Weatherbys Champion Bumper - Wed Mar 11th 2009 

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cheltenham festival / 2009 news /


Dunguib Leads Irish Clean Sweep in Weatherbys Champion Bumper 11/03/09


1st (7) Dunguib 9/2
2nd (21) Some Present 25/1
3rd (18) Rite Of Passage 5/2
4th (15) Quel Esprit 10/1


Ireland’s domination of The Festival 2009 continued with the eighth Irish-trained winner when Dunguib landed the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, the concluding contest on day two. All of the first eight horses home were trained in Ireland.

The winner travelled supremely well throughout under amateur Brian O’Connell and was in total command as he entered the home straight, running on strongly to secure a 10-length victory over Some Present with 5/2 favourite Rite Of Passage back in third.

Philip Fenton, who won at The Festival as a jockey aboard Loving Around in the 1996 National Hunt Chase, was enjoying his first Festival success as a trainer.

Fenton said of the 9/2 winner: “That was great. Brian rode him with a lot of confidence and top marks to him.

“This horse is not a cool customer. Mainly because he is a box walker and gets excited about small things.

“Punchestown is our festival but Cheltenham really is the place where it matters. That was a great performance today and he really stretched the field.

“We thought he was a beautiful horse the Christmas before last. He had one run at Punchestown last year and then we put him away until this season and he has come back stronger.

“I doubt he will go to Punchestown. I see him as a two-miler in the future.”

Winning jockey Brian O’Connell said: "He was always good at home and his last two runs have been very good. His race at Navan was a great run and I came here today thinking that he had every chance. To be honest, I would have been disappointed if he had been beaten.

"He travelled great and settled well. I was a little bit far out passing the stand and I thought that I might have a bit of trouble getting into the race but I was only a passenger more than anything else. I only had to do the steering.

"It was a very good bumper on paper and I think it rode like a very good race. They went a good gallop and my lad seemed to never come out of third gear. He's definitely the best horse I have ever sat on and it's great that Philip and the owners have put me up in a professional race here at Cheltenham.

"I only had my first rides at Cheltenham today and this was my second start after the four-mile chase earlier. I wasn't looking back to see how much I had won by but I couldn't hear anything coming.

"He has a great cruising speed and seems to stay well."

O’Connell, 22, was born in Limerick but is now based in Tipperary. He currently lies in third place in the amateurs’ championship in Ireland.


Starting Price
Beaten Distance
P Fenton
Mr B T O'Connell
11st 5lbs
9 - 2
Some Present
T Mullins
D N Russell
11st 5lbs
25 - 1
10 lengths
Rite Of Passage
D K Weld
P J Smullen
11st 5lbs
5 - 2
3/4 length
Quel Esprit
W P Mullins
R Walsh
11st 5lbs
10 - 1
2 lengths
Morning Supreme
W P Mullins
Ms K Walsh
10st 12lbs
25 - 1
14 lengths
Lead The Parade
D K Weld
Mr R P McNamara
11st 5lbs
40 - 1
2 3/4 lengths
Cranky Corner
W P Mullins
D J Condon
11st 5lbs
50 - 1
Shinrock Paddy
P Nolan
Mr Barry Connell
11st 5lbs
10 - 1
2 lengths
Pepe Simo
P F Nicholls
S Thomas
11st 5lbs
50 - 1
3 1/4 lengths
Benbane Head
M Keighley
W Marston
11st 5lbs
100 - 1
Meath All Star
W P Mullins
P Townend
11st 5lbs
12 - 1
1 length
Long Strand
C F Swan
R Hughes
11st 5lbs
50 - 1
2 3/4 lengths
Latin America
N J Gifford
J Pemberton
10st 11lbs
66 - 1
1 1/2 length
Red Harbour
P F Nicholls
L Heard
11st 5lbs
50 - 1
Gagewell Flyer
W P Mullins
D J Casey
11st 5lbs
14 - 1
2 lengths
Sicilian Secret
W P Mullins
Mr P W Mullins
11st 5lbs
9 - 1
13 lengths
Fennis Boy
J J Hanlon
S E Durack
11st 5lbs
150 - 1
23 lengths
Henry King
V R A Dartnall
T J Murphy
11st 5lbs
20 - 1
1 3/4 length
J Leavy
J A Heffernan
11st 5lbs
66 - 1
5 lengths
Double Dash
George Baker
A Tinkler
11st 5lbs
100 - 1
1 1/4 length
Lightening Rod
M W Easterby
Mr O Greenall
10st 11lbs
100 - 1
3 lengths
W P Mullins
Emmet Mullins
11st 5lbs
16 - 1
8 lengths
Bygones Of Brid
Karen McLintock
G Lee
11st 5lbs
50 - 1
13 lengths
Quinola Des Obeaux
W P Mullins
A P McCoy
11st 5lbs
16 - 1
17 lengths



Willie Mullins ran eight horses in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, his brother Tom saddled just one, but David beat Goliath comfortably in this family battle.

While Willie had to be content with a fourth (Quel Esprit) and fifth (Morning Supreme), Tom’s once-raced Some Present finished second, albeit ten lengths behind runaway winner Dunguib. Tom said: “He’s run a cracker for a horse with so little experience. We thought a lot of him after he won at Punchestown in December, and then I got Davy Russell to ride him in a schooling day at Leopardstown, and I thought he worked as well as any horse.

“I hoped Davy would agree with me, and when he pulled up he said, ‘you should go to the Cheltenham Bumper’. It’s worked out and he’ll learn a bit from the experience, but he’ll have to learn a good bit more to beat the winner [Dunguib].

“He’ll be a three-miler in time - he’s a real chaser in the making, but I’m looking forward to running him in novices’ hurdles next season. In the meantime we ought to go back to Punchestown for the Festival, because he’s won there, but how we beat Dunguib I don’t know.”

Willie Mullins said: “One or two of mine ran disappointingly, one or two ran well, but it was great for Philip Fenton who trains Dunguib.

“Quinola Des Obeaux [Tony McCoy] was beaten before he went away from the stands, and Cadspeed [Emmett Mullins] was beaten by the time they passed the water fence, while Sicilian Secret [Patrick Mullins] seemed to tie up. It looks like his muscles behind the saddle are wrong, and Patrick said he ran too freely and dropped out in the dip.”

The Dermot Weld-trained Rite of Passage, the subject of consistent support throughout the day, started as the 5/2 favourite.

But when the winner accelerated in the final furlong, Rite of Passage could not respond and was eventually just run out of second place by Some Present. Nevertheless,Weld felt his horse had done himself justice. "I was delighted with the horse. He’s run a very, very good race. But he probably found the ground a shade sticky for him," said Weld, who was full of praise for the winner. "He’s a super horse," he said.



2008-WINNER-COUSIN VINNY 5-11-05 Owner-Festival Syndicate; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr Patrick Mullins; SP-12/1
2ND Corskeagh Royale 5-11-05 Owner-Queen Maeve Racing Club; Trainer-Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Miss Nina Carberry; SP-7/1
3RD Zaarito 6-11-05 Owner-Victoria Syndicate; Trainer-Colm Murphy IRE; Jockey-Davy Russell; SP-3/1 Fav
23 ran, Time-4m 1.30s Dist-3¼, ¾

2007-WINNER-CORK ALL STAR 5-11-05 Owner-Cathal Ryan; Trainer-Jessica Harrington IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-11/2
2ND Sophocles 4-10-11 Owner-Mrs A Donnelly; Trainer-James Leavy IRE; Jockey-Miss Pauline Ryan; SP-40/1
3RD Aranleigh 5-11-05 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Tony Mullins IRE; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-8/1
24 ran, Time-3m 47.90s Dist-1¼, 1½ 4/1 Fav Mad Fish (8th)

2006-WINNER-HAIRY MOLLY 6-11-05 Owner-F T B Syndicate; Trainer-Joe Crowley IRE; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-33/1
2ND Pressgang 4-10-11 Owner-Mrs Anthony West; Trainer-Paul Webber; Jockey-Tom Doyle; 20/1
3RD Kicks For Free 5-11-05 Owner-Mark Tincknell; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-5/1
23 ran, Time-3m 46.70s Dist-hd, 1.75 5/2 Fav Equus Maximus (12th)

2005-WINNER-MISSED THAT 6-11-05 Owner-Violet O’Leary; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-7/2 Fav
2ND De Soto 4-10-12 Owner-Peter Deal; Trainer-Paul Webber; Jockey-Tom Doyle; SP-20/1
3RD Rasharrow 6-11-05 Owner-Ashleybank Investments Limited; Trainer-Len Lungo; Jockey-Tony Dobbin; SP-9/1
24 ran, Time-3m 52.70s Dist-nk, .5

2004-WINNER-TOTAL ENJOYMENT 5-10-12 Owner-It Will Never Last Syndicate; Trainer-Tommy Cooper IRE; Jockey-Jim Culloty; SP-7/1
2ND Refinement 5-10-12 Owner-Michael Tabor; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-7/1
3RD Master Albert 6-10-12 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-David Wachman IRE; Jockey-Mr J P Magnier; SP-50/1
24 ran, Time-3m 48.30s Dist-2.5, 5 7/2 Fav Martinstown (14th)

2003-WINNER-LIBERMAN 5-11-06 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-2/1 Fav
2ND Trabolgan 5-11-06 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Seamus Durack; SP-50/1
3RD Widemouth Bay 5-11-06 Owner-Jackie Deithrick; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-33/1
25 ran, Time-3m 52.30s Dist-.5, 1

2002-WINNER-PIZARRO 5-11-06 Owner-Edward Wallace; Trainer-Edward O’Grady IRE; Jockey-Jamie Spencer; SP-14/1
2ND-Rhinestone Cowboy 6-11-06 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-5/2 Fav
3RD-Back In Front 5-11-06 Owner-Nelius Hayes; Trainer-Edward O’Grady IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-12/1
23 ran, Time-4m 0.70s; Dist-nk, 3.5

2001-Race Cancelled

2000-WINNER-JOE CULLEN 5-11-06 Owner-Jackie Mullins; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-14/1
2ND-Inca 5-11-06 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-2/1 Fav
3RD-Be My Royal 5-11-06 Owner-Mrs Violet O’Leary; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr James Nash; SP-16/1
17 ran, Time-3m 41.20s, Dist-3.5, 2

1999-MONSIGNOR 5-11-06 Owner-Malcolm Denmark; Trainer-Mark Pitman; Jockey-Brendan Powell; SP-50/1
2ND-Golden Alpha 5-11-06 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-7/2
3RD-Canasta 5-10-13 Owner-Southern Brick & Tile Co./D S Arnold; Trainer-Mark Pitman; Jockey-Liam Corcoran; SP-25/1
25 ran, Time-3m 54.8s, Dist-1.5, .75 11/4 Fav Biliverdin (15th)

1998-WINNER-ALEXANDER BANQUET 5-11-06 Owner-M Swarbrick; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr Ruby Walsh; SP-9/1
2ND-Joe Mac 4-10-12; Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Christy Roche IRE; Jockey-Conor O’Dwyer; SP-6/4 Fav
3RD-Frantic Tan 6-11-06; Owner-The Bunkers Hill Mob; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Carl Llewellyn; SP-8/1
25 ran, Time-3m 45.7s, Dist-2.5, 7

1997-WINNER-FLORIDA PEARL 5-11-06 Owner-Violet O’Leary; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-6/1
2ND-Arctic Camper 5-11-06 Owner-Lady Harris; Trainer-David Nicholson; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-16/1
3RD-All The Colours 4-10-12 Owner-Pat Byrnes; Trainer-John Mulhern IRE; Jockey-Jamie Osborne; SP-8/1
25 ran, Time-3m 45.1s, Dist-5, 2 4/1 Fav Dawn Leader (13th)

1996-WINNER-WITHER OR WHICH 5-11-06 Owner-Robert Sinclair; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr Willie Mullins; SP-11/4
2ND-Alzulu 5-11-06 Owner-D Buckle; Trainer-Jimmy FitzGerald; Jockey-Peter Niven; SP-25/1
3RD-Mighty Moss 5-10-13 Owner-Ken Hutsby; Trainer-David Nicholson; Jockey-Mr Fred Hutsby; SP-33/1
24 ran, Time-3m 53.7s, Dist-2, 3 9/4 Fav Andanito (4th)

1995-WINNER-DATO STAR 4-10-12 Owner-Kath Riley & Joe Donald; Trainer-Malcolm Jefferson; Jockey-Mark Dwyer; SP-7/2
2ND-Red Blazer 4-10-12 Owner-Tom Shrimpton; Trainer-Henrietta Knight; Jockey-Jamie Osborne SP-2/1 Fav
3RD-Skehanagh Bridge 6-11-06 Owner-David Pim; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr Willie Mullins; SP-12/1
21 Ran, Time-4m 02.2s. Dist-1.25, 3.5

1994-WINNER-MUCKLEMEG 6-11-05 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Edward O'Grady IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-7/2 Fav
2ND-Aries Girl 5-11-03 Owner-Wally Sturt; Trainer-Pat Flynn IRE; Jockey-Shay Barry; SP-5/1
3RD-Go Ballistic 5-11-03 Owner-Sheila Lockhart; Trainer-David Nicholson; Jockey-Robert Massey; SP-16/1
25 Ran, Time-3m 53.7s, Dist-3, 15

1993-WINNER-RHYTHM SECTION 4-10-11 Owner-Robert Sinclair; Trainer-Homer Scott IRE; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-16/1
2ND-Heist 4-11-02 Owner-Mrs G Matthews; Trainer-Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-9/4 Fav
3RD-Winter Belle 5-11-13 Owner-John Muldoon; Trainer-Paddy Prendergast IRE; Jockey-John Shortt; SP-7/1
24 Ran, Time-3m 45.2s, Dist-.5, 1

1992-WINNER-MONTELADO 5-11-13 Owner-Ollie Hannon; Trainer-Pat Flynn IRE; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-8/1
2ND-Tiananmen Square 4-10-12 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Mr Tim Hyde; SP-6/4 Fav
3RD-Maneree 5-11-08 Owner-Michael Tabor; Trainer-Neville Callaghan; Jockey-Declan Murphy; SP-7/1
23 Ran, Time-3m 58.2s, Dist-12, 10



(Weatherbys Champion Bumper since 1997, Bi Group Festival Bumper 1996, Prestige Medical Festival Bumper 1995, Bromsgrove Industries Festival Bumper 1994, Guinness Festival Bumper 1993, Tote Festival Bumper 1992)

Year Winner Age/Wt Owner Trainer Jockey SP Ran
2008 Cousin Vinny 5-11-05 Festival Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE Mr Patrick Mullins 12/1 23
2007 Cork All Star 5-11-05 Cathal Ryan Jessica Harrington IRE Barry Geraghty 11/2 24
2006 Hairy Molly 6-11-05 F T B Syndicate Joe Crowley IRE Paul Carberry 33/1 23
2005 Missed That 6-11-05 Violet O’Leary Willie Mullins IRE Ruby Walsh 7/2F 24
2004 Total Enjoyment 7-10-12 It Will Never Last Syndicate Tom Cooper IRE Jim Culloty 7/1 24
2003 Liberman 5-11-06 David Johnson Martin Pipe Tony McCoy 2/1F 25
2002 Pizarro 5-11-06 Edward Wallace Edward O’Grady IRE Jamie Spencer 14/1 23
2001 Race Cancelled - foot & mouth
2000 Joe Cullen 5-11-06 Jackie Mullins Willie Mullins IRE Charlie Swan 14/1 17
1999 Monsignor 5-11-06 Malcolm Denmark Mark Pitman Brendan Powell 50/1 25
1998 Alexander Banquet 5-11-06 M Swarbrick Willie Mullins IRE Mr Ruby Walsh 9/1 25
1997 Florida Pearl 5-11-06 Violet O’Leary Willie Mullins IRE Richard Dunwoody 6/1 25
1996 Wither Or Which 5-11-06 Robert Sinclair Willie Mullins IRE Mr Willie Mullins 11/4 24
1995 Dato Star 4-10-12 Kath Riley & Joe Donald Malcolm Jefferson Mark Dwyer 7/2 21
1994 Mucklemeg 6-11-05 J P McManus Edward O'Grady IRE Charlie Swan 7/2F 36
1993 Rhythm Section 4-10-11 Robert Sinclair Homer Scott IRE Paul Carberry; 16/1 24
1992 Montelado 5-11-13 Ollie Hannon Pat Flynn IRE Richard Dunwoody 8/1 23



1. The first winner of the Weatherbys Champion Bumper was Montelado, who achieved what is thought to be the unique feat of winning two consecutive Festival races. The Bumper, now run on Wednesday, was originally the last race of the Festival. Montelado went on to win the opening race of the 1993 Festival, the Trafalgar House Supreme Novices' Hurdle, now sponsored by William Hill.

2. Irish-trained runners have a great record in the race, accounting for 13 of the 16 winners. Willie Mullins has incredibly saddled six of the last 12 winners. He also rode his first winner of the race, the 1996 scorer Wither Or Which, while his son Patrick was in the saddle when Cousin Vinny won for the stable in 2008.

3. The three horses to have kept the trophy at home were Dato Star in 1995, Monsignor, who sprang a 50/1 surprise in 1999, and Liberman, who gave Martin Pipe his first and only win in the race in 2003.

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