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1st January 2024 Cheltenham

By Graham Clark

Stumptown was described by his jubilant connections as a ‘dude of a horse’ after appearing revitalised in first time blinkers after continuing Gavin Cromwell’s fine run of form at Cheltenham in the Paddy Power Handicap Chase on New Year’s Day.

Little had gone right for the seven-year-old since finishing second in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March, however there was to be no stopping the Laverock gelding on this occasion. 

With something to prove after pulling up in the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury on his latest start Stumptown answered any that doubted his ability with an impressive display in the extended three miles and one furlong contest.  

Working his way into contention rounding the home turn the 5-1 chance strode on into the lead on the run to the last. And after measuring the final fence well Stumptown bounded clear to score by five lengths. 

Ger Teahon, spokesman for the Furze Bush Syndicate, said: “He schooled a week ago (in the blinkers) and it really sharpened him up. He hasn’t run badly all season, he has just jumped really poorly. 

“We got close into one second time down the back, but Keith (Donoghue) said he jumped really well, and he made ground in the air, which we hadn’t seen probably since last March. 

“He is a dude of a horse as he gives everything. He stays really well, and he is a really honest horse and what a pilot we had in Keith Donoghue. 

“We were gutted (at Newbury). We went in there, and we really fancied him, but he jumped the first and he got hammered. That really set him back and I think our race was run then. He didn’t become a bad horse overnight. 

“I’m delighted for the horse and for Gavin and the team back home. They do super work and it is a bit of a dream come true. 

“When you walk into the yard you can feel the great energy. He is always trying to do different things and he is always innovating so he deserves it.”

Following the race William Hill made Stumptown a 10-1 chance to go one better than last season in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival while the same firm went 12-1 for the Ultima Handicap Chase at the same meeting.  

And an outing in one of those contests appears likely now according to connections. 

Teahon said: “We would love to come back to The Festival. We will go home and have a look. You have got five owners in him that have come to the Cheltenham Festival for the last 12 years so that will probably get the priority if we can (over the Grand National at Aintree).”


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