Black Forest Lodge
Sunday 6th February 2011
by Lucy Johnson
Brave Gone To Lunch wins the hearts of racing enthusiasts
There are few stories which would warm the heart more than that of Gone To Lunch whose win in the men's open at Black Forest on Sunday was an emotional triumph for all his connections.
Less than a year ago vet Simon White had said there was nothing more he could do for him and the decision was made to have him put down after failing to recover from shipping fever, a serious illness which effects the lungs. The disease had been contracted on his return from Ayr Racecourse and having made a recovery once, he relapsed and became seriously ill.
Stable staff and friends of his trainers Jeremy and Camilla Scott all said their farewells and with just a few hours to go he was pumped full of antibiotics.
Remarkably however, the next day his head was up and the decision was made to give him another chance. Nursed night and day by White and his wife Polly Curling he eventually pulled through and although very thin, was considered well enough to return to the Scotts Brompton Regis yard.
With a tear in her eye, Camilla Scott said: "We've been dreaming of this day but we never thought it would come. He just fought so hard and the extra 12 hours made the difference. We had all said goodbye to him and it was an incredibly distressing time but the next day he was different. He just would not give up. He had two chest drains either side of him and Simon and Polly did such a good job looking after him."
While there wasn't a dry eye in the vicinity following his win, Simon White and Jeremy Scott had tears in their eyes for another reason. While the horse was recovering they struck a bet that if he ever won a race again they would run naked through the streets of Minehead. "Not a pretty sight," quipped Curling.
With Gone To Lunch clearly in good heart, stable stalwart Southwestern, also ridden by Neil Harris, was another to show his well being following his two lengths win in the confined with front running tactics paying off.
Curling had more reason to celebrate following Supreme Duke's win In a hot ladies open. Curling trains the nine-year-old for Philip and Sarah Hobbs whose daughter Diana was in the saddle. "He's an old boy and he's had a serious injury. He's had injections in his hocks and to see him jump like that it really good. Its lovely to see these old National Hunt horses winning again although I'll be giving Diana a telling off as he was a two and a half miler who barely gets three miles and she went too soon!"
Jane Williams saddled the good looking Blackstaff to win the intermediate and admitted after that her 17-year-old daughter Elizabeth Kelly had really "come of age" in the race. "He's a cracking horse and there's a lot of him but Elizabeth rode him really well. He's very keen and a big horse to keep together and he's growing up too. I expect we will look at the intermediate final at Cheltenham now," she said.
Simon Patridge saddle the consistent Lucette Annie, ridden by Jamie Thomas, to win the first divison of the restricted with the second going to West Bay.
Ed Walker was responsible for two of the five maiden winners, the first Alysia's Flame ridden by his partner Polly Gundry and the second, Obamarama with Ian Chanin on board. The final three divisions went to Play With Fire, Welsh Guard and Double Bank.