This was the greatest race I ever saw.

Coincidentally, I'd rewatched the 2004 Tingle Creek after seeing a lovely photo of Moscow Flyer at 22, in his rug.

Picking up the running at the last of the railway fences, having travelled with an exuberance that belied his ten years, Moscow Flyer, roared on by his devoted fans, took the right-handed turn approaching the third-last.  Azertyuiop, his main rival, was tracking close up behind, while the largely underestimated Arkle winner, Well Chief, was firmly in contention; the young pretender locked onto the veteran Flyer.

After clearing the Pond Fence, another yell erupted as Geraghty peeked over his shoulder.  The noise exploded as Moscow looked like he was beginning to assert. He met the penultimate obstacle on the perfect stride, fluently jumping it and speeding away from the fence! Azertyuiop and Well Chief were being firmly driven but making little impression on the two-length leader.  Typically, Moscow appeared to be idling, ears upright as Barry asked him for one more effort at the final fence. Bless him - he didn't disappoint! With another foot-perfect leap, he kept his rivals at bay as they challenged, valiantly but vainly, up that sapping Sandown hill.  Moscow Flyer was always giving enough to maintain the advantage.

I remember thinking I'd never see another race like this again! Or see a crowd so joyously mental at the end of a race! We knew it wasn't just about Moscow keeping his Tingle Creek crown. It was about his racing legacy; about being the supreme 2-mile chaser of a hugely talented bunch. And of course, he had that five-falls touch of vulnerability that our great racing heroes have- that lock them into our hearts.

Now he's gone at 22, accompanied by a genuine outpouring of - yes - grief and wonderful memories. Jessie Harrington and Barry Geraghty have always acknowledged their debts to him. "The horse of a lifetime" "He kick-started my career." 

Well Moscow, I owe you too. For showing me what NH racing, at its best, could be: uplifting, breathtakingly thrilling and utterly enthralling. Rest in peace you lovely, brave lad. And thank-you.

Kate Austin