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RACING: Culloty is Lord of the manor
10:00am Thursday 14th March 2013 in Sport
Jim Culloty, who famously partnered Best Mate to three Gold Cup wins for Henrietta Knight’s West Lockinge stables, near Wantage, saddled Lord Windermere to RSA Chase glory.
This winter had been all about getting experience into the seven-year-old, and Culloty, now based in County Cork, was adamant he would improve for the step up to three miles and for racing on better ground.
Boston Bob hit the front before turning into the straight and appeared to have the others in trouble.
But his stride was beginning to shorten when he took a tired fall at the last when still a length in front of Lyreen Legend and Lord Windermere.
Culloty’s star then stayed on powerfully for Davy Russell to record a one-and-three-quarter length win over his fellow Irish raider.
Hadrian’s Approach was six lengths away in third.
“We knew this horse would like Cheltenham and it’s all paid off,” said Culloty.
“I fancied him like mad – I thought he’d love the ground here.
“I told Davy to ride him to get the trip. They went no pace and it suited us.
“He’s the best horse I have and it was all about getting him here.
“Tom Doyle (recently retired former jockey) deserves a lot of the credit, he’s taught him well and the first time he rode him he said to me ‘this is the one you’ve been waiting for’.”
Asked what it felt like to train a Festival winner having ridden Best Mate to three Gold Cup wins, Culloty said: “You get nervous 30 minutes before going out to ride in a Gold Cup, but I have been nervous for the last six months with this lad.
“I have 13 boxes and he is in box 11, and when I work my way down to him on a morning I just pray that he is OK.”
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