Newry winner at Cheltenham
Tuesday, 18 March 2014
NEWRY held connections to an incredible first and second finish in the last day of Cheltenham on Friday.
Tammy's Hill trained in Newry by Liam Lennon and ridden by Newry jockey James Smyth, came home first of the 24 runners in the Foxhunter Challenge Chase, while Carsonstown Boy (40-1), trained by Crossgar man Colin McBratney and ridden by Hilltown's Noel McParlan was second.
The result was a family affair involving the owner/breeder Patsy Smyth, who lives near Newry in County Down, and his son James, who milks cows for a living and was in the saddle.
Lennon said: "It's a brilliant achievement for the Smyths. They bred this horse themselves, they reared him and fed him every morning from when he was a foal. The horse has never been a great traveller, but when Mossey Joe and Salsify came out of the race we decided to come here.
"I told James and my brother Declan, who travelled him over, to stop every two hours and give him a walk around - when they stopped in one field the farmer came out and asked what they were doing. When they said: 'This horse is going to win at Cheltenham', he said: 'Okay, carry on'.
"That is the highlight of James' career - that was unbelievable - but I think this horse deserves a shot at a big pot like the Irish Grand National or something like that. Hopefully, things will lead on from there."
James Smyth added: "He jumped to the front at the top of the hill and I took a hold of him coming down to the last three - he won the race anyway. He got in close but got himself out of trouble and did everything good. He went long when I needed him like a good horse does.
"It couldn't get much better than this. I am happy enough riding around Cheltenham, never mind winning. I would say he is going to the Irish National next. I wouldn't think I will be keeping the ride as he'll only have 10st 2lb or 10st 4lb."
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