RACING DIGEST: THE IRISH Grand National-winning trainer and former successful amateur jockey John Fowler was tragically killed in an accident at his farm in Summerhill, Co Meath, yesterday.
Fowler, a brother of the leading trainer Jessica Harrington, is believed to have been cutting down a tree when it fell on him.
The 62-year-old was a successful trainer for many years and enjoyed his greatest success when Maid Of Money won the 1989 Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.
Maid Of Money was ridden by the late Anthony Powell and won at odds of 10 to 1 from Candy Well and Have A Barney.
Another good mare trained by Fowler was the prolific winner Opera Hat.
"It's a terrible shock and he is a huge loss," said the Horse Racing Ireland chief executive Brian Kavanagh last night.
"He was a great contributor to various programmes and committees within the industry, one of those men who gave of their time for the good of the entire game.
"I dealt with him frequently because he became a director of Fairyhouse again when HRI took it over in 2004 and I found him to be a total gentleman," he added.
Fowler was one of the leading amateur jockeys of his generation and rode 250 winners as well as over 200 point-to-point winners.
His victories included back-to-back wins in Cheltenham's National Hunt Chase when the Mick O'Toole-trained Gay Tie won in 1978 with Dan Moore's Arctic Ale scoring in 1979.
The Fowler family have hosted the Meath Hunt and Tara Harriers point-to-point meeting on their land each April.
• Mouse Morris has confirmed he is giving the Stan James King George VI Chase at Kempton on St Stephen's Day serious consideration for War Of Attrition after walking the track yesterday morning.
The 2006 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner's return from a two-year absence has to go down as a huge success having won twice and finished a creditable third in the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase last Tuesday. He will step back up to three miles in either the King George or Leopardstown's Lexus Chase over the Christmas period, but Morris is keeping his options open.
"He seems in good form with himself at home and has been fine since Punchestown," said Morris yesterday. "I walked Kempton this morning and the ground is goodish so he will definitely be confirmed for the race.
"The ground is the key to him and we'll just see which way the weather goes before deciding where to go."
The nine-year-old is a best-priced 25 to 1 for the race.
Alan King believes there is no better opportunity to try Voy Por Ustedes over three miles than in the same Kempton feature. The former Queen Mother Champion Chase winner has not attempted such a distance before but the sponsors make him the 9 to 2 second-favourite behind the hat-trick chasing Kauto Star.
"You can't guarantee he'll stay but if he's ever going to get it, it will be at Kempton. The more it dries out at the track the more it suits me as he is a much better horse on better ground," said King.
"He'll either get three miles or he won't - if he doesn't we might look at the Ryanair - but the plan has always been the King George and I'm not thinking beyond it."
• A decision is expected today on the rescheduling of the Boylesports.com International Hurdle. Efforts are being made to save the Grade Two contest after Cheltenham was abandoned due to waterlogging at the weekend.
The British Horseracing Authority was in talks throughout yesterday with all the interested parties (sponsors, trainers individual racecourses and racecourse groups).
BHA PR manager Paul Struthers said: "We understand that delaying the announcement is not ideal but, contrary to some people's view, rescheduling races is not a simple process.
"We have spent a large amount of time and effort today co-ordinating attempts to reschedule the race to the satisfaction of the sponsor, racecourses and connections.
"As far as we were concerned, rescheduling to Cheltenham on January 24th was a non-starter, coming some seven weeks after the original date, let alone it being only a week after the Haydock Champion Hurdle Trial and the day before the Irish Champion Hurdle."
An original nine-strong field had included last season's Champion Hurdle winner Katchit and Binocular, the current ante-post favourite for next March's renewal.
Katchit's trainer Alan King hopes the race takes place at Cheltenham's meeting on January 1st. "I don't want to run him at Kempton on Boxing Day (Christmas Hurdle) and if they do choose to reschedule the race, running it on New Year's Day at Cheltenham would fit into our plans."