PART I

DIARY – CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL 2015

DAY FOUR - FEATURING THE CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP

FRIDAY 13 MARCH 2015

 

 

Peace And Co.jpg

 

Peace And Co returns having won the JCB Triumph Hurdle

for Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghy

 

 

I rose at 04:00 again today.  Having showered, washed and dried my hair and applied my make-up, breakfast was two Weetabix with the usual fruit – banana, blueberries and raisins. 

Rain was definitely forecast for some point today, evidently it would heading east before the wind was due to change direction and force it back in a westerly direction once more! 

 

This being the case, I chose to wear my black faux sheepskin coat once more.  Apart from Tuesday, this week had been plagued by a chill breeze so, as usual, I wore three thermal t-shirts – pink, purple and bright pink – and added a camisole top underneath too, just for good measure!  I wore a bright turquoise V-neck sweater, and the same dark grey tweed double-frill skirt I’d worn on Wednesday and which had become a stalwart item of racing clothing this season.  I’ve owned it for years but could probably count the number of times I’d worn it prior to this season on the fingers of one hand!  I had the option of wearing my long black handkerchief hem skirt ... but didn’t wish to get the hem muddy. 

I also wore the same bright purple fleece as yesterday, and my black fleece gillet too.  Being a black coat, I decided to lift the colour by wearing my multi-coloured River Island scarf as per yesterday, together with the indispensible black/white horse-design cowl which had proved so useful in the cold winds on Wednesday. 

I wore a Lara Duncan (formerly Poppyfields) pendant and earrings – in pinks/purples/blue/turquoise shades, with a turquoise beads/silver spacers necklace as added by myself.  I took the same Next handbag I’d used all week, because I can fit the proverbial ‘kitchen sink’ inside!

 

At this stage I was unsure whether to wear my clompy burgundy ankle boots or my black Footglove snow- boots but I chose burgundy tights regardless, because black would have been boring! 

 

Note to self - I must learn to make dichroic jewellery.  It’s been on my bucket ‘list’ for a while, along with taking a llama trek ... in the UK I hasten to add! 

Today I left home at 06:02.  Again my journey took me through St Albans city centre, then onwards to Hemel Hempstead and Aylesbury.  With no slow moving vehicles evident on the road approaching their ring-road, I took the northern option today; there’s a new feature to the skyline, as you travel down the hill towards the traffic lights on the Buckingham Road, namely a wind turbine on the horizon, visible to one’s right-hand side!  I encountered rain when driving along the A41, as soon as I entered Oxfordshire. 

Being earlier than on all the previous three days, there were no traffic problems, apart from the usual Bicester to Wolvercote roundabout delays; although the queue along the dual carriageway prior to the latter might have been moving just a little bit faster today.  I gained time during the journey; although on the section between Burford and the dual carriageway down the Cotswold escarpment, a lorry was holding up the traffic by travelling at only 40mph.

The rain had stopped as soon as I entered Gloucestershire. 

It also dawned on me early on during the journey that I’d forgotten to tape Channel 4’s Cheltenham coverage today; there was no excuse for forgetting, as I should and could have set up yesterday’s and today’s programmes on one 8-hour, long play tape on Wednesday evening before I turned in for the night.  Damn.  But I suppose it’s not too much of a problem, as I’m not a particular fan of their coverage; too many adverts and silly women – namely Gina and Emma.  They may know what they are talking about but they are incapable of doing it with the authority needed!

Having arrived at the Sixways junction, I took my usual route to the racecourse, initially up Greenway Lane to reach the T-junction with Harp Hill; I was surprised to encounter a lorry with trailer passing along it in the direction of the hill.  I kept my distance in case of incident on the steep decline. 

The houses to the left, just prior to the hill commencing, have a wonderful vista across the valley towards Prestbury and Cheltenham racecourse.  There is a empty plot amongst the row of houses – I wonder if it is due to be built upon soon; and it probably cost an arm and a leg to purchase!  But, on the downside, it would be impossible to drive up the hill in icy, snowy weather!  The houses behind those on the hill are situated on private roads; it’s a posh area.

Anyway, having reached the safety of the longabout, where the aforementioned lorry turned left, I turned right to travel along Priors Road, Bouncers Lane and New Barn Lane before arriving at the large roundabout outside the main entrance of the racecourse.  It was 08:25.

Having experienced parking problems at various times during the week, today I’d decided to enter the top field from the Evesham Road; so I turned right at the roundabout.  It proved to be the wrong decision, as I encountered cones blocking the entrance driveway.  Typical.  A tardy steward began to walk down towards me but it was too late, I had to move on because I was blocking the roadway.  Great.  I had no idea where I was heading but hoped to find another entrance along the road as I headed north.  No such luck; there was a members’ only entrance and a coach entrance but no car park for the general public.

I continued along the road until I reached a crossroads with traffic lights.  I later checked the map and discovered it would have been best to turn left, but I turned right to head to Southam.  The entrance to the north car park was situated on the right-hand side prior to the village, but I really didn’t wish to park in that one.  So I continued through the village and arrived at a T-junction where I turned right.  Shortly afterwards I encountered the rear of a short queue of traffic waiting to emerge onto the B4632. When finally the coast was clear, I turned right and headed through Prestbury to arrive at the mini-roundabouts at the end of Bouncers Lane once more.  Take two.

I headed back to the racecourse, this time continuing across into Swindon Lane.  I entered the bottom field but it was full.  Despite me showing my car parking pass, I was directed to park in the staff car park once more.  Why the hell won’t they let me park in the top field?  I was permitted to do so on Tuesday, so why isn’t it okay on Wednesday or Friday? 

However, due to the overnight rain, the grass in the furthest Swindon Lane field was cutting up badly and areas could not be used.  I ended up parked near the top of the slope, sideways on, with fingers firmly crossed that I’d not require a tractor to pull me out at the end of the day!  I parked up at 08:45.  Whilst I was sitting in my car eating the first couple of cheese rolls I’d brought with me, cars began to arrive via the gate at the bottom of this second field; they were parking in rows at the bottom of the slope. 

I wanted to reach the turnstiles in good time today and it wasn’t fun making my way across the grass by foot either, very slippery; I didn’t realise until later that the burgundy ankle boots I’d chosen to wear, although ‘clumpy’, have no tread on the soles.  You would think I’d know that, because I purchased them 18 months ago and have worn them to the races on numerous occasions!  And especially as I don’t have a butler to clean them, I do it myself!

When I reached the turnstiles there were only a few people ahead of me, so I was able to chat to the ‘Taunton guys’ today.  At 10:00 it decided to rain, heavily; fortunately I had an umbrella as I was standing out in the open.  The bags of those near the head of the queue were checked some time before the gates opened in order to make their entry progress easier.  The gates opened at 10:30 as expected. 

Having purchased a race-card from the kiosk opposite the turnstiles, I headed down the concourse to visit to ladies loo on the ground floor at the far end of the main grandstand. Again no problems with urgency today!  But that is because I no longer drink more than half a cup of tea before I set off from home.

I then sought out shelter close to the Winners’ Enclosure.  Luckily there was cover available between the First Aid point and the Betfred shop, where I waited for the rain to stop.  A group of female Betfred representatives, sponsors of today’s Gold Cup, were handing out goodie bags to people in their vicinity and to those who were walking by on the concourse.  I received one too; it contained a pen, some betting information, a couple of sweets, a key-ring, a lapel pin in aid of the IJF’s Jack Berry House and, most useful for some, a plastic ‘bin-liner’ style mac. 

The macs had been manufactured in two colours, red and blue; mine was red, although I would have preferred blue!  Obviously I didn’t need it today, as I’d come prepared, but others certainly made use of them because they were ill-prepared for the rain.  I have, however, saved the mac for another day!

Whilst waiting under cover I was accosted by a representative of Somerset radio who was collecting interview snippets for a programme about AP McCoy.  I stated that he was a great ambassador for racing but I was pleased that, with his retirement, it might give Richard Johnson an opportunity to win the Champion jockey title before a youngster such as Sam Twiston-Davies or Aidan Coleman assumed the role. Fortunately the rain decided to stop by noon and stayed dry for the remainder of the day; although it remained overcast. 

Today I’d arranged to meet up with a fellow Choc fan, Sally Meek.  She was accompanied to the races by her husband Roy and they had parked in the northern car park; sensibly waiting for the rain to stop prior to making their way to the racecourse.  Evidently that car park is close to the heliport, so they spent their time watching helicopters land.   We were texting backwards and forwards whilst I waited in the shelter above the Winners’ Enclosure and I managed to guide her to my location.

It was a pleasure to meet her for the first time and we enjoyed a chat about our sadly absent and sorely missed Choc, along with racing in general.  At around 13:00 I took my leave and headed down to the course-side rails to reserve my place ahead of racing.  The members’ lawn was very muddy following three days of racing and heavy rain; why doesn’t the racecourse tarmac it over?  It’s very slippery when muddy and surely a health and safety issue on days like today. 

Anyway, I was in time to reserve my favoured position, close to the half furlong post.  The young lady steward was back again today, having been absent yesterday; she was well wrapped up, although muddy. 

 

There were a number of non-runners today:

Horse and Trainer - Reason

1:30 TAKE A BREAK (FR), trained by Nigel Hawke. Waived Self Cert (Not Eaten Up)

2:05 MINELLA PRESENT (IRE), trained by Neil Mulholland. Waived Going (changed since declaration)

2:05 COMMISSIONED (IRE), trained by John Ferguson. Waived Going (changed since declaration)

2:40 FLETCHERS FLYER (IRE), trained by Harry Fry. Waived Self Cert (Temperature)

3:20 RIVER CHOICE (FR), trained by Richard Chotard (France). Waived Vets Cert (Lame)

3:20 DON COSSACK (GER), trained by Gordon Elliott (Ireland). Waived Self Cert (Ran Yesterday)

4:40 PECKHAMECHO (IRE), trained by Sophie Leech. Waived Going (changed since declaration)

4:40 EDEYMI (IRE), trained by A. J. Martin (Ireland). Waived Vets Cert (Coughing)

4:40 ROYAL IRISH HUSSAR (IRE), trained by Nicky Henderson. Waived Going (changed since declaration)

5:15 KARINGA DANCER, trained by Harry Fry. Waived Going (changed since declaration)

5:15 CLARET CLOAK (IRE), trained by Emma Lavelle. Waived Going (changed since declaration)

5:15 SOLAR IMPULSE (FR), trained by Paul Nicholls. Waived Going (changed since declaration)

 

And an initial jockey change too:

4:00 FOLLOWING DREAMS (IRE) Mr Sam Drinkwater replacing injured Mr Weston

 

It was soon time for the first race of the day.  The favourite for this event was the Nicky Henderson-trained Peace And Co, ridden by Barry Geraghty, and priced at 2-1.  There were five greys in the field, namely Baraka De Thaix, Hargam, Kalkir, Matorico, and the sole filly Petite Parisienne.  Also two runners for Alan King, Karezak ridden by Wayne Hutchinson and Pain Au Chocolat ridden by Aidan Coleman.

 

Being run over a distance of 2 miles 1 furlong, the horses cantered up the all-weather horse-walk in front of the grandstand before heading back down the turf and re-entering the all-weather strip to continue their journey to the starting gate at the far end of the home straight. 

 

Instead of exiting onto the racecourse from the corral and beginning immediately, the competitors were called out onto the track and were sent up the course away from the starting tape.  Having lined up in the front rank of runners, Karezak became a little mulish and had to be cajoled to keep his place; it appeared that he’d got out of the wrong side of his bed this morning and would this prove to be a non-going day. 

 

Race 1

Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1)

Distance

2 miles 1 furlong (8 flights to negotiate)

No. of Runners

16

Baraka De Thaix, Beltor, Devilment, Dicosimo, Hargam, Kalkir, Karezak, Matorico, Officer Drivel, Old Guard, Pain Au Chocolat, Peace And Co, Prairie Town, Stars Over The Sea, Top Notch, Petite Parisienne

 

Then they were off.  The runners were led away by Dicosimo, ridden by Ruby Walsh and sporting the first colours of Suzanne Ricci.  He was closely followed by Petite Parisienne, then Kalkir, Hargam, Top Notch and Officer Drivel line across the track.  To the inside of the field, Baraka De Thaix wasn’t fluent at the flight, and Beltor brought up the rear.

 

Heading up the home straight towards flight number two, Ruby Walsh let his mount bowl along at the head of affairs; he was two or three lengths clear of the keen-going Officer Drivel.  The favourite was travelling in mid-field.  Unlike last year when his mount had crashed out at flight number two leaving him with a broken right arm having brought down his stable mate too, this time around, Ruby encountered no problems as Dicosimo jumped the hurdle ahead of his rivals.

 

All sixteen runners then headed away from the main grandstands, up the hill and into the back straight for the one and only time.  Clearing flight number three, the leader remained a few lengths clear of Petite Parisienne, followed by Hargam, Officer Drivel, Top Notch, Peace And Co, Karezak, Old Guard, Kalkir, Devilment, Pain Au Chocolat, Stars Over The Sea, Matorico, Prairie Town, Beltor and Baraka De Thaix; the latter was less than fluent here. 

 

Meanwhile Dicosimo continued to lead, clear of the field.  Prairie Town hit flight number four and had to be ridden away from it; Top Notch hit the next one and left a panel hanging.  Having negotiated the dog-leg turn, the runners headed up the hill to flight number six; Ruby Walsh’s mount continued to lead from Petite Parisienne, Hargam, Top Notch, Peace And Co and Karezak.  Both Matorico and Old Guard had to be booted away from the flight; by this stage the 150-1 outsider Prairie Town was struggling at the rear of the field.

 

The field soon reached the far corner and began their descent to the penultimate flight; Ruby was dictating the pace as he had done throughout the race, followed by a brace of greys, namely Petite Parisienne and Hargam, followed by the improving Stars Over The Sea, with Top Notch and Peace And Co.  Dicosimo remained narrowly ahead as they jumped the flight and negotiated the home turn. 

 

However, the Nicky Henderson trio soon swept past him, Hargam and Top Notch heading up his inside and Peace And Co to his outside.  AP’s mount held the advantage initially but was soon joined by Top Notch; with the latter half a length up as the leaders jumped the last.  However it was the favourite Peace And Co who had the final word, as Barry Geraghty drove him up the nearside to head Top Notch; although the latter battled on and was beaten by just a neck at the line. 

 

It was a one-two-three for Nicky Henderson, Hargam having completed in 3rd place; and a first and second for owners Simon Munir in partnership with Isaac Souede.  It was the trainer’s sixth success in the race, and Barry Geraghty’s 4th.  Devilment stayed on to finish 4th.      

  

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Peace And Co

Barry Geraghty

Nicky Henderson

2nd

Top Notch

Daryl Jacob

Nicky Henderson

3rd

Hargam

AP McCoy

Nicky Henderson

4th

Devilment

Sam Twiston-Davies

John Ferguson

 

I didn’t venture away from the course-side rails, mindful to retain my place ahead of Race 4, the Gold Cup.

 

Race 1 - 1:30pm.

THE JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE RACE (CLASS 1) (Grade 1)

No Stewards Enquiry.

The Veterinary Officer reported that during routine testing she found that BELTOR, placed sixth, trained by

Robert Stephens, had been struck into on its right fore and left hind.

 

The favourite for the next race was Princely Conn, trained by Thomas Mullins and ridden by AP McCoy; price 7-1.  

 

Being run over a distance of 2 miles 1 furlong, the horses cantered up the all-weather horse-walk in front of the grandstand before heading back down the turf and re-entering the all-weather strip to continue their journey to the starting gate at the far end of the home straight. 

 

Ahead of the race, having exited onto the racecourse, the jockeys turned their mounts away from the starting gate in order to make a turn and approach it at no more than a jog.  So it was a question of whether the starter would let them go first time ... and he did ...

 

Race 2

Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)

Distance

2 miles 1 furlong (8 flights to negotiate)

No. of Runners

24

Hawk High, Cheltenian, Sempre Medici, Analifet, Rich Coast, Orgilgo Bay, Modem, The Game Changer, Violet Dancer, Ballyglasheen, Lightening Rod, Roman Flight, Lucky Bridle, Aso, Wicklow Brave, Baltimore Rock, Max Dynamite, Princely Conn, Waxies Dargle, Quick Jack, Ebony Express, Dormello Mo, Sort It Out, Forced Family Fun

 

So they were off.  The runners were led away by Orgilgo Bay, from Violet Dancer, Ebony Express and Modem; in rear Waxies Dargle, Lucky Bridle and Lightening Rod.  The runners having cleared flight number one without incident, they headed up the home straight with Violet Dancer now at the head of affairs.  He was closely attended by Orgilgo Bay and Ballyglasheen; they were followed by Cheltenian, Ebony Express, Hawk High, Forced Family Fun, Modem, Sort It Out, Quick Jack, Rich Coast, Baltimore Rock, The Game Changer, Roman Flight, Aso, Waxies Dargle, Sempre Medici, Princely Conn, Dormello Mo, Max Dynamite, Lucky Bridle, Analifet, Wicklow Brave and Lightening Rod.

 

All twenty four runners negotiated flight number two safely before heading up the hill in front of the Best Mate enclosure and entering the back straight; the Gary Moore runner continued at the head of affairs.  Having jumped the next flight, top weight Hawk High was urged along by Brian Hughes in order to keep his position in mid-field.  Meanwhile, up front, Violet Dancer, Orgilgo Bay and Cheltenian had set up a clear advantage over their pursuers.  In mid-field, Forced Family Fun hit flight number four and quickly drifted back through the field.

 

Having negotiated the fifth flight without incident and with the same three runners still spear-heading the field, they negotiated the dog-leg turn to approach the sixth.  By this stage of the race, Forced Family Fun brought up the rear with Lightening Rod; the latter hit the flight.  Violet Dancer continued to lead as the field galloped around the far bend, before beginning their journey down hill.   

 

A number of runners had improved their positions in order to begin their challenges as they jumped the penultimate flight.  Thus, just behind the leader were Modem, Cheltenian, Rich Coast, Aso, Princely Conn and, to the wide outside, Wicklow Brave.  Near the rear of the field Lucky Bridle took a crashing fall at this obstacle but, luckily, he was quickly to his feet.

 

Then, upon turning into the home straight, Wicklow Brave swept into the lead, galloping on strongly beside the nearside rail towards the last.  He had soon put clear daylight between himself and his nearest rivals; those being Quick Jack to the nearside and Analifet to the far side.  Roman Flight, in the well-known Favourites Racing colours, and travelling in fourth-place at the time, put a foreleg through the hurdle and fell; almost upsides, Sort It Out also made a mistake here.  

 

In the meantime, Wicklow Brave stayed on strongly up the hill to win by 8 lengths and it was Sort It Out who came through to take the runner-up spot.  Quick Jack finished 3rd, with Max Dynamite never nearer completing in 4th.  The tiring Analifet had faded into 5th, with Sempre Medici 6th, and Baltimore Rock 7th. 

 

It had been a complete white-wash by the Irish, as their horses had filled the first 6 places ... and the horses placed 1st to 6th in a race at the Cheltenham Festival all win prize money.  The only GB horse which might have had a say would have been Roman Flight but for falling at the last; he was fine, as he’d risen to his feet to continue to the line, rider-less.   

 

It was jockey Paul Townend’s third win at this year’s Festival.  Wicklow Brave came in at the ridiculously long price of 25-1 ... but showed his proper form today, having been unlucky in both Newbury’s Betfair Hurdle and Sandown’s Imperial Cup when being disadvantaged by standing starts. 

 

Also, with this win, Willie Mullins had equalled Nicky Henderson’s record of seven wins during any one Cheltenham Festival.

 

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Wicklow Brave

Paul Townend

Willie Mullins

2nd

Sort It Out

N P Madden

E P Harty

3rd

Quick Jack

S A Shortall

Tony Martin

4th

Max Dynamite

Ruby Walsh

Willie Mullins

 

Again I decided to remain beside the course-side rails following the race.

 

Race 2 - 2:05pm.

THE VINCENT O'BRIEN COUNTY HANDICAP HURDLE RACE (CLASS 1) (Grade 3)

The Stewards noted that there was interference between THE GAME CHANGER (IRE), unplaced, QUICK

JACK (IRE), placed third, MODEM, unplaced, ASO (FR), unplaced, BALTIMORE ROCK (IRE), unplaced

and PRINCELY CONN (IRE), unplaced, on the run to the final flight of hurdles. But after viewing a

recording of the incident they were satisfied that it neither involved a riding offence nor improved QUICK

JACK'S (IRE) placing.

 

The Veterinary Officer reported that CHELTENIAN (FR), unplaced, trained by Philip Hobbs, lost a left fore

shoe.

 

The favourite for the next race was Black Hercules, trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Ruby Walsh; price 5-2. 

 

The starting gate for this event is at the beginning of the back straight, with almost two complete circuits to travel.  Upon exiting the walkway, the horses crossed the home straight to canter along the all-weather strip which runs to the outside of the top bend to reach it.

 

Having headed away from the tape, the runners turned and jogged in sedately.

 

Race 3

Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

Distance

3 miles (12 flights to negotiate)

No. of Runners

19

Arbre De Vie, Avant Tout, Black Hercules, Blaklion, Caracci Apache, Carningli, Definitly Red, Kylemore Lough, Martello Tower, Measureofmydreams, Milsean, Native River, No More Heroes, Out Sam, Shanroe Santos, Shantou Bob, Tea For Two, Thomas Brown, Value At Risk

And then they were off, heading down the slope to the first flight.  Milsean led over it, from Martello Tower and Native River; at the rear of the field was the restrained Arbre De Vie.  To the inside of the field, Blaklion nodded on landing over flight number two.  By the third flight, Shantou Bob was a little in rear, having jumped it slowly.  Meanwhile, up front, Milsean continued to lead as they negotiated the dog-leg turn and cleared the fourth hurdle; the Warren Greatrex representative now three or four lengths detached behind the main body of the field.

Having reached the top of the hill and turned the far corner, the runners headed down hill to the fifth flight.  Having jumped the hurdle, Richard Johnson began to push Definitly Red along; also not travelling particularly well were Carningli and Avant Tout.  The runners turned into the home straight with just over one circuit still to travel.  The horses’ warm breaths were condensing in the cold air before it evaporated. 

Native River blundered at the flight in front of the stands and lost his place; he also hampered Caracci Apache in the process.  The horses then headed up the hill in front of the Best Mate enclosure; one circuit now completed.  Entering the back straight, Milsean continued to lead from Blaklion, Martello Tower and Measureofmydreams; at the rear of the field were Shantou Bob, Arbre De Vie, Avant Tout and Carningli. 

In mid-field Tea For Two, ridden by his trainer Nick Williams’ step-daughter Lizzie Kelly, flattened a panel in flight number seven and was immediately ridden along.  Then, at the following flight, Out Sam under Barry Geraghty, fell; he hampered the struggling Carningli as a result.  With Milsean still at the head of affairs, Measureofmydreams made an error at flight number nine. 

The runners then negotiated the dog leg turn to approach the third last flight.  Milsean led from Blaklion, Martello Tower, Caracci Apache and Measureofmydreams; behind these travelled Value At Risk, No More Heroes and the fast improving Arbre De Vie.  From appearing to be going okay prior to the hurdle, Caracci Apache soon came to the end of this tether and dropped back like a stone through the field; Blaklion soon began to struggle too. 

Meanwhile Milsean continued to take them along as they turned the far corner and began their journey down the hill.  He was pursued by Martello Tower, Measureofmydreams and Value At Risk; also not far behind them were No More Heroes and Arbre De Vie.  Having made up ground prior to arriving at the flight, Black Hercules’ challenge appeared to stall.  Thus, having turned into the home straight, it was five Irish horses versus Value At Risk. 

The first to drop off the back of the leading group was Measureofmydreams, as Milsean battled on bravely to hold his position at the head of affairs.  The next horse to cry enough was Value At Risk, with Arbre De Vie the next to tire.  This left the long-time leader to fight it out with Martello Tower and No More Heroes; the latter’s jockey, Bryan Cooper, initially attempting to slip through a narrow gap between Milsean and the nearside rail.  Danny Mullins soon slammed that door!

And Milsean still clung to a narrow lead as they jumped the last; Martello Tower laying down a continuing challenge as No More Heroes was steered to the far side to challenge anew.  It was a slow motion finish in the rain softened ground, but Martello Tower finally wore down his rivals to triumph by half a length at the line, with the brave Milsean in 2nd place and No More Heroes a length behind in 3rd.  Arbre De Vie completed in 4th.

The first of the GB runners was Value At Risk, who finished 5th, with Shantou Bob plugging on the claim 6th.  In fact only ten of the 19 runners completed the race; 8 having pulled up and Out Sam having fallen.

The Albert Bartlett can be a very attritional race, which takes its toll on these novice horses ... some of which never seem to be the same again. 

Margaret Mullins trained the winner, and the second placed horse was ridden by her son Danny.

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Martello Tower

Adrian Heskin

Margaret Mullins

2nd

Milsean

D E Mullins

Willie Mullins

3rd

No More Heroes

Bryan Cooper

Gordon Elliott

4th

Arbre De Vie

Paul Townend

Willie Mullins

 

Once again I retained my position beside the course-side rails.

 

Race 3 - 2:40pm.

THE ALBERT BARTLETT NOVICES' HURDLE RACE (CLASS 1) (Registered as The Spa Novices' Hurdle Race) (Grade 1)

The Stewards held an enquiry under Rule (B)11.6 into possible interference on the run to the final flight of hurdles. Having heard their evidence and viewed recordings of the race they found that NO MORE

HEROES (IRE), placed third, ridden by Bryan Cooper had attempted to go through a gap up the rail on the inside of MILSEAN (IRE), placed second, ridden by Daniel Mullins, when there was insufficient room,

thereby causing him to have to ease back and switch around the gelding. They found the interference was accidental and had not improved MILSEAN (IRE)’s placing. They ordered the placings to remain unaltered.

 

The Stewards held an enquiry into the use of the whip by Bryan Cooper, the rider of NO MORE HEROES

(IRE), placed third, from the second last flight of hurdles. Having heard his evidence and viewed

recordings of the race, they found him in breach of Schedule (B)6 Part 2 in that he had used his whip

above the permitted level. The Stewards suspended Cooper for 4 days as follows: Saturday 28, Sunday

29, Monday 30 and Tuesday 31 March 2015.

 

The Stewards held an enquiry into the use of the whip by A.P. Heskin, the rider of the winner, MARTELLO TOWER (IRE), from the second last flight of hurdles. Having heard his evidence and viewed recordings of the race, they found him in breach of Schedule (B)6 Part 2 in that he had used his whip above the permitted level. The Stewards suspended Heskin for 2 days as follows: Friday 27 and Saturday 28 March 2015.

 

 

That’s it for part one of my diary ...


Click here to read my Day 4 Diary Part II

 

 

 

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