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Chatham Street Lad wins at Cheltenham.
Chatham Street Lad wins at Cheltenham.
Image: PA

Irish raider wins by 15 lengths under Darragh O’Keeffe at Cheltenham

There was also victory for Monmiral at Doncaster in the Juvenile Hurdle.
Dec 12th 2020, 4:40 PM 3,503 2

CHATHAM STREET LAD ran out an impressive winner of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham, giving jockey Darragh O’Keeffe the biggest success of his career.

Trained by Mick Winters, the eight-year-old had won two of his last three, but looked a class apart as he bounded up the hill.

O’Keeffe always looked full of confidence as he moved into a challenging position coming down the hill, with Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Coole Cody, Benatar, Master Tommytucker and Midnight Shadow all still in contention.

On landing in front at the second last, however, the Irish challenger sprinted clear and absolutely flew the final fence.

The 16-1 chance beat Midnight Shadow by 15 lengths, with the northern raider in turn well clear of Benatar and Good Boy Bobby in fourth.

Chatham Street Lad was introduced him into Betfair’s Ryanair Chase betting at 20-1.

Winters said: “It was outstanding – it was a local jockey as well. He has come down to school on the horse lately and the horse has improved.

“The owners have always had horses in and they have a couple of pubs locally and things. In fairness he won well in Cork (last time out). This is spectacular.

“I’d be very humble about this. Racing is very special and the horses are treated so kind and people don’t realise it. It would be great to give something back as we are only passing through.

“I was confident we would run a blinder. Once he got over the last fence, I was hopeful after that. He is not Flat-bred he was bred for National Hunt, that’s why he was bought and he will keep developing.

“I don’t know where we might go next, but hopefully we might be back here (for the Festival) or at Aintree. He fiddled a couple of jumps and missed a few fences here and there, but I asked the jockey and he said he got in tight.”

Meanwhile, Monmiral staked a claim for Cheltenham Festival honours when maintaining his unbeaten record in the bet365 Summit Juvenile Hurdle at Doncaster.

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exeter-races-november-22nd Monmiral won the feature race at Doncaster. Source: PA

The French import was slashed to 12-1 from 25-1 for the Triumph Hurdle with Betfair and Paddy Power after adding to an Auteuil success when with Francois Nicolle and a win at Exeter for his new trainer Paul Nicholls.

Monmiral travelled like a 1-2 shot should throughout the extended two-mile journey as Gold Desert made a bold bid to lead all the way.

The race looked over when Monmiral went to the front at the third-last flight, but he gave Gold Desert another chance when fluffing the penultimate obstacle.

However, Monmiral was fluent at the last and drew away on the flat to score by 11 lengths in the hands of Sean Bowen and lift the Grade Two spoils. Glorious Zoff was 22 lengths away in third place.

“He’s a lovely horse. He travelled great. He was probably in front too soon,” said Bowen.

“He was just travelling and winging hurdles.

“He’ll be better with a lead for longer, but I like him a lot.

“He wasn’t great at the second last, but he was just having a look round in front and he was good at the last.

“He’ll keep improving. He’s a very nice young horse.”

Bowen, who had fallen from Billingsley earlier on the card, did not take up his mount, Give Me A Copper, in the concluding bet365 Handicap Chase.

He was signed off by the racecourse medical officer and replaced by amateur rider Angus Cheleda.

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