Alastair Down pays tribute to 'gent' Captain Scooby on his 200th start
He has been running longer than the Mousetrap and they say he gave Fred Archer his first ride as an apprentice.
At Yarmouth on Tuesday Captain Scooby ran for the 200th time. He can't have been foaled, but was surely chiselled out of granite.
He joined Richard Guest in 2011 and the trainer says: "He is an absolute gent. A little pro who doesn't do anything but eat and sleep.
"Mind you, he keeps about 20lb for himself which has helped him last so long. He is a pleasure to have about the place and wouldn't know what unsound meant.
"You can't be anything else but fond of him and he will never leave here, it is his home as much as it is ours. And down the years everyone has got to know him – all the jockeys and stalls handlers call him granddad."
Captain Scooby has won 18 of his 200 races and there can hardly be a jockey north of the Trent who has not had the leg up on him. No fewer than 62 jockeys have ridden him – that is a whole weighing room full – and nine riders have won on him.
Jason Hart and Michael Stainton have notched three wins apiece, but Amy Ryan pips them with four successes.
Going back to the mid-1980s only four horses have run more times – Dvinsky (231), Sharp Hat (217), Palacegate Touch (207) and Johnnie Skull (205).
In his time he has raced off the dizzying heights of 79 but now happily tootles about rated 45.
Some days he fancies giving it a go and others you can see him saying "no thanks, my false teeth are giving me gyp and my waterworks aren't what they were. Think I might write to my MP about that Richard Guest as I am sure he has been pilfering my pension pot."
Captain Scooby must have an iron constitution, but above all he has been kept sweet of mind or he simply would not bother at all. And he still does give it a rattle when he feels like it.
Horses like him – and not that many are – have fans among the racing public who love their sheer durability. Like some faithful retainer they carry on year after year and racing is every bit as much about the lowly and laudable as the high and mighty.
A salute and a heartfelt "aye aye Captain" are the least he deserves.
The 200 Club
217 Sharp Hat
207 Palacegate Touch
205 Jonnie Skull
200 Captain Scooby
Highest RPR 83
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