Brindisi Breeze Blasts Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
1 Brindisi Breeze 7/1
Lucinda Russell, who trains north of the border at Kinross, enjoyed her first taste of success at the Cheltenham Festival when the tough Brindisi Breeze outstayed challenger Boston Bob up the hill in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle to win by two lengths.
She said: “It’s just fantastic. We’ve been trying so hard to have a winner here at the Festival. I’m delighted for [owner] Sandy Seymour. It’s his first horse but what a horse to have.
“This is what you work for. We’re always looking for horses and trying to get them into the right races. It’s great that the right race happens to be here at Cheltenham.
Paying tribute to her team, which includes her partner, the former champion jockey Peter Scudamore, Russell added: “It’s not just about me. It’s about all the lads back at home, it’s about Campbell [Gillies], who rides the horse and Sandy. It’s great for them all.
“He’s not the fastest horse in the world but he just doesn’t like others passing him. He jumps really quickly and maybe he does go on good ground as well as soft!
“Sandy Seymour came to me and said he wanted to buy a really good horse. Tom Malone bought this horse within 48 hours of winning his point-to-point.”
A BREEZE FOR CAMPBELL
Brindisi Breeze provided young Scottish rider Campbell Gillies with his first Cheltenham Festival success, with a little help along the way from a rival. The six-year-old gelding was in the front rank for most of the race and leading the way as the field began to make the descent before the final uphill run.
“He was going well, pricking his ears, really quite easily,” said Gillies, “and then I heard Tom Scudamore, not far away [on Big Occasion], tell me to just hang onto his head down the hill and then kick on once I’d straightened off the bend. So I took his advice.”
Scudamore is son of Peter Scudamore, partner of Brindisi Breeze’s trainer Lucinda Russell.
Gillies, from Musselburgh, was also winning his first Grade 1 contest. “It was tough for him to go out and do it from the hard end,” said the 21-year-old. “We had been slightly worried about the faster ground, but he was taking lengths out of them at his hurdles. He’s so athletic and was electric through the air today.
“Going to the first hurdle he was pricking his ears at the noise from the stands, looking around him a bit. Going to the last he was a bit the same - he’d been in front long enough and was coming back under me a bit.
“But once he heard the other horse [Boston Bob] coming, he had enough in reserve to pick up again and go on. And although he edged right, he stuck his neck out and ran all the way to the line. A fantastic, inexpressible feeling.”
SCU SO PLEASED TO BE ONE OF THE TEAM
Eight-time champion jockey Peter Scudamore will always be a man of Herefordshire, but he was delighted to cry out ‘Flower of Scotland’ when Campbell Gillies rode into the winner’s enclosure after winning on Brindisi Breeze.
Scudamore is partner to winning trainer Lucinda Russell, very much a Scot, who was congratulated on her win by fellow countryman Ronnie Bartlett, whose company sponsored this Grade One hurdle.
Reflecting on the triumph, Scudamore, who is analysing this week’s racing for BBC Radio 5 Live, said: “When you’re riding it’s such an individual thing, although having said that Martin Pipe and I worked very closely together. But this is very much about teamwork and I’m thrilled for Lucinda who works so hard.
“It’s also rather special when you are the underdog - when Willie [Mullins] says he’s bringing over his best novice hurdler in Boston Bob [who was second] then you do feel a little anxious.
“There have been statements in the press saying horses in the north aren’t good enough and when they find one they have to sell it, but that’s not true. We believed in ourselves and Brindisi Breeze has given us the opportunity. That’s our 48th winner of the season. We wanted 50 and I’m glad we’re getting there.”
2011-WINNER-BOBS WORTH 6-11-07 Owner-The Not Afraid Partnership; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-15/8 Fav
2010-WINNER-BERTIES DREAM 7-11-07 Owner-Half A Keg Syndicate; Trainer-Paul Gilligan IRE; Jockey-Andrew Lynch; SP-33/1
2008-WINNER-NENUPHAR COLLONGES 7-11-07 Owner-Top Brass Partnership; Trainer-Alan King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-9/1
2007-WINNER-WICHITA LINEMAN 6-11-07 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-11/8 Fav
JACK KETCHUM 7-11-07 Owner-Gay Smith; Trainer-Jonjo
O'Neill; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-Evens Fav
RICHE 4-11-00 Owner-Elite Racing Club; Trainer-Alan
King; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-9/1
FACTS AND FIGURES ALBERT BARTLETT NOVICES’ HURDLE
1. The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle was added to The Festival in 2005 and provides a valuable opportunity for staying novice hurdlers as it is run over three miles. Initially sponsored by Brit Insurance, it was backed by Albert Bartlett for the first time in 2008, coinciding with its upgrade to Grade One status.
2. The inaugural running went to Moulin Riche, trained by Francois Doumen in France and partnered by Robert Thornton. Thornton enjoyed a second success aboard the Alan King-trained Nenuphar Collonges in 2008.
3. Trainer Jonjo O’Neill and jockey A P McCoy combined to take two consecutive runnings with impressive winners – Wichita Lineman, who scored by 12 lengths in 2007, and Black Jack Ketchum, a nine-length winner in 2006. Both started favourite.
4. Weapon’s Amnesty became the first Irish-trained winner of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle in 2009, taking the spoils for trainer Charles Byrnes and jockey Davy Russell. He returned to The Festival in 2010 to win the RSA Chase. Berties Dream doubled the Irish tally when scoring in 2010.
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