Tuesday 18 June 2024

The Fellow

Trained by Fran├žois Doumen in Pau, southwestern France and ridden, for much of his career, by Polish-born jockey Adam Kondrat, The Fellow won the King George VI Chase at Kempton in 1991 and 1992. However, as far as the Cheltenham Festival is concerned, he is probably best remembered for winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup, at the fourth time of asking, in 1994. That said, anyone who backed him in the previous three renewals has good reason to remember that his defeats were attributable, at least according to some observers, to his jockey.

The Fellow made his first appearance in the 'Blue Riband' event in 1991, as a six-year-old, when has was sent off a largely unconsidered 28/1 outsider. However, despite Kondrat taking a wide route for the whole way and a bad mistake at the fifteenth fence, The Fellow was the only horse to make a race of it with eventual winner Garrison Savannah. Indeed, The Fellow 'sprinted' up the run-in, making up the better part of three lengths, but was denied by a short head.

On the back of that performance, and his subsequent win in the King George VI Chase, The Fellow was sent off 7/2 second favourite for his second attempt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1992. Kondrat rode a not entirely dissimilar race and, after a ding-dong battle with eventual winner and third, Cool Dawn and Docklands Express, on the run-in, The Fellow was headed in the final strides and denied by a short head for the second year running.

In 1993, The Fellow was sent off a heavily-backed 5/4 favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but could manage only fourth, beaten 9½ lengths, behind Jodami, having been outpaced from the top of the hill. He was back again, as a nine-year-old, in 1994, by which time it seemed his time had passed. However, sporting blinkers and ridden closer to the pace than had previously been the case, The Fellow was always travelling and jumping well and kept on strongly in the closing stages to beat Jodami by 1½ lengths and, finally, reward his connections' perseverance.

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Gold Cup 2024 result, odds and replay

1 Galopin Des Champs 10-11F

2 Gerri Colombe 13-2

3 Corach Rambler 14-1

4 L’Homme Presse 16-1

5 Bravemansgame 14-1

6 Jungle Boogie 16-1

Tuesday 13 February 2024

A recap of all race finishes from last years Gold Cup Day

What better way to prepare for Cheltenham Festival 2024, than to watch the culmination of Gold Cup day 2023. Enjoy!

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Brave Inca

Trained by Colm Murphy in Co. Wexford, Ireland, Brave Inca made a total of five appearances at the Cheltenham Festival. He established himself as one of the leading novice hurdlers in Ireland by winning his first four starts of the 2003/04 season, including the Grade One Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown, and headed to the Cheltenham Festival as a leading fancy for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle. Sent off 7/2 favourite, he had to be hard ridden in the closing stages, but was urged ahead near the finish to beat War Of Attrition – winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup two seasons later – by a neck and came back to a tumultuous reception.

Rather frustratingly, Brave Inca finished second on each of his first four starts of the 2004/05 season, including behind Macs Joy, trained by Jessica Harrington, on three separate occasions. Nevertheless, He headed back to Cheltenham for his first attempt at the Champion Hurdle, for which he was sent off 10/1 sixth choice of 14 runners. Having racing prominently, he was driven to challenge at the second-last flight and ran on to finish third, beaten a neck and the same, behind defending champion Hardy Eustace and the talented, but quirky, Harchibald, who did not go through with his effort in the closing stages.

In 2005/06, as a seven-year-old, Brave Inca was at the peak of his powers, winning four of his first five starts, all under Sir Anthony McCoy, en route to a second crack at the Champion Hurdle. Sent off 7/4 favourite at Cheltenham, he benefited from a vintage McCoy ride to beat his old rival Macs Joy by a length, with the hat-trick-seeking Hardy Eustace a further 3½ lengths back in third place. He returned to Cheltenham, as defending champion, in 2007 and, while he could not quite keep tabs on the winner, Sublimity, in the closing stages, he kept on bravely to finish second, beaten 3 lengths. Having missed the whole of the 2007/08 season through injury, he returned to the Cheltenham Festival in 2009, but his 'last hurrah' in the Champion Hurdle ended in disappointment, as he trailed in eighteenth of the 23 runners, beaten 58 lengths.

Thursday 21 December 2023


To the public at large, L'Escargot is probably best remembered for his exploits in the Grand National, in which he finished third in 1973, second in 1974 and won, by 15 lengths, in 1975, thereby thwarting an unprecedented hat-trick by Red Rum. However, earlier in his career, L'Escargot was a three-time Cheltenham Festival winner, winning the second division of the Gloucestershire Hurdle, now the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, in 1968 and recording back-to-back victories in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1970 and 1971. Aside from Golden Miller, who won both races in 1934, he remains the only horse to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National.

Owned by Raymond Guest, US Ambassador to Ireland between 1965 and 1968, and trained by Dan Moore in Fairyhouse, Co. Meath, started second favourite for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 1969, finishing sixth to Persian War, before being sent over fences. The following year, for his first attempt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup, L'Escargot was sent off an unconsidered 33/1 outsider, behind hot favourite Kinloch Brae, who carried the yellow and black colours of Anne Grosvenor, Duchess of Westminster, made famous by Arkle. However, the market leader fell at the third-last fence and L'Escargot outstayed French Tan in the closing stages to win by a length-and-a-half.

L'Escargot returned, as defending champion, in 1971 and, in a substandard renewal of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, had little difficulty in beating the novice Leapfrog and The Dikler by 10 lengths and 15 lengths. He tried, and failed, to add a third Cheltenham Gold Cup to his winning tally in 1972 and 1973, finishing fourth on both occasions.