27 March 1988.
Valiant Warrior was bred to be a decent middle distance performer on the flat, and over the course of a 62 race career, he performed on the flat, over hurdles, and fences, including hunter chases.
His career began in September 1990, in the care of trainer Henry Candy, finishing midfield in a seven furlong two year old maiden at Leicester. After three runs he was given a handicap mark of 70, but it would take until October of his three year old season, on his 12th start at Chepstow, before he finally got his head in front. It was on his final start for the Candy yard in his next race, that he probably ran his best race, off a mark of 71, he stayed on strongly, over 12 furlongs.
Now with David Nicholson he began his hurdling career in January 1992, finishing third at Kempton, but not convincing that a win was imminent. He was disappointing in his next three attempts, but still lined up in the 1992 'Daily Express Triumph Hurdle,' finishing 20 of the 30 runners.
Valiant Warrior was purchased by Micky in the Summer of 1992, and had three runs without success on the flat. He made his hurdles debut for the yard at Wetherby in October, going off at 11/4 favourite, he made all under Peter Niven, coming home five lengths clear of One Man, (yes, you did read that correctly.) There was no doubt that Valiant Warrior was a very talented horse, but he also had a mind of his own, and in three further runs, he failed to get competitive.
He made his chase debut a winning one at Perth in August 1993, quickly following up at Bangor, followed by a staying on second at Cheltenham, and then winning a handicap at Haydock, his rating was now a generous looking 109, either he had matured, or fences had sweetened his attitude up. Unfortunately he missed the following year through injury,returning in November 1994, having seven runs, winning three, and placing in all of the others, his mark had now climbed to 125.
After his Summer break, he returned at Wetherby in December 1995,and his consistency, and improvement continued apace, winning a further two races, and taking his mark up to 139. In December 1996, on his return for the following season, he started with a second at Haydock, and a third at Newbury, he was now probably in the grip of the handicapper. His final start of the 1996-1997 season was a tilt at the Grand National, from a mark of 152, probably not seeing out the four miles and four furlongs, he still finished a very gallant tenth in Lord Gyllene's year.
Valiant Warrior was 11 years old when returning for the 1998 season, and was finding life hard from a mark of 133, but the handicapper did relent, and in March 1999 he got his head in front for the 11th, and final time at Newcastle off 115.
Injury struck again, but it was decided to go down the hunter chase route for one last hurrah, He contested the Martell Fox Hunters Chase at Aintree, in April, but got no further than the first fence when falling.In February 2001, at the age of 13 he was second at Musselburgh, under Adrian Maguire, and he finished his career at Perth on the 15th May 2001, when pulling up lame.
Valliant Warrior was one of the very best horses to fly the flag for Oakwood Stables, and a credit to his very proud owner Paul Sellars.
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