Goldie remembers 'iconic' Jonny Delta after fatal fall at favourite track
His record of five wins from 38 starts at Musselburgh shows the affinity that Jonny Delta had with the Edinburgh venue, and on Tuesday trainer Jim Goldie was keen to remember the many good days he enjoyed with him at the course.
Jonny Delta took a crashing fall at the third-last flight of a handicap hurdle on Monday, suffering serious spinal injuries which left Goldie and course vets no option other than to peacefully end his suffering.
"There was always a race for him at Musselburgh as he was versatile, although I never went much above two miles three furlongs with him over hurdles," said the trainer.
"He possibly would have stayed further but was one of these horses that travelled, and the faster they went the better he went. He liked decent ground, although admittedly he did win his bumper by 20 lengths in a bog."
Jonny Delta is already etched in the Musselburgh record book, and not just for the fact almost exactly half of his 77 career starts came there.
"He was equally good on the Flat there and holds the track record for a mile and six," said Goldie.
"If you look at that race [in April 2014] he beat a John Smith’s Cup winner in Sirvino that day. He really loved a fast pace to run at and it didn’t matter whether it was over hurdles or on the Flat.
"We’ve had a lot of fun with him over the years. We set up the Johnnie Delta Racing Club and he was their first winner. He was quite an iconic horse."
That speed on the Flat translated into an economic hurdling style but Monday's fall was only the second of the ten-year-old's long career.
"We thought we’d lost him once before at Haydock [in March 2016] when he lay there for a circuit, but he got up," said Goldie. "He was one of those very quick hurdlers who took it to a minimal level and would kick the top bar out. If you’re doing that you'll sometimes get it wrong."
Highs and Lows
Both carried the black and gold silks of the Johnnie Delta Racing Club at various stages in their careers.
"I’ve never known a year like it," said Goldie. "But we’ve had a lot of fun, with Jack Dexter winning at Ascot and with Jonny Delta the day Danny [Tudhope] jumped out and made the running, which we’d never done before. He set the fractions and they never caught him.
"We’ve had highs as well as lows. These old warriors are predictable and more often than not do what they say on the tin. They enjoy racing and keep coming back for more."
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