04 April 2018
Hello, my name’s Looks Like Trouble, and I won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2000 with Richard Johnson riding. He’s on holiday this week and he’s asked me to fill in for him by writing this week’s blog. He was so pleased to win the Gold Cup on Native River after waiting 18 years since he winning on me. We thought we should also look back at my win.
I’d started off in Irish point-to-points and came over to England to be trained by Noel Chance, who’d won the Gold Cup with Mr Mulligan a few years before. I wasn’t much of a hurdler and my chasing career didn’t start very well, but suddenly it all clicked. I won two novice chases and then the Royal & Sun Alliance at the Cheltenham Festival by 30 lengths.
Next season wasn’t entirely plain sailing and that may have been why, in the week before the Gold Cup, Mr Chance decided to change jockeys. Richard came to Lambourn for a schooling session. That was the first time he rode me. We got on fine.
I felt I was travelling easily during the Gold Cup – I admit to making one mistake on the first circuit – but Richard thought I wasn’t concentrating enough on the job in hand and gave me a few reminders. It was just as well. Our main rival was Florida Pearl, was a very good horse who won numerous Group 1s. However, he couldn’t quite stay the three miles two and a half furlongs of the Gold Cup as well as me. He took a narrow lead two out but on the run to the last I thought, “I’m going better than he is.” I jumped it well and won by five lengths.
There was something similar about Richard’s victory on Native River. In both cases he was riding a galloper with guaranteed stamina who could jump really well, against a classy type with a bit of speed.
Next season I felt better than ever when we won at Down Royal, but after that I had more and more problems with my legs. Mr Chance got me back to win by a street at Wincanton after a year off, and they made me favourite for the 2002 Gold Cup, but to be frank I wasn’t quite the same after that injury. Though I led for a lot of the race Richard wasn’t hard on me when it became obvious I couldn’t get in the frame.
I had one run on the flat – in the Queen Alexandra at Royal Ascot, would you believe – before being retired. Then I came to live with Richard and his family. You know Richard married Mr Chance’s daughter, Fiona. I like to think I played my part in bringing them together. They’ve treated me very well. I’m 26 now, so I’m getting on a bit. I’m quite easy to deal with, though I say so myself. The children ride me every now and then – they’re nice and light. I like going out into the fields every day and pottering about. I’ve got a nice warm stable to go back into in the evening, where I can take it easy and dream about that great day in 2000.