Cheltenham Festival: North Yorkshire trainer Malcolm Jefferson struck by stewards’ verdict

.Malcolm Jefferson

.Malcolm Jefferson

Published in Sport York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

MALCOLM Jefferson admitted he was hurting after stewards failed to award Attaglance a Cheltenham Festival victory.

The North Yorkshire trainer watched his eight-year-old run a mighty race in the Listed Rewards4Racing Novices’ Chase, only failing by half a length to collar the winner Present View (8-1).

But Norton-based Jefferson believed the places should have been reversed after Brendan Powell, riding Present View, appeared to come across Attaglance (10-1) as he looked to surge through a gap in the closing stages.

It was enough to check his momentum but, after a lengthy stewards’ inquiry, the places remained unaltered.

“It has probably cost us,” Jefferson said.

“The horse came over and he (Attaglance jockey Brian Hughes) had to take a pull and come around the outside.

“That little bit that he has been beaten by, I think it has cost him the race.

“That’s racing. No horse likes to be stopped when he is running. It’s just one of those things.

“These races are very hard to win and, when you only have a 40-horse yard, it hurts a bit.”

Attaglance won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle at the Festival two years ago but Jefferson said it was the ground that was the key to his big performance.

He added: “I thought he would run a blinder.

“He loves this good ground and he runs well around here. I came thinking that we had a hell of a chance.”

John Quinn, Jefferson’s next door neighbour at Highfield in Norton, declared his delight at Cockney Sparrow’s fifth place finish in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle - as the mighty mare Quevega made history by winning the race for the sixth straight year.

The five-year-old was in touch throughout the two-and-a-half mile contest but was hampered when French filly Sirene D’Ainay took a tumble at the second last.

Champion jockey AP McCoy, on board Cockney Sparrow, felt the evasive action he had to take cost him at least a place.

But Quinn, who was trying his mare over the distance for the first time, said: “We were very pleased.

AP was adamant that when the French filly fell it definitely cost him a place.

“When I looked at it first time, I didn’t really take it in but when AP got off her he said ‘I’d have been third or fourth’.

“We would have been over the moon but we are still pleased and she’s in one piece. She is only a five-year-old.

“Looking at the race, you would have to say she stayed and I was just saying to Paul Gaffney, her owner, that (being able to run over) GLOOM WITH A VIEW: Present View, centre, who bagged a controversial win over North Yorkshire’s Attaglance on day one of the Cheltenham Festival two and a quarter and two and a half miles opens up other avenues for us.”

On the 8-11 winner Quevega, who reeled in Glens Melody on the run towards the finish for trainer Willie Mullins and rider Ruby Walsh, Quinn added: “She’s a phenomenal animal and it was a phenomenal training performance and well done to them.”

Quevega’s victory surpassed Golden Miller’s record of five successive wins set in the 1930s and she had to work hard before scoring by three-quarters of a length.

Walsh said: “I was fairly tanking off the home turn and I was thinking I might not get Glens Melody back, but she was good.

“To come back here six times and do it, she’s ten years of age - she has everything.

“It’s nice to be part of history.

When they ask who won the most races at the Festival, it will be Quevega and I can say I rode her.”

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