Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bookies Take No Chances on Wylie

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Bookies Take No Chances on Wylie

Article excerpt

Byline: By Doug Moscrop

Just a couple of weeks or so before last year's Northumberland Plate, Graham Wylie suffered a blow as an owner which knocked his hopes of having a fancied first runner in the Tyneside marathon.

Flownaway had been bought privately out of Willie Jarvis's Newmarket stable after winning three races in 2003 and looked just the type to progress in staying handicaps and also make a jumper.

But he blotted his copybook on his hurdling bow at Musselburgh in January last year when he continually jumped right at his obstacles and chanced his arm at one too many and fell at the second last flight with the prize at his mercy.

Returning to action at Carlisle some three months later, he recouped losses with an effortless win over the decent dual purpose performer Dr Sharp.

The plan then was to train him for a return to the Flat and a crack at the Plate, but he died of cancer as the big event loomed.

"He took ill and when they opened him up he was riddled with the disease," revealed Wylie.

"It was awful but you have to cope with such losses.

"He had so much talent and natural speed and Graham Lee got off him after Carlisle and said he was the best horse he had ridden ( even better than Inglis Drever.

"So, we had Rayshan as a back-up but we didn't hold any real hope of him doing anything and it was more of a case of having my first runner in the Plate."

Rayshan started at 66-1 and beat only three horses. But it's a different story this year as Balyan is third favourite to lift the time-honoured race.

He was bought at the sales in Ireland at the same time as Akilak who gained a spectacular victory on his hurdling debut at Cheltenham, followed up in the Victor Ludorum at Haydock, and returned to the Cotswolds for the Festival, started favourite, and finished third to Penzance in the JCB Triumph Hurdle. …

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