What A week for the Mark Bradstock winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Paul Nicholls sends out a number of winners to! Congratulations to both!
The Bradstock family are the proud owners of an Andrews Bowen Training arena at their Oxfordshire base.
Coneygree held on in a thrilling finish to become the first novice to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup since 1974.
Nico de Boinville guided the 7-1 chance to the front early on and then held off the challenge of Djakadam and Road To Riches in the closing stages.
“It’s unbelievable; words can’t describe it,” De Boinville told BBC Radio 5 live. “He dug deep but I always knew he had enough left.”
Retiring 19-time champion AP McCoy finished ninth on Carlingford Lough.
Favourite Silviniaco Conti threatened at one stage but could not stay in touch when the pace quickened and finished seventh.
“I knew when we got here this morning we were in trouble,” said McCoy, who will end his career with two Gold Cup wins.
The making of a novice champion
Coneygree was bred by the late former broadcaster and jockey Lord Oaksey
Jockey Nico de Boinville was riding in a top-level Grade One chase for the first time
Oaksey’s daughter Sara Bradstock is the wife of Coneygree’s trainer Mark Bradstock
Coneygree has bounced back from suffering two serious injuries to the same hind leg
Sara Bradstock is also the assistant trainer
This was only Coneygree’s fourth run over fences
“He’s a horse that likes good ground and for a horse that’s slow but has a bit of speed at the end of his race, he doesn’t like it when it turns into a drag.”
Coneygree becomes the first novice steeplechaser – a horse that has not won over fences before the start of the season – since Captain Christy 41 years ago to win chasing’s blue riband prize.
McCoy added: “It was an unbelievable performance from a novice chaser. He got them at it early and stuck at it well.”
Coneygree thrived in the soft ground after overnight rain and made most of the running in only his fourth race over fences.
News From Paul Nicholls who is the proud owner of an Andrews Bowen Canter Ring at his base in Ditcheat facilities.
A treble day to remember
A magical afternoon for Team Ditcheat at Cheltenham on Wednesday with a treble highlighted by the stirring triumph of Dodging Bullets in the the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Aux Ptits Soins got the ball rolling for us by landing the Coral Cup on his first run in England. Both horses were ridden with great dash by Sam Twiston-Davies who has really grown into the job as our stable jockey over the past few months.
Nick Scholfield then played his part with a narrow success on Qualando in the Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle from stable companion Bouvreuil with our third runner All Yours a close fifth. Days like this don’t happen too often at Cheltenham but hopefully there will be more to come in the next 48 hours.
The horses have been in sparkling form for several months and it was good to help the home side make their mark at the Festival after an Irish landslide on Tuesday. I felt that Dodging Bullets deserved to be favourite in the Champion Chase on his progressive form this season. He jumped brilliantly once more on Wednesday, travelled strongly throughout and found more than enough to hold off Somersby on the hill.
He’s had little issues in the past but we’ve been really happy with him this winter and we know where we are going with him now. Dodging Bullets is such a special horse to the lads who own him and naturally his breeder Frankie Dettori was on hand to kiss everyone in the winner’s enclosure including Sam!
Frankie suggested that the horse was bred to win the Derby and that in a sense this victory was second best after Epsom. I beg to differ as for me the Queen Mother Champion Chase is a magical race, one that I love with a passion.
Earlier Aux Ptits Soins made a remarkable winning debut for us in the Coral Cup on only his third start over hurdles. It was, in all honesty, a huge ask for a young horse so early in his career and I admit to being concerned at his lack of experience against seasoned handicappers. But his owner John Hales was keen for him to run and he had showed us plenty at home to the point that Nick Scholfield described him as an aeroplane at one Cheltenham preview in Castle Cary.
The horse’s jumping was a bit inconsistent on Wednesday but he clearly has a powerful engine and is definitely one for the future. He is really exciting and I can’t wait to see him jump a fence.
I found it hard to split my trio in the Fred Winter and there wasn’t that much between them at the finish.
Qualando is big and quite weak but I’ve always liked him though the decision to run him was a last minute one. He is a chaser in the making and that will be it for him for the season. I’m delighted that Nick rode a winner for us at the Festival. He is an important part of the team, works hard and really there is nothing between him and Sam who has been the one making the headlines recently.
Southfield Theatre also ran up to his best in finishing an excellent second to Don Poli in the RSA Chase. He picked up a leg injury that required stitches afterwards but should be okay.
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