Brindisi Breeze blows Boston Bob away to start party for Scots
Brindisi Breeze foiled an almighty gamble on Boston Bob to claim a rare Cheltenham Festival victory for Scotland in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.
Trained in Kinross by Lucinda Russell, Brindisi Breeze (7-1) was confirming the impression he had made when winning a Grade Two at Haydock in February. That victory had come in heavy ground and the lead-up to the meeting had seen Russell praying for rain.
None materialised, but the watering policy of the executives meant that it was safe enough to let Russell run her stable star.
The Lenny Lungo-trained Freetown was the last Scottish-trained winner at the Festival when he claimed the Pertemps Final in 2002.
Boston Bob was backed into 6-5 favouritism on the back of some bullish reports from Willie Mullins, but Ruby Walsh's charge went down by two lengths.
Russell said of the Campbell Gillies-ridden winner: "It's what you work for. You spend all winter trying to put them in the right races and it's just amazing that the right race happens to be at Cheltenham. He's not the fastest in the world but he's so brave and he jumps quickly.
"He'll be a fantastic chaser and that's what he'll be doing next season."
Tony McCoy went on to win the Gold Cup on Synchronised, but he got off the mark for the week aboard the JP McManus-owned Alderwood in the Vincent O'Brien County Hurdle. McManus also won the closing Johnny Henderson Grand Annual, which was dominated by Nicky Henderson, son of the man after which the race is named.
Tanks For That went clear approaching the last, but Paul Carberry hit the front with Bellvano (20-1) five strides from the line.
The first two are both trained at Seven Barrows, along with the fourth, Anquetta. Alan King's Kumbeshwar was third.