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Weatherbys Champion Bumper
Cheltenham Free Bets
Grade 1, Standard Open NH Flat Race
Cheltenham 17:30
£80,000 guaranteed, 4-6yo,
2m 87y, Class 1   
Wednesday 16th March 2022

Horses 468x60 Jpg

1 Facile Vega 15/8F
2 American Mike 5/2
3 James's Gate 16/1
20 ran NR: Esperti, Rosy Redrum
Distances: 3¾l, 2½l, 2¾l Time: 4m 4.80s (slow by 20.80s)

Willie Mullins had concerns about the heavy ground but Facile Vega quickened up smartly to win well.

The son of Walk In The Park, out of six-time Festival winner Quevaga is bred to be a champion, and while it is early days in his career, he has passed every test thus far.

Facile Vega was ridden patiently by Patrick Mullins, who tracked Jamie Codd aboard American Mike and gained the inside berth running down the hill, as long-time leader, the free-going Houlanbatordechais, faded.

Mullins quickly asserted turning in and soon had his rivals in trouble, powering clear to score by three and three-quarter lengths from the Gordon Elliott-trained American Mike, with James’s Gate filling third for the Closutton handler, who was recording a treble on the day following earlier victories of Sir Gerhard and Energumene.

The race had been delayed after the rain that hit the track from late morning and never stopped left standing water on certain areas of the track where hurdles were removed. Ground staff teams sectioned off the areas where the rain water pooled and jockeys were shown a map of the course to aid them in avoiding the most testing points.

None of that ultimately mattered to Facile Vega, who gave his trainer a record-extending 12th victory.

Trainers Quotes

Mullins said: “Facile Vega was very good, he’s shown me at home that he’s always good.

“We were really worried about conditions here today, but he relished it. It was a tough decision by the stewards to do what they did and it was great that they did it quickly and they got the race run.

“That’s what I see every day, this horse just travels when we do work – now you’re seeing what I see.

“He’s a real sort. Gordon thinks a huge amount of American Mike and he just ranged up beside him and went forward when he wanted to.”

The winning rider added: “That was a huge buzz, and coming from Quevega, gives this fellow a huge following.

“For a favourite to win in Cheltenham always creates a bit of atmosphere and I think everyone enjoyed that immensely.

“We made no secret we liked this horse. From the start of the season we nominated him.

“I rode him last spring and gave him a squeeze and Willie looked at me stone faced as he thought I’d done a bit too much, but from that long ago he’s been giving us a great feel.

“It was a bit like wacky races. The bumpers are called bumpers for a reason – they’re like bumper cars.

“I didn’t get a fantastic start. They went fast and I was following Paul Townend and he nearly got brought down, which dropped us back.

“Passing the stands I got into a bit of space and I was just cantering everywhere.”

Weatherbys Champion Bumper
(Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race)
£80,000 guaranteed, 4-6yo, 2m 87y, Class 1
20 ran
Going: Heavy

POS. DIST HORSE AGE WGT TRAINER JOCKEY SP
1     Facile Vega 5 11-5 W P Mullins Mr P W Mullins 15/8F
2
American Mike 5 11-5 Gordon Elliott Mr J J Codd 5/2
3
James's Gate 5 11-5 W P Mullins Sean O'Keeffe 16/1
4
Seabank Bistro 5 11-5 W P Mullins Brian Hayes 18/1
5  
Authorised Speed 5 11-5 Gary Moore Joshua Moore 50/1
6
Poetic Music 4 10-2 Fergal O'Brien Paddy Brennan 33/1
7
¾ Our Jester 6 11-5 Hughie Morrison Nico de Boinville 50/1
8
Music Drive 5 11-5 Gordon Elliott Davy Russell 50/1
9
Spanish Present 6 11-5 Martin Keighley Sean Bowen 250/1
10
hd Viva Devito 5 11-5 2 W P Mullins Mr Derek O'Connor 25/1
11
10 Madmansgame 5 11-5 W P Mullins Danny Mullins 10/1
12
Cillians Charm 5 11-5 Anthony McCann Jonathan Moore 250/1
13
20 Redemption Day 5 11-5 W P Mullins Paul Townend 7/1
14
¾ Ocean Of Mercy 6 11-5 Paul Hennessy Sam Twiston-Davies125/1
15
41 Houlanbatordechais 5 11-5 W P Mullins Rachael Blackmore 14/1
PU Joyeux Machin 5 11-5 Paul Nolan B J Cooper 33/1
PU Top Dog 5 11-5 Emma Lavelle Tom Bellamy 50/1
PU Call Me Harry 5 11-5 Iain Jardine Conor O'Farrell 125/1
PU Godot 5 11-5 Andy Irvine Page Fuller 250/1

PU Ain't No Sunshine 6 11-5 Keith Dalgleish Danny McMenamin 125/1
NR 22 Rosy Redrum 4 10-2 Milton Harris NON RUNNER

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WEATHERBYS CHAMPION BUMPER PAST RESULTS

Winner Age/Wt Owner Trainer Jockey SP Ran

2021 Sir Gerhard 6-11-05 W P Mullins Rachael Blackmore 85/40 14

2020 Ferny Hollow 5-11-05 Cheveley Park Stud W P Mullins Paul Townend 11/1 23

2019 Envoi Allen 5-11-05 Cheveley Park Stud Gordon Elliott IRE Mr Jamie Codd 2/1F 14

2018-WINNER-WINNER-RELEGATE 5-10-12 Owner-Paul McKeon; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ms Katie Walsh; 25/1
2ND-Carefully Selected 6-11-05 Owner-Miss M A Masterson; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Danny Mullins; SP-6/1
3RD-Tornado Flyer 5-11-05 Owner-T F P; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Paul Townend; SP-14/1
23 ran, Time-4m 4.30s Dist-nk, 3¼ 9/2 Fav Acey Milan (4th)

2017-WINNER-FAYONAGH 6-10-12 Owner-Mrs M Gittins; Trainer-Gordon Elliott IRE; Jockey-Mr Jamie Codd; SP-7/1
2ND-Debuchet 4-10-11 Owner-Force Eight Syndicate; Trainer-Mags Mullins IRE; Jockey-Danny Mullins; SP-10/1
3RD-Claimantakinforgan 5-11-05 Owner-Grech & Parkin; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Nico de Boinville; SP-22/1
22 ran, Time-3m 51.10s Dist-1¼, 1½ 9/2 Fav Cause Toujours (9th)

2016-WINNER-BALLYANDY 5-11-05 Owner-Options O Syndicate; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Sam Twiston-Davies; SP-5/1
2ND-Battleford 5-11-05 Owner-Andrea & Graham Wylie; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mikey Fogarty; SP-25/1
3RD-Bacardys 5-11-05 Owner-Shanakiel Racing Syndicate; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-16/1
23 ran, Time-3m 47.70s Dist-ns, 2 7/2 Fav Augusta Kate (7th)

2015-WINNER-MOON RACER 6-11-05 Owner-Professor Caroline Tisdall & Bryan Drew; Trainer-David Pipe; Jockey-Tom Scudamore; SP-9/2 Fav
2ND-Modus 5-11-05 Owner-John Deer; Trainer-Robert Stephens; Jockey-Tom O’Brien; SP-33/1
3RD-Wait For Me 5-11-05 Owner-Andrew Cohen; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-9/1
23 ran, Time-3m 50.40s Dist-1½, 1½

2014-SILVER CONCORD 6-11-05 Owner-Dr Ronan Lambe; Trainer-Dermot Weld IRE; Jockey-Mr Robbie McNamara; SP-16/1
2ND-Shaneshill 5-11-05 Owner-Andrea & Graham Wylie; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-7/2 Fav
3RD-Joshua Lane 5-11-01 Owner-Stanley Watson; Trainer-Eddie Harty IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-33/1
22 ran, Time-3m 43.40s Dist-1½, 1¾

2013-WINNER-BRIAR HILL 5-11-05 Owner-Andrea & Graham Wylie; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-25/1
2ND-Regal Encore 5-11-05 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Anthony Honeyball; Jockey-A P McCoy; SP-7/1 Jt Fav
3RD-Golantilla 5-11-01 Owner-Barry Connell; Trainer-Tony Martin IRE; Jockey-Danny Mullins; SP-9/1
23 ran, Time-3m 54.7s Dist-7, 2¼ 7/1 Jt Fav Le Vent D’Antan (7th)

2012-WINNER-CHAMPAGNE FEVER 5-11-05 Owner-Susannah Ricci; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr Patrick Mullins; SP-16/1
2ND-New Year’s Eve 4-10-11 Owner-Bloomfields; Trainer-John Ferguson; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-9/2 Fav
3RD-Pique Sous 5-11-05 Owner-Supreme Horse Racing Club; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-12/1
20 ran, Time-3m 47.50s Dist-1¼, hd

2011-WINNER-CHELTENIAN 5-11-05 Owner-Roger Brookhouse; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-14/1
2ND Destroyer Deployed 5-11-05 Owner-The Craftsmen; Trainer-Tim Vaughan; Jockey-Aidan Coleman; SP-66/1
3RD Aupcharlie 5-11-05 Owner-Gerard Boyle; Trainer-Pat Collins IRE; Jockey- Mr Jason McKeown; SP-33/1
24 ran, Time-3m 51.85s Dist-5, 4½ 5/1 Fav Ericht (6th)

2010-WINNER-CUE CARD 4-10-12 Owner-Jean Bishop; Trainer-Colin Tizzard; Jockey-Joe Tizzard; SP-40/1
2ND Al Ferof 5-11-05 Owner-John Hales; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-8/1
3RD Frawley 5-11-05 Owner-Dr K A Roche-Nagle; Trainer-John Kiely IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-14/1 24 ran, Time-3m 48.70s Dist-8, 8 3/1 Fav Shot From The Hip (20th)

2009-WINNER-DUNGUIB 6-11-05 Owner-Daniel Harnett; Trainer-Philip Fenton IRE; Jockey-Mr Brian O’Connell; SP-9/2
2ND Some Present 6-11-05 Owner-Frances Duffin; Trainer-Tom Mullins IRE; Jockey-Davy Russell; SP-25/1
3RD Rite Of Passage 5-11-05 Owner-Dr Ronan Lambe; Trainer-Dermot Weld IRE; Jockey-Pat Smullen; SP-5/2 Fav 24 ran, Time-3m 56.90s Dist-10, ¾

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

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