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Premier Magic springs 66-1 shock with Bradley Gibbs in the Hunters’ Chase at Cheltenham

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Bradley Gibbs celebrates winning The St James's Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase on Premier Magic on day four of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. Photo: PA

Bradley Gibbs celebrates winning The St James's Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase on Premier Magic on day four of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. Photo: PA

Bradley Gibbs celebrates winning The St James's Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase on Premier Magic on day four of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. Photo: PA

Prolific point-to-point winner Premier Magic, trained and ridden by Bradley Gibbs, sprang a 66-1 shock in the St James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase.

Rocky’s Howya had made much of the running and was still upsides jumping the second last as Gibbs made his move.

Though looking booked for minor honours, he was hampered by a loose horse and as Premier Magic started to empty, Its On The Line (28-1) stayed on late under Derek O’Connor.

Yet the winner just had enough in reserve to fend off the challenge and win by a length and three-quarters, with Shantou Flyer (50-1) finishing third.

For Gibbs, who equipped the gelding with cheekpieces, it was a career-high moment, yet it was also slightly bittersweet.

He said: “The worst part about it is my partner and my son aren’t here today. We couldn’t get a babysitter and my dad’s in hospital having a heart operation today. It’s really special but I just wish they could have been here.

“It was unbelievable, my fiancee’s father owns him and we came here last year thinking we had a chance.

“I rode him down the inside and everything just got a bit tight for him, he just got stage fright really. I rode him wide today and he was a completely different horse.

“The way he’s been winning his point-to-points, we always thought he was good enough to win a big race like this and thank god it’s paid off today.”

Winning owner, Julian Sherriff, was one of the few who made the most of the 10-year-old’s generous odds.

He said: “We bought him four or five years ago in Ireland and he’s done us proud in points and hunter chases but this is absolutely fantastic.

“Bradley said he had a real chance and so increased my bet, and I got 100-1.

“He’s got an engine on him, what a horse, it makes everything you put into the game worth it.”


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