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RELUCTANT SUITOR. 17 February 1989. Shy Groom-Belaka. Owner-Joe Buzzeo.

Reluctant Suitor was a late developing flat bred horse, being by Shy Groom, a son of Blushing Groom, out of a Beldale Flutter mare. He was owned by one of Micky's long term, and loyal owners, Mr Joe Buzzeo,

Reluctant Suitor started his career in February 1993 on good to firm ground at Musselburgh, in a bumper, making the perfect start, coming home a length and a half clear. He was held in very high regard, as just three weeks later he contested the bumper at the Cheltenham Festival, finishing sixth of the 24 runners, beaten only 12 lengths, with Peter Niven in the saddle.His final start of the 1992-1993 season was two weeks later, this time contesting the prestigious bumper at Aintree's Grand National meeting, once again he showed what a bright future he had in front of him, by finishing forth, beaten only six lengths.

Reluctant Suitor returned after his Summer break, making his hurdles debut in October, under Chris Grant. He was a little ring rusty on debut, but still came through late to finish second to American Hero. He filled the same position once again two weeks later at Kelso, but this time he was doing his best work late on, and he also reversed form with American Hero, who this time was back in third. For his next race it was decided to change tactics, and in November at Newcastle, which is his owner, Joe Buzzeo's favourite racecourse, Reluctant Suitor made all of the running, winning at odds of 5/6. In December at Musselburgh with the same tactics employed, he doubled up.The hat trick was completed on his handicap debut, from a generous looking mark of 104, in January 1994, and at Musselburgh in February, he ran his best race yet, when easing down before the line to complete his four timer, taking his mark to 122. It was back to Cheltenham in March, this time contesting the Supreme Novices Hurdle, where he finished seventh of the 18 runners, beaten 18 lengths, but possibly still surpassing all of his previous form.

He returned to the track seven months later in October 1994, making his chase debut,and mirroring the start of his hurdles career, finished runner up on each of his first two starts. Unfortunately the story came to an abrupt end on his third chase start at Doncaster in December, when in contention, he fell fatally at the fifth last fence. We will never know what Reluctant Suitor might have gone on to achieve, buts lets just be thankful for the memories he left us.

To keep up to date with all the latest happenings at Oakwood Stables, Sharp Hill, and Curlew, click on 'NEWS' at www.mickyhammondracing.

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