All the news from Gold Cup Day 2019

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GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

 

DRY NIGHT MEANS A GOING CHANGE TO GOOD SOFT

 

On the morning of Gold Cup Day, the final day of The Festival™ presented by Magners 2019, Cheltenham’s Clerk of the Course, Simon Claisse, changed the official going description to reflect the weather conditions overnight.

 

He said: “As anticipated, we’ve had a dry night. It was quite breezy so we updated the ground this morning at 6am to Good to Soft all round on both the Chase and Hurdle courses.

 

“The outlook for today is mostly dry – there may be a little light drizzle – but breezy, so that ground could well dry out throughout during the day.

 

“It will depend on what rainfall we do have, but if we get as little as is forecast, I think we will end up with Good to Soft, Good in places at some stage during the afternoon.

 

“We’ve opened up fresh ground on the Chase course, which is about seven or eight yards all the way round. The ground looks in superb condition for what should be a fantastic afternoon’s racing, with our first Magners-sponsored Cheltenham Gold Cup as the highlight.”

 

 

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GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

Whirlwind price record for a jumping filly

 

A four-year-old filly called My Whirlwind was sold for a record £400,000 in the winner’s enclosure at Cheltenham yesterday evening during Tattersalls’ Festival Sale.

 

The price was the highest given for a jumping filly or mare, beating the £320,000 at the same event two years ago for Maire Banrigh, who has won two hurdle races this season for trainer Dan Skelton

 

The new record-holder had won her only race to date, a point-to-point at Ballycahane in Ireland just under two weeks ago. She was knocked down to the sales’ company’s Matt Mitchell, who was taking instructions by phone, and said later he was acting for Nicky Henderson. The Lambourn trainer could not divulge which of his patrons is the new owner, but said: “We like mares and we like mares’ races – there is a good programme for them now.”

 

My Whirlwind was almost certainly bought with a return to The Festival in mind, and she has the credentials to tackle the NH Breeders Supported By Tattersalls Mares’ Novices Hurdle or the G1 OLBG Hurdle – or possibly the G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle or G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.

 

She had been through a Tattersalls’ sales ring twice before, selling for €7,000 as a foal and €42,000 as an unbroken three-year-old at the Derby Sale. The buyer was Pat Turley, who trained her to win at Ballycahane and sold her last night.

 

Bloodstock agent Tom Malone and Paul Nicholls teamed up to by four-year-old gelding Bravemansgame for £370,000 – he had won an Irish point-to-point at Lingstown on Sunday for trainer Donnchadh Doyle, who bought him last year for €48,000.

 

On a highly-rewarding evening for Doyle he also sold another horse who made a winning start at the weekend. Farouk D’Alene was knocked down to agent Mags O’Toole and trainer Gordon Elliott for £260,000, having been bought last year when unbroken for £34,000.

 

Venetia Williams was another trainer hunting for fresh recruits on behalf of owners in her yard, and after teaming up with bloodstock agent Matt Coleman she paid £220,000 for four-year-old pointer Hold That Taught a half-brother to the very smart racemare Banjaxed Girl, and £200,000 for Crypto a five-year-old who won a bumper at Newcastle for Micky Hammond’s stable.

 

Two four-year-old British point-to-pointers changed hands – Ramillies was sold by Tom Lacey to Willie Mullins for £215,000, and Presence Of Mind left Fran Nimmo’s yard bound for Olly Murphy’s stable having made £70,000.

 

At the sale’s conclusion turnover has risen 8% to £3,410,000, the average had gained 3% to £162,381, while the median added 2%, reaching £150,000. Twenty-one of the 23 lots found a buyer and 14 sold for £100,000 or more.

 

Tattersalls’ Director of Horses in Training Sales, Richard Pugh commented: “Tonight’s trade was phenomenal. It was such a thrill to sell the highest priced point-to-point mare on record. This sale’s stage is second to none; the atmosphere, the excitement and adrenalin witnessed in this very winner’s enclosure was magically mirrored at tonight’s sale and we wish vendors and purchasers alike the very best of luck.”

 

For full results from yesterday’s sale, go to www.tattersalls.com.

 

 

 

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GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

 

THREE DAYS OF SPORTING MAGIC AND THE BEST IS STILL TO COME

 

What a week it’s been, and it’s not over. If past experience is anything to go by the best is yet to come, with a Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup as open as any in recent times and a supporting card offering something for everyone.

 

Even the weather has been kinder than it might have been, and it’s hard to credit that only three days ago we were gloomily preparing ourselves for Wednesday’s racing to be called off and the card to be transferred lock, stock and barrel to Saturday.

 

Champion Day got off to a brilliant start, with Klassical Dream looking an outstanding winner of the G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle despite doing plenty wrong, and we’ve scarcely looked back.

 

The G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle did not disappoint, even though none of the market principals were involved at the finish. This time last year few of us were aware of Espoir D’Allen, and his farrier trainer Gavin Cromwell had barely had a Festival runner, but the five-year-old won by the widest margin in history and looked the real deal.

 

On Ladies Day we woke to the news that the inspection had been brought forward and racing was to go ahead, and from that point onwards it got better and better.

 

Altior has become a huge favourite with racegoers on both sides of the Irish Sea, just as Sprinter Sacre was, and after battling much harder than expected for his second G1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase and fourth successive win at The Festival he returned to a hero’s reception and a rousing round of ‘three cheers’.

 

Less than an hour later Randox Health Grand National winner Tiger Roll also added a fourth Festival win to his extraordinary CV when repeating last year’s win in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase in effortless fashion, and he too was accorded a reception of Altior proportions.

 

Some regard the St Patrick’s Day card as the Festival’s weakest, yet as we left the course many of us were struggling to recall a better day.

 

In what has been christened Cheltenham’s ‘golden hour’ Bryony Frost became the first female to ride a top-level win over obstacles at the Festival with a fabulous victory on Frodon in the G1 Ryanair Chase, and owner Andrew Gemmell, blind since birth, celebrated with unbridled joy as Paisley Park delivered a first win at the same level for Emma Lavelle and Aidan Coleman in the G1 Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle.

 

Pure sporting magic.

 

 

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GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

 

Female Jockeys at The Festival

Bryony Frost’s victory on Frodon in the G1 Ryanair Chase on St Patrick’s Thursday is the most high-profile victory by a female rider at The Festival and the first in a Grade One chase or hurdle race at the meeting.

 

It was Frost’s second win at The Festival, following on Pacha Du Polder’s victory in the 2017 St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase when she was an amateur rider.

 

Rachael Blackmore, another professional jockey and second in the Irish Jump jockeys’ championship, was the first female rider to succeed at The Festival 2019, partnering A Plus Tard to win the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase on Tuesday.

 

There was a third female success when Lizzie Kelly partnered Siruh Du Lac to victory in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase on St Patrick’s Thursday.

2018 was the best year yet for female jockeys at The Festival, with four victories, each provided by a different rider – with Lizzie Kelly becoming the first professional female jockey to triumph, followed by Bridget Andrews, while amateurs Harriet Tucker and Katie Walsh, who retired from race riding the following month, also enjoyed memorable victories.

 

Another leading Irish amateur, Nina Carberry, who has the best record of any female rider at The Festival with seven wins, also stepped back from race riding in April, 2018.

 

Overall: 15 winning female jockeys, with 26 winners between them

 

First: Miss Caroline Beasley – Eliogarty, 1983 Foxhunter Chase.

 

First professional rider: Lizzie Kelly – Coo Star Sivola, 2018 Ultima Handicap Chase.

 

Most successful: Ms Nina Carberry, 7 winners.

 

First Grade One winner – Ms Katie Walsh – 2018 Weatherbys Champion Bumper

 

First Grade One chase winner – Bryony Frost – Frodon – 2019 Ryanair Chase

 

Best race: St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase – 2018 Miss Harriet Tucker; 2017 Miss Bryony Frost; 2016 & 2015 Ms Nina Carberry; 2004 Miss Rilly Goschen; 2002 Mrs Fiona Needham; 1995 Miss Polly Curling; 1989 Miss Katie Rimell; 1983 Miss Caroline Beasley.

 

Today’s Runners

As mentioned above, 2018 was the best year to date for female jockeys with four winners across the four days. With three winners already on the board in 2019, there is a realistic chance of that record being equalled or bettered with 13 contenders having a female rider today:

 

2.10pm Randox Health County Handicap HurdleMohaayed (Bridget Andrews), Due Reward (Rachael Blackmore), Monsieur Lecoq (Lizzie Kelly)

 

2.50pm Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

Minella Indo (Rachael Blackmore)

 

4.10pm St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase

Haymount (Miss Gina Andrews), Pacha Du Polder (Miss Harriet Tucker), Samanntom (Miss Susie Doyle), Southfield Theatre (Miss Lily Bradstock), Sybarite (Miss Lilly Pinchin), Top Wood (Miss Tabitha Worsley)

 

4.50pm Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase

Mind’s Eye (Rachael Blackmore), Brelan D’As (Bryony Frost)

 

5.30pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

If You Say Run (Bryony Frost)

F4.

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GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

 

RIVER OUT TO DEFEND HIS CROWN

 

Richard Johnson is hopeful of a good performance from defending champion Native River in Jump racing’s Blue Riband event, the £625,000 G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup (3.30pm).

 

Colin Tizzard’s charge captured the three and a quarter-mile event with a thrilling four and a half-length victory under Johnson last season and he has run respectably in two races this term. Second to Bristol De Mai in the G1 Betfair Chase on his seasonal debut in November, the nine-year-old son of indian River was a staying-on third in the G1 King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.

 

Native River is bidding to become the first horse since Best Mate (2002, 2003 & 2004) to retain his Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup crown.

 

Britain’s champion Jump jockey said: “Native River is in great form. This season, we haven’t really had conditions which have suited him, but the rain has come in recent weeks.

 

“Going left-handed and this extended three miles and two furlong trip will suit and hopefully he can have a repeat of last year.”

 

Native River will be joined in the Gold Cup by stable companions Elegant Escape, winner of the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow in December and Thistlecrack, who chased home Clan Des Obeaux in the G1 King George VI Chase.

 

Thistlecrack’s rider Tom Scudamore said: “He has run very well so far this season and it was a good performance at Kempton. He’s in good order and hopefully he can run well.”

 

The Nicky Henderson-trained Might Bite has yet to recapture his high-class form of last season, which included a G1 King George VI Chase win, before he chased home Native River in Jump racing’s Blue Riband event.

 

His jockey Nico de Boinville commented: “Might Bite needs to improve from his last two runs this season, however on the form of last year, you’d like to think he comes here with a chance. If he could put up a run like he did last year, we would be very happy.”

 

Paul Nicholls’ Clan Des Obeaux has emerged as the rising star this term, backing up his success in the King George with an emphatic victory in the G2 Betfair Denman Chase at Ascot last time. He will partnered by Harry Cobden, who added: “I’m really looking forward to riding Clan Des Obeaux. I schooled him this week, he’s in great form.

 

“He’s had the perfect preparation and had a lovely run round Ascot last time – I’m just looking forward to the big race, hopefully he well and comes back safe and sound.”

 

MAGNERS CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP LANDMARKS

 

● Willie Mullins may be the most successful trainer in the history of The Festival™ presented by Magners, with 64 wins to date – one more than Nicky Henderson – but, unlike his British rival, Mullins has yet to conquer the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup. He has trained six runners-up of the G1 £625,000 race, but not a winner. He has four horses in this year’s contest (Kemboy (David Mullins), Belshill (Ruby Walsh), Al Boum Photo (Paul Townend) and Invitation Only (Patrick Mullins)). Henderson, who has been victorious in two Magners Cheltenham Gold Cups with Bobs Worth (2013) and Long Run (2011), runs last year’s second-placed Might Bite (Nico de Boinville).

 

● Paul Nicholls, who runs Clan Des Obeaux (Harry Cobden), is the most successful current trainer in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup. He has won it four times: See More Business (1999), Kauto Star (2007 and 2009) and Denman (2008). If Nicholls wins today, he will equal Tom Dreaper’s record as the race’s most successful trainer ever, which has stood since 1968.

 

● Five of the jockeys riding in this year’s Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup have already been successful in the race. Ruby Walsh, who rides Belshill, took it in 2007 and 2009 aboard Kauto Star, while Richard Johnson won in 2000 (Looks Like Trouble) and 2018 (Native River). Johnson attempts to defend his title on Native River this afternoon. Davy Russell will try to win his second Gold Cup – he first scored on Lord Windermere in 2014, and rides Presenting Percy this year. Barry Geraghty is another dual winner (Kicking King, 2005 and Bobs Worth, 2013); he is in the Tony Martin-trained Anibale Fly’s saddle today. Nico de Boinville’s record in the race is excellent – from two rides, he has won once (Coneygree in 2015) and finished second (Might Bite, 2018). He rides Might Bite again.

 

● Four jockeys are having their first Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup rides: Jonathan Burke (Double Shuffle), Charlie Deutsch (Yala Enki), Tom O’Brien (Elegant Escape) – and Harry Cobden, who rides the well-fancied Clan Des Obeaux.

 

● Five horses in this year’s Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup have already scored at previous Festivals. Native River, of course, is the returning Gold Cup hero of last year. Might Bite took the G1 2017 RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase. Shattered Love, trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Jack Kennedy, won the G1 JLT Novices’ Chase in 2018. Thistlecrack (Colin Tizzard/Tom Scudamore) was successful in the G1 2016 Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle. And the Pat Kelly-trained Presenting Percy has two Festival victories to his record from two appearances – the 2017 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle and the 2018 G1 RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase.

 

● If Native River repeats his 2018 triumph, he will become the eighth horse to win more than one Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup. Golden Miller won it five times, from 1932-36, and Arkle (1964-66), Best Mate (2002-04) and Cottage Rake (1948-50) recorded three victories. Easter Hero (1929-30) and L’Escargot (1970-71) both won twice.

 

FROST REFLECTS ON FRODON

 

Bryony Frost was still on cloud nine when reflecting on Frodon’s victory in yesterday’s G1 £350,000 Ryanair Chase on this morning’s The Opening Show on ITV.

 

Trained by Paul Nicholls, Frost and the seven-year-old son of Nickname made nearly all of the running in the two mile and five furlong event, staying on gamely up the Cheltenham hill to record a length and a quarter-victory.

 

Frost became the first woman to ride a G1 winner over hurdles or chases at The Festival™ presented by Magners aboard Frodon and she was effusive in her praise of the gelding when discussing yesterday’s thrilling success.

 

She said: “I stopped off with the family to celebrate Frodon’s success at the Gloucester services to have a burger and a coke.

 

“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I text Clifford [Baker, assistant trainer] to see how Frodon was this morning and he was A1. He was squealing going down to the walker, so he’s King Kong in Ditcheat this morning and so he should be!

 

“It’s mad to be on the front pages. The world has just blown up since that win. It’s cool as for a little while I can let everyone see it from my eyes and to see what an achievement it is here.

 

“Frodon’s win means a lot. That’s not because of who we are or whatever, it is just about the equine athletes and the supremacy of them. To be able to say Frodon is the best and that he won the Ryanair is very special.”

 

Frost is based with Ditcheat handler Paul Nicholls and she is hoping for a big run from the progressive Clan Des Obeaux, ridden by Harry Cobden, in today’s £625,000 G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup (3.30pm).

 

She continued: “Clan Des Obeaux has got the class. As soon as he walked into Ditcheat, he was labelled a Gold Cup horse.

 

“Paul’s horses are in great form and it’s another big day for the team. He will give it a good shout. OK he has to prove he can win round Cheltenham, but he is a more mature horse now.”

 

Frost rides Brelan D’As in the G3 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (4.50pm) and If You Say Run, both for Nicholls, in the concluding Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (5.30pm).

 

 

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GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

 

BRYONY IS PURE GOLD FOR THE PRESS

 

Derby Day, Grand National Saturday and Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Day at The Festival- the trio of peaks in British racing, and brought to you by today’s racing press.

 

Horse racing in glorious colour gallops through the pages, with tips and previews of today’s famous G1 steeplechase, reviews of yesterday’s storming action, and photographs that depict the thrill of racing for the thousands of racegoers who flock to the Cotswolds.

 

‘Going for Gold’ is a headline on the front of the Western Daily Press, alongside a photo of last year’s big-race winner Native River, but that publication was always likely to lead on West Country star, Bryony Frost, who became the first woman to land a G1 race over fences or hurdles at The Festival when riding Frodon to victory in the Ryanair Chase. ‘Bryony makes Festival history’ is the paper’s headline alongside a shot of the jockey, her arms raised.

 

Frost has three hand manoeuvres; palm across mouth in disbelief (as witnessed by a photo in The Guardian), thumbs up and fore-fingers down. She often uses the latter to point at the head of the winners she rides, a signal that they, and not her, deserve the crowd’s appreciation. The Daily Telegraph’s racing special opts for a fingers-down photo showing Frost and Frodon entering the winner’s enclosure. ‘First lady’ is the headline.

 

Frost makes the front cover of The Times, and also of the same paper’s Cheltenham Festival pull-out, which is devoted to a shot of Frodon being driven to the line alongside the headline ‘Trailblazer’. The Daily Telegraph describes the jockey as ‘Wonder woman’ in its front-page acknowledgement of her win.

 

Not that Frost is the only richly-talented female from the West Country, as Devon’s Lizzie Kelly reminded us with victory on Siruh Du Lac in the Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable Plate. ‘Frost and Kelly make it Ladies Day all over again’ claims the Western Daily Press, while the Daily Star headlines Chris Goulding’s review with ‘Bry ‘n mighty’ and ‘Frost makes history as girl power rules’.

 

‘Bryonair’ is a Racing Post headline above David Jennings’s assessment of Frost’s victory. “We didn’t want this particular Ryanair flight to land,” he writes, while his colleague, Lee Mottershead, reflecting on wins by Frodon and Paisley Park in the G1 Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle, claims it was “. . . an afternoon that delivered one of the greatest hours in Cheltenham Festival history.” That article sits next to a raft of photos depicting the elation experienced by Andrew Gemmell, Paisley Park’s owner, who may be blind, but undoubtedly felt the emotion. As Marcus Armytage puts it in The Daily Telegraph, “. . . it was a day when even the reserve handkerchief found employment”.

 

‘Their moment in the Sun’ is the headline on The Sun’s racing pullout alongside a photo of Gemmell and his horse with jockey Aidan Coleman, while Brough Scott, writing in The Times, says: “I have been to 57 Cheltenham Festivals and don’t remember enjoying and being moved by a day’s racing in a happier way than this.”

 

So deep were the stories surrounding yesterday’s action that today’s piece de resistance, the £625,000 G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, is in danger of being over-shadowed. It fights its way into the headlines on tradition and the stellar strength of today’s field – but who will win?

 

Michael Verney of the Irish Independent believes Bellshill can become the first winner of the legendary race for Willie Mullins – he has saddled the runner-up six times – but on the same page the trainer’s son, Patrick, writes of the stable’s four runners: “I struggle to see ours beating an on-form Presenting Percy,” which is the view of the Daily Mail and Daily Express. The last-named prints a photo of Pat Kelly’s chaser in jumping pose on the cover of its racing special.

 

Steve Jones of The Sun, Chris Cook of The Guardian and Newsboy of the Daily Mirror select Elegant Escape, one of three runners from Colin Tizzard’s stable, but Rob Wright of The Times and Marcus Armytage of The Daily Telegraph opt for Clan Des Obeaux. Jason Heavey of the Daily Star nominates Native River for a repeat win, while the Racing Post’s Paul Kealy suggests Al Boum Photo each-way.

 

OBEAUX ALL THE RAGE FOR GOLD CUP

 

The final day of The Festival™ presented by Magners is upon us and punters are looking for further success following another profitable day at The Home of Jump Racing. Defi Du Seuil (3/1f G1 JLT Novices’ Chase), Sire Du Berlais (4/1f G3 Pertemps Network Final) and Paisley Park (11/8f G1 Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle) all rewarded favourite backers, with the one shock result of the day being the 50/1 success of Eglantine Du Seuil in the G2 National Hunt Breeders Supported By Tattersalls Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

 

Jump racing’s Blue Riband event, the £625,000 G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup (3.30pm), takes centre-stage this afternoon and the Paul Nicholls-trained Clan Des Obeaux has attracted a flood of money in the betting offices. The King George VI Chase winner backed up that success with an emphatic win in the G2 Betfair Denman Chase and he is the 9/2 second-favourite from 13/2 with Betfred. Irish raider Presenting Percy remains the 4/1 market leader for the three and a quarter-mile contest, but he has been uneasy in the market this morning. Last year’s 1-2 Native River (13/2) and Might Bite renew their rivalry, with drying ground conditions seeing support for Nicky Henderson’s charge, who is a 12/1 shot from 14/1 with BetVictor.

 

In the opening contest this afternoon, the £125,000 G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle (1.30pm), the Joseph O’Brien-trained Sir Erec has long been earmarked as the “Irish banker” of the meeting. Unbeaten in two starts over hurdles, the four-year-old son of Camelot is the solid 10/11 favourite across the board. Opposition to him in the betting market has emerged from Paul Nicholls’ Quel Destin, who has constricted in price to 5/1 from 8/1 with Betfred.

 

The £100,000 G3 Randox Health County Hurdle (2.10pm) is a notoriously tricky puzzle for punters to solve and this year’s renewal looks no different. The Willie Mullins-trained Whiskey Sour heads the betting following an eye-catching seventh on his last run over hurdles in the Galway Hurdle in August. He is the 4/1 favourite from 11/2 with BetVictor. Monsieur Lecoq was a creditable second in the Imperial Cup last weekend for Jane Williams and the Lizzie Kelly-ridden five-year-old son of Diamond Boy is an 8/1 shot from 12/1 with Betfred.

 

The £125,000 G1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (2.50pm) boasts a field brimmed full of talent and the Nicky Henderson-trained Birchdale, successful on Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham on January 26, is the 9/2 market leader with Ladbrokes from 5/1 for the three-mile contest.

 

Amateur rider Alex Edwards finished second on Kilfilum Cross in yesterday’s Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase and his mount in the £45,000 St James’s Place Foxhunters Chase (4.10pm), the Philip Rowley-trained Hazel Hill, is the one for money in the three and a quarter-mile event. The 11-year-old son of Milan is unbeaten in three chase starts under rules and is a 9/2 shot from 5/1 with BetVictor.

 

Gary Moore saddles the progressive Not Another Muddle, who is seeking a fourth victory from five starts over fences, in the two-mile £110,000 G3 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase. A convincing winner at Sandown Park in February, the eight-year-old son of Kayf Tara is a 5/1 chance from 6/1 with BetVictor.

 

In the concluding race of The Festival 2019, the Gordon Elliott-trained Dallas Des Pictons is the well-backed 3/1 favourite across the board for the £70,000 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (5.30pm). The six-year-old son of Spanish Moon is unbeaten in his last two starts for Elliott, who is targeting a second success win in the contest following Champagne Classic’s victory in 2018. Top-weight Early Doors represents Joseph O’Brien and he is a 7/2 shot from 7/1 with Betfred.

 

Market Movers

1.30pm G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle – Quel Destin 5/1 from 8/1 (Betfred)

2.10pm G3 Randox Health County Hurdle – Whiskey Sour 4/1 from 11/2 (BetVictor) & Monsieur Lecoq 8/1 from 12/1 (Betfred)

2.50pm G1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – Birchdale 9/2 from 5/1 (Ladbrokes)

3.30pm G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup – Clan Des Obeaux 9/2 from 13/2 (Betfred) & Might Bite 12/1 from 14/1 (BetVictor)

4.10pm St James’s Place Foxhunters Chase – Hazel Hill 9/2 from 5/1 (Ladbrokes)

4.50pm G3 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual – Not Another Muddle 5/1 from 6/1 (BetVictor)

5.30pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle – Dallas Des Pictons 7/2 from 7/1 (Betfred).

 

 

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GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

 

HILLS CLIMBS HIGHEST

 

20/1 shot Pentland Hills landed the opening race on the final day of The Festival™ presented by Magners, the £125,000 G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle, for trainer Nicky Henderson.

 

The four-year-old son of Motivator challenged for the lead approaching the final flight and following a good leap under Nico de Boinville, the gelding powered away up the Cheltenham hill to score by three lengths.

 

Henderson is now the joint winning-most trainer in Cheltenham Festival history with 64 winners, along with Willie Mullins and was recording his fourth victory of the week. He now leads The Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award for 2019.

 

The master of Seven Barrows was also capturing a record seventh success in the G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle. Pentland Hills is owned by the Owners Group which was set up in 2014.

 

Discussing Pentland Hills, who won a Plumpton maiden hurdle in February on his only start over hurdles, Britain’s champion Jump trainer said: “Pentland Hills nearly fell at the first and then I was thinking this wasn’t such a good idea, but the rest of it was good. I am sorry about the other horse, such a gorgeous looking horse.

 

“When he went to Plumpton, I was very impressed with him because he was so professional – he raced professionally and jumped very well. There is a huge great team in this group of owners, it’s sort of an off-shoot of Elite [Racing Club], and I said we might as well have a day out because I think he knows enough to risk doing it.

 

“We used the Plumpton race before for First Bout [1985 JCB Triumph Hurdle winner], but the handicapper wasn’t going to let him into the Triumph. It was the days before the Fred Winter, so there was always a ballot for the Triumph.

 

“The handicapper told me after Plumpton that he wasn’t going to get in, so we had to run him again on the Friday at Newbury, when he won by 20 lengths again. So he actually had two starts, whereas this fellow has only had one.

 

“He was far enough behind but good enough and Nico gave him a great ride. He stayed on well up the hill. I think he was rated 70 something on the Flat and you are looking up at the likes of some of those horses like Sir Erec, poor thing, who was 110 or something. We thought we were being a bit brave, but it is lovely.

 

“He has got a very long way to go, it was only the second hurdle race of his life. We will see – we will probably try and go somewhere else before it’s all over but there is no reason why he shouldn’t run on the Flat again. He is slightly a Punjabi-type of horse and you never know.”

 

Boinville top jock after JCB Triumph Hurdle success

 

Nico de Boinville moved to the head of The Festival 2019 jockeys’ list with a third win of the meeting on Pentland Hills, a once-raced 20/1 chance whose ownership is shared by no fewer than 3,000 members of the Owners Group 031, each of whom paid just £57 for the privilege.

 

De Boinville had a scare at the first flight and had to take avoiding action when 11/10 favourite Sir Erec went wrong down the far side, but he had a willing and very able partner in Pentland Hills, who came from way off the pace and settled matters with a terrific turn of foot which saw him quicken three lengths clear of Coeur Sublime.

 

The jockey said: “You never like to win a race when that has happened. That is the reality of the sport and it’s a tragedy for connections and everyone involved with Sir Erec.

 

“Take nothing away from my lad because he made a mighty error at the first and has done seriously well to get back into contention.

 

“This is only his second start over hurdles and he must be some horse. He ran at Plumpton two Mondays ago and I said afterwards ‘guv’nor, I do really like this horse and I think we need to seriously have a look at the Triumph.

 

“After the first, he was very slick and I was able to hunt away and pick them off when I could.

 

“I had David Mullins on my outside after the first and I said ‘I’m still here David, so we will go from here’ and it was just on to plan B and C from that stage. I just had to hunt away and get him going.

 

“Whenever I gave him a little click, he seemed to come hard on the steel, and I jumped second last with a lovely position, right down the inside and everyone can spread out. It was just a case of weaving my way through – I didn’t want to hit the front too soon.

 

“I could see Davy Russell on my outside and he hadn’t gone for his yet, and I was thinking how much I had got left and how much he had got left. It was a case of getting a nice jump at the last and then heading on up the hill.

 

“He knows exactly what he is doing and settles well, which is nice. Usually, these Flat horses come and they are really revved up and used to running over a mile or a mile and a half. He is so settled and his jumping is his main asset. Hen Knight had him early doors to teach him to jump and she really liked him.

 

“I would like to hope that he could be a Champion Hurdle horse. We didn’t know what we had before today and I think we will get home, have a good think and discussion. It’s such a massive syndicate and it’s great because it opens up the game to a lot of people> it shows that racing is accessible.”

 

He added: “I am glad we have got a guv’nor who is very sporting and the owners as well. He is owned by thousands of people so it is going to some party afterwards I think.”

 

Pentland Hills, who made his hurdles’ debut at Plumpton only 18 days previously, was bought privately by Anthony Bromley from Newmarket trainer Chris Wall after winning twice on the Flat and earning a rating of 73.

 

The Owners Group 031, are a spin-off off of Elite Racing, who enjoyed Triumph success with Mysilv in 1994 and Penzance in 2005, and are former sponsors of the Triumph Hurdle.

 

1.30pm £125,000 JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 179y

 

1 Pentland Hills (Owners Group 031) Nicky Henderson 4-11-00 Nico de Boinville 20/1

2 Coeur Sublime (Chris Jones) Gordon Elliott IRE 4-11-00 Davy Russell 20/1

3 Gardens Of Babylon (J P McManus) Joseph O’Brien IRE 4-11-00 Barry Geraghty 9/1

 

11/10 fav Sir Erec (PU)

 

Time 4m 4.85s

14 ran

Distances: 3, 3¾

Tote    Win: £19.40   Places: £3.50, £5.80, £2.10  Exacta: £672.40

 

Nicky Henderson – 64th winner at The Festival

Nico de Boinville – 10th winner at The Festival

 

 

RUSSELL HITS THE CROSS-BAR WITH COEUR

 

Davy Russell’s frustrating week continued with second place in the G1 £125,000 JCB Triumph Hurdle aboard the Gordon Elliott-trained Coeur Sublime.

 

Russell, who was leading jockey at last year’s edition of The Festival™ presented by Magners with four winners, has yet to score this year.

 

Coeur Sublime, a son of Elusive Pimpernel, finished three lengths behind the Nicky Henderson-trained winner Pentland Hills (Nico de Boinville) at 20/1.

 

“It’s still a great achievement to finish in the first four in the Triumph Hurdle, because it is so difficult to do – we’re delighted with him,” said Russell. “He’s a good horse and he ran a great race.

 

“I’ve hit the cross-bar a few times this week but it isn’t over yet.”

 

GOING AFTER THE FIRST

 

Nico de Boinville, on the 20/1 winner Pentland Hills, said: “Soft.”

 

Davy Russell, jockey of the three-length second Coeur Sublime (20/1), said: “Soft.”

 

Barry Geraghty, partner of third home Gardens Of Babylon (9/1), said: “Soft.”

 

Daryl Jacob, on Adjali, said: “Soft.”

 

Jack Kennedy, partner of Authorizo, said: “Dead.”

 

Harry Skelton, rider of Ecco, said: “Soft.”

 

David Noonan, on board Hannon, said: “Good to soft – possibly softer.”

 

Harry Bannister, rider of Nelson River, said: “On the slow side.”

 

Sam Twiston-Davies, partner of Pic D’Orhy, said: “Soft.”

 

Harry Cobden, jockey of Quel Destin, said: “Soft and very hard work.”

 

David Mullins, partner of Runrized, said: “Soft.”

 

Ruby Walsh, partner of Tiger Tap Tap, said: “Slow.”

 

Paul Townend, rider of French Made, said: “Slow.”

 

Statement from Cheltenham Racecourse about Sir Erec

 

Sadly Sir Erec sustained an injury in the G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle.

 

He was immediately attended to by the veterinary team, who very sadly determined that it was necessary to euthanize him on welfare grounds.

 

As animal lovers, we hate to lose any horse and of course we shall review this incident.

 

Our thoughts are with Sir Erec’s connections.

 

 

 

THE FESTIVAL™PRESENTED BY MAGNERS, CHELTENHAM

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

 

SKELTON FOLLOWS THE COUNTY LINE

 

“We love the CountyHurdle!” said trainer Dan Skelton after winning the G3 £100,000 Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle for the third time in four years.

 

Ch’Tibello, ridden by Skelton’s brother Harry, beat We Have A Dream by a length and a half at 12/1.

 

Skelton first took the two miles, one-furlong contest in 2016 with Superb Story (Harry Skelton), and again in 2018 with Mohaayed (Bridget Andrews).

 

He said: “Harry gave him a magic ride. We’ve talked about it all week, and you say, ‘do this, do that and do the other’. With this horse we’ve had a season, maybe 18-month plan. And I said, ‘there are no instructions for you today – you do what you want to do. You’ve got maybe 10lb in hand; use it. You’ll do it.’

 

“It’s easy to be confident after the event. But he’s a Graded horse coming back from those races that he couldn’t win. With The New One maybe 15 months ago at Haydock [the Unibet Champion Hurdle Trial in January 2018, where Ch’Tibello finished second by half a length], I said to the team that own him, ‘that’s going to last. He’ll feel that for some time, but don’t worry, he’ll win the CountyHurdle in 15 months time.’

 

“You go around all year, 361 days of the year – with the exception of Aintree, that’s pretty good – grafting and grinding and doing the miles. You turn up here on the Tuesday and you go ‘wow’. You are allowed to be a part of this. If you are a winner here, it is something else. Hand on heart, I feel privileged to be a part of this game, and to be a winning part of it is a dream come true for my family, my team, for all of us. We all graft tirelessly for this, everyone does. To be a part of this week is a dream.

 

“I am sure Bryony [Frost, who won the G1 Ryanair Chase yesterday on Frodon] said it a lot more eloquently than I did, but it means so much to everybody, it really does. And we love the CountyHurdle!”

 

Ian Marmion and four friends make up the Can’t Say No Partnership, who own Ch’Tibello, and Marmion said: “This is wonderful, just wonderful. We thought Ch’Tibello was a genuine Champion Hurdle chance two years ago but we got a phone call from Dan on the morning to say he was lame in his box.

 

“I have never been as disappointed but Dan said ‘trust me, I will get him there this year if everything goes our way.’ He has been telling me for weeks that he has never had this horse better.
“It is phenomenal because we are small owners with a handful of horses. We just had the winner of the 1.55pm at Fakenham, so we have had an across-the-card double. It is amazing, absolutely amazing.
“We have four or five horses with Dan and a few with Christian Williams. To have a day like this is beyond our wildest dreams.”

 

HARRY AND CH’TIBELLO LAND COUNTY

 

The Skelton brothers will always have a soft spot for the Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle.

Today trainer Dan won the race for the third time, while jockey Harry recorded his second success as Ch’tibello raced to victory, after gaining his first on Superb Story in 2016.

 

Twelve months ago Harry looked on as his now-fiance Bridget Andrews won the race on the same stable’s Mohaayed, who was unplaced as top-weight in today’s event.

 

Ch’tibello (12/1) beat We Have A Dream (14/1) and Countister (18/1) with Whiskey Sour (5/1 favourite) in fourth. The distances were one and a half lengths, a head and four and a half lengths.

 

Amid irrepressible scenes of joy in the winner’s enclosure, the tale of how the race had long been the plan for Ch’tibello was unfurled, and the Skeltons celebrated like winners of the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup and Randox Health Grand National double.

 

Harry said: “I ride for a very good man and a very, very good trainer – he knew the plan and he has pulled it off to perfection.

 

“As a jockey I’m in a privileged position and people would give their arms left and right for what I’ve got; I understand that, but our father grounded us, we are up early every day and work hard and that’s what it’s all about. There is so much enjoyment here and the horse is so tough.

 

“Last season he had a beating by The New One [half a length in a G2 race at Haydock] and it took him some time to get over that. Since then it was how do we hatch a plan?

 

“He’s got a touch of class and had won a G2 – he went round there today in second gear. When I got on him Dan said ‘go out there and enjoy it’, and when the race started I was almost in a position that was too handy. I like to ride him to come past horses and not get there too soon. It went well, but when you are on a good horse it just happens.

 

“My brother fills me with confidence – he said enjoy it and I did.

 

“This feels very different from our win with Roksana on Tuesday [when she won the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle following the last-flight fall of Benie Des Dieux]. That was our first G1 success and it meant a hell of a lot, but it was so different. Maybe I wouldn’t have won, but the flights are there to be jumped. It was a bit like a boxer who is ahead after seven rounds and is then knocked out. I was very pleased for Roksana’s owner Mrs Faulks, but this feels different.

 

“We enjoyed Tuesday, but now we have more to celebrate. Tolley Dean, our head man, is at home – he rides this horse every day and is a massive part of this success.”

 

2.10pm £100,000 Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 179y

 

1 Ch’Tibello (The Can’t Say No Partnership) Dan Skelton 8-11-05 Harry Skelton 12/1

2 We Have A Dream (Simon Munir & Isaac Souede) Nicky Henderson 5-11-11 Daryl Jacob 14/1

3 Countister (J P McManus) Nicky Henderson 7-10-06 Barry Geraghty 18/1

4 Whiskey Sour (Luke McMahon) Willie Mullins IRE 6-11-03 Ruby Walsh 5/1f

 

Time 4m 4.85s

24 ran

Distances: 1½, hd, 4½

Tote    Win: £12.20             Places: £2.70, £3.60, £5.30, £2.20 Exacta: £220.20

 

Dan Skelton – 4th winner at The Festival

Harry Skelton – 3rd winner at The Festival

 

HENDERSON IN THE MONEY AGAIN WITH TWO PLACES

 

Nicky Henderson was in the winner’s enclosure for the second time on day four of The Festival, but this time he had to settle for places with We Have A Dream (Daryl Jacob, 14/1) and Countister (Barry Geraghty, 18/1), the pair finishing a head apart and just a length and a half behind Ch’Tibello (12/1) at the end of a fiercely-run Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle.

 

Henderson was delighted with both horses and said: “They’ve both run fantastic races – it’s just a pity that one finished in front of them.

 

“That was some performance from We Have A Dream with the weight (11st 11lb), and at least he’s proved he’s back to being a good horse again.

 

“Countister has been ready to go for a long time and we’ve just been trying to get a bit of decent ground for her.

 

“Barry said she got stuck in the ground a bit, and she probably wants two and a half miles. She’ll go two and a half at Aintree I expect.”

 

We Have A Dream’s rider Daryl Jacob has yet to strike at the meeting this year, and this was his third placing, following a third on Sceau Royal and a second on Janika, both for the same Simon Munir and Isaac Souede partnership.

 

He said: “It’s great to see We Have A Dream come back to his form last year.

 

“That was the most pleasing thing.

 

“Whatever we do now for the rest of the year, he’s going to be very exciting again next season.”

 

 

THE FESTIVAL™ PRESENTED BY MAGNERS, CHELTENHAM

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

 

DE BROMHEAD BACK IN BUSINESS AS MINELLA INDO STRIKES AT 50/1

 

Henry de Bromhead left Cheltenham deflated on Thursday after the strongly-fancied Monalee finished only fourth in the G1 Ryanair Chase, but he was back on very good terms with himself when 50/1 chance Minella Indo pulled off one of the shocks of the meeting by beating Commander Of Fleet (4/1 favourite) by two lengths in the G1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle over three miles.

 

Like Monalee, who returned with sore shins, Minella Indo races in the colours of Barry Maloney, and De Bromhead said: “It’s fantastic, and I’m delighted to get it for these guys.

 

“We’ve been trying to get one for a few years, and although Monalee ran well yesterday we were a little bit flat afterwards.

 

“It’s amazing to come back with this guy. We always liked him and Rachael (Blackmore) thought he’d improve for Clonmel. He just dragged her around for three miles. It was brilliant.”

 

Maloney, a university friend of the trainer, was thrilled and said: “It’s so exciting – just wonderful. Henry’s done a fantastic job and Rachael gave him a dream ride. I’m not going to apologise for getting so excited. I backed him at 80/1!”

 

De Bromhead has been a big supporter of the jockey and said: “We’ve been so lucky to have her. She’s a brilliant rider. What can you say – she just wins.”

 

He added: “I couldn’t understand why we were 50/1. It was mad. He ran really well at Clonmel where he had to do all the donkey work, and he was beaten only two lengths by Alloha who was only 8/1 here. We thought we would get a stronger run race here and were keen to take the chance if he got in.”

 

The trainer and jockey won on the first day of The Festival 2019 with A Plus Tard in the Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase.

 

AFTER BRYONY ITS RACHAEL FOR FESTIVAL GRADE ONE WIN

 

Rachael Blackmore rode her second winner of the week when landing the £130,630 G1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle on 50/1 outsider Minella Indo, trained by Henry de Bromhead.

 

Blackmore follows Bryony Frost who yesterday became the first woman rider of a G1 race over hurdles or fences at the Festival, and Katie Walsh, who won last year’s G1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper on Relegate. Her success was the fourth by a woman at this year’s Festival, equalling the record total of 12 months ago.

 

Blackmore, who scored on A Plus Tard in Tuesday’s Close Brothers’ Novices’ Handicap Chase, said: “We thought that he was coming here with a great chance, but anything can happen. I am so grateful to everyone for giving me the opportunity to ride him and it’s brilliant.

 

“I thought I was doing a little bit too much everywhere and he was quite keen under me. I hadn’t planned to be in front so soon, but it’s grand when it works out.

 

“Henry’s team do a fantastic job with the horses at home and Davy Roche, the head man down there, does a lot of work. It’s thanks to all the lads at home that make these things happen. I am just the lucky one who gets the leg up on days like today.

 

“I wish I had the words [to describe the winning feeling] – riding a G1 winner at Cheltenham is just beyond belief. I am so grateful for everyone who has given me the opportunities to do this. You need to be on the right horse at the end of the day and I am the lucky person to be on those horses this week. I really am so delighted.

 

“I thought the track, the trip and the ground would suit this lad today, and he is a really exciting horse for the future.”

 

Maloney brothers share Minella moment

 

Minella Indo’s owner, Barry Maloney, was at Cheltenham today sharing the winning feelings with his brother Michael.

 

The two had slipped quietly into the winner’s enclosure yesterday, when Monalee was fourth to Frodon in the G1 Ryanair Chase, but today they took centre stage.

 

Barry said: “We are from Co Dublin, but originally from Mayo. We bought the horse two years ago – he was a point-to-pointer who won a race and was then bought by Henry de Bromhead.

 

“Over the years we have had a good few horses with Henry, and at present he’s looking after three for us, including Monalee. This is our first winner at The Festival and it’s unbelievable, the best feeling in the world. We’ve been trying to experience it for years.

 

“This is the Olympics of racing, but it is every year.”

 

FLEET OUTGUNNED BY ALLAHO

 

Trainer Gordon Elliott was pleased with the performance of Commander Of Fleet (4/1) who finished a two-length second to 50/1 shot Minella Indo, ridden by Rachael Blackmore and trained by Henry de Bromhead, in the G1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.

 

Couty Meath handler Elliott said: “Commander Of Fleet has run a nice race.

 

“He is only five years of age and he was running in a very good race.

 

“The winner is obviously a good horse, but that looked a good race and we’re pleased with the run.

 

“He is a nice horse to have and we’re looking forward to the future with him.

 

“Jack Kennedy [jockey] gave him a good ride and I just think he got beat by the better horse.”

 

Allaho (8/1), trained by Willie Mullins, was a further seven lengths behind in third. His rider Ruby Walsh remarked: “We were travelling really well, but Allaho just didn’t have the hardness when he got a bit empty and got close to the last.

 

“He stayed on again and was running on again in the last 50 yards, but he doesn’t have much experience. He’s a gorgeous horse with a huge future.

 

“They didn’t go quick but it’s testing ground.”

 

2.50pm Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

 

1 Minella Indo (Barry Maloney) Henry de Bromhead IRE 6-11-05 Rachael Blackmore 50/1

2 Commander Of Fleet (Gigginstown House Stud) Gordon Elliott IRE 5-11-05 Jack Kennedy 4/1f

3 Alaho (Cheveley Park Stud) Willie Mullins IRE 5-11-05 Ruby Walsh 8/1

 

20 ran

Distances: 2, 7

Time: 5m 57.42s

Tote    Win: £129.50           Places: £21.40, £2.20, £3.50 Exacta: £855.30

 

Henry de Bromhead – 7th winner at The Festival

Rachael Blackmore – 2nd winner at The Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE FESTIVAL™PRESENTED BY MAGNERS, CHELTENHAM

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

 

3:30pm Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) 3m 2f 70y £625,000

 

1 Al Boum Photo (FR) 7 11 10 Willie Mullins IRE Marie Donnelly Paul Townend 12/1

2 Anibale Fly (FR) ts 9 11 10 Tony Martin IRE J P McManus Barry Geraghty 22/1

3 Bristol de Mai (FR) 8 11 10 Nigel Twiston-Davies Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Daryl Jacob 18/1

4 Native River (IRE) p 9 11 10 Colin Tizzard Brocade Racing Richard Johnson 6/1

5 Clan des Obeaux (FR) 7 11 10 Paul Nicholls Mr & Mrs Paul Barber, Ged Mason, Sir Alex Ferguson Harry Cobden 5/1

6 Elegant Escape (IRE) 7 11 10 Colin Tizzard J P Romans Tom O’Brien 20/1

7 Yala Enki (FR) 9 11 10 Venetia Williams Hills of Ledbury (Aga) Charlie Deutsch 100/1

8 Presenting Percy ts 8 11 10 Pat Kelly IRE Philip Reynolds Davy Russell 100/30 Fav

9 Shattered Love (IRE) ts 8 11 3 Gordon Elliott IRE Gigginstown House Stud Jack Kennedy 20/1

 

BD Definitly Red (IRE) 10 11 10 Brian Ellison Phil & Julie Martin Danny Cook 50/1

FELL Invitation Only (IRE) 8 11 10 Willie Mullins IRE Andrea & Graham Wylie Mr Patrick Mullins 33/1

PU Bellshill (IRE) 9 11 10 Willie Mullins IRE Andrea & Graham Wylie Ruby Walsh 9/1

PU Double Shuffle (IRE) h 9 11 10 Tom George Crossed Fingers Partnership Jonathan Burke 100/1

PU Might Bite (IRE) 10 11 10 Nicky Henderson The Knot Again Partnership Nico de Boinville 14/1

PU Thistlecrack 11 11 10 Colin Tizzard John and Heather Snook Tom Scudamore 12/1

UR Kemboy (FR) 7 11 10 Willie Mullins IRE Supreme Racing/Brett Graham/Ken Sharp David Mullins 8/1

 

Distances: 2½, 3¾, 3, 1¾, 15, 3½, 3½, 2¾

Time: 6m 39.06s

Tote Win: £14.60 Places: £4.90, £5.70; £4.60 Exacta: £229.50

 

First Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup success for trainer Willie Mullins after saddling the runner-up six times

 

Willie Mullins – 65th winner at The Festival

Paul Townend – 10th winner at The Festival

 

3rd Race Result

2.50pm Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

 

1 Minella Indo (Barry Maloney) Henry de Bromhead IRE 6-11-05 Rachael Blackmore 50/1

2 Commander Of Fleet (Gigginstown House Stud) Gordon Elliott IRE 5-11-05 Jack Kennedy 4/1f

3 Alaho (Cheveley Park Stud) Willie Mullins IRE 5-11-05 Ruby Walsh 8/1

 

20 ran

Distances: 2, 7

Time: 5m 57.42s

Tote    Win: £129.50           Places: £21.40, £2.20, £3.50 Exacta: £855.30

 

Henry de Bromhead – 7th winner at The Festival

Rachael Blackmore – 2nd winner at The Festival

 

 

 

 

F28.

 

 

THE FESTIVAL™ PRESENTED BY MAGNERS, CHELTENHAM

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

 

BOUM! MULLINS FINALLY WINS THE GOLD CUP

 

“I thought I might never win a Gold Cup,” admitted Willie Mullins after finally winning Jump racing’s top prize, the G1 £625,000 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup with 12/1 chance Al Boum Photo.

 

Mullins has now achieved a record 65 winners at The Festival™ presented by Magners. Including today’s quartet (Al Boum Photo, Belshill, Invitation Only and Kemboy), he has had 26 runners in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup and has finished second six times.

 

But seven-year-old French-bred Al Boum Photo, owned by Joe Donnelly and his wife Marie, rose to the occasion under Paul Townend – for whom it was also a first Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup success – and beat the Tony Martin-trained Anibale Fly (Barry Geraghty) by two and a half lengths.

 

“I’m delighted, and especially for my owners. Marie and Joe have put a big commitment into our yard, so it’s great to get one like that. And I’m absolutely delighted for Paul [Townend] – to me he had a very unlucky day in Punchestown [he elected to go past the final fence when in the lead in a G1 novices’ chase on Al Boum Photo in April 2018], and to do it on this horse would be special for Paul.

 

“I actually thought Bellshill would take a lot of beating but Ruby [Walsh] was never happy with him and pulled him up early. Al Boum Photo was probably third or fourth in my pecking order coming into the Gold Cup, and at the top of the hill first time round he was number one! It was extraordinary – the other three were gone by the time they came to the second-last first time round. That’s the luck of the game, but every time I looked at Paul, he and the horse seemed to be a rhythm, galloping away, looking so relaxed, and when he came to the top of the hill when he wanted a chop he gave it to him and I thought, this horse has got plenty left in the tank. I didn’t know how much but I said he’s got something there if he keeps jumping.

 

“Going to the second-last Paul said, ‘time to go’, and all he had to do was jump the last, which he did. We didn’t have any last-fence worries, and it was fantastic. After the last, I just looked at the winning line and what was coming behind us and thought that he will win unless he stops or runs out.

 

“We’ve had placed horses, obviously, but it’s nice to get one on the board.

 

“The early ones were probably disappointing, but you get used to it. I had probably resigned myself to never winning a Gold Cup, so I didn’t really obsess about it and get too disappointed about it.  It is like certain jockeys have never won the Grand National and others guys have never won a Champion Hurdle. Racing has been very good to me, I have a fantastic life in racing and I resigned myself to thinking that if I never won it then so be it. Sometimes trainers train certain types of horses in a certain way and maybe it wasn’t a Gold Cup way, even though we were so close, so I thought maybe it’s not to be. You get one chance at it every year, and this year when three of them were gone, I thought it was another year like that. So I probably had all my disappointment out of me early in the race. I’m thrilled to win it.

 

“When Dawn Run won the Gold Cup [in 1986, trained by Mullins’ father Paddy] I didn’t get home for three or four days, and it might take a bit longer this time, but we’ll see. Between Ascot, here and Melbourne, we’ve been hitting the board the whole time, so I am very proud for the whole yard and all my owners who give huge commitments to our yard. It’s a victory for them as well.”

 

AL BOUM PHOTO’S OWNERS ‘START AT THE TOP’

 

Joe and Marie Donnelly’s first winner at The Festival™ presented by Magners was the biggest of them all – the G1 £625,000 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.

 

Their Al Boum Photo, trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Paul Townend, galloped home to win by two and a half lengths at odds of 12/1, beating Anibale Fly into second.

 

Joe said: “It’s great to have a winner and it’s great to have Willie’s first Gold Cup also. I had a horse one time trained by Barney Curley, the great gambler – it was called Keep Hope Alive – and he told me he fancied the horse [Al Boum Photo] this morning. He has been a great friend of mine for 40 years and Barney, we are here.”

 

Marie said: “I’m so happy for Willie because he has been such a fantastic trainer. It’s really Joe who keeps track of all the horses, but Willie deserves it – he is amazing.

 

“Melon [second in the Unibet Champion Hurdle on Tuesday] was so exciting the other day, but I’ve always loved Al Boum. It’s the way to go, right? Start at the top!”

 

REDEMPTION FOR PUNCHESTOWN MISHAP AS TOWNEND AND AL BOUM PHOTO WIN CHELTENHAM’S MAIN EVENT

 

Paul Townend enjoyed an emotional first win Cheltenham’s premier race as well as the most perfect redemption for April’s bizarre Punchestown disaster when Al Boum Photo (12/1) beat Anibale Fly (22/1) by two and a half lengths in a G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup finish in which none of the market principals were involved.

 

Townend, who was also wearing owner Marie Donnelly’s colours when second on Melon in Tuesday’s G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle, had been on the receiving end of all of the blame when Al Boum Photo inexplicably bypassed the final fence in a Grade One novice when in with every chance at Punchestown, but he has continued to enjoy the full support of trainer Willie Mullins whose confidence in him was rewarded in the best possible way.

 

The 28-year-old was winning his 10th Festival race and his second of the week, following Duc Des Genievres on Tuesday, but he had never finished closer than fifth in seven previous rides in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.

 

He said: “I can’t believe, I just can’t believe it. I am so grateful to Willie and the owners for sticking by me. From the time I was an apprentice, Willie has supported me and I am just so grateful to give him his first Gold Cup.

 

“I got into a beautiful rhythm everywhere. I wasn’t where I wanted to be over the first two fences, but I got a couple of good jumps and, from there, everything just flowed for me. I had a bit of room and he jumped from fence to fence for me.”

 

He added: “He’s a real warrior and galloped right to the top of the line. There were horses struggling around me and it was just happening for me. I knew if I kept him upright that I had would have a good chance. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”

 

Asked if there had been a concern about Al Boum Photo’s stamina, he replied: “You don’t know until you try over this distance, especially here, but we felt staying was his forte coming in and I think he really showed it today.
“I am just so grateful for the owners for sticking by me. I think I owed it to the horse. My body is tingling, I swear to God I am trembling, and I can’t believe it.”

 

Townend has long been looked upon by the racing public as Ruby Walsh’s understudy, but he is no longer in his shadow and currently leads the Irish jockey’s title race. Walsh was already changed into his civvies, having pulled up Bellshill, when he congratulated his friend on his way to weigh in.

 

 

JOCKEYS’ THOUGHTS AFTER THE MAGNERS GOLD CUP

 

Barry Geraghty, on second placed Anibale Fly (22/1), said: “He stayed and stayed – unfortunately we found one to good on the day. It was a great run.”

 

Daryl Jacob, on the third home Bristol De Mai, 18/1), said: “He has run a blinder. He jumped really well and I had a great spin on him.”

 

Richard Johnson, on last year’s winner, 6/1 chance Native River (4th), said: “He has still run a really great race and has stayed on for fourth. It just didn’t go as smoothly as last year. He jumped well but was just a bit more sluggish this year. There are no reasons why… For this you have to be in tip top form.”

 

Harry Cobden, on Clan Des Obeaux (5th), said: “He got out stayed. That bit of rain this morning didn’t help.”

 

Charlie Deutsch, on Yala Enki (7th), said: “Great ride and I am really happy.”

 

Davy Russell, on 10/3 favourite Presenting Percy (8th), said: “We didn’t get on great. It didn’t really happen.”

 

Jack Kennedy, on Shattered Love (9th), said: “It was a grand run.”

 

Nico de Boinville, on Might Bite, said: “I was never as happy as I was last year. I could never get into a rhythm. He wasn’t jumping out of that ground quite as well as I would have liked. We have turned in and I have just cut out. I would say we could drop him back to two and a half [furlongs] on better ground and he might be some semblance of his old self.”

 

Ruby Walsh, who pulled-upon Bellshill, said: “He made some bad mistakes.”

 

3:30pm Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) 3m 2f 70y £625,000

 

1 Al Boum Photo (FR) 7 11 10 Willie Mullins IRE Marie Donnelly Paul Townend 12/1

2 Anibale Fly (FR) ts 9 11 10 Tony Martin IRE J P McManus Barry Geraghty 22/1

3 Bristol de Mai (FR) 8 11 10 Nigel Twiston-Davies Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Daryl Jacob 18/1

4 Native River (IRE) p 9 11 10 Colin Tizzard Brocade Racing Richard Johnson 6/1

5 Clan des Obeaux (FR) 7 11 10 Paul Nicholls Mr & Mrs Paul Barber, Ged Mason, Sir Alex Ferguson Harry Cobden 5/1

6 Elegant Escape (IRE) 7 11 10 Colin Tizzard J P Romans Tom O’Brien 20/1

7 Yala Enki (FR) 9 11 10 Venetia Williams Hills of Ledbury (Aga) Charlie Deutsch 100/1

8 Presenting Percy ts 8 11 10 Pat Kelly IRE Philip Reynolds Davy Russell 100/30 Fav

9 Shattered Love (IRE) ts 8 11 3 Gordon Elliott IRE Gigginstown House Stud Jack Kennedy 20/1

 

BD Definitly Red (IRE) 10 11 10 Brian Ellison Phil & Julie Martin Danny Cook 50/1

FELL Invitation Only (IRE) 8 11 10 Willie Mullins IRE Andrea & Graham Wylie Mr Patrick Mullins 33/1

PU Bellshill (IRE) 9 11 10 Willie Mullins IRE Andrea & Graham Wylie Ruby Walsh 9/1

PU Double Shuffle (IRE) h 9 11 10 Tom George Crossed Fingers Partnership Jonathan Burke 100/1

PU Might Bite (IRE) 10 11 10 Nicky Henderson The Knot Again Partnership Nico de Boinville 14/1

PU Thistlecrack 11 11 10 Colin Tizzard John and Heather Snook Tom Scudamore 12/1

UR Kemboy (FR) 7 11 10 Willie Mullins IRE Supreme Racing/Brett Graham/Ken Sharp David Mullins 8/1

 

Distances: 2½, 3¾, 3, 1¾, 15, 3½, 3½, 2¾

Time: 6m 39.06s

Tote Win: £14.60 Places: £4.90, £5.70; £4.60 Exacta: £229.50

 

First Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup success for trainer Willie Mullins after saddling the runner-up six times

 

Willie Mullins – 65th winner at The Festival

Paul Townend – 10th winner at The Festival

 

3rd Race Result

2.50pm Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

 

1 Minella Indo (Barry Maloney) Henry de Bromhead IRE 6-11-05 Rachael Blackmore 50/1

2 Commander Of Fleet (Gigginstown House Stud) Gordon Elliott IRE 5-11-05 Jack Kennedy 4/1f

3 Alaho (Cheveley Park Stud) Willie Mullins IRE 5-11-05 Ruby Walsh 8/1

 

20 ran

Distances: 2, 7

Time: 5m 57.42s

Tote    Win: £129.50           Places: £21.40, £2.20, £3.50 Exacta: £855.30

 

Henry de Bromhead – 7th winner at The Festival

Rachael Blackmore – 2nd winner at The Festival

 

Statement from Cheltenham Racecourse about Invitation Only

 

Sadly Invitation Only sustained an injury in the G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.

 

He was immediately attended to by the veterinary team, who very sadly determined that it was necessary to euthanize him on welfare grounds.

 

As animal lovers, we hate to lose any horse and of course we shall review this incident.

 

Our thoughts are with Invitation Only’s connections.

 

 

THE FESTIVAL™ PRESENTED BY MAGNERS, CHELTENHAM

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

NO FLIES ON ANIBALE

 

Anibale Fly is becoming some bridesmaid.

 

He finished runner-up in today’s £625,000 G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, complementing a third place in last year’s race, plus a valiant fourth in the Randox Health Grand National. Trained by Tony Martin for owner J P McManus, Anibale Fly (22/1) crossed the line two and a half lengths behind winner Al Boum Photo (12/1) and three and three-quarters ahead of Bristol De Mai (18/1). NativeRiver (6/1), last year’s winner, finished fourth.

 

Martin said: “I’m delighted with him. He put up a lovely run on his previous start and we were confident he would go well today, and he did. Things didn’t go so well for him early in the race, and you couldn’t be happy watching it.

 

“He then got a lovely position coming around the bend and I was hopeful from there. He relishes the trip, he loves the hill and he ran on well at the finish.

 

“I’ll get him home and talk to the lads that look after him, and to Frank Berry and J P and we’ll make a plan, but he’s in everywhere, including Aintree and Punchestown.”

 

Barry Geraghty, who rode Anibale Fly, said: “Anibale Fly has run a great race. He stayed and stayed and kept on finding for me. However, he was just beaten by a better one on the day – I’m delighted with him.”

 

Nigel Twiston-Davies, the trainer of third-placed Bristol De Mai, said: “The experts are the experts and I haven’t got a clue why they are experts. He was the joint top-rated horse in the race and he got beat, so maybe we shouldn’t have run him!

 

“When he ran in this race two years ago, we had trouble with him beforehand, but we have had no trouble this year.

 

“The only problem is the horses that we beat at Haydock, we beat again. So maybe the first two might come over to Haydock and we might be in trouble.”

 

Daryl Jacob, who rode Bristol De Mai, said: “It’s been a tough week and it hasn’t really happened [for me], but I’m very proud of the horse.”

 

Tizzard not blinkered by future plans

 

Colin Tizzard is considering changing head gear on Native River following the horse’s run when fourth in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.

 

Jockey Richard Johnson had to work hard to get into a front-running position, and while he shook off his rival for that role, Might Bite – who pulled up – he was unable to hold off the challenge of the first three in the home straight.

 

Tizzard, who also ran Elegant Escape (sixth) and Thistlecrack (pulled up), said of Native River: “They went fast and he couldn’t lie up. No disrespect to the horse, but he improved when we put cheekpieces on a couple of years ago, and he might need something else now to get him to travel a little better. That’s not being detrimental to him, but he might need blinkers to stop him worrying about what’s going on behind.

 

“He stayed on up the run-in, but you cannot push a horse for three and a quarter miles – you want to be able to sit up occasionally and blinkers might do it.

 

“Elegant Escape was sixth and ran a massive trial for the Grand National, but I haven’t spoken to Tom Scu yet about Thistlecrack.”

 

Richard Johnson, who rode Native River, said: “He was very slow getting out of the gate and I have had to really niggle and cajole him to get him up there. To be fair, then he got into a nice rhythm but was always asking me to ask him to do things.

“He has stayed on again after the second last and got back up to get fourth on the run-in, so he has still run a very good race. It’s a Gold Cup and he has been beaten by three top-class horses. All the ones we thought we had to beat were behind him.

 

“He has done nothing wrong. It’s not quite as good as last year but another good run. I just think he wasn’t quite on his game and, in a Gold Cup you need to be 200 per cent. He has still run a good race, but unfortunately it is not to be.”

 

 

THE FESTIVAL™ PRESENTED BY MAGNERS, CHELTENHAM

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

ST PATRICK’S THURSDAY, MARCH 14, 2019

 

PICTURE PERFECT PERFORMANCE FROM PHOTO

 

Al Boum Photo (12/1) provided Willie Mullins with a first victory in Jump racing’s Blue Riband event, the £625,000 G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup following a thrilling two and a half-length victory in the three and a quarter-mile championship chase.

 

Ridden by Paul Townend, the seven-year-old son of Buck’s Boum took the lead at the second-last fence and galloped on relentlessly following the final fence to defeat the Tony Martin-trained Anibale Fly (22/1), the mount of Barry Geraghty. Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Bristol De Mai (18/1) was a further three and three-quarter lengths behind in third.

 

Closutton handler Mullins has saddled the runner-up in six editions of the Gold Cup and he was delighted to finally enter the winner’s enclosure in the iconic contest.

 

Ireland’s champion Jump trainer, recording his 65th victory at The Festival™ presented by Magners in total, making him the winning-most trainer in the history of the meeting, said: “I was delighted for Paul. It’s fantastic to win the Gold Cup but, for Paul to ride it, that is the real result for me. Paul started off when he was 17 and has always been so natural and so good. He was riding as a claimer for me and won the Galway Hurdle for John Kiely. That really put him on the scene. He has just been unlucky that he is there alongside Ruby and, any time Ruby is free, Paul gets to ride the second horse. He is a fantastic rider and hopefully he might be champion jockey again this year.

 

“Not winning the Gold Cup used to bug me. The first, second, third one and then the fourth – then I was thinking maybe it is not to be. I have been lucky enough to win a Champion Hurdle, a Stayers’ Hurdle and I was delighted to win the National with Hedgehunter. Racing has been very good to me. I have some fantastic owners in my yard and some fantastic staff, a wonderful wife in Jackie who runs the yard, so racing has been good to me.

 

“I have sort of counted my blessings there and not focused on the Gold Cup, I haven’t let it burrow into my mind. If it happens, it happens and, if it doesn’t, I have had a fantastic time in racing and I hope to for a good few years to go. Two weeks before Cheltenham, my mother starts getting ready and comes into top form over here – she really enjoys it. She nearly came in for a flu vaccination when we had to give it to all the horses, just in case she missed out.

 

“I suppose Al Boum Photo was my third or fourth choice but I knew that he would go on the ground and we always thought that he would stay. His run at Tramore was not the usual sort of prep run for a Gold Cup but that was it because of the ground. We had him entered at Leopardstown at Christmas and the ground was just too firm and I knew that I would get ground at Tramore.

 

“The horse has been good and sound, and we didn’t get another run because there was no ground to run him on. Credit to all the staff in the yard who ride him out every day and look after him. I am delighted for everyone. I asked Paul what he wanted to do and he said that he was going to jump out, get a position and hope that he would be able to keep jumping and get him balanced. From an early stage, Paul had him in a rhythm jumping, with the reins relaxed and the horse doing it all. Every time he needed a squeeze, Paul was there to give him one and the horse responded. When you get into that sort of a rhythm in a race, it’s fantastic, and you just hope you don’t get any traffic problems.”

 

Al Boum Photo runs in the colours of Marie Donnelly and Townend, who could become Ireland’s champion jockey this term, had received the blame when Al Boum Photo inexplicably bypassed the final fence in a G1 contest at Punchestown in April last year when holding every chance. However, there was never any doubt of Townend riding the horse in today’s contest, with Mullins continuing: “Really good credit to Paul and I am delighted for Marie and Joe Donnelly, who have put some commitment into our yard. Melon was second in the Champion Hurdle and this horse – we have had a few upsets, one or two horses weren’t as good as we thought they were, but they have put in a huge commitment to the yard.

 

“There was no question of Paul not riding the horse. Marie and Joe rang me the morning after Punchestown and said to tell Paul that they have had a great life in racing and that was only a small disappointment. There was never a doubt or a word that he wouldn’t ride their horses – they said it was just one of those days. They are proper sporting people.”

 

PHOTO PROVIDES THE BOUM FACTOR IN GOLD CUP

 

Trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Paul Townend teamed up to land their first winner in the £625,000 G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup courtesy of 12/1 shot Al Boum Photo.

 

The seven-year-old son of Buck’s Boum travelled with menace throughout the three and a quarter-mile event and ran on gamely up the punishing Cheltenham hill to defeat Tony Martin’s Anibale Fly (22/1), ridden by Barry Geraghty, by two and a half-lengths.

 

Al Boum Photo had run just once this season, capturing a Listed contest at Tramore over an extended two miles and five furlongs in January. However, Mullins was hopeful of a good performance from the gelding and he expressed his delight at finally landing Jump racing’s Blue Riband event.

 

Discussing the race, the Closutton maestro commented: “I’m delighted to win the Gold Cup and I’m also delighted that Paul has now won the race. It’s also brilliant for my owner [Marie Donnelly] who puts so much commitment into my yard.

 

“Every time I looked at Paul during the race, he and Al Boum Photo looked so well balanced and he was going along at a lovely rhythm. He was jumping well and at the fourth last Paul asked him for a long stride and he got it, so I started to think that there was a lot of petrol left in the tank. I know Paul’s body language and I knew entering the home straight that Paul had not gone for anything. There was a bit of daylight and it opened nicely. They got in a bit close to the last, but they met the last perfectly and I finally thought he was going to make it this year!”

 

Mullins has saddled the runner-up in six editions of the Gold Cup. Explaining the feeling of finally entering the winner’s enclosure in the iconic contest, he remarked: “I’ve had six seconds in the race and I had probably resigned myself to the fact that I probably would not win it. Lots of people in a number of sports never land the pinnacle event and racing has been very good to me. I’ve had a fantastic life in racing with fantastic staff and fantastic owners, so this is really the icing on the cake as I never expected to win this race.”

 

Reviewing Al Boum Photo’s seasonal debut at Tramore this season, the trainer said: “We were looking for soft ground with him and so we went to Tramore just to get some soft ground. There were only four racetracks at that time of the year that had soft or heavy ground in their description, so it was an important race for us really.”

 

Townend was aboard when Al Boum Photo inexplicably bypassed the final fence in a G1 contest at Punchestown in April last year when holding every chance, but Mullins explained there was never any doubt of Townend not riding the horse in today’s contest, with Ireland’s champion Jump trainer continuing: “The morning after that Punchestown race, the owners [The Donnelly’s] rang me to tell him that what happened was just a disappointing and nothing else. They had absolute faith in him and they’ve been in racing for a long time, so they know that these things can happen. They said to never worry and that’s why I’m especially delighted that Paul was on board to win the Gold Cup on Al Boum Photo.

 

“When we buy horses, I try to buy those who I think are going to be either Gold Cup or Champion Hurdle horses. We’ve been very lucky with our Champion Hurdle horses as we’ve had some fantastic winners of that event (Hurricane Fly 2011 & 2013, Faugheen 2015 & Annie Power 2016) and maybe I started to think that my method of training is more suited towards two-mile horses. We have had some nice staying chasers such as Hedgehunter who won the Grand National in 2005, but I did just start to wonder whether we were training our horses to be too fast for the Gold Cup.

 

“We liked Al Boum Photo’s pedigree when we bought him. He had the stamp of a chaser and there was so much stamina in his pedigree too and that is what we liked. We thought he could be a Gold Cup or Grand National horse and that is the dream when you buy these horses.”

 

Townend could become Ireland’s champion Jump jockey this season and today’s success was his 10th victory at The Festival in total and his second this week following Duc Des Genievres’ win in the G1 Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase on Tuesday. Reflecting on the race, Townend commented: “I wanted to ride Al Boum Photo as I just thought the ground would in his favour. The rain was coming and because it was going to be on the slow side, I thought that would be good for him as stamina is his forte. He had the form on his ground. It’s huge to win the Gold Cup. To come to Cheltenham and this event is what you dream of. We land here on the Sunday night and riding out here on the Monday, you can just feel the buzz. On the Tuesday morning, everything just goes up a gear again. I was lucky that I had a winner at the start of the week and you can settle into the meeting a bit more then. This place on Gold Cup just seems to step up another notch and it is some feeling to cross the line in front in that race. Everyone wants to be win a Gold Cup and to be as successful as Willie has been and to not win a Gold Cup was probably playing on his mind a bit. Willie is not going to panic and he is going to prepare the horses for the races they are going for. I’m very lucky that I was on his first Gold Cup winner.”

 

Townend was effusive in his praise of Mullins, remarking: “Willie’s Cheltenham squad for the meeting as a whole was not the biggest that we’ve had in certain years and to then go and win the first two races [Klassical Dream G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle & Duc Des Genievres G1 Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase] set us up brilliantly for the rest of The Festival. If you are riding for Willie Mullins, whatever level it is at, you have a chance. Willie is incredible at picking races for horses and you know when he declares them that they definitely have a chance.”

 

The Irish rider also discussed the mishap aboard Al Boum Photo at Punchestown, explaining: “It was great that the Donnellys and Willie had my back after that race. Going into Punchestown the day after that race and for them to say not to worry was a huge thing for me. That’s all in the past now and he is a Gold Cup winner. Willie has guided me in the right way throughout his career. It is brilliant for me to be able to repay their faith. They just said after Punchestown to move on from it and to repay them with a Gold Cup is the best feeling in the world.

 

“I’ve grew up with racing all my life and I remember rushing off the school bus to try and make it home in time to see the Gold Cup. My memories of Cheltenham growing up are really Charlie Swan and Baracouda along with the great Best Mate. Racing is full of disappointments and you really have to enjoy the big days, but it’s important to keep as level as you can. It’s a brilliant feeling.”

 

 

THE FESTIVAL™ PRESENTED BY MAGNERS, CHELTENHAM

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

 

RECORD ATTENDANCES THROUGHOUT THE FESTIVAL 2019

 

Today’s attendance on Gold Cup came to 71,816, a new record for the climax of The Festival, as against 70,684 in 2018.

 

The total for the four days is also a new record at 266,779, with the previous best being 262,637 last year.

 

Yesterday’s crowd on St Patrick’s Thursday came to 67,821, a new record figure for the third day since The Festival became a four-day extravaganza in 2005.

 

The attendance was up 1,439 on the same day in 2018, which saw 66,382 stream through the gates.

 

Wednesday’s attendance of 59,209 was a new record for the second day of The Festival since the meeting switched to a four-day format in 2005.

 

Last year’s total on Ladies Day came to 58,959.

 

There was a record crowd on the opening day of The Festival 2019, with 67,934 attending Champion Day.

 

Last year’s attendance on the Tuesday came to 66,632, with the previous record for the day being 67,770 in 2016.

 

 

THE FESTIVAL™ PRESENTED BY MAGNERS, CHELTENHAM

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

 

ROWLEYS FINALLY CLIMB FOXHUNTER HILL

 

Shropshire point-to-point trainer Philip Rowley and his wife Mel finally won the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase having gone close in the previous two runnings.

 

Hazel Hill, owned by Diana Williams and ridden by Alex Edwards, came good for the Rowleys’ stable after Barel Of Laughs had won place money in the ‘hunters’ Gold Cup’ of 2017 and 2018. Today there was to be no near miss, as Hazel Hill (7/2f) raced to the lead in the home straight, jumped the final fence big and bold, and scored by four lengths and seven lengths from Shantou Flyer (7/1) and Top Wood (33/1) – the last-named was runner-up last year. Also worthy of mention was fourth home Road To Rome, a maiden point-to-pointer at the start of the season, and whose bid to make all only faded from the second-last fence.

 

Phil Rowley, who is Britain’s reigning champion point-to-point trainer, said: “I can’t quite believe it’s happened. We felt the horse had a massive chance, but two years ago Barel Of Laughs was 100/1, so no pressure and a lovely day out, and then today this horse goes off favourite and there is a lot of pressure. It puts a totally different perspective on the race.

 

“Alex did really well and eventually the horse won quite easily. He came up in his hands at the last. We knew Road To Rome would set the pace and so Alex and I chatted and agreed that he might not stop, so he knew where he had to be. He sat behind him, but close enough to stay in touch. Our lad has only run under Rules three times [all in hunters’ chases], and we wanted to switch him off and get into a rhythm.

 

“Alex and I have formed a great team and get on so well. He works so hard, we all do, and all the clichés fit when this happens. We were lucky that Jane Williams gave up riding, and her mother very kindly asked if we would train him. I doubt he would go to Aintree, and I doubt the owners would want him to, but Punchestown is a possibility, and back here next year.”

 

Mel Rowley said: “We are so lucky to have such lovely owners. Phil is a genius and I’m so proud of him because he leaves no stone unturned and it’s proved itself. This is our Gold Cup and what dreams are made of.”

 

Alex Edwards, who won the British point-to-point title last year, and who was second in yesterday’s Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase on Kilfilum Cross, said of Hazel Hill: “He’s a special horse. They went some gallop and I wasn’t too keen to get involved too soon – and a loose horse wasn’t helping, so I sat and waited until I got to the bottom of the hill to make a move. He does quicken up nicely, so you always have that in reserve – and he can come up when you ask him. I’m very lucky with the horses I ride.”

 

Jane Williams, daughter of the winning owner and a former British champion pointing rider, said: “Alex played it very cool and gave him a great ride. I was panicking thinking the loose horse was in the way, and then I couldn’t watch, but he flew up the hill. A couple of years ago we thought this would be a race for him, but last season he wasn’t quite right and this time the ground is spot on and he’s matured.”

 

Sam Waley-Cohen, who rode Road To Rome, said: “The hill found him out – he jumped for fun and enjoyed himself, but didn’t quite get up the hill. With two to go I thought he might cling on when a loose horse came past and he found a bit more, but it was soon too much. He’s run a great race, and Hazel Hill is a star.”

 

FLYER DELIGHTS MAXWELL

 

David Maxwell, son of jump racing stalwart and horse feed expert  Judy Maxwell, finished second on 7/1 chance Shantou Flyer, and was understandably delighted with his ride in the £45.000 St James’s Place Foxhunters Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase.

 

Maxwell said: “We just kept kicking, I think all the pace came from the front.

 

“We will have a look at him after the race, but you would have to fancy him at Aintree (Fox Hunters, April 4). He jumped round the National last year (pulled-up before five out in the Randox Health Grand National). He would deserve to go and take his chances there.

 

“God what fun. I mean what is to beat that, galloping around Prestbury Park a couple of times.”

 

Kelly Morgan, trainer of the third home 33/1 shot Top Wood, who has been absent from a race course for 322 days, was delighted by her charge’s performance.

 

Morgan said: “He seems to come alive when he comes to Cheltenham. We wanted to get a prep run into him in January, but the ground was too quick. He has to have his runs slightly spaced out. We didn’t have time to get a prep run into him. It was possibly a brave move coming here but we didn’t have a lot of options. He is such a legend. He never lets you down.

 

“If he comes out of this well, he has to have an entry for Aintree (Fox Hunters), it might come too soon.

 

“We won’t go for Punchestown. We took him over there last year and he didn’t travel well.”

 

Morgan, who is in her first year as a licensed trainer, added: “We only have six horses in and Johnny (Weatherby, Top Wood’s owner) is so supportive. Let’s hope we can go on from here.”

 

Tabitha Worsley, rider of Top Wood, added: “It was some training performance – to get him here after so many days out. I am so grateful for the ride. He has jumped from fence to fence and travelled really well. You can’t ask for much more than that.”

 

 

4.10pm St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase

 

1 Hazel Hill (Mrs D Williams) Phillip Rowley 11-12-00 Mr Alex Edwards 7/2f

2 Shantou Flyer (David Maxwell Racing Limited) Richard Hobson 9-12-00 Mr David Maxwell 7/1

3 Top Wood (J R Weatherby) Kelly Morgan 11-12-00 Miss Tabitha Worsley 33/1

 

24 ran

Distances: 4, 7

Time: 6m 50.75s

Tote    Win: £4.80              Places: £2.00, £2.80, £11.20          Exacta: £31.40

 

Phillip Rowley – 1st winner at The Festival

Alex Edwards – 1st winner at The Festival

 

 

THE FESTIVAL™ PRESENTED BY MAGNERS, CHELTENHAM

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

 

66/1 CROCO BAY A FIRST FESTIVAL WINNER FOR BEN CASE AT THIRD ATTEMPT

 

Ben Case was associated with some of Oliver Sherwood’s best horses when an assistant trainer in Lambourn, but veteran Croco Bay was a first Festival winner of his own after 20 years with a licence when the 66/1 winner from Bun Doran (11/1) in the meeting’s penultimate race, the two-mile Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase.

 

Appropriately the 12-year-old races for Lady Jane Grosvenor, who has supported the Wardington Gate Farm yard, north of Banbury, from the word go.

 

Case has never trained in great numbers and had 18 winners in his best season, but he has always known what he was doing and he had Croco Bay fit to run for his life despite a 227-day absence from the track, which was just as well as he had to dig deep to repel Bun Doran by a length and a half after forcing the pace throughout.

 

Wiping away tears, he said: “I don’t know what to say. A week ago I wasn’t sure we would get in, and I have to thank Paul Webber, who let me swim Croco Bay. I knew he was fit, as he went to Newbury the other day and never blew a candle out. He was in great form. He just loves it. He runs with his heart on his sleeve and I’m thrilled – lost for words.

 

“There has been a lot of work going into Croco Bay. He had a year off the previous year and we brought him back from a long lay-off to run at Worcester when he ran very well. The ground was a bit on and off afterwards and I thought if we are ever going to have the chance of winning a big race, he has to come back here. We gave him the winter off and brought him back after Christmas. He loves it around here. He has been third and fifth, and the time I really did fancy him he fell at the water, which is very unlike him, but he has made up for it today.

 

“He is 12-year-old, but he is like a six-year-old at home. He has a great attitude the horse and if he was worked up, I would be worried. He has been to all the festivals – here, Aintree, Galway, Punchestown – and to win here is fantastic. He is proper handicapper. He is what he is, but he goes out there and runs his heart out every time. For a small yard like ours to have somebody like him, it is great for us.

 

“This is what we do the job for, to have days like this. We have about 30 in the yard and it is a very small team. Everybody knows each other really well and have been with me for a long time. I am just really pleased for everybody. It is an emotional occasion. The owner has put a lot into it. We buy and sell foals. She has a few horses in training with me and we have had a lot of fun. We had a big winner with Deep Trouble at Punchestown a long time ago and this horse has carried the can for us as well.”

 

Case has had just three runners at Cheltenham and they have all been Croco Bay, who was third in 2015 and fifth two years later. This has been the target since he ran at Worcester last July.

 

The trainer confirmed: “He had a year off before Worcester and then I didn’t want to run him again as the ground was so firm, but this has been the aim all along.”

 

Sherwood and his wife Tarnya were among the first to offer congratulations. Tarnya Sherwood said: “Ben was my lodger. He was with is in the good days of horses like Rebel Song, The West Awake and Cruising Altitude. It’s one of the best results of the week.”

 

CROCO KEEPS THEM ALL AT BAY

 

A gallant performance by Croco Bay gave his owner, Lady Jane Grosvener, trainer Ben Case and jockey Kielan Woods a first winner at The Festival™ presented by Magners when taking the G3 £110,000 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase at odds of 66/1.

 

The 12-year-old, who hadn’t run since last July, beat Bun Doran by a length and a half in a battle from the final fence.

 

Twenty-six-year-old Woods, who runs a point-to-pointing and pre-training yard near Stow on the Wold with his girlfriend Christy Mews, said: “I am so shell shocked! I have been dreaming of this ever since I first sat on a horse. As the years go on, you think maybe it’s not going to happen. I’ve never been stuck for words in my life, but I am stuck for words now – I don’t know what to say. It’s weird, but in a good way.

 

“We wanted to pop out handy away because we always do; any time he’s run in this race we’ve been very handy. I couldn’t believe how well he was jumping down the back; I gave him a kick at a few and he was meeting Gino Trail [ridden by Richard Johnson] on the same stride and landing a stride in front of him. He was really enjoying it and I kicked on downhill, winged three out and I thought, ‘they’ll come by me in a minute’. I was tight to the rail to give us a little chance.

 

“He winged two out, winged the last and I thought, ‘this is too good to be true.’ He just stuck his head down and went all the way to the line.

 

“What a little horse he is. Twelve years of age. He hasn’t run in nearly a year. It’s an amazing training performance. Not many horses have their prep run round Worcester in July! He’s obviously a fragile little horse but what a training performance and my God, he jumped today. I want more now! We’ll enjoy today, anyway.”

 

4.50pm Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (Grade 3)

 

1 Croco Bay (Lady Jane Grosvenor) Ben Case 12-10-12 Kielan Woods 66/1

2 Bun Doran (Crossed Fingers Partnership) Tom George 8-11-07 Paddy Brennan 11/1

3 Brelan D’As (J P McManus) Paul Nicholls 8-10-09 Bryony Frost 8/1

4 Forest Bihan (Phil Martin) Brian Ellison 8-11-12 Danny Cook 33/1

 

9/2 fav Magic Saint (10th)

 

19 ran

Distances: 1½, 2½, 1

Time: 4m 5.29s

Tote    Win: £138.20           Places: £15.50, £3.00, £2.60, £6.50 Exacta: £1,012.30

 

Ben Case – 1st winner at The Festival

Kielan Woods – 1st winner at The Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE FESTIVAL™ PRESENTED BY MAGNERS, CHELTENHAM

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

ST PATRICK’S THURSDAY, MARCH 14, 2019

 

EARLY CLOSES THE DOOR ON THE FESTIVAL 2019

 

There was a poignant success in the final race of The Festival™ presented by Magners as the Joseph O’Brien-trained top-weight Early Doors (5/1) captured the £70,000 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle under jockey Jonjo O’Neill jnr giving owner J P McManus a fifth win over the four days.

 

The six-year-old son of Soldier Of Fortune ran on strongly in the closing stages to defeat the well-supported 7/2 favourite Dallas Des Pictons, trained by Gordon Elliott, by a length and a quarter.

 

O’Brien, recording his second winner of the week following Band Of Outlaws’ victory in Wednesday’s £80,000 G3 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, said: “Early Doors has been running in Graded company all year.

 

“He came back to handicaps today and Jonjo gave him a great ride, so we are very happy. Jonjo is a fantastic rider. A couple of weeks ago I was speaking to Frank Berry [the owner’s racing manager] and he said we could get Jonjo for the Martin Pipe, so I said let’s have a go at that then.”

 

J P McManus was crowned the NetJets Leading Owner at The Festival 2019. O’Brien continued: “It has been a wonderful week for J P. It won’t feel that way with how today has gone, but he has had a wonderful week and he is well-entitled to it.”

 

“We are devastated [about Sir Erec]. It is one of those things. It was well documented that he had a stone bruise, but he seemed perfect the last couple of days.

 

“We did a full set of x-rays two days ago, just to make sure there was nothing else going on, and they were perfectly clean.

 

“Mark [Walsh, jockey] just said he jumped the hurdle awkwardly, landed extremely awkwardly, and then he obviously got injured. It is one of those things, but I suppose when you see what happened in New Zealand last night, it kind of brings it into perspective a little bit, and we’ll move on.”

 

5.30pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

 

1 Early Doors (J P McManus) Joseph O’Brien IRE 6-11-10 Jonjo O’Neill Jnr 5/1

2 Dallas Des Pictons (Gigginstown House Stud) Gordon Elliott IRE 6-11-05 Donagh Meyler 7/2f

3 Defi Bleu (Gigginstown House Stud) Gordon Elliott IRE 6-11-04 Conor Brassil 14/1

4 Champagne Court (I F Gosden And Dj Coles) Jeremy Scott 6-10-05 Rex Dingle 14/1

 

24 ran

Distances: 1¼, 4, 7

Tote Win: £5.60 Places: £2.10, £1.90, £3.60, £4.40 Exacta: £25.30

 

Joseph O’Brien – 2nd winner at The Festival

Jonjo O’Neill Jnr – 1st winner at The Festival

 

DOORS START OPENING FOR O’NEILL JNR

 

A pair of sons of famous fathers teamed up to take the final race of The Festival™ presented by Magners 2019, the £70,000 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle.

 

Early Doors, trained by Joseph O’Brien – son of legendary trainer Aidan – and ridden by Jonjo O’Neill jnr, whose father Jonjo snr is one of only five people to have ridden and trainer a winner of the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, beat Dallas Des Pictons by a length and a quarter at 5/1.

 

It was Joseph O’Brien’s second success of the meeting, following Band Of Outlaw’s victory in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle on Wednesday.

 

Twenty-one-year-old O’Neill jnr, enjoying his first victory at The Festival, said: “It’s a massive thrill, and I’m just delighted that Mr McManus [J P McManus, Early Doors’ owner, for whom it was a fifth winner of The Festival 2019] put me on him.

 

“The standing start didn’t really suit Early Doors; he wasn’t really travelling all the time and I was just having to niggle him along, but he was saving himself and I knew he was kind of like that so I wasn’t too worried. They went a good gallop so I was hoping they would come back to us. To be fair to him, he really picked off the leader when he needed; he really knuckled down and tried to beat him. I thought when I got to the leader he’d pick up again. He [Early Doors] didn’t quite fly the last, but he is a real gutsy little fella and he stuck his head down.

 

“I thought he ran a cracker last year as a novice [he was third in this race under J J Slevin] and he’s run in some Grade Ones this year; even though he was beaten a long way he had some good horses behind him, so I thought he’s a Grade One, Grade Two horse back in a handicap and I thought he had an exceptional chance.

 

“Both Joseph and I are in massively privileged positions and we don’t take that for granted whatsoever. So to do it together and on our own path is amazing. Joseph said, ‘keep it very simple, get a good start and just sit where you are travelling and don’t overcomplicate it.’ That was kind of it – small words and he didn’t need to say anything else.

 

“I’ve ridden this race – any race at Cheltenham – hundreds of times on the sofa!”

 

 

ELLIOTT HAS TO SETTLE FOR PLACES IN RACE HE HAD WON FOR LAST TWO YEARS

 

Gordon Elliott had three strong chances in the concluding Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, a race he won with Champagne Classic in 2017 and Blow By Blow 12 months ago, but while all three finished in the first six the Joseph O’Brien-trained top weight Early Doors (5/1) was just too good for them.

 

Runner-up Dallas Des Pictons (7/2 favourite) and third-placed Defi Bleu (14/1) both carried Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown Stud colours, as had Elliott’s two winners of the race,  but while the Ryanair boss ended the week with just one winner – Tiger Roll – he has plenty to look forward to.

 

O’Leary said: “They’ve both run well in a tough race and they are just babies. They’ll come on well for it and they should both do well next season. They are baby chasers, so I’m very happy with that. The best horse won.”

 

Reflecting on the week, he said: “I’d like to have had more winners as I had seven last year and only one this time, but that’s an average of four a year and you have to be happy with that.”

 

 

THE FESTIVAL™ PRESENTED BY MAGNERS, CHELTENHAM

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

ST PATRICK’S THURSDAY, MARCH 14, 2019

 

HOLLAND COOPER TOP JOCKEY AT THE FESTIVAL 2019 –

NICO DE BOINVILLE

 

Nico de Boinville, the Holland Cooper Top Jockey at The Festival 2019 with three winners, reacted: “I am over the moon.

 

“You do not come into a week like this thinking you have any sort of a chance [of being top jockey]. You know you have good rides, but you know how hard it is to convert them here.
“You have to remember that I am riding for a genius of a trainer (Nicky Henderson) because we have been pushed this year. We haven’t had an easy build-up with all the snow and flu jabs so it has been a difficult prep for all these horses.
“I was saying earlier that I think one of the standout training performances was Santini, because we have had so many problems with him. For him to come and run like he did, we are really looking forward to next season.

 

“It has been a great week.”

 

His three victories came through William Henry in the Coral Cup, Altior in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase and Pentland Hills in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.

 

 

WILLIE MULLINS REGAINS THE IRISH INDEPENDENT TRAINERS’ TITLE IN A CLOSE-RUN AFFAIR

 

Willie Mullins was crowned The Irish Independent Leading Trainer at The Festival for a sixth time after an absence of two years, but it went to countback on placings before the result was confirmed.

 

This time it was Nicky Henderson, who last won the title in 2012, who gave him most to do, rather than Gordon Elliott, who took the title from Mullins in 2017 and won it again last year, and after both trainers ended on four winners it was Mullins’ five seconds against Henderson’s four that clinched it.

 

Mullins had not been optimistic at the start of the week, so he was delighted to be proved wrong.

 

He said: “It’s a big surprise. Looking at Nicky’s team at the start of the week I thought he was going to be hard to beat, so I’m delighted for the yard and delighted for all of our owners, who give us such support. It’s a testament to everyone who backs me that I’ve won it again.”

 

He added: “We got a great start, winning the first two races. We didn’t think we had a great team of novices but we ended with three novice winners, plus the Gold Cup, which was unbelievable after so many near misses. I thought I’d never win the Gold Cup, so that was a major surprise and a nice one.”

 

 

 

 

STEWARDS’ REPORTS

An enquiry was held, adjourned from Cheltenham on Thursday 14 March 2019, into the use of the whip by Noel Fehily, the rider of the winner, EGLANTINE DU SEUIL in Race 6. After being interviewed and shown recordings of the race, Fehily was suspended for 4 days for using his whip in the incorrect place on the run to the line.

 

Race 1 – 1:30pm G1 JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE

 

PIC D’ORHY (FR) wore earplugs which were removed at the start and TIGER TAP TAP (GER) wore earplugs throughout the race. The circumstances surrounding SIR EREC (IRE) sustaining an injury shortly after jumping the fourth hurdle were considered by the Stewards. The BHA Head of Equine Health and Welfare was interviewed and reports taken from the trainer, Joseph O’Brien and Dr John Halley, the trainer’s Veterinary Surgeon. The BHA Head of Equine Health and Welfare reported that SIR EREC (IRE) had passed a pre-race Veterinary Inspection earlier in the day. On arrival at the start, the colt had spread its right fore plate and was reshod, after which the BHA Veterinary Officer was satisfied with SIR EREC (IRE)’s suitability to race. The trainer reported that full radiograph images were taken of the colt in the days leading up to the race, which is the usual precautionary custom of the yard with respect to all runners. Mr O’Brien’s Veterinary Surgeon further reported that there had been no radiographic evidence that would indicate anything that may lead to SIR EREC (IRE) sustaining an injury. Their evidence was noted. ADJALI (GER), placed seventh, became unbalanced rounding the home turn, shifting right-handed and carrying the winner, PENTLAND HILLS (IRE) onto GARDENS OF BABYLON (IRE), placed third, and FRENCH MADE (FR), placed eighth, which were both badly crowded for racing room, but after viewing a recording of the incident, it was found that no riding offence was involved. Following the race, Gordon Elliott reported that AUTHORIZO (FR), which was pulled up before the sixth hurdle, had a breathing problem.

 

Race 2 – 2:10pm G3 RANDOX HEALTH COUNTY HURDLE

 

Permission was given for MONSIEUR LECOQ (FR) to go early to post and be mounted in the chute; WHISKEY SOUR (IRE) wore earplugs throughout the race. MONSIEUR LECOQ (FR), ridden by Lizzie Kelly, unseated its rider on the way to post but the gelding was caught quickly. Having been examined by the doctor and Veterinary Surgeon at the start, both the rider and gelding were deemed fit to race. The performance of CROOKS PEAK, which finished twentieth of the 22 finishers, beaten by 38¾ lengths, was considered. Philip Hobbs’ explanation that the gelding was unsuited by the Good to Soft ground, which in his opinion was riding softer than described, was noted. The performance of PINGSHOU (IRE), which finished last of the 22 finishers, beaten by 58¼ lengths, was considered. Colin Tizzard’s representative could offer no explanation for the gelding’s performance. Following the race, Davy Russell reported that MITCHOUKA (FR), which was pulled up, stopped quickly and Sam Twiston-Davies reported that LEONCAVALLO (IRE), unplaced, ran too freely.

 

Race 3 – 2:50pm G1 ALBERT BARTLETT NOVICES’ HURDLE

 

ALLAHO (FR), DORRELLS PIERJI (FR) and SALSARETTA (FR) wore earplugs throughout the race. The sponsorship in relation to LISNAGAR OSCAR (IRE), trained by Rebecca Curtis, did not comply with the Sponsorship Code of Conduct. Rebecca Curtis was warned as to her responsibility to ensure that the correct sponsorship is carried. Following the race, Barry Geraghty reported that BIRCHDALE (IRE), which was pulled up, stopped quickly; the gelding was routine tested. Davy Russell reported that DINONS (FR), which was pulled up, was never travelling; the Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of the gelding failed to reveal any abnormalities. Mark Walsh reported that he felt RHINESTONE (IRE) had lost its action so he pulled the gelding up as a precaution; the Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination revealed RHINESTONE (IRE) had lost its left fore shoe. The Veterinary Officer further reported that AYE AYE CHARLIE, placed eighth, lost its right fore shoe, DARLAC (FR), which was pulled up, lost both hind shoes and SALSARETTA (FR), placed seventh, had post-race ataxia.

 

Race 4 – 3:30pm G1 MAGNERS CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP

 

AL BOUM PHOTO (FR), BRISTOL DE MAI (FR) and KEMBOY (FR) wore earplugs throughout the race. MIGHT BITE (IRE) was pulled up quickly after the second last fence as the rider felt something was amiss with the gelding, thereby interfering with YALA ENKI (FR), placed seventh, but after viewing a recording of the incident, it was found that no riding offence was involved. Following the race, Ruby Walsh reported that he pulled BELLSHILL (IRE) up after making a bad mistake. Nico De Boinville reported that MIGHT BITE (IRE), which was pulled up, stopped quickly; the Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of the gelding failed to reveal any abnormalities. Davy Russell reported that PRESENTING PERCY, which started favourite and finished eighth, was never travelling following an early mistake and his saddle had slipped mid-race; the gelding was routine tested. The Veterinary Officer reported that ELEGANT ESCAPE (IRE), placed sixth, lost its left fore shoe and SHATTERED LOVE (IRE), unplaced, had post-race ataxia.

 

Race 5 – 4:10pm ST. JAMES’S PLACE FOXHUNTER CHASE

 

Following the race, Miss Gina Andrews reported that HAYMOUNT (IRE), which was pulled up, was never travelling.

 

Race 6 – 4:50pm G3 JOHNNY HENDERSON GRAND ANNUAL HANDICAP CHASE

 

Permission was given for GINO TRAIL (IRE) to go early to post and be mounted in the chute and MARRACUDJA (FR) to be mounted in the chute. MARRACUDJA (FR) wore earplugs throughout the race. Kielan Woods, the rider of the winner, CROCO BAY (IRE), was suspended for 2 days for using his whip above the permitted level from the penultimate fence. Following the race, James Best reported that MR MEDIC made a bad mistake, after which he pulled the gelding up and Gavin Sheehan reported that ALL SET TO GO (IRE) made a bad mistake, after which he pulled the gelding up.

 

Race 7 – 5:30pm MARTIN PIPE CONDITIONAL JOCKEYS’ HANDICAP HURDLE

 

GETAREASON (IRE) wore earplugs throughout the race. Having reviewed the start, the Stewards were satisfied that MOUNT MEWS (IRE) had refused to race and was deemed to be a runner. Having reviewed recordings of the false start, the Starters were satisfied that no riders should be reported for contravening the starting procedures.

The Starter reported that Ricky Doyle, the rider of ACAPELLA BOURGEOIS (FR), had deliberately faced his horse backwards. The rider and the Starter were interviewed and recordings of the incident were shown. Doyle was suspended for 2 days, on dates to be notified to him, for misconduct at the Start. Following the race Sean Houlihan reported that GARD DE JUILLEY (FR), unplaced, was never travelling and Thomas Dowson reported that SAKHEE’S CITY (FR), unplaced, was inconvenienced by the false start. The Veterinary Officer reported that DISCORDANTLY (IRE), unplaced, lost its right hind shoe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


THE FESTIVAL™ PRESENTED BY MAGNERS, CHELTENHAM

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

 

Holland Cooper Leading Jockey Award –

Final Standings

 

Jockey                                   1st                                          2nd                                                     3rd

Nico de Boinville                 3                                     1                                              1

Barry Geraghty                  2                                     3                                              2

Paul Townend                    2                                     2                                              -

Mark Walsh                       2                                     1                                              1

Mr Jamie Codd                   2                                     -                                               -

Rachael Blackmore             2                                     -                                               1

Harry Skelton                    2                                     -                                               1

J J Slevin                          1                                     2                                              -

Harry Cobden                    1                                     1                                              -

Mr Alex Edwards                1                                     1                                              -

Ruby Walsh                       1                                     -                                               2

Keith Donoghue                 1                                     -                                               2

Bryony Frost                     1                                     -                                               1

Aidan Coleman                   1                                     -                                               -

Noel Fehily                        1                                     -                                               -

Lizzie Kelly                        1                                     -                                               -

Jeremiah McGrath              1                                     -                                               -

Mr Derek O’Connor             1                                     -                                               -

Jonjo O’Neill Jr                  1                                     -                                               -

Kielan Woods                    1                                     -                                               -

Daryl Jacob                       -                                     2                                              2

Jack Kennedy                    -                                     2                                              2

Richard Johnson                 -                                     1                                              1

Davy Russell                      -                                     1                                              1

Tom Bellamy                     -                                     1                                              -

Paddy Brennan                  -                                     1                                              -

Joe Colliver                       -                                     1                                              -

Danny Cook                      -                                     1                                              -

Charlie Deutsch                  -                                     1                                              -

Mr David Maxwell               -                                     1                                              -

Donagh Meyler                  -                                     1                                              -

Danny Mullins                    -                                     1                                              -

Mr Patrick Mullins               -                                     1                                              -

Mr Barry O’Neill                  -                                     1                                              -

Robbie Power                    -                                     1                                              -

Henry Brooke                    -                                     -                                               1

Conor Brassil                     -                                     -                                               1

Sean Flanagan                   -                                     -                                               1

Felix de Giles                     -                                     -                                               1

Mr Declan Lavery               -                                     -                                               1

David Mullins                     -                                     -                                               1

Gavin Sheehan                  -                                     -                                               1

Sam Twiston-Davies           -                                     -                                               1

Mr Sam Waley-Cohen          -                                     -                                               1

Adam Wedge                     -                                     -                                               1

Miss Tabitha Worsley          -                                     -                                               1

 

F48.

THE FESTIVAL™ PRESENTED BY MAGNERS, CHELTENHAM

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

 

The Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award –

Final Standings

 

Trainer                                   1st                                          2nd                                                     3rd

Willie Mullins IRE                4                                     5                                              4

Nicky Henderson                4                                     4                                              1

Gordon Elliott IRE               3                                     4                                              5

Joseph O’Brien IRE             2                                     2                                              1

Paul Nicholls                      2                                     1                                              1

Dan Skelton                      2                                     -                                               1

Henry de Bromhead IRE      2                                     -                                               -

Philip Hobbs                      1                                     -                                               2

Ben Pauling                       1                                     -                                               1

Martin Brassil IRE               1                                     -                                               -

Ben Case                          1                                     -                                               -

Gavin Cromwell IRE            1                                     -                                               -

Emma Lavelle                    1                                     -                                               -

Philip Rowley                     1                                     -                                               -

Ted Walsh IRE                   1                                     -                                               -

Nick Williams                     1                                     -                                               -

Olly Murphy                       -                                     1                                              1

Enda Bolger IRE                 -                                     1                                              -

Tom George                      -                                     1                                              -

Debra Hamer                     -                                     1                                              -

Richard Hobson                  -                                     1                                              -

Tony Martin IRE                 -                                     1                                              -

Paul Nolan IRE                   -                                     1                                              -

Jedd O’Keeffe                    -                                     1                                              -

Henry Oliver                      -                                     1                                              -

Sue Smith                         -                                     1                                              -

Colin Tizzard                     -                                     1                                              -

Venetia Williams                 -                                     1                                              -

Nigel Twiston-Davies           -                                     -                                               2

Nick Alexander                   -                                     -                                               1

Emmanuel Clayeux FR        -                                     -                                               1

Jessica Harrington IRE         -                                     -                                               1

Alan King                          -                                     -                                               1

Noel Meade IRE                  -                                     -                                               1

Kelly Morgan                     -                                     -                                               1

Neil Mulholland                   -                                     -                                               1

Terence O’Brien IRE            -                                     -                                               1

Evan Williams                    -                                     -                                               1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

F49.

THE FESTIVAL™ PRESENTED BY MAGNERS, CHELTENHAM

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

 

NetJets Leading Owner Award – Final Standings

Owner                                    1st                                          2nd                                                     3rd

J P McManus                      5                                     5                                              4

Sullivan Bloodstock Ltd       2                                     1                                              -

Cheveley Park Stud            2                                     -                                               1

Gigginstown House Stud      1                                     3                                              5

Marie Donnelly                   1                                     1                                              -

George Barlow                   1                                     -                                               -

The Can’t Say No Partnership 1                                   -                                               -

Justin Carthy                     1                                     -                                               -

Joanne Coleman                 1                                     -                                               -

Sarah Faulks                     1                                     -                                               -

Andrew Gemmell                1                                     -                                               -

Chris Giles & Mr & Mrs Paul Barber 1                            -                                               -

Lady Jane Grosvenor          1                                     -                                               -

Barry Maloney                   1                                     -                                               -

Bernadine Mulryan              1                                     -                                               -

Emma Palmer                    1                                     -                                               -

Owners Group 031             1                                     -                                               -

Patricia Pugh                     1                                     -                                               -

Paul Vogt                          1                                     -                                               -

Walters Plant Hire Ltd         1                                     -                                               -

John White & Anne Underhill 1                                    -                                               -

Diana Williams                   1                                     -                                               -

Simon Munir & Isaac Souede -                                    3                                              2

Trevor Hemmings               -                                     1                                              1

Chris Jones                       -                                     1                                              1

Andy Bell & Fergus Lyons    -                                     1                                              -

The Bellamy Partnership      -                                     1                                              -

Burnham P & D Ltd             -                                     1                                              -

Caron & Paul Chapman        -                                     1                                              -

Crossed Fingers Partnership -                                     1                                              -

Down The Quay Club           -                                     1                                              -

Thomas Friel/Andrew Gemmell -                                 1                                              -

John Hales                        -                                     1                                              -

Richard & Lizzie Kelvin Hughes -                                 1                                              -

David Maxwell Racing Ltd    -                                     1                                              -

Taylor & O’Dwyer               -                                     1                                              -

Diana Whateley                  -                                     1                                              -

Wicklow Bloodstock (Ireland) Ltd -                              1                                              -

The Aldaniti Partnership       -                                     -                                               1

Kate & Andrew Brooks        -                                     -                                               1

Mike Burbidge & The Old Masters -                              -                                               1

The Englands & Heywoods   -                                     -                                               1

L Fell                                -                                     -                                               1

Nigel King                         -                                     -                                               1

N W Lake                          -                                     -                                               1

Martin McDonagh/Paul Murphy/M J Nixon -                                    -                                               1

ML Bloodstock Ltd              -                                     -                                               1

A Rasquier                        -                                     -                                               1

Robcour                            -                                     -                                               1

Susannah Ricci                  -                                     -                                               1

Options O Syndicate           -                                     -                                               1

Johnny Weatherby              -                                     -                                               1

F50.

THE FESTIVAL™ PRESENTED BY MAGNERS, CHELTENHAM

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

 

The Festival™ presented by Magners 2019 – Winners

 

Champion Day – Tuesday, March 12, 2019

1:30pm Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y £125,000

KLASSICAL DREAM (FR) Joanne Coleman 5-11-07 Willie Mullins IRE/Ruby Walsh 6/1

2:10pm Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y £175,000

DUC DES GENIEVRES (FR) Sullivan Bloodstock Limited 6-11-04 Willie Mullins IRE/Paul Townend 5/1

2:50pm Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m 1f £110,000

BEWARE THE BEAR (IRE) George Barlow 9-11-08 Nicky Henderson/Jeremiah McGrath 10/1

3:30pm Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) 2m 87y £450,000

ESPOIR D’ALLEN (FR) J P McManus 5-11-10 Gavin Cromwell IRE/Mark Walsh 16/1

4:10pm OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (Registered as the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle) (Grade 1) 2m 3f 200y £120,000

ROKSANA (IRE) Sarah Faulks 7-11-05 Dan Skelton/Harry Skelton 10/1

4:50 pm Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed Race) 2m 4f 63y £70,000

A PLUS TARD (FR) Cheveley Park Stud 5-11-07 Henry de Bromhead IRE/Rachael Blackmore 5/1 Fav

5:30pm National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) 3m 7f 166y £125,000

LE BREUIL (FR) Emma Palmer 7-11-06 Ben Pauling/Mr Jamie Codd 14/1

Ladies Day – Wednesday, March 13, 2019

1:30pm Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered as the Baring Bingham) 2m 5f £125,000

CITY ISLAND (IRE) Bernadine Mulryan 6-11-07 Martin Brassil IRE/Mark Walsh 8/1

2:10pm RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 3m 80y £175,000

TOPOFTHEGAME (IRE) Chris Giles & Mrs & Mrs Paul Barber 7-11-04 Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden 4/1

2:50pm Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 5f £100,000

WILLIAM HENRY (IRE) Walters Plant Hire Ltd 9-11-10 Nicky Henderson/Nico de Boinville 28/1

3:30pm Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y £400,000

ALTIOR (IRE) Patricia Pugh 9-11-10 Nicky Henderson/Nico de Boinville 4/11 Fav

4:10pm Glenfarclas Chase (A Cross Country Chase) 3m 6f 37y £65,000

TIGER ROLL (IRE) Gigginstown House Stud 9-11-04 Gordon Elliott IRE/Keith Donoghue 5/4 Fav

4:50pm Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Registered as the Fred Winter) (Grade 3) £80,000

BAND OF OUTLAWS (IRE) Justin Carthy 4-11-08 Joseph O’Brien IRE/J. J. Slevin 7/2 Fav

5:30pm Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1) 2m 87y £75,000

ENVOI ALLEN (FR) Cheveley Park Stud 5-11-05 Gordon Elliott IRE/Mr Jamie Codd 2/1 Fav

St Patrick’s Thursday – Thursday, March 14, 2019

1:30 pm JLT Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (Registered as the Golden Miller) 2m 4f 5y £156,760

DEFI DU SEUIL (FR) J P McManus 6-11-04 Philip Hobbs/Barry Geraghty 3/1 Fav

2:10pm Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 7f 213y £100,000

SIRE DU BERLAIS (FR) J P McManus 7-11-09 Gordon Elliott IRE/ Barry Geraghty 4/1 Fav

2:50pm Ryanair Chase (Registered as the Festival Trophy) (Grade 1) 2m 4f 184y £350,000

FRODON (FR) Paul Vogt 7-11-10 Paul Nicholls/Bryony Frost 9/2

3:30pm Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y £325,000

PAISLEY PARK (IRE) Andrew Gemmell 7-11-10 Emma Lavelle/Aidan Coleman 11/8 Fav

4:10 pm Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m 4f 184y £110,000

SIRUH DU LAC (FR) John White & Anne Underhill 6-10-11 Nick Williams/Lizzie Kelly (3) 9/2

4:50pm National Hunt Breeders Supported By Tattersalls Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (Registered as the Dawn Run) 2m 179y £90,00

EGLANTINE DU SEUIL (FR) Sullivan Bloodstock Limited 5-11-02 Willie Mullins IRE/ Noel Fehily 50/1

5:30pm Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase 3m 2f 75y £70,000

ANY SECOND NOW (IRE) J P McManus 7-11-11 Ted Walsh IRE/Mr Derek O’Connor 6/1

Gold Cup Day – Friday, March 15, 2019

1:30 pm JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 179y £125,000

PENTLAND HILLS (IRE) Owners Group 031 4-11-00 Nicky Henderson/Nico de Boinville 20/1

2:10pm Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 179y Weights raised 7lb £100,000

CH’TIBELLO (FR) The Can’t Say No Partnership 8-11-05 Dan Skelton/Harry Skelton 12/1

2:50pm Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered as the Spa Novices’ Hurdle) 2m 7f 213y £125,000

MINELLA INDO (IRE) Barry Maloney 6-11-05 Henry de Bromhead IRE/Rachael Blackmore 50/1

3:30pm Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) 3m 2f 70y £625,000

AL BOUM PHOTO (FR) Marie Donnelly 7-11-10 Willie Mullins IRE/Paul Townend 12/1

4:10pm St. James’s Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase 3m 2f 70y £45,000

HAZEL HILL (IRE) Mrs D Williams 11-12-00 Philip Rowley/Mr Alex Edwards 7/2 Fav

4:50pm Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m 62y £110,000

CROCO BAY (IRE) Lady Jane Grosvenor 12-10-12 Ben Case/Kielan Woods 66/1

5:30pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f 56y £70,000

EARLY DOORS (FR) J P McManus 6-11-10 Joseph O’Brien IRE/Jonjo O’Neill Jr 5/1

 

888 Prestbury Cup – Final Standings

Great Britain 14

Ireland 14

F51.


 

THE FESTIVAL™ PRESENTED BY MAGNERS, CHELTENHAM

RACENEWS RACECOURSE SERVICE

GOLD CUP DAY, FRIDAY, MARCH 15, 2019

 

FOUR DAYS OF EXTRAORDINARY

 

The Festival™ 2019, which seemed to break new ground for the number of heart-warming and captivating stories, reached a conclusion at Cheltenham this evening.

 

It had thrilled fans of Jump racing, attracted record crowds on each day, received superb television and media coverage and delighted the Cheltenham team, headed by Ian Renton, The Jockey Club’s Regional Director, Cheltenham and South West Racecourses.

 

Renton said: “It’s been absolutely wonderful, and the most extraordinary four days of Jump racing. The Thursday, in particular, will live long in the memory of everyone that was here to witness it.

 

“It has been a challenging Festival – in the lead-up we had equine flu, which caused a bit of a stop-start for a few days, and internally we were a little concerned about the forecast for windy Wednesday, which we had been aware of some way in advance. That forced us to spend quite a bit of time thinking of contingency plans. Fortunately, they weren’t needed.

 

“In terms of stories surrounding the winners I cannot remember a better Festival. Tiger Roll’s win in the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase, his fourth at the meeting, was wonderful, and Altior’s victory in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase was a great illustration of an outstanding steeplechaser. For Gavin Cromwell’s first Festival win to come in the Unibet Champion Hurdle [with Espoir D’Allen] was quite a rarity.

 

“We have all been waiting for Willie Mullins to win the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, so the victory today by Al Boum Photo, who he trains, was a delight for everyone who follows Jump racing.

 

“Finding a personal highlight is not easy, but to see Bryony [Frost] presenting Frodon at the fences in the Ryanair Chase, and watching her proving to be such an accomplished jockey is hard to beat. The way she portrayed herself after the race and her obvious love for that horse was wonderful to watch. Similarly, from Thursday afternoon, the win for Paisley Park in the Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle, and the dignified way his [blind] owner, Andrew Gemmell, showed his delight, was great for the sport.

 

“The team here at Cheltenham have worked tirelessly throughout, and I hope everyone who has attended has thoroughly enjoyed their visit. I’m looking forward to the 2020 Festival already.”

 

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