The Cheltenham Festival has a canny habit of creating emotional, heart-felt and often feel-good stories and this year’s Festival was no different with Jump racing’s Blue Riband event, the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup creating another great story.
Having already tasted victory earlier in the week in the Coral Cup, courtesy of Supasundae, trainer Jessica Harrington, jockey Robbie Power and owners Ann and Alan Potts went into the extended three and a quarter mile Grade One contest hopeful of a bold display by the Irish Gold Cup winner Sizing John.
Boy did he deliver that. Always travelling well under Power, the seven-year-old jumped superbly throughout the contest and in the home straight sealed victory with measured leaps at the final two fences, before responding wilfully for Power’s urgings by Cheltenham’s punishing hill and thereby etching his name into Cheltenham’s pantheon of greats.
For 70-year-old Harrington, who many forget is a dual purpose trainer, this capped a superb week in which she also became the winning-most female trainer at The Festival. For Power, a 35-year-old jockey with just one victory at The Festival to his name prior to this week, he highlighted what a superb horseman he is with a wonderful ride aboard the gelding. For Ann & Alan Potts, the wealthy and powerful owners who have invested so much into this game, this was a momentous moment for themselves.
Whilst Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott will deservedly take the plaudits after saddling 12 of the 28 winners between them at this year’s Festival, Harrington and Power have been a superb combination and brought the perfect conclusion to this year’s meeting at Prestbury when teaming up to take the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase with Rock The World. They may have dominated the global news, but they certainly ruled Cheltenham.
Defi Du Seuil looks top class – You could not help but be impressed with the performance of Philip Hobbs’ Defi Du Seuil who was a facile five length winner of the JCB Triumph Hurdle.
Always travelling well under Richard Johnson, the gelding extended his unbeaten record to six wins from six starts in Britain. He could be a live hope for either the Champion Hurdle or Arkle Chase at next year’s Festival.
This year’s meeting may be over but we’re already looking ahead to next year!