Graeme McDowell and Brooks Koepka pictured together in 2015. Alamy Stock Photo
giddy up

McDowell and Koepka on course for Cheltenham with Givemefive syndicate

The four-year-old maintained his unbeaten record over obstacles with a runaway success at Warwick.

GIVEMEFIVE LOOKS SET to take his famous golfing owners to the Cheltenham Festival after maintaining his unbeaten record over obstacles with a runaway success at Warwick.

The four-year-old carries the colours of Smash Racing, a syndicate that includes a couple of Major champions in Northern Ireland’s 2010 US Open hero Graeme McDowell and his American colleague Brooks Koepka, who claimed back-to-back victories in the same event in 2017 and 2018 and has also won three PGA Championships.

A winner on the Flat for Johnny Murtagh in September, the Holy Roman Emperor gelding was subsequently snapped up to pursue a jumping career with Harry Derham.

Derham recalled how winning a challenge with McDowell during a Pro-Am contest led to him getting the two golfing stars on board.

He said: “I’ve known Graeme for a long time and the conversation about owning a racehorse came about at a Pro-Am event. He said if I got closer to the pin than him then he would buy a horse and I somehow managed to get it within a few feet of it and beat him.

“Graeme then got the other guys involved and they are both very engaged in all the conversations about the horse on WhatsApp.”

With Koepka’s friend Daniel Gambill also an owner, Givemefive made a successful debut for his new connections at Market Rasen last month and was a 2-1 shot to follow up under a penalty in the Hazelton Mountford Insurance Brokers Juvenile Hurdle.

Derham had been eyeing the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at the Festival prior to his second jumping start – and while that still looks his most likely Cheltenham target, the trainer admitted he will also have to look at the Triumph Hurdle following a dominant 18-length victory in the hands of Paul O’Brien.

“I thought he had improved, but I was not expecting that,” Derham said.

“He was carrying a penalty against smart horses, but he is obviously a smart horse.

“He is a real professional little horse. Graeme, Brooks and Daniel are great guys and they were all watching the race in Florida. My WhatsApp has been going mad with messages after that.”

Considering future plans, he added: “We were hoping he might go and run in the Fred Winter (Boodles) and you could go for the Adonis at Kempton before that. Entries close for the Triumph Hurdle tomorrow and I’m going to enter him after winning like that carrying a penalty.

“I need to think about it. To run in the Fred Winter, he needs to have another run. If he didn’t need to have another run, then I would almost certainly run him in the Fred Winter.

“I’m not going to commit to anything now, but it is a nice problem to have.”

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