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Friday March 16th - 3:30 

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Lord Windermere Wins Cheltenham Gold 2014

Lord Windermere is a thoroughbred Irish racehorse who takes part in National Hunts. Windermere was foaled on 11th March 2006 and over the years he has managed to establish himself as a highly efficient steeplechaser. He proved his supremacy several times on the track; two of his most famous and celebrated wins came during the 2013 RSA Chase and 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup.


Lord Windermere’s win was pretty dramatic


Here, it must be noted that no one expected Windermere to taste triumph at the 2014 Gold Cup. It would not be wrong if we call the race a real thriller. However, punters who became poorer after the race are unlikely to complain as they surely got real value for their money. The race got finished in around seven minutes. A few additional seconds were required for confirming that Windermere has actually edged out ten year old On His Own, another participant from Ireland. Things became even more dramatic when the stewards took another fifteen minutes or so for deciding that in spite of the interference during the run-in, they will declare the name of Lord Windermere as the winner of the 2014 edition of the prestigious racing event.


The Cheltenham Gold Cup has always been known for staging major race dramas. However, this nail biting final minutes turned out to be way too much even for people aware of the dramatic nature of Gold Cup.


How did Windermere win the race?


Lord Windermere got Jim Culloty as his trainer. Culloty has won the Cheltenham Gold Cup thrice as a jockey; during each of this three wins, he was riding the English trained horse Best Mate. Culloty’s past record shows that there couldn’t be a better person to prepare the horse for National Hunt races. However, in spite of getting top-notch training Windermere didn’t manage to convert that into performance during the initial phase of the race. He failed to come anywhere near the leading horses when running on the first circuit. So, no one expected the horse to emerge as the winner of the 2014 Gold Cup.


The majority of the people watching the race thought that the year 2014 will see either Silviniaco Conti or Bobs Worth (the winner of the 2013 Gold Cup) take the cup. Here, it must be noted that those two horses were also the first two favourites on the punters’ list.


Things started to change suddenly when Bobs Worth was preparing to run up the hill with Conti behind him. Silviniaco Conti began drifting towards the right and conceded both momentum and ground while doing so. Jockey Barry Geraghty, who was riding Bobs Worth, tried to force his horse to show some additional effort but things didn’t turn out the way he wanted. Quite unexpectedly, the near side appeared to have more vigour with horses like The Giant Bolster, On His Own, and Lord Windermere were battling it out between themselves.


Later, when reminiscing the performance Davy Russell, Windermere’s jockey, joked that during the initial half mile of the race even he was wondering whether it would be wise to quit and start preparing for the Punchestown Gold Cup. However, Russell also admitted that from his experience of riding the horse during the 2013 RSA Chase, he knew that Windermere has the power of making his way into the race. The jockey added that whenever he left Lord Windermere alone he seemed to become more confident.


Before overcoming the ultimate furlong, Russell and his horse managed to get a small lead from David Casey’s On His Own. At this point, Lord Windermere started moving in the direction of the stands. On His Own followed the same route along with The Giant Bolster (he was the widest of the three).


Lord Windermere edged On His Own by just a short-head and was declared the winner. However, the obvious interference between the two horses forced the stewards to begin an inquiry before declaring the winner.


The past few years have seen disqualifications become a rarity in Britain. That’s primarily because for amending a race’s result, the current rules need the race officials to be “fairly certain” that the winner in question has bettered its placing. It has been proved time and again that establishing such certainty is extremely difficult. Whatever might be the case it has to be admitted that the at last the title went to the best horse.


Lead up to the Cheltenham Gold Cup


It’s true that experts have been praising Lord Windermere since his win at the previous year’s RSA Chase. However, things were not that great for the Irish horse in 2014. He took part in the Hennessey Gold Cup in February and finished sixth. However, still Culloty was not surprised to see the horse’s form peak up when racing at Cheltenham Gold Cup.


According to the trainer, the secret lies in the place; yes, he feels the horse succeeded in showcasing his best during the tournament because it was held in Cheltenham. Culloty informed that Lord Windermere loves to be in this spa town. People associated with the horse suspected that they would need to bring him to this part of the world for allowing him to deliver his best performance.


Here, it must be mentioned that things haven’t been smooth for Culloty since he started training Lord Windermere. He was in serious trouble for a pretty long period of time; his situation even forced him to wonder whether he would actually be able to do his job of training the horse successfully. Luckily, it was revealed that the problem was caused by a fungus; since that issue got sorted, Culloty and his team never needed to look back.


The journey was not easy even for Russell. Michael O’Leary, a big name among owners in Ireland, decided to not renew his contract. He was replaced by Bryan Cooper, a new name in the circuit. However, Russell got to race as Cooper injured his leg prior to the race. Things turned out to be perfect for him since then. Finally, after many hurdles he even succeeded to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Lord Windermere.

 

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