Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase
Cheltenham 15:05
£35,000 added,
5yo plus,
3m 6f 37y, Class 2  
Friday 15th December 2017

1 Bless The Wings 12/1
2 Cantlow 7/1
3 Josies Orders 11/4F
9 ran Distances: 2½l, 4l, 2½l
Time: 8m 25.70s (slow by 21.70s)

Bless The Wings wins the Cross Country!

Bless The Wings
© Caroline Norris
Bless The Wings

The Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase went to Ireland for 10th time in 15 runnings when 12/1 chance Bless The Wings (Gordon Elliott IRE/Davy Russell, 11st 2lb) led home an Irish-trained 1-2-3.

The 12-year-old Bless The Wings went into the lead four fences from home and never looked like getting caught. Last year’s winner Cantlow (Enda Bolger IRE/Donal McInerney (5), 10st 10lb, 7/1) took second, two and a half lengths behind, with the 2015 winner Josies Orders (Enda Bolger IRE/Mark Walsh, 11st 4lb, 11/4 Fav) another four lengths adrift in third.

Gordon Elliott said: “Bless The Wings has been placed at two Cheltenham Festivals for us and in two Irish Nationals. He is a great horse but was a bit disappointing on his last two runs and I was actually thinking about retiring him. It just goes to show what those jumps can do to a horse.

“I am delighted for his owners, Steve O’Connor and Adrian Butler, and Davy gave the horse a great ride. Camilla looks after him every day, so it is great for her as well.

“The ground was very, very soft on his first two runs and sometimes these horses can get a bit cute but he deserved that.”

Davy Russell said: “We had a change of plan today. Usually, we try and drop Bless The Wings on the line but I wanted to do something different on him. I wanted to get to the front early because it is different – he has a bit of age in him and has never done it before. It was something new for him and he loved it.

“He has been an absolute star and you can’t say enough about the trainer. Gordon never lost faith and always said that there would be a big day in him. That’s the beauty of Gordon – he will give them every chance.

“It’s always a dream to ride winners here. It has been a dream since I was a four-year-old and my dad used to come over here religiously every year. This place is a special place.”

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Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase
£35,000 added, 5yo plus, 3m 6f 37y, Class 2
9 ran
Going: Good to Soft, Soft in places

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Bless The Wings (IRE) 12/1 D N Russell
G Elliott 12
2nd Cantlow (IRE) 7/1 D J McInerney (5)
E Bolger 12
3rd 4 Josies Orders (IRE) 11/4f M P Walsh
E Bolger 9
4th Kingswell Theatre 4/1 T Scudamore
M Scudamore 8
5th 33 Tiger Roll (IRE) 7/1 K M Donoghue
G Elliott 7
6th My Hometown (IRE) 50/1 N P Madden
E Bolger 7
7th Kapville (FR) 12/1 Wilfrid Denuault
E & G Leenders 10
PU More Of That (IRE) 4/1 Aidan Coleman
Jonjo O'Neill 9
PU Mtada Supreme (IRE) 25/1 R C Colgan
Peter Maher 12