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Richard Dunwoody reminisces about an old friend

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    In this week’s article Richard fodnly remembers one of his old favourites.


    The death of Riverside Boy at the age of 28 earlier this week left me feeling a little melancholy.

    I rode him to victory in the Welsh National in 1993, giving me a boost at one of the low points of my career.

    At the time, I was between agents, Adrian Maguire was well clear of me in the jockeys’ championship and only a few weeks before, I’d jumped off of Fragrant Dawn to ride Egypt Mill Prince in the Tripleprint Gold Cup, only to see Declan Murphy give Fragrant Dawn a peach of a ride – cool, confident and stylish –to win comfortably.

    It was a difficult stage of my tenure with Martin Pipe. Most of the horses that December were not running well so to jump off one of the biggest winners of the jumps season which admittedly hadn’t been in the Pipe yard too long, was galling.

    I was killing myself ringing round for rides and Rolling Ball jumped badly in the King George VI Chase and was well beaten before I pulled him up.

    To make matters worse, Adrian Maguire won on Barton Bank.
    I’d ridden Riverside Boy at the same track in the Rehearsal Chase a few weeks before. My relationship with Martin wasn’t the rosiest at the time.

    Before I got the leg up, he said: “Watch this fellow. Keep your stick in your right hand because he could try to duck out.”
    I thought: ‘Now he’s giving me riding lessons’.

    I was obviously aware that the previous December he had unseated Peter Scudamore at Market Rasen when he swerved as the tapes when up. I didn’t need to be told what to do.

    Maybe if I’d have been a bit more laid back I could have laughed it off, but it wasn’t me. Some owners were giving him a hard time and he took it personally. He gave me a hard time and I took it very personally. I had the feeling I was clinging to my job at Nicholashayne by my fingernails.

    We led but were headed three out by future Grand National winner Party Politics and Carl Lewellyn, who went on to beat us by five lengths, with 2-7 favourite Jodami well held in third.

    My mood wasn’t good after the King George, but Riverside Boy gave me a brief moment of light at a dark time when he returned to Chepstow.

    He was an enigmatic staying chaser, a flashy chestnut who wasn’t the biggest horse. However, he was a brave and quirky in equal measure. He preferred to be dropped out and wake up as the race developed, but he generally had two ways of running – and you could ride him from the front, although often his efforts would peter out towards the finish.

    On a track he loved – he won there twice and was second three times in eight visits – that day he was in the mood and we made all the running, going clear from four out and coming home 20 lengths clear of Fiddlers Pike, with Cool Ground a further eight lengths back.

    Like many horses who win the Welsh National, he wasn’t the same force afterwards. Although he continued to race for another three years, he failed to win another race.

    He did enjoy his racing and was a regular participant in the Grand National, with his best finish being an eighth place to Royal Athlete in 1995.

    After his career under Riles, he went to the pointing circuit where he won six times to add to the three chases and four hurdles he’d previously won.

    Sure, he wasn’t anywhere near the best I’ve ridden. But on his day, Riverside Boy was as good a staying chaser as you’d wish for and I’ll be raising a glass to his memory often enough in the future.

    Richard Dunwoody

    Remarkable Treble on Tuesday for my Pay As You Win Members![/color:3t1sa1le]

    Arctic Reach – Arctic Reach was given the full AP treatment & despite being a bit ragged towards the end, responded well to land the gamble. It may be he was just idling in front & can be rated better than the winning margin.

    Alla Svelta – Alla Svelta made it 2 winners in a row on Tuesday & despite one or two sloppy jumps, made mincemeat of the opposition. The touch was in the bag from way out & he could have won by much more than the 19-length winning margin.

    Blown It – Blown It made it a memorable day for PAYW members by making it 3 bets & 3 winners in a day! Shrewdly placed by Keith Dalgleish & well ridden by Paul Hanagan, the result was never in doubt.

    [i:3t1sa1le]Other winners this week include Side Glance W2/1 & Imaginary Diva W9/4.[/color:3t1sa1le][/i:3t1sa1le]

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    • Total Posts 47

    A nice read.
    I don’t really recall Riverside Boy but do have a vague memory of him winning the Welsh National as growing up in the Forest of Dean one was always aware of events at Chepstow racecourse nearby.

    It’s nice that Richard has fond memories of him.

    I have had the pleasure of meeting Richard socially a few times and he is a real gentleman. He is an explorer too I am sure many of you are aware – so its really interesting for me being a geographer. Last year had a lovely evening with Richard and friends over drinks at the Gore in Kensington near where I used to work at the RGS – it would be nice if he ends up speaking there at some point.
    I always enjoy reading his articles – he wrote a nice piece about Isabel Tompsett recently too.

    His facebook page:!/profile.php?id=1543616103

    Worth joining and following his expeditions and seeing the photos of him on old favourites!!

    • Total Posts 44

    Thats a great article, always good to hear from the jockeys in such detail so we can get to know them! I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him but he certainly sounds like a good guy! It must be horrible to lose a Horse that you have worked with too!

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