1st (14) Idole First
O'Keeffe Guides Idole First to Second Victory 15/03/07
The Venetia Williams-trained Idole First, winner of the 2005 Coral Cup,
bagged a second Festival victory when landing the Racing Post Plate under
“I’m a bit short of words,” said a delighted Williams. “His
jumping slightly went to pieces on his last run but had schooled well
since. I had a lot more confidence after I saw him jump the first OK
- I was pretty hopeful that he’d at least run his race. He travelled
well throughout. He's been a superstar and Alan's given him a great ride.
“His owners are pretty Cheltenham focussed and the plan had always been to come here - but that doesn’t mean you’ll win.”
O’Keeffe added: “Everything went well and it worked out
pretty smoothly. I’ve won six on him and he always tries his heart
out. The atmosphere and crowd on a day like this always get him going.
“He travelled and jumped. He has a tendency to just be a bit slow
at jumping but today he did everything right. I was pretty hopeful coming
here. It's a good training performance and the owners have been very
loyal to me in letting me keep the ride, so thanks to them.
"It didn't feel like they went that quickly but he travelled and jumped and when they do that it's easy. I knew coming down the hill he'd quicken up well and he just took off from there."
Daly ponders his options - laughing or crying!
It was enough to fulfill the most pessimistic thoughts of the late Captain
Tim Forster - three runners and all narrowly beaten.
It was left to his successor at Downton Hall Stables, Henry Daly, to
embrace the emotions of being so near yet so far from a winner at the
2007 Cheltenham Festival.
After Billyvoddan had finished third in the Ryanair Chase and Mighty
Man had taken second in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle it was the turn of
Palarshan to hit the woodwork when finishing runner-up to Idole First
in the Racing Post Plate.
Daly could at least take comfort in a fine training performance in getting
Palarshan back on track after a break of 728 days. He said of the former
Grand Annual Chase winner: “He’s run an absolute blinder
and I’m mortified for him that he’s been beaten.
“He just was not fit enough [to have a preparatory run], it’s as simple as that. He just wasn’t ready to run, but there was so little that he could run in. The way the programme book is it’s all geared into this meeting.”
Daly added that Billyvoddan is not a certain runner in the John Smith’s Grand National, despite a reduction in his price for that race following his good effort today. He said: “I just don’t know at this stage. The Melling Chase is the obvious race for him, but his owner is keen to go for the National so we’ll talk to Trevor [Hemmings] and Mick [Meagher] and go from there.”
Facts and Figures:
1. The Racing Post became a Festival sponsor for the first time in 2006,
backing the Racing Post Plate, the awards for leading trainer and jockey,
and becoming the official racing paper of The Festival. The Racing Post
Plate was formerly known as the Mildmay of Flete Handicap Chase.
2. The first running, which resulted in a dead-heat between Slender
(7/1) and Canford (100/8), took place at Cheltenham in April, because
the last two days of the 1951 Festival were abandoned due to a waterlogged
3. 1990 saw the longest-priced winner - New Halen scored by eight lengths
4. Only The Tsarevich (1985/86) and Elfast (1992/94) have won twice.
5. The Irish have a poor record in the race, with only one winner in 55 runnings - Doubleuagain in 1982, trained by Andy Geraghty.
6. The fastest time for the winning horse is 4m 49.60s by Dark Stranger in 2000, beating the 4m 58.5s of New Halen in 1990.
THE RACING POST PLATE PAST RESULTS
SO 8-11-03 Owner-ROA Dawn Run Partnership; Trainer-Nicky
Henderson; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-14/1
2005-WINNER-LIBERTHINE 6-10-01 Owner-Robert Waley-Cohen; Trainer-Nicky
Henderson; Jockey-Mr Sam Waley-Cohen; SP-25/1
2004-WINNER-TIKRAM 7-10-00 Owner-Mike Charlton and Rodger Sargent; Trainer-Gary
Moore; Jockey-Timmy Murphy; SP- 12/1
2003-WINNER-YOUNG SPARTACUS 10-10-09 Owner-Bart Hellyer; Trainer-Henry
Daly; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-16/1
2002-WINNER-BLOWING WIND 9-10-09 Owner-Peter Deal; Trainer-Martin Pipe;
Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-25/1
2001 - No Race (Foot and Mouth Disease)
2000-WINNER-DARK STRANGER 9-10-03 Owner-Terry Neill; Trainer-Martin
Pipe; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-14/1
1999-WINNER-MAJADOU 5-11-00 Owner-Chris, Basil & Rosie
Batterham II; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-7/4 Fav
1998-WINNER-SUPER COIN 10-10-0 Owner-George Brookes; Trainer-Richard
Lee; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-7/1
1997-WINNER-TERAO 11-10-07 Owner-Brian Kilpatrick; Trainer-Martin Pipe;
Jockey-Timmy Murphy; SP-20/1
1996-WINNER-OLD BRIDGE 8-9-07 Owner-K C B Mackenzie; Trainer-Andrew
Turnell; Jockey-Gary Crone; SP-14/1
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