Here was a truly top class horse, blessed with a tremendous engine, but not the most natural of jumpers after an accident as a youngster, when he injured his back quite badly. Brittle blood vessels also plagued him throughout his racing days but, on his day, he was mesmerising: quick and low over his fences and able to quicken from the front. I was at Worcester when he demolished Superior Finish in a novice chase in 1992 and it was as good a performance as I’ve seen from an inexperienced novice.
Had Adrian Maguire not ruined the horse’s career, by persevering with him after a slip four out in the 1994 Charlie Hall and then making him fall at the last in that year’s King George, when all he had to do was pop the fence, Barton Bank would have gone down as one of the greats. He was never the same after those two races, with depressed sinuses adding to the complications, and it was sad to see him plodding around as a shadow of the horse he once was, although he was still good enough to finish second in Mr Mulligan’s Gold Cup and Suny Bay’s Hennessy, as well as landing a Martell Cup and other good races himself.
Sad to hear, at least he had a good few years of happy retirement after all his problems. Class act as you said, they all become our ‘friends’ over the years & I have fond memories of BB. I also have fond memories of the bottom of the class acts like dear old Quixall & Amrullah, who could have been something if only he’d decided to put his best hoof forward.