Hold Em: trainer laid no blame for the injury on CheltenhamPICTURE: Gerry Cranham
Goldsworthy pays tribute to Hold Em after injury
PEMBROKESHIRE trainer Keith Goldsworth has paid a glowing tribute to Hold Em, who was fatally injured at Cheltenham on Friday, and went out of his way toemphasise that the loss was the result of "a freak accident and had nothing at all to do with conditions on the day".
Winner of seven races under rules and one point-to-point, Hold Em, who accumulated prize-money inexcesss of £100,000, was brought down in a melee at the fourth-last fence, where three horses came to grief, in the 2m5f Victorchandler.com Chase won by Can't Buy Time.
Three inspections had been carried on the course, and, with a whole host of horses withdrawn on the day, opinion was mixed about whether racing should have taken place.
However, Goldsworthy remains adamant that what happened had nothing to do with the state of the track or the ground.
He said: "I walked the course and felt it was perfectly safe,and I also felt that Cheltenham made the correct decision to race. The decision to run Hold Em was mine and mine alone and I have no regrets, even though what happened to him was very sad, and I am now looking at an empty box.
Keith Goldsworthy: overwhelmedPICTURE: Martin Lynch
"It was nobody's fault, and certainly not the horse's - he was brought down by a faller, which could have happened anywhere and at any time. It's one of the downsides of the game."
Hold Em, who won three bumpers and also the Sidney Banks Hurdle at Huntingdon, developed into a useful chaser, twice winning over fences and also finishing fourth to Nacarat in last season's Racing Post Chase and third to Tranquil Sea in this term's Paddy Power Gold Cup. He was owned by David Hughes, Mike Evans and partners.
Goldsworthy, who has been inundated with text messages andphone calls of condolence since the fatal accident, said: "It's been overwhelming how many people have been in touch, but he was a horse who had a big following. He was one of our flagship horses, along with Hills Of Aran, and he helped to put us on the racing map.
"He was a lovely-natured horse, a genuine horse, a great trier. He has left a void in the yard, but although he's gone, he will not be forgotten - never be forgotten - by us."