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Press Release 1st January 2023 Cheltenham

By Graham Clark

The Real Whacker (10-1) made it two from two over fences to hand trainer Patrick Neville the first Grade Two victory of his career in the Paddy Power Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham today.

Having made all to make a winning chase debut over an extended three miles at Cheltenham in November, today was very a case of more of the same as the 10-1 chance again made all to come home three and a quarter lengths to the good over 13-8 Favourite Monmiral. It was a near 24-1 double for winning jockey Sam Twiston-Davies following the success of Weveallbeencaught in the opening Ballymore Maiden Hurdle.

Neville said: “I’ve minded him as I know he is a good one. If he was in a bigger yard he would have got lost. He is a big frame and he is still babyish. It is brilliant. For some strange reason I’m on my own here today with one owner and there are four owners.

“I was thinking in my head that the horse had improved for his last run and I knew he had improved at home. I took my time with him and I saw this race and said we will go for it and make it a test of jumping.

“Looking at Monmiral you had to respect him as he is a Grade One winner but this horse is progressing and is on the up. Hopefully he will be a Grade One winner soon.

“He got into a lovely rhythm. Gavin Sheehan rode him the last day and filled him with confidence. Gavin wasn’t available today which was disappointing as he is at Catterick.

“I’ve been looking at Sam since a young lad riding around here and he has ridden loads of winners and he knows it like the back of his hand. He was a great sub but between the two of them they are top class men but it helps when they have a nice horse underneath them

“We will come back for The Festival and enter him in a couple of them. We might even go for the Gold Cup!”

David Mann, part owner, said: “I was working until 3am this morning then I got a 6.15am flight over to Bristol. I didn’t get to bed - I just flew in. I had a beer and said keep yourself awake.

“We were here at the November meeting but this was a big upgrade and a big step up against the big boys. It is great that Paddy Neville, who is where I come from back home in Ireland as well. It is great that me and Paddy and the other boys involved in the horse can mix it with the best.”

Paul Nicholls, trainer of runner-up Monmiral said: “He is probably going to want three miles in time but not until he really matures. He is probably still a bit weak. He is more of a baby now than he was at three.

“He has run okay and run a nice race. Clan was a bit like that when he was that age. It took him until six to get to that next level. He had only just turned five. He is a weak and raw boned horse. It is bit like Bravemansgame as everyone knocked his form as a five year old and look at him now. Monmiral will be the same he just needs time.”


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