Thursday January 17, 09:40 AM
Aintree great honoured
The extended three miles and one furlong handicap is named in honour of the great National Hunt trainer, Captain Tim Forster, who sadly died in April 2000.
Forster's family was steeped in racing tradition and he took out a license himself in 1962.
Operating for most of his career from Letcombe Basset in Oxfordshire, he sent out the winners of virtually all of jumping's great chases (he was always a chasing man), although the Cheltenham Gold Cup was one race to elude him.
Among his successes were three in the Grand National at Aintree.
These were Well To Do in 1972, Ben Nevis in 1982, and Last Suspect in 1985.
Other notable winners were Royal Marshall II, winner of the 1974 Hennessy Gold Cup and 1976 King George VI Chase, Pegwell Bay, the first horse to win the two big autumn Cheltenham races (now the Thomas Pink and Tripleprint Gold Cups) in the same season, and Martha's Son in the 1997 Queen Mother Champion Chase and Mumm Melling Chase (also at Aintree).
Forster had been fighting courageous battles against cancer and multiple sclerosis for a number of years and, in 1998, handed over training responsibilities to Henry Daly.
Even though he gained a reputation for having a pessimistic outlook, he was an enormously popular and modest man and the staging of a race in his honour pays testimony to this.
Twenty entries at the five-day stage suggest a field worthy of his name will appear on Saturday.
Topping the weights is Carbury Cross, trained by Jonjo O'Neill and, appropriately, the gelding carries the colours of Anne, Duchess of Westminster, those carried by Last Suspect to victory in the Grand National.
Copyright © 2002 TEAMtalk