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Lord pointed at more Gold


JIM CULLOTY has not totally ruled out running Lord Windermere again this season following his dramatic victory in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The Co Cork trainer will look at races like the Punchestown Gold Cup on April 30, though he is still inclined to give the eight-year-old a summer break.

Culloty, speaking at Lord Windermere's homecoming parade at his stables in Mallow, said: "My gut instinct is to leave him off and get him ready for Cheltenham next year.

"But having said all that, we'll discuss it with the owner and he'll probably get a few entries at Punchestown and suchlike.

"He might just go straight out into the field, though."

Lord Windermere's surprise triumph at odds of 20/1 on Friday saw Culloty join an elite band who have ridden and trained winners of the blue riband of steeplechasing as he was on board the mighty Best Mate for a hat-trick of victories between 2002 and 2004.

"It's hard to differentiate between training one and riding one (Best Mate), but they're both fantastic," he said.

"As a trainer you get loads of time to think about it, but as a jockey you only have five minutes not to mess it up."

Culloty sent just two horses to Cheltenham, and his other runner, Spring Heeled, set up an incredible week by winning the Kim Muir on Thursday.

The trainer said: "He's already achieved great things as he's won at Cheltenham.

"He's a younger horse but hopefully he might develop into a Gold Cup horse at some stage.

"Spring Heeled will almost definitely go to Fairyhouse or Punchestown."

Culloty admitted he did not get back to his base until late on Saturday evening.

"We got home on Saturday at 9pm, had something to eat and a glass of wine before we went to bed," he said.

"We didn't even get down to go down the village.

"We had a couple of drinks, and then I went back, sat down and watched the replay."

Bookmakers close to Culloty's stables are still counting the cost of Lord Windermere's victory.

The betting shop in nearby Churchtown had no time to replenish the coffers after being hit by the Mallow handler's success with 12/1 shot Spring Heeled in Thursday's Kim Muir Challenge Cup before Lord Windermere sprang a 20/1 surprise in the big race of the week on Friday afternoon.

And even Culloty's daughter, Eliza, made the bookmakers pay with a small double of her own on her father's two winners.

Culloty said: "The local bookies ran out of money, and that was just after Spring Heeled won.

"It was even worse for them after Lord Windermere.

"Eliza had a €2 each-way double on Spring Heeled and Lord Windermere so she's won over €1,000."