"The only time he loses is when he goes out too fast," said trainer Burley Cocks, whose Deux Coup waited until the top of the stretch to make its winning move in the Grand National Steeple chase today before a Fair Hill crowd of close to 10.000.
"I didn't want to wait too long," addedjockey Tommy Skiffington, "I knew Jerry (Fishback) had a come-from-behind horse in Leaping Frog."
The combination of two come-from-behind horses in Deux Coup and Leaping Frog, plus steady Naval Person and front-runner Happy Intellectual, made for one of the best Grand Nationals since its inception at the old Morris Park track in New York in 1899.
At the finish of the 2 1/2-mile 18-jump steeplechase only a neck separated winner Deux Coup from runner-up Naval Person with Leaping Frog another head behind and Happy Intellectual barely two lengths off in fourth place.
The field for the feature of the second day of racing at the Fair Hill fall meeting was first class. Included among the also ran's was last year's steeplechase associations's top horse, Fire Control.
"He was dead tired," said rider Doug Small Jr. of Fire Control, "but it's his first race since the Colonial Cup last fall . . . We expect a lot of him in the next few months."
Joe Aithcheson, who had taken a bad fall with Cultivating two races before and had his thumb broken when a horse stepped on it, took the favored Happy Intellectual to the top immediately and kept him there through 17 of the 18 fences.
John Cushman, on Naval Person, passed him going into the last fence, but suddenly Deux Coup passed Naval Person in the air at the jump. Down the stretch Deux Coup battled furiously to keep ahead of Naval Person while Leaping Frog, winner of the Manly here last Saturday, caught Happy Intellectual near the wire to get the show.
Deux Coup, a highly regarded but lightly raced 5-year-old owned by Mrs. Miles Valentine has had its best luck around this area. He won the Kent at Fair Hill and the Summer Crop at Delware Park last year and debuted this year with a turf victory here last Saturday.