Holywell shrugs off second class as he hangs on for victory in Pertemps final
HOLYWELL broke a frustrating run of second place finishes where it mattered most when holding on to win the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival.
Trainer Jonjo O'Neill was opening his account for the week and he was steered to victory by Richie McLernon, who would not have been able to believe how well he was going turning into the straight.
He joined the hard-ridden Berties Dream and scooted five lengths clear but Captain Sunshine was staying on from the rear to throw down a challenge.
The 25-1 shot idled a little in front but not enough to enable Captain Sunshine to finish anything better than a length and a half down at the line.
Jetson was third and the winner's stablemate, Shutthefrontdoor, in fourth.
McLernon remembered his friend Campbell Gilles, the jockey who died in a holiday accident last year, in his post-race celebrations.
He said: "He was idling a little bit but there's a big crowd there so there's plenty to look at.
"The blinkers have helped him travel. He's a slow horse but he travelled well and jumped brilliantly and pulled it out when I needed him to.
"Last year was my first Festival winner and there was another first for Campbell Gilles (on Brindisi Breeze). He's looking down on me today as I've had my second."
O'Neill said: "It was brilliant. Richie gave him a great ride and knew what he was doing and it all went the right way for us.
"The blinkers obviously helped. He travelled well and jumped well. We decided to put the blinkers on him after Haydock and got him freshened up.
"To be honest, I thought the ground had dried out a bit too much for him but that didn't seem to be the way. He did everything right, it's great.
"It's not easy, but it's lovely to get winners here."
O'Neill also trained the fourth, Shutthefrontdoor, and added: "He did everything right. I didn't see anything wrong happen for him, he looked to be travelling well, he was just maybe a bit novicey at a few jumps.
"They are two nice horses."
Jessica Harrington said of Jetson: "It was a good run, we'll see what the handicapper does and we'll see if there's anything for him over three miles at Aintree."