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RACING: Carruthers set for emotional return
Carruthers is on course to make what is likely to be an emotional seasonal debut for Mark Bradstock’s Letcombe Bassett stables, near Wantage, at Cheltenham on Saturday.
The nine-year-old gelding will be running for the first time since his breeder and part-owner Lord Oaksey, Bradstock’s father-in-law, died last month, aged 83.
Carruthers, who has undergone a wind operation in the summer, has been entered in the £50,000-added Ryman The Stationer Handicap Chase, which is to be screened live by Channel 4, for whom Lord Oaksey worked as a presenter.
And Bradstock confirmed this week that his charge was an intended runner as he builds up to the defence of his Hennessy Gold Cup crown at Newbury on December 1.
“We have schooled him and he jumped absolutely super,” he said.
“We are really pleased with him, so it is fingers crossed.
“He will be nearly top weight and there will probably be a lot of runners. I think he will improve (for the run), but he is in very good form.”
Carruthers’s return to the track will be particularly poignant, coming just over six weeks since Lord Oaksey’s death, and at a track where he had some memorable moments as an amateur rider, including winning the 1958 Hennessy Gold Cup – then run at Prestbury Park – on Taxidermist.
“I think he is the only amateur to have ridden the winners of all the amateur races at the Cheltenham Festival,” said Bradstock.
“They are thinking about naming a race after him during the Festival – the four-miler for example – that would be fantastic.”
Carruthers will be making his earliest reappearance.
And Bradstock added: “We have all been so lucky with this weather. It has been so wet one has been able to get them on the grass and get on with them.
“The last two years it has been such a dry period they have been coming out a bit later.”