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Wednesday, March 12, 2003



The going for the second day of the Festival remains as it was yesterday --


“We have had half a millimetre of rain this morning so basically we are back where we started yesterday,” said clerk of the course Simon Claisse.

“I was talking to John Kettley at 6 am this morning and he told me we were going to get some rain, and hardly had he said so than it started.

“But what we have had should be it for the day. It is likely to be dry for the racing and I don’t think there is any likelihood of the ground changing before racing.”


Champion jockey Tony McCoy, who had two falls yesterday and gave up his last two rides, has been passed fit to ride this afternoon.

He has six rides, all of them for Martin Pipe, beginning with Puntal in the Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle (2.0). He then partners It Takes Time in the Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Chase (2.35), Tiutchev in the Queen Mother Champion Chase (3.15), Korelo in the Coral Cup (4.0), Lady Cricket in the Mildmay of Flete Chase (5.10) and Liberman in the Weatherbys Champion National Hunt Bumper (5.45)


Irish-trained horses got off to a magnificent start at the 2003 National Hunt Festival yesterday, with two victories equalling their total number of wins over the whole three days of the Festival in 1985, 1990, 1991 and 1992.

This first-day total of two also surpassed the number of Irish successes over the whole three days of the Festival in 1987 (when Irish-trained horses gained one win), 1988 (one) and 1989 (none).

Tuesday’s two successes for horses trained on the Emerald Isle equals the two victories gained by Irish-trained runners on the first day of last year’s Festival.

Yesterday the Irish got off to the best possible start to the 2003 Festival when the Edward O’Grady-trained Back In Front justified 3/1 favouritism in the opening Gerrard Wealth Management Supreme Novices’ Hurdle to beat Kicking King by ten lengths. The runner-up is also trained in Ireland by Tom Taaffe.

The manner of victory by this Bob Back gelding was as emphatic as one is likely to see in a Grade One contest and the punter who placed a £50,000 bet on course to win £125,000 would hardly have raised a sweat. Other large bets won included a £30,000-£10,000, £55,000-£20,000, £15,000-£5,000 and £10,000-£5,000.

The Irish have now won the last three renewals of the Gerrard Wealth Management Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Last year Like-A-Butterfly was victorious for Christy Roche and in 2000 Sausalito Bay provided Noel Meade with his first Festival success.

The other Irish-trained victory on day one of this year’s Festival came courtesy of the Christy Roche-trained Youlneverwalkalone, who triumphed in the famous green and orange colours of owner J P McManus to beat Haut Cercy by three-quarters of a length in the William Hill National Hunt Handicap Chase.

If the nine-year-old’s trainer gets his way, the Montelimar gelding will now head to Aintree in April for an engagement in the Martell Cognac Grand National. The determined way in which he battled on under pressure from the runner-up could make him a serious contender for this marathon event.

Youlneverwalkalone’s Festival success came in a heat in which the Irish have not fared
well in in recent years. The last time a horse from the Emerald Isle prevailed was in 1966, when Arkloin was a successful favourite for trainer Tom Dreaper.

Irish-trained successes at the Cheltenham Festival

2000-3 1988-1
1999-5 1987-1
1998-4 1986-4
1997-3 1985-2
1996-7* 1984-4
1995-4 1983-5
1994-3 1982-6
1993-6 1981-3
1992-2 1980-4
1991-2 1979-5
1990-2 1978-6
1989-0 1977-7* * (equal highest)


Race 1 2pm Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle
No 17 Supreme Developer (vet’s certificate)

Race 4 4pm Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle
No 20 Covent Garden (vet’s certificate)
No 26 Mirjan (vet’s certificate)
No 29 Farinel (vet’s certificate)

Race 5 4.35pm National Hunt Chase
No 5 Shardam (vet’s certificate)
No 20 Full Minty (vet’s certificate)

Race 6 5.10pm Mildmay Of Flete Handicap Chase
No 7 Davids Lad (vet’s certificate)
No 8 Ballinclay King (vet’s certificate)
No 19 Master Tern (vet’s certificate)


Nigel Twiston-Davies has been forced to put his yard into isolation and will be able to have no runners for at least a fortnight as the result of an outbreak of the paralytic strain of the equine herpes virus.

Two horses, Joyeuse and Cresswell Cherry, at his stables had to be put down yesterday after having become paralysed in their hind legs and post mortems are now being conducted on them at the Animal Health Trust. The results of the post mortems will be known either today or tomorrow.

The Jockey Club’s Veterinary Officer Peter Webbon said that blood tests have been taken from all the horses at the yard and that these are now being analysed.

“There will then be second tests taken after between ten to 14 days, and the hope is then that we shall learn how many, if any, more horses have been affected. You need to take the two tests to see what, if any, differences there are between the two samples. The yard is now in isolation and Nigel, who is giving full co-operation to the Animal Health Trust, will be able to have no runners during this time.

“He is isolating the horses in small groups so that, if one horse in a group has been affected but none in others, then those in the unaffected groups will be able to resume their normal programmes.

“As long as the horses give no signs of being unwell, there is no reason why they should not carry on working, but obviously Nigel is monitoring the situation very carefully.

“The boxes at Cheltenham which his runners used yesterday have been locked up and will not be occupied again for the duration of the meeting.”

Twiston-Davies stressed today that there is no problem as far as Bindaree is concerned over his attempt at his second Martell Grand National next month. “The horses that have been affected were in adjacent boxes and looked after by the same girl, who never goes near Bindaree. So unless he has it on him at the moment -- and there is no sign of that -- there will be no hold-up in his Aintree preparation.

“Clinical signs usually appear and develop rapidly, reaching their maximum after 48 hours and do not progress after that. If the horse remains standing there is a good chance of recovery, but if the horse becomes recumbent there is not a good chance.”


Best Mate is set to face 15 rivals tomorrow as he bids to become the first dual winner of the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup since L’Escargot in 1970 and 1971 but will be a warm favourite to achieve the feat after a faultless season that has included victory in the Pertemps King George VI Chase, when he beat Marlborough by a length and a half.

Beef Or Salmon, who although a novice has never run in a novice chase, looks to have the best credentials of the four Irish-trained contenders, having beaten Colonel Braxton and Harbour Pilot on his last two starts in both the Irish Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Leopardstown on February 9 and the Ericsson Chase at the same course after Christmas.

Commanche Court, who won the 1997 JCB Triumph Hurdle, made hard work of winning a 2m 4f chase at Navan on February 16 but this campaign has been geared towards going one better than when second to Best Mate in last year’s Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Trainer Francois Doumen saddled the first French-trained Gold Cup winner when The Fellow scored in 1994, but does not look to have an obvious chance of adding to that success with First Gold, who has been well below his best this season.

Most recently, First Gold was the 10-length third at Wincanton to the 13-year-old See More Business, the winner of the 1999 Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup who looks as good as ever this season.

Behrajan has not been seen out since winning the Grade 2 Pillar Property Chase at Cheltenham on January 25, when Valley Henry was a tailed-off fourth.

Valley Henry has since made amends when winning the AON Chase at Newbury on February 8 by two and a half lengths from Chives with Truckers Tavern a further seven lengths back in third. Marlborough was well beaten when falling at the last.

Truckers Tavern was previously successful in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock, where he beat Hussard Collonges by two and a half lengths. The runner-up bids to give Yorkshire trainer Peter Beaumont a second Gold Cup victory following Jodami’s success in 1993.

Despite 29 other National Hunt Festival successes and countless big-race victories, champion trainer Martin Pipe has still to win the biggest prize of all. It does not
look as if 2003 will be the year that he breaks his duck although You’re Agoodun was a fair second to Shotgun Willy in the Red Square Vodka National Trial at Haydock but the ex-French performer Modulor, owned by retired Kent schoolmaster Fergus Wilson, looks to have no conceivable chance on his form across the Channel.

Keen Leader, favourite for today’s Royal & SunAlliance Chase, has also been declared for the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup, as a precautionary measure.


The best hurdler in France, Baracouda, takes on the best staying hurdler in Ireland, Limestone Lad, in tomorrow’s £140,000 Bonusprint Stayers’ Hurdle, in what promises to be a battle royal.

The Francois Doumen-trained Baracouda is defending his crown, as he proved a neck too strong for Bannow Bay in last year’s renewal. He subsequently won a Grade Two event on his seasonal debut at Ascot in November, but then lost his first race in 11 starts when finding Deano’s Beeno a length too good at the same course on his last start in December.

Limestone Lad, who is trained by James Bowe, has become the most popular horse in Ireland. The 11-year-old won his first five starts this season, including a Grade One event and three Grade Two contests, and then lost nothing in defeat on his last start over an inadequate two miles in the Irish Champion Hurdle, going down by a length to Like-A-Butterfly.

Deano’s Beeno is one of two Martin Pipe-trained runners. He has been one of the best staying hurdlers in Britain in recent years and since his defeat of Baracouda, he gained a facile success by 12 lengths over Palua in a Grade Two event at Kempton on February 21, on his last racecourse appearance.

The champion trainer’s other representative is Classified, who has won his last two outings including the Byrne Bros Cleeve Hurdle at Prestbury Park on January 25, when defeating stable-companion Mr Cool by a length.

Philip Hobbs, who won yesterday’s Smurfit Champion Hurdle with Rooster Booster who was his first runner in that contest, runs Brother Joe. He won the West Yorkshire Hurdle on his seasonal bow at Wetherby in November, and is better than the form of his last two outings suggests as he has been unsuited by soft ground on both of those occasions.

Jonjo O’Neill has three runners in the form of Iris’s Gift, Sudden Shock and Native Emperor. Iris’s Gift has been a revelation over timber this term, winning five of his starts including twice at Cheltenham. The second of these successes came at the expense of Ad Hoc, who ran so well yesterday when third to Youlneverwalkalone in the William Hill National Hunt Handicap Chase.

Sudden Shock reverts to hurdles after a couple of runs over fences - he was third to Classified on his last outing over timber, while Native Emperor won a handicap hurdle at Cheltenham’s Open Meeting in November, beating Yeoman’s Point by a length and a quarter, before two good placed efforts in Graded company.

The field is completed by last year’s Royal & SunAlliance Novice’s Hurdle hero Galileo, who has not been seen on a racecourse since, Liss A Paoraigh, a Grade One winning mare at Leopardstown on December 29, Palua, a winner of a maiden hurdle at Folkestone in February and Crazy Horse, who could be a little out of his depth after two disappointing runs this season.


A major gamble has been going on through the morning involving Over The Storm in the National Hunt Chase (4.35). Paddy Power report that he has been laid to lose more than £200,000 at 16-1 and 12-1 and have now cut him to 8-1, and William Hill have halved his price from 14-1 to 7-1. Meanwhile another Irish firm, Cashmans, could have caught a bit of a cold over their commendable decision to guarantee all advertised morning prices until 11am, as they were still laying their 14-1 until that time. They have since brought him in to 10-1. The Tote have cut him from 12-1 to 7-1.

There has been strong support for two of the Irish runners in the Coral Cup (4.0), with Hills and Powers both cutting Yeoman’s Point from 12-1 to 9-1 and Cashmans to the same odds from a point shorter. Powers and Ladbrokes have also had money for Xenophon, who is in by a point to 6-1 and the outsider Arabian Moon has come in from 50-1 to 33-1 with the Rayners Lane firm. Cashmans have shortened Xenophon from 7-1 to 11-2, and there has been support with the Tote for the outsider Thari, in from 33-1 to 20-1.

Powers report solid support for Moscow Flyer in the Queen Mother Champion Chase (3.15), though he remains a 5-2 chance. Hills and Ladbrokes, though, have cut him from 11-4 to 9-4. Tiutchev has been in demand with Cashmans who have brought him in from 7-1 to 6-1.

Pizarro has also been well backed with Powers for the opening Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle (2.0), but the 11-4 is still available. That is also his price with Ladbrokes, though they have trimmed him from 3-1; he is in from 3-1 to 5-2 with the Tote. In the same race Hardy Eustace is in by a point to 6-1 with Cashmans.

In the Mildmay of Flete Chase (5.10), the Tote have had good money for Hermes 111, in from 11-1 to 7-1, and in the Weatherbys Festival Bumper they have shortened Kahuna from 33-1 to 20-1.

One William Hill punter had a £4,000 double yesterday on Azertyuiop at 6-4 and Keen Leader at SP in the Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Chase (2.35), so he has £10,000 running on that favourite.

Paddy Power’s new book on the top jockey at the meeting has Barry Geraghty, who had two winners yesterday, as the even money favourite. They then offer 100-30 about Ruby Walsh, 5-1 against Tony McCoy and Norman Williamson, 10-1 Richard Johnson and 20 bar.

The Queen Returns To Racecourse for First Time
in 50 Years

Cheltenham Racecourse is honoured that Her Majesty The Queen will visit Cheltenham Racecourse for the first time in over 50 years tomorrow, Thursday, March 13, Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup Day. The Queen last visited the Racecourse in 1951 when, as Princess Elizabeth, she attended with her mother.

On arriving at the racecourse, Lord Vestey, Chairman of the Steeplechase Company, will welcome Her Majesty to the Royal Box and accompany The Queen onto the balcony facing the racecourse for the National Anthem and the raising of the Royal Standard.

At 12:20pm, in what is sure to be a poignant moment in the winner's enclosure, Her Majesty will unveil a sculpture of the Queen Mother by Angela Conner, commissioned by the Duke of Devonshire.

During that ceremony the following will be introduced to Her Majesty The Queen;

Martin Molony Rider of Silver Frame, winner of the 1951 Gold Cup
when The Queen last attended
Willie Robinson Rider of Mill House, winner of 1963 Gold Cup
Michael Dickinson Trainer of first five in 1983 Gold Cup
Paddy Mullins Trainer of Dawn Run, the only horse to have won
the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup
Martin Pipe Champion Trainer
Anthony McCoy Champion Jockey
Desert Orchid 1989 Gold Cup winner
Tim Holland-Martin Chairman of the Panel of Stewards
John Codner Senior Veterinary Surgeon
John Disney Senior Medical Officer

The Queen will also make the presentation to the winning owner, trainer and rider of the 2003 Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup at around 3.30pm.

Edward Gillespie, Managing Director of Cheltenham Racecourse, said: “We are honoured and greatly looking forward to welcoming Her Majesty back to Cheltenham for the first time in over 50 years. The people who will be presented to The Queen have been instrumental in the colourful history of The Festival since Her Majesty last attended, and we hope this year's Festival will be remembered as a very special occasion.”

The bronze statue of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother will be located in a permanent position near to the Royal Box after The Festival.

Today, the Princess Royal will present the trophies for the Queen Mother Champion Chase.



Class A, Grade One, £100,000 guaranteed. 2m 5f. For 4yo+. Weights 4yo 10st 12lb, 5yo+ 11st 7lb. Allowances: fillies & mares 5lb. Penalty Values: 1st: £58,000; 2nd: £22,000; 3rd: £11,000; 4th: £5,000; 5th: £2,500; 6th: £1,500

1) HARDY EUSTACE (Laurence Byrne) Dessie Hughes IRE 5-11-07 Kieran Kelly 6/1
All other runners promoted one place following disqualification of Coolnagorna
2 PIZARRO (Edward Wallace) Edward O'Grady IRE 6-11-07 Norman Williamson 2/1F
3) LORD SAM (Plain Peeps) Victor Dartnall 7-11-07 Warren Marston 10/1
4) FOREMAN (Ecurie Passing) Thierry Doumen FR 5-11-07 Thierry Doumen
5) SH BOOM (T G K Construction Ltd) Jonjo O'Neill 5-11-07 Liam Cooper
6) NIL DESPERANDUM (Michael Shone) Frances Crowley IRE 6-11-07 Ruby Walsh
7) SUPREME PRINCE (Karola Vann) Philip Hobbs 6-11-07 Paul Flynn
8) LITTLE SPORT (Andy Scott) Andy Scott 6-11-07 Greg Hills
9 TEXAS RANGER (The Whitcoombe Partnership) Charlie Mann 5-11-07 Noel Fehily
10 DOUBLE HONOUR (The 4th Middleham Partnership) Philip Hobbs 5-11-07 Richard Johnson
11) SAITENSOHN (Harold A Via Jr) Jonjo O'Neill 5-11-07 Gus Brown
12 NATIVE SPARKLE (Liam O’Regan) Tom Hogan IRE 6-11-02 Keith Hadnett
13) ROSSLEA (Jim Lewis) Henrietta Knight 5-11-07 Jim Culloty
14) MOSSY GREEN (Greenstar Syndicate) Willie Mullins IRE 9-11-07 Charlie Swan
15) PUNTAL (Terry Neill) Martin Pipe 7-11-07 Tony McCoy
16) MOORE'S LAW (R Sanz) Michael Grassick IRE 5-11-07 Paul Carberry
17) CALLING BRAVE (Sir Robert Ogden) Nicky Henderson 7-11-07 Mick Fitzgerald
18)* COOLNAGORNA (Mrs G Smith) Jonjo O'Neill 6-11-07 Tony Dobbin 4/1
F5) HI CLOY (Mrs S McCloy) Michael Hourigan IRE 6-11-07 Timmy Murphy

* Coolnagorna, finished 2nd, placed last for causing interference

19 ran Non-Runner: Supreme Developer (Vet’s Certificate)
Distances (as they passed the post): 1 1/4, 1, 3 1/2, 3/4, sh, 2, 2 1/2, 4, 10, 2 1/2, 1/2, 3, nk, 2, 3, 6, 27
Breeder: Patrick Joyce Breeding: b g Archway (IRE) - Sterna Star (Corvaro (USA))
Tote Win: £7.70 Places: £2.20; £1.70; £2.10 Exacta: £17.20

Winning Trainer: DESSIE HUGHES Born: October 10, 1943 Based: Osborne Lodge, Kildare, County Kildare, Ireland Horses in Training (1996-2002): 32; 26; 41; 31; 41; 46; 52 Cheltenham Festival Wins: (2) Gerrard Wealth Management Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (1982 Miller Hill), Royal & SunAlliiance Hurdle (2003 Hardy Eustace) Other Big Race Wins: Isuzu Chase (2000 Rathbawn Prince) Date of First Trainer’s Licence: 1979. Previously assistant to Mick O’Toole 1966-79

Winning Jockey: Kieran Anthony Kelly Big Race Wins: Isuzu Chase (2000 Rathbawn Prince) Cheltenham Festival Wins (1): Royal & SunAlliance Hurdle (2003 Hardy Eustace)



Irish trainer, Dessie Hughes, gained his second winner at the National Hunt Festival when Hardy Eustace denied Coolnagorna [subsequently placed last] by one and a quarter lengths in today’s opener, with favourite Pizarro a further length adrift in third [promoted to second position].

“I trained the winner [Miller Hill] of the Supreme in 1982,” laughed the handler. “It’s been a long wait!”

“The form was there in the book - he got beaten by Solerina on dreadful ground at Leopardstown, when giving her 5lb. He appreciated the better ground today as he has been running on terrible ground in Ireland. He’s been the most straight-forward horse that I’ve ever trained and we were always fairly confident as he stays so well.

“He’s been a great horse to have and I bought him at the Land Rover Sale. The owner [Laurence Byrne] has been with me for 15 years and he has been very loyal - he’s a bit excited today.”

An outing in his homeland awaits the Archway gelding now.

“He will go to Punchestown hopefully if everything is alright with him,” explained Hughes. “There’s the champion novices’ hurdle there, a good race over two and a half miles.”

The winner may be a long-term chasing prospect but his immediate future probably remains over timber.

“Possibly we would keep him over hurdles next year,” added the trainer.

Hardy Eustace received a 12/1 quote from Cashmans for the Bonusprint Stayers’ Hurdle in 2004.



Edward O’Grady had no excuses for the 2-1 favourite Pizarro, who finished third but was later promoted to second when original runner-up Coolnagorna was disqualified.

“He has run very well and there are no excuses,” he said. “It rode and looked like a good race and I am delighted with his performance. The form of the winner Hardy Eustace stacks up well now with Back In Front, who won for me here yesterday.

“Pizarro had every chance and just might have been a bit outpaced after the second last, but I have no complaints.”

Nor have Ladbrokes, as victory for the favourite would have cost them £1/2 million.

Jonjo O’Neill was very happy with the effort from Coolnagorna, who went down by a length and a quarter to the winner but was later disqualified for causing interference to fourth home and eventually third-placed Lord Sam . “I am delighted with him, he has run a blinder,” he said. “I was not aware that he has been disqualified (the decision had been announced only moments before) as I have had to carry on working and put the tack on Keen Leader (his runner in the Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Chase)

Tony Dobbin, who rode Coolnagorna, was suspended for seven days for intentional interference, having been found guilty of purposeful interference with Lord Sam at the second last flight.

Stipendiary steward William Nunneley said: “Approaching the second last flight, Warren Marston had plenty of room to come up the inner but on our film it looks like Tony Dobbin moves up to stop him coming out. He has been given the minimum suspension for that offence of seven days and the horse is automatically disqualified and Dobbin forfeits his riding fee.”

The ground is riding slower than on Tuesday, according to the jockeys who rode in the first race.

Tony McCoy said: “It’s very dead ground and definitely slower than yesterday” while Richard Johnson said “It’s slower than yesterday” and Timmy Murphy agreed saying “It’s deader than yesterday.”



Class A, Grade One, £140,000 guaranteed. 3m 1/2f. For 5yo+. Weights 5yo 10st 8lb, 6yo+ 11st 4lb. Allowances: mares 5lb. Penalty Values: 1st: £81,200; 2nd: £30,800; 3rd: £15,400; 4th: £7,000; 5th: £3,500; 6th: £2,100

1 ONE KNIGHT (R Gibbs) Philip Hobbs 7-11-04 Richard Johnson 15/2
2) JAIR DU COCHET (Mrs F Montauban) Guillaume Macaire FR 6-11-04 Jacques Ricou 4/1
3) BARROW DRIVE (Mrs B Lenihan) Tony Mullins IRE t7-11-04 Barry Geraghty 9/1
4) SEA DRIFTING (Mr & Mrs S Giles, Mr & Mrs J Taqvi) Kevin Morgan 6-11-04 Noel Fehily
5 KEEN LEADER (Adair Catherwood) Jonjo O'Neill 7-11-04 Liam Cooper 9/4F
6) IT TAKES TIME (David Johnson) Martin Pipe 9-11-04 Tony McCoy
PU) IRIS ROYAL (Sir Robert Ogden) Nicky Henderson 7-11-04 Mick Fitzgerald
PU) STARS OUT TONIGHT (Jim Lewis) Henrietta Knight 6-11-04 Jim Culloty
PU) THE BAJAN BANDIT (Ashleybank Investments Limited) Len Lungo 8-11-04 Tony Dobbin

9 ran
Distances: 1 3/4, 10, 16, 12, 5
Breeder: Geoffrey Thompson Breeding: ch g Roselier (FR) - Midnights Daughter (IRE) (Long Pond)
Tote Win: £10.20 Places: £1.80; £1.90; £1.70 Exacta: £44.70

Winning trainer: PHILIP HOBBS Based: Sandhill, Bilbrook, Minehead, Somerset Date of Birth: 26/7/55 Riding Career: Professional NH 1975-86, rode 160 winners Date of first trainer’s licence: August 1, 1985 Wins this season: Cheltenham Festival wins: (7) Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle (1990 Moody Man, 2002 Rooster Booster), Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup Handicap (1996 Kibreet), Coral Cup H’cap Hurdle (2000 What’s Up Boys), Queen Mother Champion Chase (2002 Flagship Uberalles), Smurfit Champion Hurdle (2003 Rooster Booster), Royal & SunAlliance Chase (2003 One Knight) Wins (1990/91-2001/02): 33; 51; 37; 64; 86; 77; 64; 71; 84; 120; 82; 119 Horses in training (1990-2002): 44; 53; 60; 52; 47; 65; 72; 80; 81; 81; 82; 99; 108 Other major wins: Thomas Pink Gold Cup Chase (1989 Joint Sovereignty), William Hill Handicap Hurdle (1998 Polar Prospect), Wensleydale Hurdle (Navarre Samson 1998), Racing Post Chase (1999 Dr Leunt, 2002 Gunther McBride), Edinburgh Woollen Mill Champion Novices’ Chase (1999 Bouchasson), Hennessy Gold Cup (2001 What’s Up Boys), Tote Becher Chase (1997 Samlee), Rehabilitation Of Racehorses H’cap Hurdle (2002 Rooster Booster), Martell Topham Chase (1997 Bells Life, 2001 Gower-Slave), Martell Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (1996 Pleasure Shared),, Barton & Guestier Hcap Hurdle (1999 Papo Kharisma), Martell Top Novices’ Hurdle (2000 Phardante Flyer, 2001 Ilico II, 2002 In Contrast), Martell Fox Hunters’ Chase (2000 Bells Life), Martell XO 4yo Hurdle (2000 Lord Brex), Martell Mildmay Novices’ Chase (2001 What’s Up Boys) Wins this season: 110 Second win of the 2003 National Hunt Festival

Winning Jockey: Richard Johnson Date of birth: 21/07/77 Wins (1993/94-2000/2001): 1; 12; 53; 102; 120; 133; 143; 161; 132 Cheltenham Festival wins: (7) BONUSPRINT STAYERS’ HURDLE (1999 Anzum), MILDMAY OF FLETE CHALLENGE CUP H’CAP CHASE (2000 Dark Stranger), TOTE CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP (2000 Looks Like Trouble), QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE (2002 Flagship Uberalles), COUNTY HURDLE (2002 Rooster Booster), SMURFIT CHAMPION HURDLE (2003 Rooster Booster), Royal & SunAlliance Chase (2003 One Knight) Other big race wins: JAMES NICHOLSON WINE MERCHANT CHAMPION CHASE (2000 Looks Like Trouble), WELSH NATIONAL (1999 Edmond), RACING POST TROPHY (2000 Gloria Victis, 2001 Young Spartacus, 2002 Gunter McBride), TOTE SILVER CUP (2002 Behrajan), BARTON & GUESTIER TOP NOVICES’ HURDLE (1997 Midnight Legend, 2000 Phardante Flyer), Belle Epoque Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (1997 Forest Ivory), Martell Cup Chase (1998 Escartefigue), Heidsieck Monopole Mildmay Novices’ Chase (1999 Spendid, 2001 What’s Up Boys), Glenlivet Anniversary 4yo Novices’ Hurdle (2000 Lord Brex), John Hughes Trophy Chase (2001 Gower-Slave) Wins This Season: 129 Second win of the 2003 National Hunt Festival



One Knight continued a great Festival for trainer Philip Hobbs when leading from start to finish to capture the Royal & SunAlliance Chase by a length and a quarter from Jair Du Cochet.

The winner’s jumping in the early stage was far from perfect and Hobbs said: “We were a bit concerned by it during the race particularly because he has jumped so well on the last couple of runs at Exeter.

“But had he jumped better he would have won more easily.

“If something gets the lead all he wants to do is get past the horse and then he relaxes. He’s only a big baby and a backward horse.

“I suppose it has been the plan to come here ever since last July. The main thing was that he had two educational runs at Exeter against lesser opposition.

“He bolted up in a bumper at Wincanton first time out when we thought he had no chance and in fact he won two bumpers, which is very unusual for a Roselier.

“Dr David Chesney, who used to be an amateur rider and is about 60 now, rode him out and was amazed I was sending the horse to Cheltenham - he’s just a slow old boat really.

“I don’t know what we’d do now, Richard (Johnson) thought it was tight enough going round here so Aintree could be too tight for him. Otherwise there is a limited handicap at Punchestown but he would probably have top weight.”

One Knight is owned by Robert and Janet Gibbs from Chard in Somerset.

Hobbs reported that his Smurfit Champion Hurdle winner Rooster Booster had returned home in good form. “He’s very well this morning and I would say Punchestown would just be favourite for his next run, although there are options at Aintree and Sandown. Terry Warner had a big party last night although the head is not too bad as we had an hour and a half drive home.”



French trainer Guillaume Macaire refused to criticise his jockey, Jaques Ricou, after Jair Du Cochet had finished the one and three-quarter length runner-up to One Knight.

Amidst suggestions from some of the press that his rider had allowed his charge to get too far behind, Macaire said: “He rides the horse every morning perfectly and today he rode the horse perfectly in my opinion. When he jumped the last, he thought that the winner would stop up the hill but unfortunately that was not the case.

“I do not think he was too far behind - after he fell at Ascot last time he was a bit reserved about the horse’s jumping. He rode the horse allowing him to go along at his own pace.

“It was a perfect ride. At the last it was possible to think that he would be the winner. Training horses is different in France to Britain.

“I am in two minds. On one hand it’s frustrating to finish the runner-up, on the other hand everyone has done the job well and it was a good moment of sport.”

Barrow Drive was third for Irish trainer Tony Mullins, a further ten lengths adrift. The Gunner B gelding now has a long-distance target.

“Barrow Drive will now go for the Irish National,” revealed the trainer. “I’m disappointed that he didn’t win but I’m very happy and delighted with his performance.

“He jumps and stays but probably lacks the class of a real Gold Cup horse. However the horse’s middle-name is ‘reliability’ and someday he’ll win a big one.”



Liam Cooper felt that the ground was to blame for the disappointing run by favourite Keen Leader, who finished a well beaten fifth.

The jockey said: “I think you have to put it down to the ground, I can’t think of anything else. Once they quickened going down the hill, he was always struggling and, when they really turned the taps on, his jumping went to pieces.”

David Johnson, whose It Takes Time was last of the six to finish, was sure that his horse “had not run his race. I was very hopeful going up the hill, but he was beaten after two and a half miles,” he said. “I am sure he has not run as well as he can but I do not know why. He seemed fine after the race.”

Mick Fitzgerald said that Iris Royal, who was pulled up, had “jumped super but then stopped. Maybe, he just wasn’t good enough.”



Kieran Kelly had his first Cheltenham Festival winner when he partnered Hardy Eustace to victory in the £100,000 Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle.

The Irish-based jockey said: “You’ll have to pinch me - it is unreal - unbelievable. He makes hard work of it but he was always going to win. I was never really worried.

“It was a good race - they were quickening and quickening all the way down the back.

They never got away from him and he kept plugging on. I didn’t want to be in front that soon but I didn’t want to disappoint him.

“I could feel something coming up the hill but my fellow kept on well.”



Richard Johnson made it two 2003 Festival winners when successful on One Knight in the Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Chase. He won the Smurfit Champion Hurdle on Rooster Booster, also trained by Philip Hobbs, yesterday.

He commented: “At home he jumps very well but on occasions at the racecourse he doesn’t quite think what is going on. He is a very good horse and the owners have been very patient.

“Philip (Hobbs) has been running him at the smaller courses to give him confidence. They have got their reward today. One Knight is a real stayer - he won two bumpers - and all he does is gallop. I was thinking that it would make my life easier if he was in front.

“He still made a few errors - he wouldn’t mind real soft ground - it was on the soft side of good today. I never thought he was going to stop - he went right to the line.”

Class A, Grade One, £250,000 guaranteed. 2m. For 5yo+. Weights 5yo 11st 9lb, 6yo+ 12st. Allowances: mares 5lb. Penalty Values: 1st: £145,000; 2nd: £55,000; 3rd: £27,500; 4th: £12,500; 5th: £6,250; 6th: £3,750

1) MOSCOW FLYER (Brian Kearney) Jessica Harrington IRE 9-12-00 Barry Geraghty 7/4F
2) NATIVE UPMANSHIP (Sue Magnier) Arthur Moore IRE 10-12-00 Conor O'Dwyer 12/1
3) CENKOS (Judy Stewart) Paul Nicholls 9-12-00 Ruby Walsh 7/1
4) GEOS (Thurloe Finsbury) Nicky Henderson 8-12-00 Mick Fitzgerald
5) FLAGSHIP UBERALLES (J P McManus) Philip Hobbs b9-12-00 Richard Johnson
6) EDREDON BLEU (Jim Lewis) Henrietta Knight t11-12-00 Jim Culloty
7) KADARANN (Notalotterry) Paul Nicholls 6-12-00 Jim Tizzard
8) FLORIDA PEARL (Violet O’Leary) Willie Mullins IRE 11-12-00 Paul Carberry
F5) TIUTCHEV (The Liars Poker Partnership) Martin Pipe 10-12-00 Tony McCoy
F11) LATALOMNE (Alderclad Roofing/K M Everitt) Brian Ellison 9-12-00 Vinny Keane
F11) SEEBALD (The Macca & Growler Partnership) Martin Pipe 8-12-00 Norman Williamson

11 ran
Distances: 7, 3, 5, 5, 2 1/2, 1 1/4, 10
Breeder: Edward Joyce Breeding: b g Moscow Society - Meelick Lady (IRE) (Duky)
Tote Win: £2.50 Places: £1.60; £3.70; £2.50 Exacta: £36.90

Winning Trainer: JESSICA HARRINGTON Based: Commonstown Stables, Moone, County Kildare, Ireland Cheltenham Festival Wins (3): Grand Annual Hcap Chase (1999 Space Trucker), Irish Independent Arkle Chase (2002 Moscow Flyer), Queen Mother Champion Chase (2003 Moscow Flyer) Big Race Wins: Royal Bond Novices’ Hurdle (1999 Moscow Flyer), Evening Herald Champion Novices’ Hurdle (2000 Moscow Flyer), Morgiana Hurdle (2000 Moscow Flyer), William Hill Handicap Hurdle (2002 Spirit Leader), Tote Gold Trophy (2003 Spirit Leader)

Winning Jockey: Barry Geraghty Born: September 16, 1979 Background: one of six children from a “horse-mad” family in Drumree. His father Tucker was a useful amateur rider and trains a few horses in addition to his riding school and livery yard while his brothers Ross and Norman are both jockeys. The former won the 2002 Irish Grand National on The Bunny Boiler, while Norman is an amateur who doubles as a farrier. Barry has a background in pony racing, riding his last winner in that arena in September, 1996, before becoming apprenticed to Noel Meade that month and having his first ride the following month. He still rides mainly for Meade, but is also frequently used by Willie Mullins, Frances Crowley and Jessica Harrington. Based: Drumree, County Meath, Ireland First Winner: Stagalier (EBF Mares’ Maiden Hurdle, Down Royal, January 29, 1997) Achievements: Champion jockey in Ireland in 1999/2000 Cheltenham Festival Wins: (4) Irish Independent Arkle Chase (2002 Moscow Flyer), William Hill National Hunt Chase (2003 Youlneverwalkalone), Pertemps Final (2003 Inching Closer), Queen Mother Champion Chase (2003 Moscow Flyer) Big Race Wins: MIDLANDS GRAND NATIONAL (1998 Miss Orchestra), ROYAL BOND NOVICES’ HURDLE (1999 Moscow Flyer), MARTELL SEFTON NOVICES’ HURDLE (2000 Sackville); EVENING HERALD CHAMPION NOVICES’ HURDLE (2000 Moscow Flyer); STEEL PLATE & SECTIONS NOVICES’ CHASE (2002 Super Fellow), INTERVET TROPHY (2002 Stormez), THOMAS PINK GOLD CUP (2002 Cyfor Malta) Third win of the 2003 National Hunt Festival for Barry Geraghty


This was a championship race which, in the prevailing ground conditions, went pretty much to plan – with the exception of a double-dose of bad luck at the second-last fence.

The winner, MOSCOW FLYER, was one of the few runners who was unlikely to be inconvenienced by the deadish ground, and he was backed accordingly, from an early 9-4 into 7-4. He was giving his backers every hope of a payout as the runners headed down the hill towards the penultimate fence, although Latalomne and Seebald, who were both racing on the inside of the favourite, appeared to be going well, too.

As the three took off, more or less in line, Latalomne and Seebald toppled over (falls due to overjumping, rather than hitting the birch), leaving Moscow Flyer in front. As if that was not bonus enough, his nearest pursuers, Native Upmanship and Cenkos, who eventually took second and third in that order, both had to swerve to avoid Latalomne, although these deviations cannot be said to have affected the result.

Whether Latalomne or Seebald would have won is open to debate, but there is no question it was a sickening moment for Latalomne’s connections. The horse led at the same fence in this race last year, and fell on that occasion too. His form figures are not great, but he has now run really well here at big prices on two occasions.

Seebald could finish only second to Moscow Flyer in last year’s Arkle, a pointer to what might have happened had he stood up. He now heads to Aintree.

With two dangers on the floor, Moscow Flyer had only to jump the last, and he did so without bother, running home a seven-length winner and adding the two-mile championship to the Irish Independent
Arkle Trophy he won at this meeting 12 months ago.

The winner’s time, of 3mins 53.8secs, was nearly 14 seconds quicker than last year’s race, but 10 seconds behind the course record set by Edredon Bleu in 2000. Moscow Flyer’s time was also just under three seconds faster than Azertyuiop’s in Tuesday’s Irish Independent Arkle Trophy – these two horses now dominate betting for next year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase, with Moscow Flyer narrowly favoured among the leading layers.

Native Upmanship was second in this race last year, half a length ahead of Cenkos, but this time he increased that advantage over that horse to three lengths. He is just a bit short of speed for this sort of event, while Cenkos’s connections feel their horse is better on a right-handed track. The ground was probably tackier than he liked, and Leopardstown and Sandown offer him further winning opportunities.

Geos finished best of all to take fourth having been niggled along early. He was backed at each-way prices before the off, but is just short of the top class.

Flagship Uberalles has never been the easiest horse to train, and last year’s winner could not repeat the feat. He travelled well in first-time blinkers, but they cannot be said to have helped him when it mattered.

Edredon Bleu has been a star in this sort of race, but at 11 he now seems to find younger blades cut too fine a dash. The ground would not have helped, but his rider felt that two-and-a-half mile races suit him better these days.

Kadarann, who beat Cenkos (gv 6lb) at Newbury on his previous start, never gave hope of repeating that performance. He was unplaced in last year’s Irish Independent Arkle Trophy and was well behind at the top of the hill in this race.

A bold move to drop Florida Pearl down in trip never promised to produce a winning result – he could not live with these rivals – while Tiutchev fell at the fifth, too early to say what impression he might have made.


Winning trainer Jessica Harrington explained the tactics employed with Moscow Flyer.

She said: “I left the tactics to Barry [Geraghty, winning jockey]. Brian [Kearney, winning owner] said drop him out and get him settled but Barry said that he would ride the same race as he did last year when winning the Arkle.

“The horse didn’t really lose any ground [when he made a slight mistake]. He has to do something like that! The only thing I told Barry was don’t follow Latalomne as he fell in this race last year.”

Although the pressure on Harrington before the race had been great, she revealed that the build-up had gone extremely smoothly.

“The whole year since he won last season is that people have been saying Moscow Flyer will
win the Queen Mother. However you let them off for the summer and you never know if they will be as good as before.

“He’s had a really very good build-up to the race. In fact he was ready two weeks ago and I’ve just kept him ticking over. There has been no bruised foot or nothing like that and it’s been very easy - I would rather be there too early.”

Harrington pointed out that despite her charge being of the highest class over fences, he was a very smart hurdler.

“Moscow Flyer was a very good novice hurdler. He didn’t get to Cheltenham because of an injury but he came back from that and beat Sausalito Bay, who won the Supreme, at Punchestown that year,” she said.

The winner will now go back to that Irish racecourse for an engagement on home territory.

“I had the Martell Cup at Aintree in mind if things went wrong today,” explained
Harrington. “I’ll let him down for a bit now and then he’ll go to Punchestown for the two-mile chase.”

Harrington then went on to explain that the significance of Cheltenham’s National Hunt Festival had been lost on some overseas visitors to Ireland.

“We had some Americans over and they thought that we were mad getting excited about Cheltenham and jump racing,” she laughed. “They just couldn’t understand about this great Festival Meeting.”

The winning trainer then admitted that she had something to tell owner Brian Kearney.

“I didn’t tell you Brian but I got a letter from Japan [inviting Moscow Flyer to run in a big race there]! It’s too far though - not too far in geographical distance, but the race is too far. I think this horse is a genuine two-mile horse and why undermine something that’s quite good,” she continued.


Moscow Flyer’s two wins at Cheltenham mean that Brian Kearney has been a fortunate owner. Jessica Harrington continued: “This man is totally spoilt with two Cheltenham winners. But he’s a brilliant owner as he doesn’t ever phone me up!

“Moscow Flyer has come out of the shadows of Istabraq in Ireland. He was the number two but now he is number one,” he responded.

“I bought him for 17,000IRgns and I was outbid for a few more before him with my budget being 20,000IRgns. I have one more horse with Jessica, but the jury is out on that one!

“I feel a bit guilty as a lot of good owners have not had the same luck as me. The Harringtons are a wonderful family and all the staff, including Eamon Leigh, who looks after Moscow, are great. I looked at the horse today and I knew just by looking at him that he was in wonderful condition.

“I was much more optimistic and relaxed last year.

“I’m an engineer and I set up a company called Project Management Limited, which started off with three people and grew to a 1,000. It’s based in Dublin, but we have offices here in England at Rugby and in Poland. I received a text message this morning that a significant number of employees were on this horse!”

The winning trainer was asked about her background and she revealed that when she was presented with the trophy this afternoon by the Princess Royal, it was not the first time that the two ladies had met.

“I was born in London where my father, who was Irish, was in the army. He played polo and trained racehorses. I was schooled in England but have been based in Ireland for the last 27 years,” she said. “I evented for Ireland and rode with Princess Anne.

“I started training 11 years ago after I met Johhny, who had a permit.”

After Latalomne had fallen two fences out, the same fence at which he departed in last year’s renewal, trainer Brian Ellison said: “The horse is alright. Last year Vinny [Keane, jockey] sat quiet but this time he’s gone and made sure the horse is jumping it.

“That’s two years running now and he would definitely have been at least second. I had him spot on for the race but it’s not even his ground. He’ll go to Punchestown now as Aintree comes too quick - he wants plenty of time.”

4.00pm CORAL CUP
Class A, Grade Three, £75,000 guaranteed. For 5yo+. 2m 5f. Minimum weight: 10st. Penalties: after February 22, a winner of a Class A to C hurdle 7lb. 1st: £43,500; 2nd: £16,500; 3rd: £8,250; 4th: £3,750; 5th: £1,875; 6th: £1,125

1) XENOPHON (Lane Syndicate) Tony Martin IRE 7-11-00 Mick Fitzgerald 4/1F
2) SAMON (The Macca & Growler Partnership) Martin Pipe 6-11-03 David Casey 25/1
3) SPECTROMETER (Concertina Racing) Philip Hobbs 6-11-08 Richard Johnson 10/1
4) EMOTIONAL MOMENT (Watercork Syndicate) Tom Taaffe IRE 6-11-04 Barry Geraghty 7/1
5) KORELO (David Johnson) Martin Pipe 5-11-05 Tony McCoy
6) MOVING ON UP (Hugh Villiers) Charlie Mann b9-10-08 Noel Fehily
7) BOW STRADA (M J Tuckey) Philip Hobbs 6-11-04 Seamus Durack
8) PERSIAN WATERS (Paul Green) James Fanshawe 7-10-11 Andrew Thornton
9) AIMEES MARK (Raymond McConn) Francis Flood IRE 7-10-07 Fran Flood
10) ANATAR (Eminence Grise Partnership) Martin Pipe 5-10-08 Tom Scudamore
11) MAJESTIC (Patrick Kelly) Ian Williams tb8-10-12 Willie Worthington (7)
12) CAMDEN TANNER (Famous Lads Syndicate) Robert Tyner IRE 7-11-01 Norman Williamson
13 QUAZAR (C D Carr) Jonjo O'Neill t5-12-01 Ron Flavin (3)
14) TARDAR (Ray & Sue Dodd Partnership) Jonjo O'Neill t7-10-07 Liam Cooper
15) SEE YOU SOMETIME (J A G Meaden) Seamus Mullins 8-11-07 Joe Tizzard
16) CHICAGO BULLS (Mrs Mark Powell) Alan King 5-10-05 Robert Thornton
17) THARI (Des Sharkey) Noel Meade IRE t6-11-05 Paul Carberry
18) BENBYAS (C H Stephenson & Partners) Declan Carroll 6-11-00 Paddy Brenann (5)
19) MR COOL (Nick Mills) Martin Pipe 9-11-04 Mr Jamie Moore (7)
20) IDEAL DU BOIS BEURY (David Johnson) Martin Pipe 7-10-09 Gerry Supple
21) GALANT MOSS (Chris, Basil & Rosie Batterham II) Martin Pipe v9-11-05 Timmy Murphy
22) CHICUELO (Belinda Harvey) Martin Pipe v7-10-13 David Howard (3)
23) TAMING (Oakview Racing) Venetia Williams 7-10-09 Davy Russell
24) ARABIAN MOON (Byerley Bloodstock) Simon Dow 7-11-03 Paul Flynn
25) YEOMAN'S POINT (J P McManus) Christy Roche IRE b7-11-05 Charlie Swan
26) UPGRADE (Matt Archer & Jean Broadhurst) Martin Pipe b1 9-11-12 Rodi Greene
PU) DREAM WITH ME (Dr G Madan Mohan) Martin Pipe t6-11-04 Ruby Walsh

27 ran Non-Runners: Covent Garden, Mirjan, Farinel (all vet’s certificate)
Distances: 3 1/2, 1, 3, 1/2, 4, 1, sh, nk, 2, 1 1/4, 1/2, 4, 1/2, 2, 5, 1, 3 1/2, 2, 3 1/2, 9, 2 1/2, sh, 18, 19, dist
Breeder: Patrick Cannon Breeding: b g Toulon - Fureen (Furry Glen)
Tote Win: £4.50 Places: £1.90; £6.70; £2.30; £1.80 Exacta: £188.00

Winning trainer: TONY MARTIN Aintree Festival Wins: Cheltenham Festival Wins (1): Coral Cup (2003 Xenophon) Other major wins: The Sporting Index Cross Country Chase (1998 and 1999 Linden’s Lotto), Tote Northern National Hcap Chase (1999 Hollybank Buck), Crowther Homes Swinton Hcap Hurdle (1999 She’s Our Mare), Martell Reserve Novices’ Hunters’ Chase (1999 Extra Stout), Barton & Guestier H’cap Hurdle (2000 Ross Moff) First National Hunt Festival winner for Tony Martin

Winning Jockey: Mick Fitzgerald Date/place of birth: Cork, 10/05/1970 Cheltenham Festival Wins: (11) CATHCART CHASE: (1994 Raymylette, 1999 and 2000 Stormyfairweather), WILLIAM HILL NATIONAL HUNT CHASE (1995 Rough Quest, 2000 Marlborough), JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE (1999 Katarino), QUEEN MOTHER (1999 Call Equiname), TOTE CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP (1999 See More Business), IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE CHALLENGE TROPHY NOVICES’ CHASE (2000 Tiutchev), BONUSPRINT STAYERS’ HURDLE (2000 Bacchanal), CORAL CUP (2003 Xenophon) Other Big Race Wins: VICTOR CHANDLER CHASE (Big Matt 1996), AGFA DIAMOND CHASE (1996 Amtrak Express), MITIE GROUP KENNEL GATE HURDLE (1998 Hidebound), TOTE LANZAROTE HCAP HURDLE (1999 Tiutchev), MITSUBISHI SHOGUN GAME SPIRIT CHASE (1999 Celibate), MITSUBISHI SHOGUN PENDILNOVICES’ CHASE (1999 Makounji), WEEKENDER DOVECOTE NOVICES’ HURDLE (1999 Premier Generation), VOICE NEWSPAPER ADONIS JUVENILE NOVICES’ HURDLE (1999 Katarino), QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE (1999 Call Equiname), TOTE CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP (1999 See More Business), CHARLIE HALL CHASE (1999 and 2000 See More Business), ROSSINGTON MAIN NOVICES’ HURDLE (2000 Dusk Duel), AON CHASE (2000 See More Business), TOTE GOLD TROPHY HCAP HURDLE (2000 Geos, 2001 Landing Light), DESERT ORCHID H’CAP CHASE (2000 Fadalko), TRIPLEPRINT GOLD CUP (2002 Fondmort), Aintree Festival Wins: MARTELL GRAND NATIONAL CHASE (1996 Rough Quest), MARTELL AINTREE HURDLE (Bimsey 1997), CORDON BLEU HANDICAP HURDLE (1995 Thinking Twice), MARTELL CUP CHASE (2000 See More Business), CHIVAS REGAL HANDICAP CHASE (2001 Kingsmark) Number of Wins (1995/96-2001/02): 68; 82; 102; 121; 107; 78; 109 Wins This Season: 67



Xenophon became the fifth winner for Ireland in ten races at the Festival when justifying 4/1 favouritism in the Coral Cup.

“It’s only his sixth race over hurdles,” said Tony Martin who was enjoying his first success as a trainer at the Festival.

“And with a horse like that there is no point in going for Micky Mouse races - one big one like this makes up for ten little ones.

“He has chaser written all over him and I think he is crying out for fences.”

Xenophon has been declared for tomorrow’s Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle in which he would carry a 7lb.

Martin’s High Court appeal into the 42-day ban placed on Martell Cognac Grand National hopeful Davids Lad at Navan last month is heard tomorrow.

“If justice is done we’ll win and will be sorted out one way or another tomorrow,” said Martin. “There was no malice involved, Timmy (Murphy) probably over did it but he always looks after the horse.

“He’s a fat, gross horse and we would have liked to have run him today but it will be too late to get another run into him if we are able to go for the National.”



Martin Pipe was delighted with the display by his 20-1 runner-up Samon. “We came here expecting him to run a big race and that’s what he has done, especially as he was trying to give the winner weight.

“And Korelo has run well, too. He finished fifth and I think that the penalty for his win at Sandown on Saturday was just too much for him. But I am very pleased with them both.”

Philip Hobbs was also very happy with Spectrometer. “He really enjoyed the extra distance,” he said. “He ran well over two and a half at Aintree in the autumn and when he won over two miles one furlong here in December it looked as if this trip would suit him. Better ground would have suited him.”

Hobbs was also far from despondent with Flagship Uberalles, even though last year’s winner could not repeat his success of 12 months ago in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

“Richard (Johnson) got off him and said that he was sure to win more races,” he said, “and going to the last if he had run on as well as he did when he won last year he would probably have been second. I think he’s run pretty well, really.”


Class B, £45,000 guaranteed. For 5yo +. 4m. Weights: 5yo 10st 11lb; 6yo+ 11st 7lb. Penalties: a winner of a hunter chase prior to April 28, 2002, 4lb; a winner of a chase after April 27, 2002, 4lb (of two such races 7lb). Allowances: mares 5lb. Penalty Values: 1st: £26,100; 2nd: £9,900; 3rd: £4,950; 4th: £2,250; 5th: £1,125; 6th: £675

1 SUDDEN SHOCK (Darren Mercer) Jonjo O'Neill 8-11-07 Mr Denis Cullen 25/1
2) STORMEZ (David Johnson) Martin Pipe t6-12-00 Mr Jamie Moore 7/4F
3) YOUNG OTTOMAN (D G Staddon) Victor Dartnall 7-11-11 Mr Julian Pritchard 10/1
4) HIGH COTTON (Richard Brridge, H Burridge, J Lloyd) David Elsworth 8-11-07 Mr Larry McGrath
5) MOORLANDS AGAIN (Lynda Williams) Colin Tizzard 8-11-11 Mr Neil Harris
6) LUCKY BAY (Executive Racing II) Henrietta Knight 7-11-11 Mr Richard Burton
7) ASK HENRY (Marianne Barber) Paul Nicholls 7-11-11 Mr Christian Williams
8) MAJED (Sandicroft Stud II) Martin Pipe v7-11-07 Mr Gordon Elliot
9) DRUID'S GLEN (J P McManus) Jonjo O'Neill 7-12-00 Mr J T McNamara
10) CLONMEL'S MINELLA (John Nallen) Michael Hourigan IRE 12-12-00 Mr Richard Harding
11) KITTENKAT (Pier Butler) Richard Mitchell 9-11-02 Lt Jamie Snowden
12) HEDGEHUNTER (Trevor Hemmings) Willie Mullins IRE 7-11-11 Mr J J Codd
13) CHRISTY'S PRIDE (Bill Hinge) Colin Weedon 11-11-02 Mr Alan O'Keeffe
14 PAXFORD JACK (Ruth Nelmes) Milton Harris 7-12-00 Miss Polly Gundry
15) MACKINUS (P J McGrath) Pat Fahy IRE 7-11-11 Mr J T Carroll
16) OVER THE STORM (Hogarth Racing) Henrietta Knight 6-11-11 Mr Tony Costello
DNF) BONNY BOY (D Rees) David Rees v8-11-07 Mr Evan Williams
DNF) EVEN MORE (G Keirle) Robert Alner 8-11-07 Mr Richard Young
DNF) LANMIRE GLEN (Edward O’Connell) Enda Bolger IRE 6-11-11 Mr A Fleming
F21) DUNOWEN (Trish Hyde) Tim Hyde IRE b8-11-11 Mr Tim Hyde
DNF) DIONN RIGH (Gordon Brown/Bert Watson) Howard Johnson 8-12-00 Mr A FitzGerald
DNF) DEALER DEL (Hazel Leeves) Chris Down 9-11-11 Mr Les Jefford
DNF) DARK ROOM (J P McManus) Jonjo O'Neill 6-11-11 Mr Alan Crowe
U17) PRINCESSE GREC (The Honfleur Syndicate) Dr Philip Pritchard 5-10-07 (1lb ow) Mr E Selter

24 ran Non-Runners: Shardam, Full Minty (both vet’s certificate)
Distances: 1, 13, hd, 10, hd, 4, 6, 1 3/4, 7, 1/2, 13, 9, 12, 3 1/2, 23
Breeder: Gestut Burg Eberstein Breeding: br g Motley (USA) - Santalinsa (Relko)
Tote Win: £45.10 Places: £7.80; £1.80; £2.50 Exacta: £147.50

Winning trainer: JONJO O’NEILL Born: April 13, 1952 Based: Jackdaws Castle, Gloucestershire Career: former National Hunt jockey Cheltenham Festival wins: (6) Pertemps Final (1991 Danny Connors, 2003 Inching Closer); National Hunt Chase (1995 Front Line, 2002 Rith Dubh, 2003 Sudden Shock); Vincent O’Brien County H’cap Hurdle (2000 Master Tern) Aintree Festival wins: Martell V.S. Hcap Chase (2000 Radiation, 2002 Carbury Cross), Martell Handicap Hurdle (2002 Sudden Shock); Martell XO Anniversary 4YO Hurdle (2002 Quazar), Cordon Bleu Handicap Hurdle (2002 Intersky Falcon) Horses in Training (1996-2002): 53; 59; 59; 78; 78, 75, 98 Number of Winners (1995/96-2001/02): 18; 17; 32; 38; 44; 58; 113 Other Big Race Wins: Tripleprint Gold Cup (1999 Legal Right), Tote Silver Cup (2000 Legal Right), Tote Bookmakers Handicap Hurdle (2002 Native Emperor), Kingwell Hurdle (2003 Rhinestone Cowboy), Challow Hurdle (2002 Coolnagorna), Reynoldstwon Chase (2003 Keen Leader), Welsh National (2002 Mini Sensation) Wins this season: 101

Winning Jockey: Cullen, Mr Denis W Cheltenham Festival Winners (1) - National Hunt Chase (2003 Sudden Shock)



Jonjo O’Neill, who sent out Rith Dubh to win the four mile National Hunt Chase last season, repeated that success when 25-1 Sudden Shock caught 7-4 favourite Stormez halfway up the hill and went on to win by a length.

He was not only a first winner at the Festival for his 28-year-old rider Denis Cullen, but also his very first ride in England.

“I only knew about riding him last Saturday at Michael O’Brien’s 60th birthday party,” he said. “I thought people were joking when I was asked to do so, but I was delighted when it turned out to be true.”

Cullen, who is O’Brien’s son-in-law and rides a lot for the trainer, came here on a real roll as of his previous seven mounts in Ireland six had been successful and the other was third. Including points he has ridden about 55 winners altogether.

“I don’t think I shall be turning professional. I have been getting better rides for Michael and I think I may as well stay riding as an amateur.

“The race went very well for me. He jumped well apart from being on his nose at the second last but he soon recovered.”

O’Neill said that when Sudden Shock was first schooled at home “he was brilliant and looked like being a really good novice. You would not believe that he fell in his first two races over fences, as he did, but then he got round at the third attempt and we started thinking about this race over Christmas.

“He had problems with his wind last season and they have come back again this year. He has had more operations and I think that the extra distance of today’s race helped with his breathing.

“That was the plan and I don’t think there is much more for him this season, but next season he will have to run in all the long distance chases.”

A disappointed Jamie Moore, rider of the runner-up Stormez, said: “He was a little horse with 12 stone on his back and I probably could have done with holding him back a little longer.”
Larry McGrath, who partnered fourth-placed High Cotton, said: “He got a bump coming down the hill which probably cost him third place.”



Class A, Listed Race, £75,000 guaranteed. For 5yo +. 2m 4 1/2f. Minimum weight 10st. Penalties: after February 22, a winner of a Class C chase 3lb; of a class A or B chase 6lb. Allowances: mares 5lb. Penalty Values: 1st: £43,500; 2nd: £16,500; 3rd: £8,250; 4th: £3,750; 5th: £1,875; 6th: £1,125

1) YOUNG SPARTACUS (Bart Hellyer) Henry Daly 10-10-09 Richard Johnson 16/1
2) FONDMORT (W J Brown) Nicky Henderson 7-10-13 Mick Fitzgerald 11/2
3) SCOTS GREY (W H Ponsonby) Nicky Henderson 8-9-07 Mr Andrew Tinkler (7) 16/1
4) CREGG HOUSE (Kathleen Kennedy) Paddy Mullins IRE b8-9-09 Robert Power (5) 25/1
5) LADY CRICKET (David Johnson) Martin Pipe b9-11-12 Tony McCoy
6) HORUS (Brian Kilpatrick) Martin Pipe 8-10-03 Rodi Greene
7) FADALKO (Sir Robert Ogden) Paul Nicholls 10-11-03 Barry Geraghty
8) ARMATURK (B C Marshall) Paul Nicholls 6-10-11 Joe Tizzard
9) BLOWING WIND (Peter Deal) Martin Pipe 10-10-01 Tom Scudamore
10 ARCTIC COPPER (Grand Alliance Racing Club) Noel Meade IRE 9-10-05 Paul Carberry
11) TRESOR DE MAI (Joe Moran) Martin Pipe 9-11-00 David Casey
12) CHERGAN (Copland, Hardie & Steel) Sue Bradburne 10-10-00 Mark Bradburne
13) ARCTIC FANCY (Another Chance Partnership) Henrietta Knight 10-10-00 Timmy Murphy
F8) EUROPA (Brian Stewart-Brown) Tom Tate 7-10-01 (1lb ow) Jason Maguire
PU) HERMES III (Thurloe Finsbury) Nicky Henderson 8-10-00 John Kavanagh
PU) JURALAN (Hogarth Racing) Henrietta Knight 8-10-00 Jim Culloty
U13) SILENCE REIGNS (Graham Roach) Paul Nicholls 9-10-00 Ruby Walsh
U14) GOGUENARD (Trevor Hemmings) Sue Smith 9-10-02 Warren Marston
U4) GO ROGER GO (J P McManus) Edward O'Grady IRE 11-10-02 Norman Williamson 5/1F

19 ran Non-Runners: Davids Lad, Ballinclay King, Master Tern (All vet’s certificate)
Distances: 4, 4, 3, 5, 7, 3 1/2, 3 1/2, 2 1/2, 20, 3 1/2, 22, 10
Breeder: Major A Hellyer Breeding: b g Teenoso (USA) - Celtic Slave (Celtic Cone)
Tote Win: £18.90 Places: £3.20; £2.00; £3.30; £7.50 Exacta: £116.90

Winning trainer: HENRY DALY Based: Downton Hall Stables, Ludlow, Shropshire Horses in Training (1999-2002): 50; 50; 51; 50 Number of Winners (1998/99-2001/2): 35; 38; 25; 28 Cheltenham Festival Wins: (2) National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Novices’ Chase (2000 Relaxation), Mildmay Of Flete Challenge Cup Chase (2003 Young Spartacus) Big Race Wins Include: Sun ‘King of the Punters’ Tolworth Hurdle (1999 Behrajan), Mildmay & Cazalet Handicap Chase (2000 Lancastrian Jet), Tote Exacta Long Distance Hurdle (2000 Behrajan), cantorsport.co.uk Silver Cup Chase (2002 Behrajan) Wins This Season: 24

Winning Jockey: Richard Johnson Date of birth: 21/07/77 Wins (1993/94-2000/2001): 1; 12; 53; 102; 120; 133; 143; 161; 132 Cheltenham Festival wins: (8) BONUSPRINT STAYERS’ HURDLE (1999 Anzum), MILDMAY OF FLETE CHALLENGE CUP H’CAP CHASE (2000 Dark Stranger, 2003 Young Spartacus), TOTE CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP (2000 Looks Like Trouble), QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE (2002 Flagship Uberalles), COUNTY HURDLE (2002 Rooster Booster), SMURFIT CHAMPION HURDLE (2003 Rooster Booster), Royal & SunAlliance Chase (2003 One Knight) Other big race wins: JAMES NICHOLSON WINE MERCHANT CHAMPION CHASE (2000 Looks Like Trouble), WELSH NATIONAL (1999 Edmond), RACING POST TROPHY (2000 Gloria Victis, 2001 Young Spartacus, 2002 Gunter McBride), TOTE SILVER CUP (2002 Behrajan), BARTON & GUESTIER TOP NOVICES’ HURDLE (1997 Midnight Legend, 2000 Phardante Flyer), Belle Epoque Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (1997 Forest Ivory), Martell Cup Chase (1998 Escartefigue), Heidsieck Monopole Mildmay Novices’ Chase (1999 Spendid, 2001 What’s Up Boys), Glenlivet Anniversary 4yo Novices’ Hurdle (2000 Lord Brex), John Hughes Trophy Chase (2001 Gower-Slave) Wins This Season: 130 Third win of the 2003 National Hunt Festival



Trainer Henry Daly could not believe his good fortune after Young Spartacus had won on his first start for 424 days, beating Fondmort by four lengths.

He said: “I’m gobsmacked. There were no other races to run him in and as he was fit and well, we had to come here. But I’m delighted there were no other races to run him in!

“I hoped that he would run well as he always runs well fresh, but I was worried because of the year off through leg trouble.”

“First time out at the Festival is quite an ask and we got lucky! I have absolutely no plans for him now.”

Asked about his Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Behrajan, the trainer replied: “I hope he runs well and we’ll see how we go.”

Henry Ponsonby, syndicate manager for the owners of third-placed Scots Grey, said “Next year’s Grand National is the plan for him, which Nicky [Henderson] and I decided last Christmas.

“He has now run 19 times for us and been in the first three 15 times and when he was placed in the Imperial Cup last year he finished in front of Rooster Booster.”

Turning to Willie Carson, who bred Scots Grey, Ponsonby said: “You must sell me another”, to which Carson relied: “You may not be able to afford one!”


Class A, Grade One, £40,000 guaranteed. For 4-6yo which have not run under any recognised Rules of Racing, except NH/INH Flat races, horses are not to have run in more than four NH Flat races and before February, 23, 2003, must have been placed first, second, third or fourth in such a race. 2m 1/2f. Weights: 4yo 10st 12lb; 5yo & 6yo 11st 6lb. Allowances: fillies & mares 5lb. Penalty Values: 1st: £23,200; 2nd: £8,800; 3rd: £4,400; 4th: £2,000; 5th: £1,000; 6th: £600

1 LIBERMAN (David Johnson) Martin Pipe 5-11-06 Tony McCoy 2/1F
2) TRABOLGAN (Trevor Hemmings) Nicky Henderson 5-11-06 Seamus Durack 50/1
3) WIDEMOUTH BAY (Mrs J F Deithrick) Philip Hobbs 5-11-06 Richard Johnson 33/1
4) BOLD BISHOP (Mrs G Smith) Jonjo O'Neill b1 6-11-06 Fran Berry
5 MILLER'S BAY (Carfield Partners) Henrietta Knight 5-11-06 Jim Culloty
6) BOURBON MANHATTAN (Susan & Vanessa Clinton) Alan King 5-11-06 Ollie McPhail
7) GOVAMIX (S Mulryan) Dermot Weld IRE 5-11-06 Pat Smullen
8) KIM FONTAINE (B Doyle) Willie Mullins IRE 5-11-01 Mr J J Codd (5)
9 HE'S THE BOSS (M J Hallett) Bob Buckler 6-11-06 Carl Llewellyn
10) ROYAL ALPHABET (Dr Tim Mahony) Willie Mullins IRE 5-11-06 Ruby Walsh
11) CLASSIC NATIVE (Ray & Sue Dodd Partnership) Jonjo O'Neill 5-11-06 Liam Cooper
12) CORNISH REBEL (Graham Roach) Paul Nicholls 6-11-06 Barry Geraghty
13) PATRIARCH EXPRESS (A P Muir) Geoff Harker 6-11-03 Niall Hannity (3)
14) STORM BOXER (Helen Mullins) Paddy Mullins IRE 5-11-06 Richard Hughes
15) MCGRUDERS CROSS (Leonard Kinsella & Sue Magnier) Tony Mullins IRE 5-10-13 Mr J P Magnier (7)
16 MR BABBAGE (George Creighton) Willie Mullins IRE 5-11-06 David Casey
17) CROSSBOW CREEK (Mercy Rimell) Mark Rimell 5-11-03 Mr Mark Rimell (3)
18) DIZZY'S DREAM (Kevin O’Sullivan) Noel Meade IRE 5-11-06 Paul Carberry
19) KAHUNA (Roisin Sheehy) Eamon Sheehy IRE 6-11-06 Charlie Swan
20) TRIPLE RUM (Ann Donnelly) James Leavy IRE 6-11-06 Paul Moloney
21) BE FAIR (Mrs Edward Cantillon) Don Cantillon 5-11-06 Michael Hills
22) WATSON LAKE (John Corr) Noel Meade IRE 5-11-06 Norman Williamson
23) DAVENPORT DEMOCRAT (Miriam O’Callaghan) Willie Mullins IRE 5-11-06 Mr J A Nash
24) BACK TO BEN ALDER (Bridget Hanbury) Nicky Henderson 6-11-06 Mick Fitzgerald
PU DEMPSEY (Tracy Brown) Mark Pitman 5-11-06 Timmy Murphy

25 ran
Distances: 1/2, 1, 1/2, 5, 3/4, 1 1/2, 1 3/4, 3 1/2, 1 1/2, sh, 2 1/2, sh, 3/4, 3/4, 2 1/2, 3, 1 3/4, 5, 2 1/2, 2 1/2, 12, 4, 4
Breeder: Pat O’Donovan Breeding: br g Standiford (USA) - Hail To You (USA) (Kirtling)
Tote Win: £3.70 Places: £1.90; £41.50; £5.20 Exacta: £1149.50

Winning trainer: MARTIN CHARLES PIPE Date of birth: 29/5/45 Date of first licence: 1977 Previous occupation: Amateur rider, shop manager for father, bookmaker David Pipe. Cheltenham Festival wins: (30) JCB Triumph Hurdle (1981 Baron Blakeney, 1995 Kissair), Bonusprint Stayers' Hurdle (1994 Balasani, 1996 Cyborgo), Champion Hurdle (1997 Make A Stand, 1993 Granville Again), Coral Eurobet Cup (2002 Ilnamar, 1997 Big Strand, 1993 Olympian), Royal & SunAlliance Chase (1991 Rolling Ball, 1992 Miinnehoma), Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase (1991 Omerta, 2003 Royal Predica), Royal & SunAlliance Hurdle (1989 Sayfar's Lad, 1990 Regal Ambition), Gerrard Supreme Hurdle (1989 Sondrio, 1999 Hors La Loi III), Cathcart (1991 Chatam, 1996 Challenger Du Luc, 1998 Cyfor Malta, 2002 Royal Auclair), Irish Independent Arkle (1997 Or Royal, 1998 Champleve), Mildmay of Flete (1997 Terao, 1999 Majadou, 2000 Dark Stranger, 2002 Blowing Wind), Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle (1998 Blowing Wind), Pertemps Final (1998 Unsinkable Boxer) Weatherbys Champion Bumper (2002 Liberman) Other major wins: Welsh National (1993 Riverside Boy, 1992 Run For Free, 1991 Carvill's Hill, 1988 & 1989 Bonanza Boy), Scottish Grand National (1993 Run For Free), Thomas Pink Gold Cup (1987 Beau Ranger, 1996 Challenger Du Luc, 1998 Cyfor Malta, 2000 Lady Cricket, 2001 Shooting Light, 2002 Cyfor Malta), Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup (1991 Chatam, 1988 Strands Of Gold), Whitbread Gold Cup (1995 Cache Fleur), Tote Gold Trophy (1997 Make A Stand), Tripleprint Gold Cup (1993 Fragrant Dawn, 1998 Northern Starlight), Long Walk Hurdle (1992 Vagog, 2002 Deano’s Beeno), Martell Top Novices’ Hurdle (1991 Granville Again, 1996 Tragic Hero, 1998 Fataliste), Martell Maghull Novices’ Chase (1992 Cyphrate), Martell Cup Chase (1991 Aquilifer), Martell Noblige H’cap Hurdle (1990 Sayparee, 1991 Trefelyn Cone, 1997 Cadougold), Martell Mildway Novices’ Chase (1995 Banjo, 1997 Cyborgo), Martell Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (1993 Lemon’s Mill, 1994 Cyborgo, 1996 Silver Shred, 2002 Classified), Martell Topham Chase (1998 Cyfor Malta, 2000 Northern Starlight), Martell Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (1998 Unsinkable Boxer), Martell Aintree Hurdle (1998 Pridwell, 2002 Ilnamar), Martell XO 4-Y-O Hurdle (1999 Hors La Loi III), Martell Novices’ Hcap Chase (1999 Royal Predica), Martell Handicap Hurdle (2001 Carlovent) Wins (1974/75-2001/02): 1, 5, 5, 2, 6, 12, 14, 20 23, 32, 51, 79, 106, 129, 208, 224, 230, 224, 194, 126, 137, 176, 212, 208, 187, 243, 168, 235 Number of horses in training (1984-2002): 28, 38, 65, 60, 62, 108, 107, 131, 120, 81, 122, 66, 91, 94, 106, 136, 146, 103, 140 Wins This Season: 172 30th National Hunt Festival success for Martin Pipe - his second of 2003

Winning Jockey: Anthony Peter McCoy Date of Birth: 04/05/74 First Winner: Thurles, 26/03/92 (First winner in Britain: 07/09/94, Exeter, Chickabiddy) Apprenticeship: Four years with Jim Bolger.Cheltenham Festival Wins: (14) GRAND ANNUAL CHASE (1996 Kibreet, 1998 Edredon Bleu), IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE CHASE (1997 Or Royal, 1998 Champleve), SMURFIT CHAMPION HURDLE (1997 Make A Stand), TOTE GOLD CUP (1997 Mr Mulligan), CATHCART CHASE (1998 Cyfor Malta, 2002 Royal Auclair) Pertemps Final (1998 Unsinkable Boxer), VINCENT O’BRIEN COUNTY HURDLE (1998 Blowing Wind), GERRARD SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE (1999 Hors La Loi III), THE MILDMAY OF FLETE CHALLENGE CUP HCAP CHASE (1999 Majadou), QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE (2000 Edredon Bleu), WEATHERBYS CHAMPION BUMPER (2003 Liberman) Other major wins: SCOTTISH GRAND NATIONAL (1997 Belmont King), REHEARSAL CHASE (1996 Belmont King), THOMAS PINK GOLD CUP (1998 Cyfor Malta, 2000 Lady Cricket, 2001Shooting Light), PILLAR PROPERTY CHASE (1999 Cyfor Malta), TRIPLEPRINT GOLD CUP CHASE (1998 Northern Starlight), EXTRAMAN HENRY VIII NOVICES’ CHASE (1998 Dines), MILDMAY & CAZALET HCAP CHASE (1999 Eudipe), GROSVENOR CASINOS LONG DISTANCE HURDLE (1999 Galant Moss), SCILLY ISLES NOVICES’ CHASE (2000 Upgrade), FIRST NATIONAL GOLD CUP H’CAP CHASE (2000 Upgrade), LONG WALK HURDLE (2002 Deano’s Beeno), MUMM MELLING CHASE (Viking Flagship 1996), GLENLIVET ANNIVERSARY HURDLE (Zabadi 1996, Hors La Loi III 1999), BARTON & GUESTIER NOVICES’ HURDLE (1998 Fataliste), JOHN HUGHES TROPHY CHASE (1998 Cyfor Malta, 2000 Northern Starlight), MUMM MILDMAY NOVICES’ CHASE (1998 Boss Doyle), BELLE EPOQUE SEFTON NOVICES’ HURDLE (1998 Unsinkable Boxer), MARTELL AINTREE HURDLE (1998 Pridwell), BARTON & GUESTIER HANDICAP HURDLE (1996 Top Spin, 2001 Carlovent), CHIVAS REGAL NOVICES’ HCAP CHASE (1999 Royal Predica) Winners 1994/5-2000/01:74,175, 189,253,186,245,191, 289 Wins this season: 244



Champion jockey Tony McCoy, who had enjoyed a torrid Festival with a series of falls and no previously placed rides, came good in Wednesday’s finale when Liberman justified 2/1 favouritism to take the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

“This fellow was tough and I knew he’d stick it out,” said McCoy. “In November, the trainer asked if we thought he’d win this bumper and I said he would. It is a great training performance to have had him put away since November.”

Reflecting on the week, McCoy said: “I’ve been doing everything right but it’s just not been happening - I can’t carry them. I thought he and Tiutchev were my best chances and I was disappointed to come off Tiutchev.

“I was also disappointed with It Takes Time, I thought he would win. But yesterday I was on 10/1 chances.

“I was sore yesterday so gave up my rides, I wanted to be able to give 100% today because I had some good rides. I didn’t want to be going back thinking if I had done this or done that I might have won on horses. I don’t ride horses for people if I think I’m going to put them in jeopardy of not winning but I’m fine now - there’s not a bother on me.”

Winning owner David Johnson said: “It’s a long wait and has taken us two days to get a winner. Tony said he was confident he was never going to get caught but I wasn’t so sure.

“We put him away after a great run behind Rhinestone Cowboy in November and I think he is a very good horse.

“I think J P (McManus) backed the horse - he told me he was going to - which I think probably shortened up the price, and I am pleased he did as he is a good judge. I also had a few shillings on him.

“It’s all down to Niall McLoughlin, who bought him in Ireland. I only saw videos of the horse.

“He’ll be put away now and I think Vodka Bleu will go for the bumper at Aintree.”

Liberman is by Standiford, who is stood by Liam O’Brien at Bendemeer Stud at Fermoy in Co. Cork. The stallion has had only nine runners but has had winners on the Flat, over hurdles, in bumpers and point-to-points.

Liberman is quoted at 12/1 for next year’s Gerrard Supreme Novices’ Hurdle by Cashmans.



Trabolgan must be the best bumper horse in Britain never to have won a race, after coming runner-up, for the third time in three racecourse appearances, in this afternoon’s Weatherbys Champion Bumper, only finding favourite Liberman half a length too good.

The King’s Ride gelding was ignored by punters being sent off at 50/1. Trainer Nicky Henderson said: “He ran a fantastic race at Kempton and he’s run a fantastic race here. I’ll put him away now and he’ll go hurdling next year.”

Third-placed Widemouth Bay, who was a further length adrift, was also sent off at a big price of 33/1. Trainer Philip Hobbs commented: “I’m very pleased and I thought he had a chance. I’m amazed that he was sent off at that price and I thought that he should be a 16/1 chance.

“He’s run very well in a hot race. He might go to Aintree now and he’ll go hurdling next year. Hopefully he’ll be back here in 12 months time.”

The Jonjo O’Neill-trained Bold Bishop finished in fourth position.

The trainer said: “He’s a lovely horse and he’s run a blinder as he’s still a bit weak. That was a good race and the first four are all nice horses.

“He’s finished for the year now and he’ll go hurdling next season. Then chasing the following season, please God.”


Richard Johnson’s splendid day ended on a low note when he was suspended for five days (March 21 through 25) for his use of the whip on Young Spartacus, on whom he won the Mildmay of Flete Chase.

Stipendiary steward explained William Nunneley explained; “the veterinary officer reported that the horse was marked and injured and had been hit in the wrong place.”

Johnson said that he had “no complaints. It was a fine line and I went over it.”


Today’s all-ticket affair saw 51,209 attend the sold-out second day of the 2003 National Hunt Festival at Cheltenham. Last year’s figure was 51,737.

Edward Gillespie, Cheltenham’s Manging Director, commented: “We have had another brilliant day’s racing, with many exceptional performances.

“That has put the Festival on schedule for a terrific climax on Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup day tomorrow.”

The Tote’s on-course pool betting turnover broke £3 million for the first time on a Wednesday of the Festival.

Turnover came to £3,048,276, up 4% on last year’s £2,941,009. The Tote’s Racecourse Division has now broken the £100-million barrier for the first time in a financial year.

The Tote’s latest betting on the Daily Telegraph Award for the Festival’s top jockey is 2/5 Richard Johnson, 15/8 Barry Geraghty, 33/1 Tony McCoy, 40/1 bar.


The Guinness Award for exceptional performance went to Barry Geraghty, the rider of Queen Mother Champion Chase winner Moscow Flyer.


Jockey 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Richard Johnson 3 1 2 -
Barry Geraghty 3 1 1 1
Mick Fitzgerald 1 1 2 1
Norman Williamson 1 1 1 -
Ruby Walsh 1 - 2 -
Mr Denis Cullen 1 - - -
Kieran Kelly 1 - - -
Tony McCoy 1 - - -
Mr Saul McHugh 1 - - -
Mr Larry McGrath - 1 - 1
Mr Jamie Moore - 1 - 1
David Casey - 1 - -
Jim Culloty - 1 - -
Seamus Durack - 1 - -
Dominic Elsworth - 1 - -
Rodi Greene - 1 - -
Conor O’Dwyer - 1 - -
Jacques Ricou - 1 - -
Mr R Loughran - - 1 -
Warren Marston - - 1 -
Mr Julian Pritchard - - 1 -
Davy Russell - - 1 -
Mr Andrew Tinkler - - 1 -
Noel Fehily - - - 2
Fran Berry - - - 1
Thierry Doumen - - - 1
Barry Keniry - - - 1
Timmy Murphy - - - 1
Robert Power - - - 1
Tom Scudamore - - - 1
Andrew Thornton - - - 1


Trainer 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Martin Pipe 2 3 - 2
Philip Hobbs 2 - 2 -
Jonjo O’Neill 2 - 1 1
Edward O’Grady IRE 1 1 - -
Henry Daly 1 1 - -
Paul Nicholls 1 - 2 -
Dessie Hughes IRE 1 - 1 -
Jessica Harrington IRE 1 - - -
Tony Martin IRE 1 - - -
Christy Roche IRE 1 - - -
Nicky Henderson - 2 3 1

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