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Total rest for gallant horse Totalize
BRIAN ELLISON will give Totalize a break after the horse bled when finishing fifth in the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
The Norton trainer was pleased with the four-year-old’s performance after he was repeatedly hampered throughout the two-mile and half-furlong contest when travelling on the rail.
When he finally got clear of the trouble, Totalize (14-1) stayed on well but was unable to make any further mark on a race won by 25-1 shot Flaxen Flare.
“He ran well but we could have done with getting past Counsel earlier,” said Ellison. “He stopped him coming down the hill.
“That’s the danger when you go down the inner. It was a hot race and he ran well and finished fifth. The problem was he bled and that wouldn’t have helped him either.
“Danny (Cook, jockey) thinks he has done it after the second last. He has come back, that’s the main thing, and I will give him a break now and freshen him up.”
Meanwhile, Jim Culloty joined the rare group to have ridden and trained a Festival winner after Lord Windermere won the RSA Chase.
The Irish trainer, best known for winning three consecutive Gold Cups as the jockey on Best Mate between 2002 and 2004, welled up with tears in the winner’s enclosure after the 8-1 shot snatched the £150,000 race from Lyreen Legend.
Culloty said: “It’s very different from riding. As a jockey you get nervous half an hour before the race but as a trainer you are nervous for six months beforehand. You get up and feed the horses at 6am and I always look to see how he is as he is the best horse I have.
“I was a nervous wreck watching that. I was pacing and I went out to walk the course on my own earlier because I didn’t want to talk to anybody.”
Equally emotional was trainer Willie Mullins, who scooped his fourth winner of the Festival when Back In Focus won the opening John Oaksey National Hunt Chase, and would later have further success through Briar Hill in the closing Weatherbys Champion Bumper (25-1).
The lump in his throat was because the 9-4 favourite, who bridged a six-length gap to Tofino Bay after the final flight to win by half a length, was ridden by his son Patrick.
“I’m delighted for Patrick,” Mullins said. “He did it in good style. The winner means as much to me as any other one I have had here. I am very emotional.”
The Champion Hurdle may be on the cards for The New One (7-2) after he romped home in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle.
The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained five-year-old, ridden by his jockey son Sam, was impressive in a four-length victory over Rule The World in the £120,000 Grade 1 contest over two miles and five furlongs.
As the challengers were stacked up, and Rule The World loomed large, it was The New One who showed the quickest turn of foot.
Twiston-Davies said: “It was exceptional. The family is involved and it is lovely. They went no gallop and we needed to show enormous class and turn of foot.”