29 Jan Cheltenham Gold Cup: Jodami and the past 25 years
DEFINITLY RED emerged as a genuine Cheltenham Gold Cup contender for the north after winning the Cotswold Chase on Saturday. There has not been a northern-trained winner of jump racing’s blue riband since Jodami in 1993. Here we look back at the awesome Jodami and examine how the north has fared in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the past 25 years…
HE was in another league. Jodami. Brute power, speed and strength, bounding past Rushing Wild to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1993. What sticks in my mind was the almost nonchalant look behind by jockey Mark Dwyer between the last two fences. He was probably looking for the favourite The Fellow but he would have needed my binoculars.
Trained by Peter Beaumont at Foulrice Farm in Brandsby, near York, Jodami stood at 17 hands and was an old fashioned chaser in looks. He was owned by Yorkshireman John Yeadon who named him after himself and his two sons David and Michael. Jodami was nurtured beautifully by Beaumont in his early days, winning a bumper, five novice hurdles and a handful of novice chasers. He was mainly campaigned in the north at Kelso, Ayr and Wetherby.
Beaumont, whose daughter Anthea Farrell (now Morshead) won the Topham at Aintree riding JJ Henry in 1991, was regarded as a real gentleman of racing and was patient in his approach. Jodami was a great big horse who always took several runs to find peak fitness. It’s why he was rarely at his best in the autumn.
Mark Dwyer a perfect pilot for Jodami
Remarkably, Jodami won three Irish Hennessy Gold Cups (1993, 94 and 95) and two Peter Marsh Chases (1993 and 97) at Haydock. He was second under 11st 12lb in the 1996 Irish National, a staggering weight-carrying performance.
In Dwyer he had a wily and experienced pilot. The rider had won the Gold Cup on Jimmy Fitzgerald’s Forgive N Forget in 1985. That experience meant that on Jodami’s big day in March 1993, Dwyer knew not to go too soon. He hung on to Jodami for as long as he could before asking his steed to surge clear of Rushing Wild. A beautiful performance. Relive the race here.
Twelve months later Jodami only just failed to retain his Gold Cup crown when edged out by The Fellow. In 1997 and bidding for his fourth Irish Hennessy, Jodami ran his last race. He was typically brave in trying to reel in Danoli but broke down on the run-in. Jodami enjoyed an idyllic retirement at Beaumont’s yard until his death in 2008 aged 23.
So it is 25 years since Jodami struck gold at Cheltenham. During that time, how has the north fared in jump racing’s blue riband?
1994: Jodami was made 6/4 favourite to retain his crown but was edged out by The Fellow in a thriller. Mark Dwyer admitted he was beaten by a marginally better horse on the day. Although if he had not met the last wrong, he may well have won.
1995: Jodami was fancied again but failed to cope with the bottomless ground as Master Oats won easily. Jodami came home eighth.
1996: The brilliant grey One Man was made the 11/8 favourite to win the Gold Cup for Gordon Richards. With Richard Dunwoody up, the grey looked all over the winner turning into the home straight with two to jump. But he simply didn’t stay and was out on his feet at the last. Imperial Call was the impressive winner. One sad postscript was the fatal fall of Monsieur Le Cure.
1997: One Man tried again but flattered to deceive. His stamina ran out despite a beautiful ride by Dunwoody who had dropped him out in the early stages. Gordon Richards’ Unguided Missile fell at the 13th. AP McCoy rode the strapping Mr Mulligan to an all-the-way success.
1998: Gordon Richards was not afraid to throw a dart at the big one but Addington Boy was pulled up after being badly hampered. However Simply Dashing, trained by Tim Easterby, ran a blinder to be sixth as Cool Dawn took the prize. The race will be remembered for See More Business being carried out by Cyborgo.
Outsiders do the north proud
1999: Simply Dashing was a gallant sixth again, with Addington Boy one place in front of him. See More Business edged out 66/1 shot Go Ballistic to win.
2000: Tullymurry Toff, trained by Malcolm Jefferson, unseated Graham Lee at fence 13 and Sue Smith’s The Last Fling was pulled up. Looks Like Trouble won for Richard Johnson but the race was marred by the death of the potential champion Gloria Victis, who was in front two out when he fell.
2001: Cheltenham cancelled due to foot and mouth outbreak.
2002: No northern runner. Just as well as nothing would have beaten Best Mate.
2003: Hussard Collonges, trained by Beaumont, was well backed into 8/1. He had won the 2002 RSA Chase under Russ Garritty. But he was pulled up and it eas left to 33/1 shot Truckers Tavern to run the race of his life to be second. Ferdy Murphy’s eight-year-old had always been highly regarded and he chased home the peerless Best Mate under Davy Russell. A mighty effort and the closest the north has come to Gold Cup glory since Jodami.
2004: Truckers Tavern had another go but was never really travelling and was pulled up by Tony Dobbin. Best Mate completed his magical third Gold Cup victory
2005: At 100/1 Truckers Tavern was pulled up again but Howard Johnson’s Grey Abbey ran a mighty race to be fifth to Irish trained winner Kicking King.
2006: Sue Smith’s Royal Emperor ran a big race under Dominic Elsworth to be eighth to War of Attrition as 22 runners went to post. Ferdy Murphy’s Joes Edge was 13th under Keith Mercer.
Barren years for the north
2007: The start of the Kauto Star/Denman era. But what a performance in third by Turpin Green. Trained by Nicky Richards, he ran a career best at 40/1 under Tony Dobbin. He never quite recaptured that form including when he was moved by Trevor Hemmings to Sue Smith’s yard.
2008: No northern runner as Paul Nicholls saddled a 1, 2, 3 with Kauto Star, Denman and Neptune Collonges.
2009: No northern runner as Kauto Star regains his crown.
2010: No northern runner as Imperial Commander strides to victory under Paddy Brennan.
2011: A classic race with Long Run outpointing Denman and Kauto Star. But Howard Johnson’s Tidal Bay ran with credit to be sixth.
2012: George Charlton’s Knockara Beau picked up £7,000 for coming a gallant sixth to Synchronised. Weird Al was pulled up for Donald McCain.
2013: Malcolm Jefferson’s Cape Tribulation ran a blinder to be fifth behind Bobs Worth under Denis O’Regan.
2014: Knockara Beau ran another big race to be seventh while Sue Smith’s Cloudy Too was tailed off when coming down at the last. Lord Windermere prevailed in a thrilling three-way photo.
2015: No northern runner. Novice Coneygree was a brilliant winner.
2016: No northern runner as Don Cossack grabs glory for Ireland.
2017: No northern runner. Ireland win again with Sizing John.
2018: Definitly Red….?
So there have been 25 northern runners in the Gold Cup since 1993. Truckers Tavern (2nd), Jodami (2nd), Turpin Green (3rd), Cape Tribulation (5th), One Man (6th twice), Simply Dashing (6th twice) have come the closest.
Has Definitly Red got what it takes to win the Gold Cup for the north? What are your memories of Jodami? Please feel free to leave a comment below…