I remember watching Relkeel hack up in the growing gloom at Cheltenham as a novice (on what is now Trials Day, in January 1994) and that was the first time that I had seen him in the flesh. Relkeel was a gorgeous horse, with the nobility and presence to go with his imposing frame, and I thought there and then that he’d be one to follow.
Sadly, his career was ravaged by injury but it speaks volumes for the horse’s class (and the dedication of all involved with him) that he managed to stay virtually unbeaten until age and those injuries which had beset him for so long started to catch up with him at the age of nine. Even so, the old warrior managed to land two further Bula Hurdles in the twilight of his career and his last success, coming from last to first to beat Far Cry in the 1999 Bula, was a real pleasure to watch as it showed that his innate ability was all still there.
Many a racehorse has been unable to fulfil its promise due to injury and bad luck. Relkeel must surely rank amongst the higher echelons of those who were unable to do themselves justice on the racecourse. Granted more luck, he would surely have won at least one Champion Hurdle and could have become one of the greats of the sport. Sadly, it wasn’t to be but he will be remembered as a horse of tremendous ability and a generous racing character.