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Tribute to late Anthony Robinson on 40th death anniversary today

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    Today the steeplechasing world commemorates the 40th death anniversary of late Anthony Robinson,well -known in circles of being the owner of the famous steeplechaser On August 2nd 1980 he succumbed to cancer,after a prolonged 4 year battle.Tied Cottage.Anthony was truly one of the finest sporstman of the game and a very accomplished jockey himself.In the racing fraternity he was described as a ‘lovely man.’I am here posting my bio on Tied Cottage in memory of his Association with Robinson.Few owners understood their horses as much as Anthony understood Tied Cottage.The sport needs to ressurect characters like Robinson.


    Amateur rider Mr Anthony Robinson came to prominence when winning the Grand Annual at Cheltenham on March 19, 1969.
    His mount, the grey All Glory, in which Anthony had a half-share, was the only one who could raise a real gallop in the last half-mile in the badly cut up going.
    Anthony owned the brilliant but unlucky Tied Cottage who won the 1976 Sun Alliance for him when ridden by Tommy Carberry.
    It should have been, and was, a brilliant day for Anthony, but the young man carried a secret.
    He was dying of cancer.

    In a story to mirror Bob Champion’s Grand National success on Aldaniti, Anthony, too, had contracted the dreadful disease in the late 70s. By and large he kept the story out of the newspapers but, after major surgery, news filtered through to the English authorities who then declined to renew his amateur licence.

    Not to be deflected, Anthony applied for, and was granted, an Irish riding licence, receiving it in time to partner Tied Cottage at Fairyhouse in April 1979 in the Irish Grand National.
    Tied Cottage had fallen in its last race – at the very last fence with the Cheltenham Gold Cup at his mercy – but now, in its usual fashion, he set out to make all the running and did so until headed at the second last by Tommy Carmody on Prince Rock.
    Over the last, Prince Rock held a slender lead but Tied Cottage, so much fitter than his ailing rider, immediately challenged again.

    Tommy Carmody, a brilliant, young professional and Anthony, lacking in style and strength, settled down to fight out the finish. Close to exhaustion, but with years of experience behind him, Anthony summoned one last, supreme effort from Tied Cottage who, battling on like a hero, crossed the line a neck in front of Prince Rock.
    True to character, Anthony avoided what publicity he could and insisted that his illness should not be mentioned.

    Anthony and Bob Champion had not unnaturally become great friends: when Bob was fighting the disease, Anthony told him that he had also had cancer and that he had required major surgery. He had actively encouraged Bob to continue with his plans to resume his former career.

    At Cheltenham in March, 1980, Anthony showed Bob a letter from his own specialist confirming that he was fit to ride and promised full support if Bob found any difficulty in obtaining his licence from the Jockey Club.
    Anthony’s own rotten luck continued when, aged 12, Tied Cottage eventually won the Cheltenham Gold Cup only to be subsequently disqualified when a marginal amount of contaminated feed was found in his system.
    Unbowed, Anthony turned up at Warwick racecourse that June to present the Gold Cup to Arthur Barrow, owner of the Cheltenham runner-up, Master Smudge.

    Having shown Bob Champion his letter of well-being in March, Anthony suddenly, in April, became very ill again. He insisted on riding Tied Cottage at Cheltenham that month, his only ride of the season and final ride ever.

    His cancer had returned: in an attempt to halt its insidious spread, Anthony had another operation In July. It was unsuccessful, and Anthtony died at his home in England on August 2.
    Bob Champion was totally devastated by his death.
    He said at the time: ‘I was very, very sorry to hear the news because he had put up such a tough and prolonged fight. He deserved a better fate.’

    Other horses which Anthony had great fun with were Good Prospect, later acquired by Prince Charles, and Artic Ale.
    He enjoyed nothing more than spending time with his friends in a pub, talking about steeplechasing.
    To Anthony, taking part was more important than winning.
    A race, The Anthony Robinson Memorial Trophy Handicap Chase, commemorated his life and was first run at Stratford in 1986

    Bio of steeplechaser Tied Cottage.

    I have more vivid memories of this steeplechaser than I have of any chaser. Forty years ago as a schoolboy in Birmingham in England I witnessed this gelding’s spectacular triumph in the 1980 Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup. What was unique about this top class Irish gelding owned by Anthony Stanley Robinson and trained by Dan Moore in Ireland was that he would win races making all he running which is unusual. He had a charasterictic, bold, front running style.

    In his first appearance at the Cheltenham festival Tied Cottage finished a gallant second to Brown Lad, one of Ireland’s greatest chasers in recent years, who won the Irish Grand National 3 times. In typical styleTied Cottage set a scorching pace till the other Irish star passed him.

    Tied Cottage made a winning debut at Cheltenham in the Sun Alliance Chase in the 1976 Cheltenham Festival at the age of 9 when unfancied. Here he conquered the favourite Davy Lad, the horse that won the Gold Cup the following season.He was partnered by his regular rider Tommy Carberry, one of the greatest jump jockeys as well as a jockey who knew the Cheltenham Course so well that he could ride round the Cheltenham course with his eyes closed. Watching Tied Cottage bowling along in front with Carberry astride showed perfect synchronization between rider and horse.

    In 1977 Tied Cottage ran in his first ever Cheltenham Gold Cup. In one of the most open Gold Cups in recent years he set a strong pace on the first circuit from Fort Devon, Banlieu, April 7th, Davy Lad and Lanzarote.At the 9th fence tragically the favourite Lanzarote (a great winner of the Champion Hurdle trying to become the first horse to win the Champion Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup) faltered on landing, thus breaking his hind leg and succumbing, adding a saga to Fred Winter’s bad luck in Steeplechasing’s Blue Riband. Tied Cottage continued to lead on the second circuit, closely followed by Fort Devon, who came down at the 17th fence. Summerville now came to challenge Tied Cottage and 5 fences from home stormed into the lead. Davy Lad also now overtook Tied Cottage. At the 2nd last Summerville faltered and both Davy Lad and Tied Cottage came back at Summerville. Both horses passed the leader going to the last. After the last Davy Lad, ridden by Dessie Hughes stormed away to win by 6 lengths with Tied Cottage finishing second. Tied Cottage had put up a gallant performance finishing runner up in his first Gold Cup. It was a first and second for Ireland and Irish fans were jubilant.

    In 1978 Tied Cottage was Ireland’s principal hope for the Grand National, the World’s greatest steeplechase. The gallant horse led the field till meeting with a fall at Beechers Brook. Lucius went on to Triumph from Sebastian 2nd and Drumroan.

    In he 1979 Gold Cup Tied Cottage set a breathtaking pace and the blistering gallop set by the old horse virtually took it’s toll on the majority of the field. Only Favourite Alverton and Royal Mail came anywhere near him. Alverton had covered considerable ground and between the final 2 fences challenged Tied Cottage for the lead. At the last flight Tied Cottage clubbed the top of the fence and crashed on landing. Alverton cruised home to win by 25 lengths. On the day of the race owner Anthony Robinson was mortally ill. Two weeks later Alverton was entered in the Grand National in an attempt to become the first horse after Golden Miller to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National. Tragically the champion succumbed at Bechers Brook, breaking his neck.

    Later in the 1979 season Tied Cottage triumphed in the Irish Grand National. This time Anthony Robinson, his owner partnered him in the saddle. Tied Cottage led all the way till the 2nd last when he was challenged by Prince Rock. On landing Prince Rock overtook Tied Cottage and just when he was set for victory Tied Cottage came back at him and eventually overtook the leader to win by a length. It was a superlative exhibition of race riding by Anthony Robinson. (rode a winning race despite of suffering from Illness) :-)

    It was Anthony Robinson’s dream to win the 1980 Cheltenham Gold Cup event with his horse, who was now getting on in age being 12 years old. Suffering from prolonged illness, Robinson knew was living on borrowed time, in his final months of illness He knew this horse like a father knew his own son and in 1979 had ridden him to win the Irish Grand National. The previous year his horse had a heart breaking crash at the last fence after leading throughout the race. Tied Cottage was fancied because he always reached his peak in spring and though he had suffered defeats in the King George in December, and been beaten by Diamond Edge at Sandown, one month previously he was 3 times better at Cheltenham than at any course. The soft ground that prevailed at Cheltenham, because of the rain, ideally suited Tied Cottage.

    Silver Buck,the top rated chaser of the season, who won the King George 6thChase in December was withdrawn at the last minute because of he continuous rainfall which made the going extremely heavy. Trainer Dickinson withdrew the horse feeling that the conditions would act against his ward.Diamond Edge ,a subsequent Hennessey and Whitbread Gold Cup winner was the firm favourite at 5-2 followed by Jack of Trump’s, the principal hope for the Irish, at odds of 5-1. The soft Ground suited Tied Cottage and Master Smudge, the 1979 Sun Alliance Chase winner.

    Two days before the Gold cup on the first day of the 1980 Cheltenham festival Ireland’s Monksfield was to forfeit his champion Hurdle Crown to Sea Pigeon and it was an inconsolable disappointment for the Irish Contingent who were awaiting their champion completing a hat-trick of wins. However the Previous day The Irish chaser Chinrullah gained an emphatic 25 length in the 2 mile champion Chase.The Irish fans placed their hope principally on J.P. Magnus’s Jack Of Trumps, partnered by Jonjo O’Neill in the Tote Gold Cup.

    Tied Cottage, starting at odds of 13-2 gave one of the most breathtaking front running displays ever witnessed in the big race. After clearing the third fence the veteran horse opened up a lead of about 10 lengths to Kas, Master Smudge, and the 15 year old Mcvidi. Bill Smith, on favourite Diamond Edge was in hot pursuit moving his mount to 2nd position at the 7th fence, as Tied Cottage’s pace had already put several rivals in trouble. On the 2nd Circuit Tied Cottage had increased his lead to about 25 lengths and was moving like a railway engine, running his rivals to the ground. Border Incident, with John Francome astride attempted to threaten Tied Cottage’s ascendancy but 6 fences from home had a disastrous fall. His jockey felt the fall robbed him of a golden chance of winning. A fence later the 1979Runner up Royal Mail fell, bringing down Jack Of Trumps, who was travelling very well under the hands of Jonjo Neil.4 fences from the finish Diamond Edge was pulled up, finishing a very distressed horse. At he 3rd last only Approaching challenged the leader who began to extend his lead and by the 2nd last the race was virtually over. Irish fans were waiting in anticipation at the last flight whether Tied Cottage would not repeat his mistake of the previous year. (Tied Cottage crashed on landing after the last fence in 1979 )With a peck on landing he jumped the last flight and won one of the most convincing Gold Cup’s in the history of the big race. (Sparing 8 lengths at the winning post) The brave chaser had avenged his defeat of the previous year. Tied Cottage won at the age of 12 years equaling the record of Silver Fame and What a Myth for the oldest horse to win the Blue Riband Race. He also became the 5th horse to win the race leading all the way Cheltenham Expert and ex-Champion Jockey Terry Biddlecombe said he had never witnessed an easier winner at Cheltenham. Master Smudge finished second, followed by Mcvidi in 3rd place and Approaching in 4th.

    Tommy Carberry,astride Tied Cottage who gave a supreme exhibition of riding artistry had won his 4th Gold Cup and thus equaled Pat Taffee’s record. (Who won 3 times on Arkle from 1964 to 1966 and Fort Leney on 1968) Earlier Tommy had triumphed twice on L’Escargot in 1970 and 1971 and on Ten Up in 1975.Throughout the race he showed exemplary judgment of pace showing control over his mount like a man driving a car. He proved that he was one of the greatest Gold Cup riders of all time. The joy amongst the Irish Crowds was indescribable like the people of a nation celebrating their nation’s victory in a war.Champagne was flowing in the Arkle bar.Owner Anthony Robinson who was to pass away a few months later said in his post–race comments,

    “For me this is the ultimate, to win the Gold Cup.This is one of my proudest days.”

    Watching Anthony hold aloft the Gold Cup Trophy with tears in his eyes was one of the most touching moments ever witnessed in National Hunt Racing. Trainer Dan Moore had won his third Gold Cup. However as a result of illness,his wife Joan Moore received the trophy on his behalf.

    Alas! Two week later a routine dope test on Tied Cottage proved positive, the banned substance theobromine being detected in the urine samples. On April 28th,1980 Tied Cottage was disqualified from the £36,000 first prize and Cup. However the trainers were exonerated from any fine as the ‘doping’ was proved to be accidental. No connections were held responsible. The cause was cocoa beans, which accidentally contaminated the horse’s corn feed. It was traced back to cocoa shells that had been shipped next to the soya beans that were later part of the rcaehorse cubes.

    Virtually all Prominent Racing Experts like Commentator Julian Wilson, ex-jockey Richard Pitman, ex-jockey and Daily Telegraph Racing writer John Oaksey, Sean Graham Racing annual editor GP McGrath as well as Timeform endorsed the view that Tied Cottage had won the race on merit because the quantity of substance detected was so minute that Tied Cottage would certainly have won without the prohibited substances and his disqualification was technical. However the authorities had to adhere to the rules. (Irrespective of the quantity of a prohibited substance a horse whose dope test is found positive will be disqualified) Runner up Master Smudge, owned and trained by Arthur Barrow and ridden by Richard Hoare was awarded the race. In later years that quantity of prohibited substance detected in Tied Cottage’s urine sample was allowed. Most fittingly the Sean Graham Racing Annual of 1980 put Tied Cottage’s photograph jumping the last flight to victory in the 1980 Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup on the front page. The following year in the analysis of the big race Commentator Julian Wilson referred to Tied Cottage as the “Gold Cup winner” of the previous year. There was a superb film titled ‘The Irish at Cheltenham – A Glorious Uncertainty.’Here Monksfield,Chinrullah and Tied Cottage were highlighted. Monksfield had lost his crown to Sea Pigeon but the film displayed the magnificient triumps of Chinrullah and Tied Cottage. There is no doubt in the eyes of the racing public that Tied Cottage was on merit the 1980 Gold Cup winner. However both Tied Cottage’s trainer and Owner showed great sportsmanship after the disqualification stating, “Surely he will win the race again.” It was ironical that a few months after the race Tied Cottage’s owner and trainer both died. The moment was like a tragic ending of a classic Hollywood film!

    In the spirit of a true sportsman Anthony Robinson presented the trophy to Arthur Barrow at the Warwick races in early June,owner of Master Smudge who was awarded the 1980 Cheltenham gold cup after the disqualification of Tied Cottage.

    The following year in the 1981 Gold Cup Tied Cottage was the principal hope for Ireland sadly he fell at the third fence and Little Owl went on to win the race.

    In 1982 the Steeplechasing world saw Tied Cottage run his last Cheltenham Gold Cup. In typical style he set the pace from Diamond Edge, Grittar and Earth Stopper. He set such a hot pace that Royal Bond, a strongly fancied Irish runner, Master Smudge, Venture to Cognac and the great Night Nurse were I trouble. The old man gave an incredible display of jumping leading a band of five upto the home turn and till the third last his familiar noseband touched down just ahead of the other contenders. At that point the old horse began to tread water and eventually finished ninth,with Silver Buck going on to win the event. For a fourteen year old it was a noble way to say farewell to Cheltenham. Tied Cottage displayed his superlative courage and endurance at the age of 14.That age was the 2nd oldest age for any horse to have completed the course in the history of the race. (Mcvidi at 15 years in 1980 andRight Run in 1945 were older) Tied Cottage had participated in the race 5 times which is only behind the Dikler (7) and Golden Miller (6).

    He retired like a gallant Soldier retiring from his career. It was a sad farewell.

    In my view Tied Cottage is the unluckiest horse not to win a place in the roll of honour of Cheltenham Gold Cup winners although Fred Winter’s chaser Pendil had more class. (Twice winner of the King George who lost 2 Golds Cups lucklessly). There have been horses who have lot the race falling at the last but none who have come back the following year to win the race but lose it lucklessly because of the minute presence of prohibited substances in the dope test. But for a trick of fate he

    may well have won the Gold Cup twice in succession in 1979 and 1980. In five Gold Cups he led the field till 5 fences from home. (Up to the home turn three times) Unofficially (Disqualified for no fault of his own in the 1980 Gold Cup) Tied Cottage is the only chaser with Desert Orchid and Arkle to win the Irish Grand National in addition to the Gold Cup as well as the oldest horse (12years) jointly with What a Myth and Silver Fame to win the Gold Cup. The story of the 1980 Cheltenham Gold Cup will be remembered in the minds of racegoers till Steeplechasing exists.Readers should read the comments posted below the video youtube of the 1980 Cheltenham Gold cup where they have form conviction that Tied Cottage deserved to have his name inscribed in the rol of honour of Gold cup winners.Readers should also read the tribute by Graham Buddry which pays most deserved homage to this superstar.

    Tied Cottage will be one of the most remembered horses in Gold Cup History. One of the greatest wins in the history of the Blue Riband had to be scratched from the Record Books
    By Harsh Thakor (who saw the 1980 Cheltenham Gold Cup 25 years ago)

    Tributes to Tied Cottage

    reference to

    1.Sean Graham Racing Annual – 1980

    2.Horse and Hound – April 1980.

    3.Festival Gold – 40 years of Cheltenham Racing by Stewart Peters.

    Tributes to Tied Cottage

    My favourite horses of all time are four steeplechasers who gave us all some indelible moments, namely Captain Christy, Pendil, Tied cottage and Night Nurse.Captain Cristy won the 74 Gold Cup but is probably best remembered for his extraordinary performance in the75 King George at Kempton which he won by 30 lengths.Pendil was also a dual King George winner who is probably the best chaser never to win the Gold Cup. Who could forget Night Nurse’s epic battles with Monksfield and Silver Buck in the ’70s and early ’80s.Finally, my personal favourite is Tied Cottage who epitomised the winter game. His career spanned ten years, and though the record books do not show him as a Gold Cup winner he could easily have won it three times.He fell at the last in ’79 when upsides Alverton, was unfortunately disqualified in ’80, and he was a long way clear when he fell in ’81. He also fell at Becher’s Brook when well clear in the 1978 Grand National.

    Mervyn Charter, Grenada

    Emerald Isle favourite, Tied Cottage, was launched on what turned out to be a five-year plan to land the Gold Cup in the mid-seventies. The Sun Alliance Chase was duly landed in 1976, before Tied Cottage finished an honourable second to Davy Lad in his first Gold Cup, the following year. Two seasons later, in 79, Arthur Moore’s runner was upsides Alverton at the last when he crumpled on landing and fell, only to come back in 1980 and win the race in a canter. Post-race tests showed the horse’s urine contained a banned substance, and the Gold Cup was taken away. The glory of the dayremained, but despite his heroics, the name Tied Cottage wasexpunged from history. Future turf historians will wonder why that promising Sun Alliance winner of 76 never landed the big one. He did. And, if Istabraq or Florida Pearl can keep coming back year after year, like TiedCottage did, they will truly be great racehorses.

    Quoting John Cobb on Tied Cottage, the disqualified winner of the 1980 Gold Cup

    “IF ONLY because the dry pages of record books show no trace of Tied Cottage as a Gold Cup winner, it’s worth recalling the finest hour of a steeplechaser who gave pulsating front-running displays in four editions of the showpiece.

    Tied Cottage was an eight-length winner of the 1980 Gold Cup but was later disqualified because of traces of prohibited substances theobromine and caffeine at a level later deemed allowable.

    The 1980 race was run in bright sunshine so different to the swirling snow 12 months earlier when Tied Cottage had also tried to run his Gold Cup rivals ragged but was tired, although arguably not beaten, when he crumpled at the last to allow Alverton a place in the history books.

    Tied Cottage had one festival success to his name, having beaten Davy Lad in the 1976 SunAlliance Chase. But in the following year’s Gold Cup, Mick O’Toole’s horse got his revenge as Tied Cottage saw off challenger after challenger, bar one.

    In 1979, ridden by owner Anthony Robinson, Tied Cottage won the Irish Grand National but by the time of the 1980 Gold Cup, Robinson was dying of cancer and trainer Dan Moore was too ill to make the journey from Ireland.

    With Silver Buck withdrawn because of heavy ground, Diamond Edge started favourite at 5-2, with Tied Cottage sent off at 13-2. By the second circuit, Tied Cottage and Tommy Carberry had built up a lead of 25 lengths and were running their rivals into the ground. Master Smudge finished runner-up.

    “This is one of my proudest days,” Robinson said as he held the Gold Cup aloft. He was to die just three months later, within weeks of Moore.

    Tied Cottage was back the following year but fell in the Gold Cup won by Little Owl. Then in 1982, at the age of 14, he managed to lead to the third-last but faded to ninth as Silver Buck had his day.”

    Quoting Stephen Denis

    “Steve Dennis

    IT WOULD take a heart of stone not to weep for Tied Cottage.

    Twice he had Gold Cup glory in his grasp, and twice it was taken from him.

    A bold, trailblazing cavalier of a horse, he won the Sun Alliance Chase at Cheltenham in 1976 and was runner-up in the Gold Cup 12 months later, six lengths behind Davy Lad.

    The thorough stayer, trained by Dan Moore and ridden by Tommy Carberry, was a 12-1 chance to go one better two years later. In a race run in driving snow, he led the field at a fierce gallop. On the run to the last Alverton was at his heels, but although a tired Tied Cottage seemed not to touch the fence he knuckled over on landing, gifting the race to his pursuer.

    Whether he would have maintained his advantage is a subject for fireside ruminations, but such was his stamina it is hard to imagine him faltering. Moreover, a month later he won the Irish National.

    A year later he was back at the age of 12, and again he took the fight to his rivals. This time, the knockout blow was forthcoming. Turning into the straight with the advantage, Carberry asked for more and was given it, and Tied Cottage drew away to beat Master Smudge by eight lengths.

    Joy unconfined, but the euphoria didn’t last long. Along with two of his compatriots, Tied Cottage tested positive for theobromine and caffeine and was disqualified two months later. The illegal substances were thought to have been transmitted in contaminated feed.

    Few horses put as much into their races as did Tied Cottage, and there was something peculiarly cruel in the way that fate conspired against him.

    He was still running at the age of 15, winning point-to-points in Ireland before making a final trip to Cheltenham, where he took fifth in the Foxhunter behind Eliogarty after his old legs had led them a merry dance one last time before weakening. “

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