Wednesday, 14 April 2021



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.

Monday, 22 March 2021

Gold Cup: Minella Indo wins historic treble at Cheltenham


Minella Indo emerged victorious in a fantastic Cheltenham Gold Cup under rider Jack Kennedy to deny Blackmore’s A PlusTard in a 1-2 for trainer Bromhead.

The win completed a historic treble for the Irish horse trainer, who also won the Champion Chase and Champion Hurdle.

The 9-1 chance Indo emerged victorious by only one and a quarter length with 2-time champion Al Boum Photo in third place.

Blackmore, who happens to be the top 2021 Cheltenham rider with six victories - was hoping to emerge the first female horse jockey to win.

Selecting A PlusTard ahead of Minella Indo was perhaps trailblazing Blackmore's only wrong choice of the racing week, but it was indeed an emotional triumph for Kennedy.

The 21-year-old jockey, who has sustained a broken leg on four occasions in his brief career said: "I can't believe it. This is what I have dreamed of as a child,"

"It could always be lot worse - broken legs and broken collarbones will heal. It's obviously unfortunate, but you have to get on with it.

"It's definitely the best day of my life. I know I'm still young, but I suppose I have been in the position where I could have been winning them for a couple of years, so to get it done is brilliant."

Happy De Bromhead, who emerged victorious at Queen Mother Champion Chase with Put the Kettle On, on Wednesday, was left to absorb what he had achieved at Cheltenham.

The 48-year-old who trains his horse at Knockeen said: "It's all come together here and it's fantastic,"

"To win a Cheltenham Gold Cup is something you dream about. I think I'm still in my hotel, it's Monday evening and I'm about wake-up and nothing's even started yet. That's where I'm at at the moment, it's brilliant."

Native River, the 2018 winner, came fourth and Frodo emerged fifth, while last year's RSA Chase victor Champ and the runner-up at 2020 Gold Cup,Santini, pulled up, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise as BoyleSports horse racing already included them in their odds.

Blackmore was handed a 2-day suspension for making use of her whip above the authorized level from turning in.

A total number of twelve runners went to post, and Bryony Frost was the early leader from the front on the 6-time Cheltenham victorFrodon.

The 2019 and 2020 winner Al Boum Photo was one of many traveling fluidly, along with his Willie Mullins-trained mate Kemboy, as the race evolved.

Blackmore, who emerged the first female rider to win the Champion Hurdle after triumphing with Honeysuckle during the week, was another going pretty well on her A PlusTard.

Frodo started to fade two fences from home and Minella Indo, placed second to Champ at Cheltenham in 2020, overtook and could not be caught even up the hill.

Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey, Katie Walsh, said on BBC Radio 5 Live that Jack Kennedy is a great rider and has been riding out his heart out. Although he had suffered horrible injuries in the past but is a fantastic Irish talent who deserved the win.

The last day of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival followed the same pattern of the last three days with Irish horses taking full control.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Cheltenham Gold Cup 2013

cheltenham gold cup 2013
The 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup, sponsored by Betfred, featured nine runners and was won, in convincing style, by Bobs Worth, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Barry Geraghty. In so doing, the 11/4 favourite was completing a notable Cheltenham Festival treble, having won the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle in 2011 and the RSA Chase in 2012.

Bobs Worth ran just twice during the 2012/13 season, readily accounting for Tidal Bay by 3¼ lengths in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on his seasonal reappearance in December before lining up in the Cheltenham Gold Cup 104 days later. His main opposition came from stable companion, and King George VI Chase winner, Long Run, who started 7/2 second favourite, and Betfair Chase winner Silviniaco Conti and Irish Hennessy Gold Cup winner Sir Des Champs, who were sent off at 4/1 joint third favourites.

Early on the second circuit, Long Run was in the lead, jumping well, although hotly pursued by Sir Des Champs in a close second. Silviniaco Conti fell at the third last, when still travelling well and, in so doing, hampered Bobs Worth, who was 8 lengths down at that point. Briefly, it appeared that Long Run and Sir Des Champs may have the race between them, but Bobs Worth came with a strong run approaching the second last, jumped the final fence in front and powered clear on the run-in to beat Sir Des Champs by 7 lengths, with Long Run a further 2¾ lengths in third.

Winning trainer Nicky Henderson had always expressed his concern that Bobs Worth would be better on good going, rather than the prevailing soft going. That sentiment was echoed by a nonetheless delighted Barry Geraghty, who said of Bobs Worth, “He’s a great attitude, he struggled on the ground but he kept fighting. I was hunting and I knew coming into the second last I would win. He's as game as a lion and he loves the job.”

Hailed by Henderson as “amazing, an absolute legend”, Bobs Worth was retired from racing in 2016 and has since enjoyed a happy retirement with Tracy Vigors at Hillwood Stud.