Dream ending as Shergar’s work rider Cliff Lines goes out on a high

Well-backed Catapult makes all at Lingfield

  • Wednesday 30 January
  • News
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Shergar’s former work rider Cliff Lines ended a 70-year career in racing with a winner as Catapult made every yard of the running in the sunracing.co.uk Maiden Handicap at Lingfield.

Lines was regarded as one of the best work riders in the business and was employed by Sir Michael Stoute and Sir Noel Murless, among others.

As well as 1981 Derby winner Shergar, Lines was associated with the likes of Shareef Dancer, Sonic Lady and J O Tobin before taking out his own licence to train eight years ago.

With his 84th birthday next month, Lines – who started out as an apprentice in 1949 – has decided now is the time to retire and with Hollie Doyle in the saddle the well-backed 4-1 joint-favourite defied a wide draw to make all.

“After I saw the way he jumped I was confident he’d win,” Lines told Sky Sports Racing.

“Hollie gave him a great ride, it’s her first winner for me.

“I was reasonably confident coming here, we just thought the draw was bad, but it turned out good.

“He was so well coming here, he was showing how well he was and everything has gone right.

“I can’t believe how quick he came out of the stalls – I thought it must have been a false start. It’s a great ending, terrific.”

He went on: “Shergar, J O Tobin, Sonic Lady, Shareef Dancer – they were all very good horses for Mr Stoute, and I rode some at Mr (Geoff) Lewis’ too.

“Riding horses like that – you can’t describe it, it was the best feeling in the world and I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.

“I’m 84 next month, on Valentine’s Day. Maybe my son will come over now, he’s been leading trainer in Malaysia for the last three or four years, doing very well.

“I wouldn’t have thought he’d train here, he’s better off where he is.

“I tried to give him advice, but now he gives it to me!”

Doyle said: “It’s a bit of a fairytale ending for Cliff.

“He jumped the gates well, which he always does, and I managed to get a breather into him today which I didn’t manage the last day when I got taken on.

“I could feel them coming, it’s the story of his life – always getting caught in the dying strides – but he held on today.

“It’s great for Cliff and special for me, he’s given me so many chances but before this I had never ridden him a winner.”

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