Notte,The Laird and a bit later Beacon Light,Tree Tangle and of course the notorious Birds Nest. I don't remember Pas Seul at his best only when he came back and was beaten miles by Arkle and Mill House. He probably wasn't as good as he was but all the evidence suggests he was never in the same league.
Report themightymac July 2, 2013 12:20 AM BST
Bob Turnell and Andy Turnell were my favourites in the 70s. They had some great horses. Birds Nets, Beacon Light, Tree Tangle, as you mention, and many others such as Summerville, Secret Ballot, Cuckolder, April Seventh, etc.
Report salmon spray July 2, 2013 12:38 AM BST
Andy has gradually wound things down intentionally or otherwise. He's older than me so must be about 65.
He did ride the ones you mention for his Dad but earlier the two stable jockeys were King and Haine.
Report Cork Langer July 2, 2013 1:19 AM BST
Spot on Salmon, Andy is 65,although he has cut his string, its done his strike rate wonders, this year he is on 30% currently (3/10) from the seven horses he has run
Report blackbarn July 2, 2013 9:56 AM BST
Andy Turnell - can see him now perched precariously atop Beacon Light, just before the horse yet again found virtually nothing off the bridle.  I exaggerate of course but not by muchWink
Report alun2005 July 2, 2013 10:11 AM BST
Loved watching Andy on Beacon Light.  Looked a world beater on his day.
Report johnnywilkinson July 2, 2013 11:02 AM BST
there wasnt a better time than the 70s.....stan mellor and ouzo at the time were legends messi and beckham in there finest hour .....nottingham jumps crime they cancelled it
Report johnnywilkinson July 2, 2013 11:10 AM BST
killiney )the one that got away)
captain christy
connaught ranger
sea pigeon
jinxy jack
beacon light
high ken
red rum
comedy of errors
night nurse
persian war
major rose
....and golden cygnet....
they wer all champions apologys to the ones i may have this day and age they would have all been champs
i  loved every one off ya guys
Report differentdrum July 2, 2013 11:31 AM BST
This is a little off topic but that hasn't stopped others so here goes.

As I was too young to remember could someone give their assessment of Kinloch Brae who was supposed to be the coming star for a short period towards the end of the 60s. Would love to see the film of Gold Cup in which he came down when supposedly cantering in the lead. I know he subsequently went 'wrong' and was the never the same horse when transferred to Toby Balding?

I also loved the Andy Turnell/Bob Turnell horses and in particular Tree Tangle. Not many horses in the stable but a large proportion of 'stars'. Unfortunately, Tree Tangle was never at his best at Cheltenham (on YouTube you can see him swinging off the bit in the 75 Champion only to stop up the hill) and he also broke blood vessels.
Report blackbarn July 2, 2013 11:44 AM BST

This will help re Kinloch Brae dd.
Report differentdrum July 2, 2013 11:54 AM BST
Thanks, anyone else able to add anything?
Report wildmanfromborneo July 2, 2013 1:27 PM BST
Kinloch Brae was trained by Willie OGrady father of Eddie and was ridden by Timmy Hyde the well known breeder and owner of Camss Park stud,his father also Timmy rode a Prince  Regent to win the Gold Cup and Workman to win the Grand National.
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