Number 25: The popular hurdler who recorded one of the most jaw-dropping victories in Cheltenham history
WITH the Cheltenham Festival now 25 days away, the Sun Racing team will be bringing you their 'Festival 50' every day between now and 10 March.
We will salute the Prestbury Park heroes that made us fall in love with the Festival, all the way until the 'Cheltenham roar' signals that the wait is finally over.
Number 25: Rooster Booster
Where do you start with a horse like Rooster Booster. An absolute legend of the turf.
He was part of the furniture at Prestbury Park – 'one of our own' the punters should have sung each time he set foot out on the track.
He ran 13 times at Cheltenham during his career registering four wins, including two at the Festival.
The first came in the the 2002 where he made light work of a mark of 144 to win the County Hurdle in grand style under a big weight.
But what followed in 2003 was, quite simply, one of the most jaw-dropping performances in Cheltenham history.
He arrived at the Champion Hurdle with a perfect 4-4 record behind him that season, but, as a nine-year-old, many expected the younger legs of Rhinestone Cowboy to prevail.
But the money came fast and late, as he was cut from 6s into 9-2 just before the off.
Dickie Johnson had him buried away towards the tail of the field in the early stages, but the grey began to tank his way through the field and an electric leap four out saw him take third at the top of the hill.
The list so far…
50-41: All can be found here
40-31: All can be found here
30. Edredon Bleu
27. Desert Orchid
26. Hurricane Fly
25. Rooster Booster
Johnson was trying as hard as he could to delay Rooster's challenge, but the horse was absolutely full of himself and cantering all over the field turning in.
As they straightened up, Johnson, who had been reigning back and reigning back, let the handbrake off and the Booster went whooosh.
He sprouted wings and shot clear up the hill to send the crowd, and Johnson, wild with delight.
A performance which still makes me grin from ear-to-ear each time I watch it.
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