You have to go back to Royal Ascot in 2009 to find the last time that Forgotten Voice won a race. That was in the Royal Hunt Cup, when the victory was summed up by the Sporting Life website as “Forgotten Voice lived up to his billing as a Group horse by strolling right away with the Royal Hunt Cup.”
Things didn’t quite work out that way for the horse, and in nine subsequent races on the flat, seven of them at top level, he placed fourth in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes the same year, and claimed second and third places in two Group 3 races. Tonight, in a lowly novice hurdle race at Bangor, he makes his first appearance, after three days shy of two years off the racetrack. There won’t be any packed grandstands, nor empty ones, as viewing at Bangor is from a grassy bank; there are no stands at all.
In that time Susan Roy’s horse has had problems with his legs and three months ago he moved to Nicky Henderson’s yard. His new trainer said, “He’s a lovely big horse and I’ve had a couple that have come off the flat for the owners. We’ll see how he takes to it – given his age (Forgotten Voice is seven now) you’d think he’d stay further these days. If he stays, and he should do at Bangor, who knows how good he could be.”
One thing that does continue is the engagement of a top rider. On the flat Richard Hughes, Frankie Dettori and Johnny Murtagh shared primarily those duties. Tonight it’s AP McCoy who is on board, so Henderson is sure to get some very clear feedback on the scope for his new charge, however well he does in his first outing over jumps.