Day Two Review – Special Day For De Bromhead

Who would have thought that after two days of the Cheltenham Festival, eight Irish winners and a 1/4 shot in Douvan, that Willie Mullins would still be on zero and that Gordon Elliott would be 2/11 to be Leading Trainer?

It’s been a remarkable Festival so far for Elliott and it may well continue but Wednesday revolved around the Champion Chase and with Douvan picking up an injury at some stage early in the race and only finishing seventh.

It was a special day for Henry de Bromhead who roared home Special Tiara in the familiar colours of Alan and Ann Potts, who parted ways with the Waterford handler last year.

It would have been a cruel twist of fate if Special Tiara had been chinned on the line, especially by a Potts horse given de Bromhead’s situation. That said, it was a brilliant run too by Fox Norton and it will be interesting to see if the pair meet in the BoyleSports Champion Chase at the Punchestown Festival.

Special Tiara
Whether they do or don’t, there’s no taking this Champion Chase away from Special Tiara who was scoring at Grade 1 level for a third time and posting a second championship race of the week for Cork native Noel Fehily.

Enjoying his best ever season in every way, de Bromhead said afterwards:

Noel gave Special Tiara a super ride. The horse is just a legend and I just thought he jumped really quick today over his fences. Noel is an amazing rider and I am absolutely delighted for him.

“I am so pleased for everyone involved. He seemed in great form coming into this – I nearly said to our head lad Davy Roche at home that this fellow seems better than ever and I said: ‘No, no, I will stop’.”

Gordon Elliott’s first four winners this week were ridden by different jockeys with Cause Of Cause joining a small list of horses that have won three different races at the Cheltenham Festival with Jamie Codd on board yet again.

Cause Of Causes may find himself in the BoyleSports Irish Grand National, but the star on day two was the performance of Fayonagh in the concluding Champion Bumper.

Jamie Codd will undoubtedly struggle to be topped for ride of the week and possibly of the season following the ride on Fayonagh and she now has options of going to the Punchestown Festival or even going to run on the flat.

It was a second Grade 1 win for Codd having previously won the Champion Bumper at Punchestown on Shaneshill for Willie Mullins and he was naturally thrilled at riding a Cheltenham double, let alone in two professional races.

“I’ll say it again, Gordon is a remarkable trainer – that is his fifth winner of the Festival and it is only two days old. It’s incredible. Whatever happens from now on, it is made. For me to get two and Gordon on five – it’s fantastic. I am in a good position – I’m riding for the top trainers and at the top Festivals. I am blessed.”