Tuesday, 15 June 2021

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.