Skip to main content Skip to site footer


12th November 2022 Cheltenham

By Graham Clark and Nick Seddon

Banbridge (11-8 Favourite) was a winner at The Festival™ last season when successful in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle and is now unbeaten in two starts over fences following an authoritative success in the Grade Two From The Horses Mouth Podcast Arkle Trial Novices' Chase at Cheltenham today, day two of The November Meeting.

Partnered by JJ Slevin for trainer Joseph O’Brien, the six year old jumped superbly throughout. Always prominent, the son of Doyen pulled cleared after the last for a comfortable six-length victory over Tommy’s Oscar in the famous silks of owner Ronnie Bartlett, earning himself quotes of 10-1 for the Turners Novices’ Chase and 16-1 for the Sporting Life Arkle Novices’ Chase at The Festival with Betfair/Paddy Power.

Joseph O’Brien said: “I’m delighted for Ronnie and JJ gave him a lovely ride. It was an impressive performance. They (the British-trained horses) had high ratings so we knew it was a hot race but we came here for a bit of nice ground and to see how we would handle to the drop to two miles.

“His jumping looked good and was able to keep him in the race. I think he took a stride out at one across the back and my heart was in my mouth watching it a little bit but he made up a couple of lengths up at the fence which was impressive I thought.

“That was only his second run over fences but he seems to have taken to it well and he is an exciting horse going forwards that’s for sure. There is no denying that (all roads lead to March) but there is a lot of water that has to go under the bridge between now and then.

“We weren’t sure about coming back in trip. It is a different challenge but there was only one way to find out (if he would handle it). We knew that he was a pretty slick jumper and that was going to hopefully keep him in the race. We discussed it with Ronnie during the week as he had an option to go to Cork last week over two and a half but the ground was very heavy.

“We had him entered here and Ronnie decided in the week this was the right race for him. It was nice ground and he obviously has course form and I was in full agreement. I think we can be flexible with the trip and take it on a race by race basis. It is very nice to know he can perform well at two miles.

“This is a track that helps to have course form and we knew that from his novice hurdle campaign and it is not a bad track to handle.”

JJ Slevin said: “He had done plenty of point-to-point racing in Ireland and he was very good at Gowran. He has a great mind for the job and it was a great performance.

“It was a little concern coming back in trip but he jumped so well in Gowran. He is so quick from one side of an obstacle to another we weren’t too concerned really but with those decent horses in it you would have a little worry but he done it well.

“He is a hardened novice and I’d give him 10 out of 10 but then I’m very positive. He has an option trip wise now. We will head on to Christmas and either go two and a half at Limerick or two miles at Leopardstown. I’m very excited and I’m delighted to get such opportunities. This is what we get out of bed in the morning for.”

Winning owner Ronnie Bartlett commented: “It was a great thrill and it was great to watch. We always thought he was going to be a better chaser than a hurdler but we didn’t think he would be that good. It is good when it works out.

“Because of the stiffness of the two miles here it was going to make it closer to two and a half. We will let the horse do the talking and I’ll do the watching. Joseph will make the decision as to what trip we go but we will just see how he comes out of the race. He is pretty special and he is working his way there. Let’s just enjoy him.”

Ian Hamilton, owner and assistant trainer of runner-up Tommy’s Oscar, said:

“This was ‘Plan B’ after they abandoned Carlisle on Monday, but he ran well. He boiled over last time he was here so we’re pleased and we get our diesel money on the way home!

“Danny (McMenamin) said he needed it again but we could come back for the Arkle next year. There’s a race at Carlisle at the end of the month we could go for next but that may be a bit quick for him and he’s still in the Fighting Fifth too.”

Danny McMenamin added:  “We’re very pleased with him and he’s done nothing wrong today. He got a little bit tight turning in once they got racing but he settled a lot better today than he did in the Champion Hurdle. He prefers a flat track but he came down the hill and stayed up it alright – he got it away with it anyways.

“He’s got a nice future anyways and hopefully we can win a few nice prizes with him.”


Cookie Policy

We use “cookies” to help enhance your experience and improve the functionality of our website. You can find out more in our cookie policy. We also serve cookies, some with chocolate chips, on our racecourses.