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Cheltenham Racing - 15. March 2019.

Minella Indo takes Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle for Rachael Blackmore

Minella Indo takes Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle for Rachael Blackmore
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Henry de Bromhead left Cheltenham deflated on Thursday after the strongly-fancied Monalee finished only fourth in the G1 Ryanair Chase, but he was back on very good terms with himself when 50/1 chance Minella Indo pulled off one of the shocks of the meeting by beating Commander Of Fleet (4/1 favourite) by two lengths in the G1 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle over three miles.
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Like Monalee, who returned with sore shins, Minella Indo races in the colours of Barry Maloney, and De Bromhead said: "It's fantastic, and I'm delighted to get it for these guys.
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"We've been trying to get one for a few years, and although Monalee ran well yesterday we were a little bit flat afterwards.
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"It's amazing to come back with this guy. We always liked him and Rachael (Blackmore) thought he'd improve for Clonmel. He just dragged her around for three miles. It was brilliant."
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Maloney, a university friend of the trainer, was thrilled and said: "It's so exciting - just wonderful. Henry's done a fantastic job and Rachael gave him a dream ride. I'm not going to apologise for getting so excited. I backed him at 80/1!"
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De Bromhead has been a big supporter of the jockey and said: "We've been so lucky to have her. She's a brilliant rider. What can you say - she just wins."
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He added: "I couldn't understand why we were 50/1. It was mad. He ran really well at Clonmel where he had to do all the donkey work, and he was beaten only two lengths by Alloha who was only 8/1 here. We thought we would get a stronger run race here and were keen to take the chance if he got in."
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The trainer and jockey won on the first day of The Festival 2019 with A Plus Tard in the Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase.
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AFTER BRYONY ITS RACHAEL FOR FESTIVAL GRADE ONE WIN
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Rachael Blackmore rode her second winner of the week when landing the £130,630 G1 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle on 50/1 outsider Minella Indo, trained by Henry de Bromhead.
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Blackmore follows Bryony Frost who yesterday became the first woman rider of a G1 race over hurdles or fences at the Festival, and Katie Walsh, who won last year's G1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper on Relegate. Her success was the fourth by a woman at this year's Festival, equalling the record total of 12 months ago.
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Blackmore, who scored on A Plus Tard in Tuesday's Close Brothers' Novices' Handicap Chase, said: "We thought that he was coming here with a great chance, but anything can happen. I am so grateful to everyone for giving me the opportunity to ride him and it's brilliant.
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"I thought I was doing a little bit too much everywhere and he was quite keen under me. I hadn't planned to be in front so soon, but it's grand when it works out.
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"Henry's team do a fantastic job with the horses at home and Davy Roche, the head man down there, does a lot of work. It's thanks to all the lads at home that make these things happen. I am just the lucky one who gets the leg up on days like today.
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"I wish I had the words [to describe the winning feeling] - riding a G1 winner at Cheltenham is just beyond belief. I am so grateful for everyone who has given me the opportunities to do this. You need to be on the right horse at the end of the day and I am the lucky person to be on those horses this week. I really am so delighted.
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"I thought the track, the trip and the ground would suit this lad today, and he is a really exciting horse for the future."
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