Before Cheltenham began, trainer Henry de Bromhead never anticipated the events that would enfold over the course of the week. He admits that the “unbelievable” week had surpassed even his wildest expectations.
With Jack Kennedy on board, Minella Indo took the Gold Cup on the Friday and this was after the Waterford-based trainer had already bagged five winners for the Festival. These included the Champion Hurdle and the Champion Chase.
It was a one-two for De Bromhead as The Gold Cup was a two horse affair, with leading jockey Rachael Blackmore having to settle for the runner-up spot on A Plus Tard. Both jockey’s giving their all for a thrilling finish.
Ruby Walsh, speaking on RTÉ 2 fm’s Game On, asked the trainer if he ever imagined such a successful week at the prestigious event.
“No, I have to admit, not at all. It would have been a dream to have a winner at Cheltenham when I first started training,” he said.
“To end up with a week like this is unbelievable”
“It seemed like a long way away. We have worked hard, and we have had our ups and downs, but to end up with a week like this is unbelievable.”
De Bromhead also singled out Rachel Blackmore, who made history by becoming the first female to win the ‘leading jockey award’ for special praise.
Her six wins, including a history-making victory aboard Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle, have seen the 31-year-old’s reputation soar, with de Bromhead admitting how fortunate he is to work with the gifted jockey.
“She’s incredible to have on our team. I’m so happy for her. Probably the highlight of the week for me, as it encompasses most of our week, is seeing her being crowned champion rider.
“She is an amazing person to work with, the ultimate professional. We feel very lucky to have her.”