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THE FESTIVAL™: ULTIMA HANDICAP CHASE – REACTION AND STATISTICS

Article 15th March 2022 Cheltenham

Scottish raider Corach Rambler takes the Grade Three Ultima Handicap Chase (3m 1f), 

The 10-1 chance gets up late to take the honours by two and three quarters lengths from Gericault Roque. 

It is second training success at The Festival for Lucinda Russell. 

It is a first Festival victory for jockey Derek Fox.  

 

Winning trainer Lucinda Russell said:  

“He is such a lovely horse. His breeder has a share in him and Scu (her partner Peter Scudamore) does everything at home with him and we just love him. He is quirky and he is odd but he so deserved to win a race at Cheltenham. I’m just delighted for everyone.  

“It was a super ride from Derek (Fox). After the false starts and stuff he was at the back and I turned to one of the owners and said we are going to have a vintage Derek Fox hold up ride and we did. It is funny as it kind of suits the horse as well as he loves coming through horses.  

“We kind of knew he would bound up the hill as he has won around here before. I’m just so pleased and delighted. He and Scu are both as quirky as each other! They just go off and I want them to do two canters and they just go off and canter around the grass. It is just hopeless as you can’t control either of them, but it works.  

“Some of these horses need that individual touch and he just loves it. He is brave and jumps well. Well done Derek as well. I’ve just thought about Ahoy Senor now and I don’t think I can take it. He is Scu’s favourite horse, so it means so much. When we were driving here if we had loads of horses at the Festival it wouldn’t matter but the fact we are so invested in these two it means so much to us.  

“It is great for the owners (The Ramblers) as a lot of them haven’t had horses here before. He worked quite well with Ahoy Senor and most horses can’t lay a hand on him, but he worked quite close to him. I didn’t want him to go to Ascot last time but Scu did and he said afterwards he would have been first or second and he is right but he would have probably gone up five pounds for that. Maybe it was a good thing he unseated. 

“Next year he will definitely be an Aintree horse.” 

 

Peter Scudamore, partner of winning trainer Lucinda Russell said: 

“I think sometimes as a jockey, you don't get close to horses. But over the last few years training, I've felt that I've got closer and closer to them. And riding out again has helped me understand them a little bit more. He's just grown up in the last few years. I've been lucky and Lucinda has done a fantastic job training him.  

“But what a ride. I don't think Derek Fox gets anywhere near [enough recognition. I mean, I would say that. But he's an extraordinary man that's got a quite unbelievable association and understanding of horses that only a few of the elite jockeys have got.  

“I find it difficult that people call him quirky – you've got to understand him. If he wants to come late, he'll pick up. He's the only horse that I've ever seen that can work with Ahoy Senor. So that's a good sign for tomorrow.  

“Ahoy Senor is well. We are always so dependent on our staff. So, I'd like to say thank you to all the staff at home and especially to Jaimie Duff, our travelling head girl.” 

 

Winning jockey Derek Fox said: 

“He was slow away at the start and over the first two, but Scu had said to be patient if they were going quick. I probably ended up further back than we had planned, but I just had to ride him from where I was left after the second fence. The horse is in great order.  

“Scu bought him at the sales and he’s always loved him. He rides him out himself. I just have to thank Lucinda and Scu for giving me ride on him - he was in great order for today. He flew home, and he’s got plenty of ability. I knew if I got a good run I’d be placed, and I was just working at getting into the race. Up the hill he stayed very well and stuck his head down in the last 50 yards. It worked out really well - I’m just delighted. 

“Even in small-runner novice chases he can drop the bridle a bit, and he won round here earlier in the year in a novice chase and did pull up a wee bit in front, so it was probably good he had something to aim at, but he’s a brilliant horse for me to have the ride on and I’m very lucky. 

“It’s lovely to win big races, especially somewhere like here - I’m over the moon. Lucinda and Scu are very good to me and give me loads of opportunities, so it’s nice to be able to repay them a small bit by winning races like this. I’m very lucky to be riding for them.” 

 

David Pipe, trainer of runner-up Gericault Roque, said:  

“He’s run a cracker, and the trainer has placed him so well that he’s still a novice for next season! The intention was to go for a big one somewhere and if he won it would be fantastic and if he got beat he was still a novice. We could have gone for Midlands National on Saturday but we came here because we knew he’d get this trip, whereas there was a bit of a doubt about Uttoxeter. That’s a fantastic run from 5lb out of the handicap."

 

Tom Scudamore, jockey aboard second Gericault Roque, said:  

“I've had a great ride, and he’s got Grand National written all over him. I thought we had it at the last. Bloody father! He rides the winner every day and he keeps sending my daughters pictures of him riding. I’ve run a great race though and I’ve no excuses. I’ll look forward to riding him at Aintree one day."  

 

Colin Tizzard, trainer of third-placed Oscar Elite said:  

“He fell here in his first novice chase in November, and I definitely think it affected him. Running in the race today I thought he was going to win for a moment, so he’s lost absolutely nothing in defeat. He’s stayed on well and it was just a lovely run and we really enjoyed it. In terms of what’s next, he hasn’t done much this season so I’m sure he’ll run again this season once if not twice.” 

 

Harry Cobden, rider of third Oscar Elite said:  

“He gave me a lovely ride. He travelled well and jumped nicely and only had a featherweight on his back so we wanted to make a bit of use of him. He wasn’t quick enough to keep up for the first half of the race and we came off the bridle a bit when going down the back the last time. We then latched on a bit turning in and I thought I was going to win for a minute. The Tizzards have had a few complications with him and he’s obviously come back right and he’s probably end up a little well in at the weights – so it’s just fantastic to get a great spin here.” 

 

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