Cliff Lines: Veteran trainer retires with a victory at Lingfield

Cliff Lines and Catapult
Lines had gone 559 days without a winner, but said he knew "he had Catapult in great shape"

Veteran trainer Cliff Lines bowed out after 70 years in racing with a winner when 4-1 joint favourite Catapult came home first at Lingfield.

Lines, 83, found himself trending on Twitter after an emotional farewell victory.

Catapult, aged four, claimed a three-quarter length win in the maiden handicap under jockey Hollie Doyle.

"I've been so lucky. I'm 84 on Valentine's Day but I wouldn't change anything," said the Newmarket trainer.

Lines, a regular gallops rider of the legendary Shergar in the 1980s, began his career as an apprentice jockey in 1949.

He was a work rider for Sir Michael Stoute when Shergar was in training.

Shergar, owned by the Aga Khan, won the Derby at Epsom by a record 10 lengths in 1981 but two years later was kidnapped by an armed gang.

"Shergar wins the Derby, and you need a telescope to see the rest," boomed the then BBC radio commentator Peter Bromley, who had forgotten his own binoculars that day.

The horse's disappearance in 1983 happened at the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and it is widely thought it was a botched blackmail plot by IRA terrorists.

Lines recalled sitting on Shergar when the horse was a two-year-old, in the year before his Derby triumph.

"He just gave you that special feel and after that little bit of work, the boss came walking up and I just said to him: 'I think this is the one you've been waiting for,'" said Lines.

"He just went from strength to strength."


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