|Moscow Flyer is a thoroughbred racehorse out of Meelick Lady by Moscow Society. He was born around 1994 in Ireland, and was bred by Edward Joyce.|
Royal Bond Novice Hurdle (1999)|
Punchestown Champion Novice Hurdle (2000)
Morgiana Hurdle (2000)
December Festival Hurdle (2000)
Punchestown Champion Hurdle (2000)
Denny Gold Medal Novice Chase (2001)
Craddockstown Novice Chase (2001)
Arkle Challenge Trophy (2002)
Swordlestown Cup Novice Chase (2002)
Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase (2002, 2003)
Tied Cottage Chase (2003, 2005)
Queen Mother Champion Chase (2003, 2005)
Fortria Chase (2003, 2004)
Tingle Creek Chase (2003, 2004)
Melling Chase (2004, 2005)
Punchestown Champion Chase (2004)
|Horse (Equus ferus caballus)|
Moscow Flyer was a top-class National Hunt horse over distances between 2 miles and 2 1/2 miles (3.2–4 km). He won the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2003 and 2005, the Tingle Creek Chase in 2003 and 2004 and the Arkle Challenge Trophy in 2002. He was trained by Jessica Harrington and Barry Geraghty was his jockey during almost all his successes.
He started off as a close to top-class hurdler. He won the 2000 December Festival Hurdle claiming the notable scalp of Istabraq who fell at the last when in contention. Moscow Flyer himself went on to fall two out in that season's Grade 1 AIG Europe Champion Hurdle when in contention although Istabraq was still in control, but only just. The effect of Foot and Mouth ruined his chance at the Champion Hurdle with the Cheltenham Festival abandoned.
Moscow Flyer returned in the 2001/2002 season as a novice chaser. His record coming into the Arkle Challenge Trophy was mixed. He had won three races but also fallen twice. Consequently, Seebald went off as favourite. However, Moscow Flyer won easily by four lengths. That year's Champion Hurdle was won with a Racing Post Rating four below Moscow Flyer's highest rating of 170 achieved the previous April at Punchestown. Admittedly, that Champion Hurdle lost the first and second favourites in unfortunate and tragic circumstances respectively.
He returned to the Festival for the 2003 Queen Mother Champion Chase. He'd won four races out of five that season. His only defeat had been an unlucky one. Reigning champion Flagship Uberalles made a very bad mistake at one fence in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown. Moscow Flyer was behind him and was unable to avoid running into the back of him and unshipping Barry Geraghty. He started as a short-priced 7/4 favourite for the Champion Chase and won very impressively by 7 lengths.
Moscow Flyer won his first three races of the season and again was the favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase. He started at 5/6F while his main rival Azertyuiop was the 15/8 second favourite. His rival had won the previous season's Arkle Challenge Trophy and the race was seen as a match between the two despite the presence of Flagship Uberalles and Tiutchev. However, Moscow Flyer made a horrible mistake four out and gave Geraghty no chance of staying on him. Azertyuiop went on to an easy victory.
Moscow Flyer returned the next year to try to be the first horse in many years to regain the Queen Mother Champion Chase. He retained his Tingle Creek Chase crown and broke his odd record of falling every four races. His form had gone 111F111U111U111U111. This showed his class and his tendency to make mistakes. Reopposing him were Azertyuiop at 2/1 and a new challenger in the previous year's Arkle Challenge Trophy winner Well Chief at 7/2. Strong betting support on the day made Moscow Flyer the 6/4 favourite. The confrontation between the three horses was one that racing fans had looked forward to for months. Azertyuiop made an uncharacteristic mistake at the water jump and although he came third he was not in contention for the last half of the race. Moscow Flyer went on to hold off the determined challenge of Well Chief to the cheers of his fans. His subsequent win at Aintree was his seventh in a row. Moscow Flyer lost by a short-head at Punchestown to Rathgar Beau on 26 April 2005. Many thought that there would be a dead heat but the stewards awarded the race to Rathgar Beau. This horse was the first to beat Moscow Flyer when he didn't fall since Colonel Yeagar on 18 April 2001. That had been four years and 25 races ago!
Moscow Flyer was aimed to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase for a third time. However, it appeared that age may be catching up with him. He was already older than most top-class 2 milers are at the peak of their form (as indeed he was the year before when dismissing Well Chief, (the current favourite for the 2007 renewal) and the now retired Azertyioup. He suffered another defeat to Central House at Navan in the Fortria Chase, a defeat clear rm the landing after the last, that silenced the crowd. A further defeat followed in December by Hi Cloy at Leopardstown in an eventful race, best remembered for Roger Loughran's mistake as to the whereabouts of the finishing line. Subsequently, Moscow Flyer ran in the Champion Chase entering the field without a win that year, with the vibes leading up to the race being more hopeful than his form appeared to suggest they should be. He went off at 5/1 and finished fifth ( beating amongst others the faller, Kauto Star,by virtue of staying on his feet). To claim that Moscow was unable to maintain his position at a critical time in the race might flatter him a little on his final run, nonetheless, running on boldly down the hill, he eventually was run out of the places and rightly eased in the shadow of the post by his erstwhile jockey Barry Geraghty. A gallant fifth place saw him denied the chance to enter the winner's enlcosure one final time. He was retired immediately after the race, while still on the scene of some of his greatest triumphs- not in his pomp but with the cheers and applause of his legions of followers ringing out for him; his like, they believe, and rightly perhaps too, we will be lucky to see again.
He has since spent some time as a pin up pony for retired racehorses in Ireland, enjoying his summer fairs and the chance to dance once more in front of his numerous followers. He was in good health on a return to Sandown in 2006 for a parade before the Tingle Creek- and again before the Champion Chase at Cheltenham.
In April 2007, in the closing race of the Punchestown Festival, a 2 Mile Charity Flat Race, Moscow Flyer recorded his first ever flat victory. Ridden by the Irish 18 year old Kate Harrington, 'Moscow' won comfortably and was giving a rousing reception in the winners' enclosure post race in what was a fitting farewell for a true Champion.
Moscow Flyer is now in retirement with the Irish Horse Welfare Trust (IHWT) at their farm in Woodenbridge, Co Wicklow. He makes public appearances for the Charity to help promote the work of the equine welfare charity and has many visitors throughout the year.