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Press Release 16th March 2023 Cheltenham


Thursday 16th March

The 33-1 chance Sire du Berlais added to his victories in 2019 and 2020 Pertemps Final by landing todays Grade One Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle.

The placings of the second and third as they passed the post was reversed following a stewards ‘ enquiry.

Winning trainer Gordon Elliott said: “After a hurdle or two I knew we were in a good rhythm. Of course it is a surprise, but Sire Du Berlais can do that; he’s either first or last, but he’s well able, anyway. In fairness to him, he’s very tough. Mark [Walsh] gave him a brilliant ride. It’s great to win the race - obviously we were short-headed in a Grade One yesterday, so it’s great to win. It’s a great game here. 

“We love training horses and we love coming here. It’s brilliant.

“We couldn’t get him qualified for the Pertemps Final, but anyway, it worked out well. It didn’t work out for us, with ground one day, and his handicap, he got a good mark off the handicapper, so we said we’d come here. To be honest, he doesn’t do anything too exciting - he minds himself, which is why he is still going at his age [11]. I didn’t even think about winning this with him - I thought I was going to win it with the other horse!”

Successful owner JP McManus said: “I thought he ran well at Navan the last day as he was giving a lot of weight away and I thought he was running on well at the end and I thought he deserved to take his chance.

“I’ve not had too many 33-1 winners old but old Creon (2004 Pertemps Final 50-1) won at a big price and Kadoun (2006 Pertemps Final 50-1) but this one I’m afraid went unbacked but still we will just enjoy it just the same. You better ask somebody else why he is so good around Cheltenham. Gordon has done some job on him.

“We were kind of training him for the Pertemps but he came over here to qualify and for some reason he didn’t run. I don’t think he travelled over well or something so Gordon didn’t run him and as a result he has ended up in the Stayers’ Hurdle. I thought he had a little chance. I thought after the last he would run up the hill well but I didn’t know how the others would. I knew he would give it his lot.”

Mark Walsh, the winning jockey, said: “He is brilliant and he loves this place. He never knows when he is beaten. A good gallop suited and he travelled great for him as he usually he can be on and off the bridle but he travelled great and jumped great. He was the same when ran at Aintree last season as he didn’t have a great run here before winning the Grade One but Gordon had him spot on today so all credit to him.

“He loves it around here and he is a joy to ride so it is brilliant to win on him. It wasn’t until I went by the horse in front of me up the hill that I thought I had it won but he has really stuck his head down up the hill and galloped all the way to the line. He is a hardy little horse. I don’t know what it is about here but he always seems to run a good race around here.

“They always say horses for courses and he loves it here and it is great to get a big one on him today. I’m delighted he was able to be here and take part in this and win it. It is great to get another big one at the Festival.”

Davy Russell, jockey of the second-placed Teahupoo (9-4 Favourite), said: “I just couldn’t get upsides the winner, but he ran a noble race. Gordon won’t be overly upset about it but I am! It’s great for the connections of the winner, he’s a fabulous horse. I’ve had the pleasure of riding him a couple of times and he really is a yard favourite. This lad is still only six and he’s as game as they come so he’s got a bright future.”

Jeremy Scott, trainer of the third Dashel Drasher (40-1), said: “The ground had sort of come right for him. We hadn’t had the best of run ups to be honest and we were just thinking that maybe we could have done with another 10 days but he’s run his heart out and I couldn’t be prouder.

“My wife Camilla was involved with all the breeding and that was the first time she’s actually come to watch him race, so it was actually quite emotional. We actually couldn’t believe he was still going and then he jumped the last in front, it was amazing. He’s so tough and such a game horse.”

Gavin Cromwell, trainer of the fourth-placed Flooring Porter (9-2), the winner in 2021 and 2022, said: “He looked back to his old self, absolutely. He ran a grand race and he’s gone out on his shield. I suppobse five or six weeks ago it was looking like he wouldn’t be here so we’ll take that now. He’d been pleasing me in the run-up and the last three weeks he’s been in great form, so he’s run a solid race.”

Emma Lavelle's husband and assistant trainer, Barry Fenton, said of Paisley Park, who won the race in 2019 and has been placed twice since,who finished seventh today, said: "He has run a bit below par but two runs back he won a Grade One at Kempton so he will be going back on the lorry tonight as usual.

"A few years ago he was beaten a long way in the Albert Bartlett at the Festival but then came back and won his next six races so any talk of retirement is a bit premature to say the least."

3.30pm Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1) 3m

  1. Sire Du Berlais 33-1
  2. Teahupoo 9-4F
  3. Dashel Drasher 40-1

11 ran

Distances: nse, ¾, 2¾

Time: 5m 54.38s

8th winner at The Festival for jockey Mark Walsh

37th winner at The Festival for trainer Henry de Bromhead

71st win at The Festival for owner JP McManus

The BHA’s Shaun Parker following the stewards’ enquiry in the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle, told ITV Racing: “On the approach to the last race, we just took the line that Mr Russell was coming in to the final hurdle at the third panel. It was obvious the movement to the left by Dashel Drasher, Rex Dingle’s mount, approaching the jump and having jumped it to the left, resulted in Mr Russell actually ending up taking that jump at the fifth panel. We just felt that ground that he was taken off his intended line at that crucial stage in the race and made the difference considering, on the run to the line, he has finished under a wet sail and beaten by a rapidly diminishing short head. We felt that based on what happened at that final hurdle, that the result was to amend the result.

“We have to make the decision based on what we see in the video. So in that respect, we were comfortable in terms of the decision we made that we have made the right decision. Obviously it’s not ideal in any race to change the result, but we had to make that call."

On whether he would be comfortable with the stewards’ reasoning being shown live, rather than just the jockeys’ (as is the current case), he said: “Every single placings enquiry on these race days are available, they are recorded, they do go out to the general public. In terms of the deliberations, I think it’s the same as in any court of law – where you have these private deliberations… no it’s not [a court] I’m just saying that generally the deliberation phase of all those are in private where the panel can vent their opinions quite freely and I think that’s probably the right way to go.”


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