The Triumph Hurdle produced a shock result in the shape of ‘Countrywide Flame’ – another victory to the North and the excellent John Quinn yard.
The notoriously difficult County Hurdle went to ‘Alderwood’ for J.P.McManus and A.p McCoy. It was the champion jockey’s first win of the meeting and the start of a wonderful day for the legendary owner.
The Novice hurdle went to Scotland with the tenacious ‘Brindisi Breeze’ foiling a huge Irish gamble on ‘Boston Bob’. I strongly suspect we will be seeing a lot more of these two horses over the next twelve months as this looks very strong form. It was Lucinda Russell and Campbell Gillies first Cheltenham Festival Winner.
The Gold Cup went to 165 Rated ‘Synchronised’ who beat 160 Rated ‘The Giant Bolster’, suggesting that the form is correct – which basically means ‘Long Run‘ has deteriorated around a stone in twelve months. I have to say with a stable jockey like Barry Geraghty available it would be very interesting to see what difference he would make to the horse. I suspect it’s highly unlikely to happen but it’s hard to think the horse has gone backwards that quickly.
Let’s take nothing away from the connections with the winner. I am sure the connections of ‘Imperial Commander’ must be relishing the prospect of next year Gold Cup. A postscript to the race was that ‘Kauto Star’ was alright after being pulled up which is great news. It looks highly likely he will be retired and with such a high profile horse I am sure
the connections will do the best for the horse – he is a living legend.
The Foxhunter produced a superb finish in which ‘Salsify’ finally prevailed from the well backed ‘Chapoturgeon’ to give the Irish another winner. His jockey had to lose weight to keep the ride – it’s proven well worthwhile.
The Martin Pipe Race was taken by ‘Attaglance’ to give Northern Trainer Malcolm Jefferson a double on the meeting – some achievement. When you think the likes of ‘Alan King’ (who took a big team to the meeting) has come away empty handed, it just shows what a feat it is to train a single winner at the premier Festival, let alone a Double!
The finale was taken by one of the most talented riders to grace the festival – an ice cool ride on a quirky horse judged to perfection by ‘Paul Carberry’ gave Nicky Henderson and J.P McManus a fine send off. It was an emotional day for the trainer who won the race named after his father and ended a perfect week for the seven barrows handler.