Son Of Flicka Steps Up in Coral Cup
1 Son Of Flicka 16/1
Son Of Flicka gave Donald McCain and Jason Maguire their second winner of the week with a fine performance in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham.
Son Of Flicka was beaten just a neck at last year’s Festival when runner-up to Sir Des Champs in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle but he went one better today with victory in the Coral Cup, romping home to a three-and-a-half length victory over top-weight Get Me Out Of Here. The winner was backed in from 66/1 to 16/1 after being tipped by the Racing Post’s Pricewise column.
Trainer Donald McCain, who was celebrating his second win at this year’s Festival after yesterday’s success of Cinders And Ashes, said: “He’s a tough little horse and he always does his best. He was going up and up in the weights and never winning a race but he’s always deserved a big one.
“He’s been around for a long time - he’s lived with us since he was a three-year-old and I was devastated for him last year when he got done on the line. Then he took a terrible fall at Aintree and it took a while to get his confidence back and he’s been running on bad ground which isn’t his thing. We aimed to come here and try to have him spot-on for the day.
“You come here and there are 15 or 20 with chances so I’m never confident. I know my good horses but in the handicaps I’m a little bit lost, but he’s as tough and as genuine as they come and I’ve got a jockey who’s riding out of his skin.
“Jason [Maguire] knows that riding for me he can pretty much do what he likes. We’ve only ever had cross words once and we had to go to hug each other later we felt that bad about it. We’re good friends and he’s on the same side as me.”
McCain added: “It can’t get any better than this, I just keep shaking my head. I have a yardful of good owners, nice horses and great staff who are putting a lot of work in. It’s all down to them.”
The stewards subsequently considered the improved form of Son Of Flicka following his previous run at Kempton and were satisfied with McCain’s explanation that the gelding appreciated the better ground and comes to himself in the spring.
Jason Maguire, the winning rider, said: “It’s a great training performance by Donald McCain to get this horse back. He’s been disappointing on his last few runs and he has obviously come down in the handicap. Donald’s got him cherry-ripe today.
“He was second in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle last year, when he just got collared, and only had 10st 6lb on his back today. I was probably off the bridle a good long way out and had to keep going once we turned in but he has kept going well.”
Phil Williams, the man behind owner Twenty Four Seven Recruitment, commented: “It’s one of the greatest feelings that I have ever had. He came second last year and the horse is such a great little thing.
“I love the horse and, for me, it’s all about the best for him - I almost feel like retiring him now because he owes me nothing.
“Michael O’Leary beat us last year and, when you are second here, it’s a lonely place. I said to him that it must have been the first time I know that he has ever organised anything to turn up in the right place at the right time, in a nice way. I admire the man really - he is a great sport and he wished me all the best.
“Son Of Flicka ran up the hill last year and we were beaten by something that was just brilliant. Today, he has had his day.
“If you can just please make sure that you step over me when you come to work in the morning, I would be very grateful. I am going to write my name and address somewhere so I can be sent home.
“This is for all people in Wrexham and obviously my family, who I love very much.”
‘GET ME OUT OF HERE AND INTO THE WINNER’S SPOT’
If you want to find the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Get Me Out Of Here at The Festival look no further than the runner-up spot.
Three times the horse has run at Jump racing’s premier meeting, and each time he has finished second. Today that was three and a half lengths second to Son Of Flicka in the Coral Cup. Earlier visits to The Festival had resulted in the runner-up slot in the William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle.
O’Neill, who trains the eight-year-old for owner J P McManus, said: “All being well he’ll come back here next year and I’ll be delighted with another second.
“He’s been great to us and he’s run a blinder again today. We all knew it would be hard to win under top-weight.
“We’re disappointed for him, but it’s great to get him here in one piece three years in a row. A P [McCoy] gave him a brilliant ride and everything went right so we have no excuses. He stayed the trip well enough.
“A P was a little worried the horse wasn’t quite right when he came back in, but he’s often not quite right, and if nothing comes of it we’ll go to Aintree for the two-and-a-half miler on the Saturday.”
Nicky Henderson ran two in the race - Spirit River who fell at the last when in contention for a place, and Veiled, who took third.
He said: “Spirit River appears to be alright and Veiled ran a very good race. She’ll probably come back here for the mares’ race [a Listed handicap hurdle at the April meeting].”
Featherbed Lane sustained a broken leg during the Coral Cup and was humanely put down.
CORAL CUP (HANDICAP HURDLE) PREVIOUS RESULTS
2011-WINNER-CARLITO BRIGANTE 5-11-00 Owner-Gigginstown House Stud; Trainer-Gordon Elliott IRE; Jockey-Davy Russell;
2010-WINNER-SPIRIT RIVER 5-11-02 Owner-Michael Buckley; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-14/1
2009-WINNER-NINETIETH MINUTE 6-10-03 Owner-Dermot Cox; Trainer-Tom Taaffe IRE; Jockey-Paddy Flood; SP-14/1
2008-WINNER-NAIAD DU MISSELOT 7-10-13 Owner-Hill, Trembath, Bryan & Outhart; Trainer-Ferdy Murphy; Jockey-Davy Russell; SP-7/1
Owner-Dr Richard & Laura Newland;
Trainer-Dr Richard Newland; Jockey-Sam Jones; SP-10/1
SKY’S THE LIMIT 5-11-12 Owner-Raymond Rooney; Trainer-Edward
O’Grady IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-11/1
FIRST 6-10-10 Owner-Direct Sales
UK Ltd; Trainer-Venetia Williams; Jockey-Alan O’Keeffe; SP-33/1
2004-WINNER-MONKERHOSTIN 7-10-08 Owner-Martin St Quinton; Trainer-Philip
Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-13/2
2003-WINNER-XENOPHON 7-11-00 Owner-Lane Syndicate; Trainer-Tony Martin
IRE; Jockey-Mick FitzGerald; SP-4/1 Fav
2002-WINNER-ILNAMAR 6-10-05 Owner-Joe Moran; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Rodi
2001 - No Race (Foot and Mouth Disease)
2000-WINNER-WHAT’S UP BOYS 6-10-03 Owner-RJB Partners; Trainer-Philip
Hobbs; Jockey-Mr Paul Flynn; SP-33/1
1999-WINNER KHAYRAWANI 7-11-03 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Christy Roche
IRE; Jockey-Fran Berry; SP-16/1
1998-WINNER-TOP CEES 8-10-00 Owner-Charlton Bloodstock Ltd; Trainer-Lynda
Ramsden; Jockey-Barry Fenton; SP-11/1
1997-WINNER-BIG STRAND 8-10-00 Owner-E C Jones; Trainer-Martin Pipe;
Jockey-Jamie Evans; SP-16/1
1996-WINNER-TRAINGLOT 9-10-03 Owner-Marquesa de Moratalla; Trainer-Jimmy
FitzGerald; Jockey-Mark Dwyer; SP-11/2
1995-WINNER-CHANCE COFFEY 10-10-00 Owner-Paddy O'Donnell; Trainer-Pat
O'Donnell IRE; Jockey-Gerry O'Neill; SP-11/1
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