Minella Indo wins Cheltenham Gold Cup in big day for Irish


CHELTENHAM, England — Minella Indo held off stablemate A Plus Tard to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup in a dominant day for the Irish at Britain’s most prestigious jumps race on Friday.

Ridden by jockey Jack Kennedy, 9-1 shot Minella Indo outlasted A Plus Tard in a shootout from the top of the straight, winning by a length and a quarter.

Al Boum Photo, the 9-4 favorite, was denied a three-peat, finishing four-and-a-quarter lengths away in third after winning in 2019 and last year.

Trainer Henry de Bromhead made history by taking home wins in all three of the Cheltenham Festival’s marquee races — the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and Gold Cup.

Based in Knockeen, Co. Waterford, De Bromhead saddles Minella Indo and A Plus Tard. Fellow Irishman Willie Mullins trains Al Boum Photo.

“The GOLD CUP is coming back home to Waterford,” De Bromhead said on Twitter.

Rachael Blackmore, who later collected the trophy as the Festival’s top rider, tried to rally her mount but Minella Indo held steady.

“I landed over the last,” Kennedy said, “and he pricked his ears, he was pulling up, but it wasn’t out of tiredness and when he heard Rachael coming back at him, he took off again. It’s unbelievable stuff.”

Kennedy added: “I can’t believe it, this is what I’ve dreamt of since I was a child. I’m just so grateful to Henry and (owner) Barry Maloney for giving me a chance and the opportunity to ride him. This is what I live for.”

Native River, the 2018 winner, was fourth, followed by Frodon in fifth.

The stands were empty due to coronavirus restrictions. Normally, about 70,000 fans attend the Gold Cup.

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