Lord Windermere wins Cheltenham Gold Cup
The 20/1 outsider Lord Windermere won the headline race of the Cheltenham Festival, the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup, in a day filled with drama.
Lord of the race
The eight-year-old gelding was trailing the field at the beginning of race, before making headway two from home under jockey Davy Russell. However, as they took the lead, the horse began veering right towards eventual second On His Own, and a Stewards’ Enquiry was held to decide the outcome.
There was a nerve-wracking wait for Russell and trainer Jim Culloty, until the announcement was made that the result stood.
“I can’t believe it, I was never on the bridle. I was never in the race, the whole field was in front of me and I had to sit and suffer the whole way,” said Davy Russell. “The whole way round I was hunting, I thought the race had gone.”
Jim Culloty is now one of the few people to have ridden and trained a Gold Cup winner, having been on board Best Mate for all of his victories in the race.
It was a remarkable day for Davy Russell, who secured a treble on Gold Cup day. In addition to his victory on Lord Windermere, he also won the JCB Triumph Hurdle on Tiger Hill, as well as theJohnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup on Savello.
The day’s drama began in the opening race, the Triumph Hurdle, when Abbyssial fell at the second fence, causing jockey Ruby Walsh to be taken to hospital with a fractured wrist.
In the same race, Daryl Jacob’s stirrup broke on Calipto (eventual fourth) and he had to finish the race with no irons.
There was relief for Daryl and Paul Nicholls when they finally had a Festival win on Lac Fontana, but delight soon turned to despair in the next race.
As Daryl cantered down to the start in theAlbert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, his horse Port Melon crashed through the barriers and hit an advertising board, sending his jockey crashing into the concrete path next to the track. Despite wanting to get back on, paramedics took him to hospital where it transpired he had broken his elbow, knee and leg.
Port Melon seemed unscathed by the accident but was withdrawn from the race, which was eventually won by Very Wood for Paul Carberry and Noel Meade.
Up the Hill
The CGA Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup was won by Tammys Hill, while 12/1 shot Don Poli won theMartin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
The final race was also delayed when Oscar Hill took offwith jockey Tom O’Brien, and went galloping round the cross-country course for several minutes before running out of steam.
Sadly, Raya Star suffered a fatal injury during the final race.