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Chatham Street Lad's Cheltenham success makes Winters content


Darragh O'Keeffe riding Chatham Street Lad. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/PA Wire

Darragh O'Keeffe riding Chatham Street Lad. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/PA Wire

Darragh O'Keeffe riding Chatham Street Lad. Photo: Alan Crowhurst/PA Wire

A resurgence in prominence for the ever-popular Mick Winters was continued by Chatham Street Lad in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Ridden by Darragh O'Keeffe, the eight-year-old had won two of his last three, but looked a class apart as he bounded up the famous hill.

The 16/1 chance turned on the style to beat Midnight Shadow by 15 lengths, which was in turn well clear of Benatar and Good Boy Bobby in fourth.

Chatham Street Lad was introduced him into Betfair's Ryanair Chase betting at 20/1 and Winters - who has enjoyed big-race glory over the years with the likes of Galway Hurdle winners Rebel Fitz and Missunited - said: "It was outstanding - it was a local jockey as well. He has come down to school on the horse lately and the horse has improved.

"The owners have always had horses in and they have a couple of pubs locally and things. In fairness, he won well in Cork (last time out). This is spectacular. Racing is very special and the horses are treated so kind and people don't realise it. It'd be great to give something back as we are only passing through.

"I was confident we would run a blinder. Once he got over the last fence, I was hopeful after that. He is not Flat-bred he was bred for National Hunt, that's why he was bought and he will keep developing.

"I don't know where we might go next, but hopefully we might be back here (for the Festival) or at Aintree. He fiddled a couple of jumps and missed a few fences here and there, but I asked the jockey and he said he got in tight."

Winters chose to celebrate his first Cheltenham winner in an unusual way, by rolling in the paddock.

"I said if he won, I would do like the pig and roll in the muck as that is what the pig does, so I had to back it up," said the Kanturk, Co Cork handler.

Winters' charge wasn't the only winner from these shores as John McConnell - on the mark in the Cross Country on Friday - teamed up with Richard Johnson to land the three-mile novices' hurdle with Make Good.

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The low sun forced the omission of the hurdle in the home straight and before they bypassed it, Make Good had shot clear. The 12/1 shot beat Pats Fancy by seven lengths, with Ask A Honey Bee back in third to earn a 25/1 quote for the Albert Bartlett in March with Betfair. "He is only a novice over hurdles, but he has had 35 runs and he knows what he is doing. In these conditions, when you have a tough, strong horse, it is going to suit them," said the rider.

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