First success at Cheltenham for O’Brien
Joseph O’Brien has achieved a significant amount since beginning his training career in 2016 and on Saturday, the son of legendary trainer Aidan O’Brien who already has a Melbourne Cup, Irish Derby and Irish Gold Cup to his name recorded a first winner at Cheltenham.
That success came when Fakir D’oudairies, on only his second start for O’Brien, bolted clear by 13 lengths to claim the Grade 2 JCB Triumph Trial Hurdle.
With such an impressive victory, Fakir D’oudairies has now moved to the head of the Triumph Hurdle market in March, a race that O’Brien knows well having assisted his father Aidan with Ivanovich Gorbatov’s victory in 2016.
Frodon and Frost deliver again
The partnership between the Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon and jockey Bryony Frost has been a revelation and on Saturday they continued their remarkable run when landing the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham.
The seven-year-old set the fractions from the front and despite the challenge of Terrefort and the last-gasp effort of Elegant Escape on the run in, the gelding was always finding plenty as the line came.
It is the third time that the pair have tasted victory at the home of jump racing and with Nicholls identifying the Gold Cup as Frodon’s next target, the pair will certainly put in a bold bid for glory in the Grade 1 contest.
Geraghty becomes the fourth most successful jump jockey
With victory on the Nicky Henderson-trained Birchdale in the Grade 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, Barry Geraghty became the fourth most successful jump jockey in Britain and Ireland with 1,875 winners.
The notable milestone was brought up in the famous silks of his retainer and leading owner JP McManus. His career to date has seen him land the 2003 Grand National on Monty’s Pass, the Gold Cup on Kicking King in 2005 and three Champion Hurdles on Punjabi (2009), Jezki (2014) and Buveur D’Air (2018).
Geraghty now trails Sir Anthony McCoy, Richard Johnson and Ruby Walsh in the standings.
Kelly moves closer to riding out claim
Lizzie Kelly gave the Nick Williams-trained Siruh Du Lac a superb ride that saw the pair battle to success in the Grade 3 Spectra Cyber Security Solutions Trophy Handicap Chase and get the better of the well-fancied Janika.
Kelly is no stranger to success at Prestbury Park having landed the Cleeve Hurdle on Agrapart in 2018 and recording a first Cheltenham Festival winner last year when striking on Coo Star Sivola in the Grade 3 Ultima Handicap Chase.
Victory on Siruh Du Lac moves Kelly closer to riding out her conditional claim and with Williams’ yard in a rich vein of form, she might not have too long to wait before she does so.
Paisley Park cements Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle credentials
Owner Andrew Gemmell, who has been blind since birth, has been taken on a magical journey with his Paisley Park this season and dreams of Cheltenham Festival glory are alive after the gelding’s success in the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle.
The Emma Lavelle-trained seven-year-old, who was last seen winning the Grade 1 JLT Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in December, was suited by the quick tempo injected into Saturday’s contest by front-runners Lil Rockerfeller and Sam Spinner.
Despite being off the bridle coming down the hill, Aidan Coleman delivered his charge perfectly in the home straight to romp home by 12 lengths. Paisley Park is now favourite to continue his winning run in the Stayers’ Hurdle on March 14.