There are many dual purpose trainers, who get horses ready for flat or jump racing, but relatively few horses that race in both codes. Today, their number is one fewer, after Philip Hobbs' stable stalwart Fair Along sadly passed away after suffering a bout of colic.
In many respects, Fair Along was the successor in the Hobbs yard to another grand dual-purpose horse Detroit City. Indeed, he first came to the attention of many people when finishing runner up to his stablemate in the 2006 Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Fair Along was a regular at the Cheltenham Festival, appearing there eight years in a row; every festival since that Triumph Hurdle second. His final race was there just last month, when he finished in mid division in the Pertemps Hurdle final. Fair Along proved to be an almost horse, with placed finishes in the Arkle (2007) and Champion Chase (2008), and on the flat in both the Chester Cup and the Cesarewitch in 2007.
Fair Along contracted colic on Monday, and was immediately transferred from the stable to the Langford Veterinary Services clinic near Bristol. Hobbs released the sad news yesterday, saying, “He went up to Langford because of colic and unfortunately ended up dying there. Usually these things right themselves, but unfortunately in this case it didn’t. He has been an amazing horse to be so adaptable over all sorts of distances, hurdles and fences, and flat as well. He just missed out on winning a big one of several occasions.”
Hobbs revealed that owner Alan Peterson, for whom Fair Along has won over £400,000 in his 67-race career, had been thinking of retiring the horse. He added, “It’s extremely sad because he would still have had plenty of years doing something else. The Petersons have owned him all the time he’s been here and he had been brilliant for such a long time.”