Race Named In Honour Of Popular Eden Hurdler
Penrith Paper - 2007-10-29

A new race has been created at Newcastle Racecourse in honour of popular hurdler The French Furze, trained at Greystoke by Nicky Richards, wrties Midge Todhunter.

The naming is in recognition of the horse’s remarkable achievements in the last seven runnings of the Fighting Fifth Hurdle.

Sponsors World Betting Exchange say the new race, the WBX.COM French Furze Class Two novice hurdle, to be run over 2m 6f, will be a permanent feature race of their sponsored Fighting Fifth day at Newcastle, which this year takes place on 1st December. A 13 year old chestnut gelding, The French Furze is owned by long standing Greystoke stalwart Jim Ennis, who runs a construction business based in the Midlands. The horse made his first appearance in the Fighting Fifth in 2000 when trained by Martin Pipe in the West Country. Ridden that day by Greystoke jockey Brian Harding, he finished second.

But the horse was later thought by connections to have become a little stale and was subsequently transferred to the Richards stables where he was trained on the scenic limestone based gallops of Greystoke Park.

That switch clearly worked, as the game little hurdler quickly became a rejuvenated performer, and went on to claim another five victories in top class company for the Greystoke team. He was also placed in 11 other high grade hurdle races, and has amassed a career total of £323,499 in win and placed prize money.

On hearing news this week of the race naming, Richards was delighted. It was, he said, appropriate that such a great horse would be recognised.

“He is renowned for his brave exploits at Newcastle and it’s very kind of the sponsors and Newcastle Racecourse to stage a quality race in honour of the old horse, and I hope it becomes a permanent feature of the racetrack,” he said.

“The French Furze has been a pleasure to train. He is a consistent horse at the very highest level.”

“As everyone knows, his greatest day was when he won the 2003 Fighting Fifth Hurdle, and he still continues to enjoy his racing. This seems to be his favourite time of year when he’s fresh and well and certainly gives me no indication that he wants to retire.”


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