Tuesday 6 December 2016

Brennan arrives right on Cue to claim King George

Graham Clark

Published 27/12/2015 | 02:30

Brennan: 'Best feeling of my whole career' Photo: PA
Brennan: 'Best feeling of my whole career' Photo: PA

Cue Card and Paddy Brennan got the better of Vautour and Ruby Walsh in a pulsating finish to win the King George VI Chase at Kempton yesterday.

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Willie Mullins' Vautour had looked all over the winner after taking over at the head of affairs on the second circuit from dual winner Silviniaco Conti. Vautour was still on a hard rein with three furlongs to run as the rest were coming under pressure, none more so than the favourite Don Cossack, who fell at the second-last.

Cue Card looked to be booked for second as Vautour pinged two out under Walsh, but his stride began to shorten, offering Cue Card a second bite.

Brennan needed a big leap on Cue Card at the final fence but he got in tight, as did Vautour, and the two gave their all on the run to the line, with Cue Card just getting the verdict.

"It's the best feeling of my whole career," said Brennan. "I can't take it in. I've beaten one of the best horses in training and beaten one of the best jockeys I've ever ridden against. My wife and son watching at home will be so proud.

"It was a tight one; the last time I got in (a photo) with Ruby it was Imperial Commander against Kauto Star, I thought I'd got there then but I hadn't. But today he said to me I'd won."

Things went more according to plan for Walsh earlier in the day when an injection of pace turning into the home straight helped Faugheen return to winning ways in the Christmas Hurdle. Having lost his unbeaten record to stablemate Nichols Canyon in the Morgiana Hurdle on his return to action this season, the Mullins-trained seven-year-old had a question to answer for the first time in his career.

Walsh set out making all on the reigning champion hurdler, but the field were still closely grouped coming out of the back straight Without Walsh seemingly making an effort, however, Faugheen (1/4 favourite) sprinted clear and the race was over in a matter of strides.

Lizzie Kelly rode into the history books when Tea For Two jumped immaculately to win the Kauto Star Novices' Chase. No other lady had ridden a Grade One winner of a chase in Britain, but backers of the 9/4 chance never really had an anxious moment.

Douvan was an imperious winner of the Racing Post Novice Chase under replacement rider Patrick Mullins at Leopardstown. Only four went to post for the Grade One feature, and while all were of significant ability, the Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner oozed class in making it two from two over the larger obstacles.

The St Stephen's Day Limerick card was abandoned due to a waterlogged track and there is an inspection at 8.0 this morning to decide if today's meeting will go ahead.

Yesterday also saw Tommy Treacy, the jockey who enjoyed his best days in the saddle aboard the popular Danoli, announce his retirement following a career that spanned over 20 years.

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