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Press Release 15th March 2023 Cheltenham


Wednesday 15th March

Delta Work repeated his success of 2022 in this year’s renewal of the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.

It was a record-equalling fifth victory in the contest for trainer Gordon Elliott and a record-equalling fourth success for jockey Keith Donoghue.

Successful owner Michael O’Leary said: “He has been a great horse around Cheltenham. He won a Pertemps here one year and that is his second Cross Country Chase winner and it is wonderful to have a winner around here. It is a great training performance by Gordon to win that race again. Every winner at the Festival is a big winner. It is so hard to win races here. With Gordon and the team at Cullentra (House) are one of the top teams and we are privileged to have days like this and winners like Delta.

“I was devastated 12 months ago (after beating Tiger Roll) and I was like kick him out (tongue in cheek) but now I’m very grateful. I thought Galvin was going easier and Davy (Russell) was tracking us the whole way. Galvin is a very good horse and he is owned by Ronnie Bartlett, who is a very good friend of mine, and if it wasn’t going to be won by us I would have liked to have seen Ronnie win it as at least it was going to stay at Gordon’s.

“I used to be the most critical of this Cross Country race and why do we bother. When you are struggling for a winner at Cheltenham I will take the Cross Country, the Martin Pipe, anything at all.

“It is a different test and it is very good for these older horses that are not quite Grade One level anymore. It is almost a bit like a veterans race. Galvin and Delta Work were two very good horses taking each other on. It is not everyone’s cup of tea but a winner at the Festival is a winner.

“Some horses do take to it and some don’t. Tiger took to it and Delta has taken to it well again. It (the Grand National) will be on the agenda but I have won the Grand National three times already and no owner I think has won it more than three times so I’ve had my fill.

“He will go to Aintree, but will he win, no he won’t.”

Gordon Elliott said: “I love the Cross Country race and it is great to have the one-two. Galvin ran a great race. He said there was a couple of soft spots that didn’t suit him that well. The O’Leary’s have been brilliant to me and to train a winner around Cheltenham for them is unbelievable as they are massive supporters of Cullentra. Keith Donoghue started off with me when he was 14 and he is having his best ever season. He went freelance so I said when Jack (Kennedy) couldn’t ride I said there is no better man to have on him.

“Once the two of them got over the last I didn’t mind who won. Galvin is going to come on from it. If I’m being honest I was hoping it was going to be Delta’s day. We have just trained him for this race and the Grand National that is the plan. Both horses will go for the Grand National. It is great to see Jack Kennedy here in the winner’s enclosure with us as they are all his horses to ride and when he gets back he will be on them. It is brilliant (that Jack is here) as he needs to know when he is back all these horses are here for him. I’ve full confidence in him and he will be back on them as he is first jockey at Cullentra.

“I don’t care what wins I just love winning. A winner is all I want. No (it doesn’t feel different to 12 months ago) as a winner is all I want. We had one beaten a short head early on but to  get one on the board again I’m absolutely delighted.”

Jack Kennedy, who rode Delta Work to victory in 2022 but is currently side-lined with a broken leg, said: “It is tough not to be on them but I’m delighted for everyone. I had everything booked to be here so I thought I might as well come over. Hopefully I will be back for Aintree and I think it is a realistic target fingers crossed.

“Hopefully I will be on Delta Work in the Grand National. He is better off than last year in the Grand National. I'm just hoping I will be on his back again in it.”

Keith Donoghue said: “It was very straightforward. He went a good gallop on the ground; I just asked him to travel and he went on the ground, he jumped brilliantly and it couldn't have gone any easier for me.

“Looking on ratings and betting, Galvin was my main danger, and I could see something coming to me at the second-last and I looked over, and as I looked over I was a little bit worried that it was him coming - I was hoping it would be something else, but when I asked my lad to go down to the last I felt he was quickening, and I knew he would stay well. Obviously that ground was going to disadvantage Galvin. I was a little bit slow at the last but when he was coming up the hill his ears were pricked and he was just doing enough.

“He’s very good at this race; he’s so quick. For a horse who probably wasn’t a great jumper over a normal fence, he’s brilliant over these and I have to thank Gordon for putting me on him. It’s just great to have a winner at Cheltenham.

“He’s probably a bit scopier over these obstacles than Tiger Roll was; he probably jumps them a bit more, whereas Tiger was probably quicker and went through them a bit more,  but Tiger just did enough over them - that was his way of doing it and he was very good, whereas this lad can actually lose a little bit of time in the air, but he’s still very good.

“I think he has to go to the Grand National now. He bolted up here and didn’t have a hard race. He was third last year so he probably has to improve a little bit, but he has every right to go for it.”

Gordon Elliott commented on the runner-up Galvin (11-4): “Delta had the experience but Galvin was brilliant. He ran his heart out and they’re two nice horses to come back for this race with for the next couple of years and both now head for the English National.

“I think better ground would have inconvenienced Delta more and given Galvin a better chance today but to be fair to Delta he stays very well. It’s great to have a winner as we’ve hit the frame a few times, but we’ve two on the board now and we’re very happy.”

Willie Mullins, trainer of third home Franco De Port, said: "We are very happy with that as it was his first run over the cross country fences and he has run very well. He has time on his side as he is only eight years old and will be back for this race in 12 months’ time.

" He has an entry in the Aintree Grand National and we will look at that closer to the time but I am keen on aiming him at the Grand Steeplechase de Paris at Auteuil in the middle of May as i think the race will suit him."

4.10pm Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase 3m 6f

  1. Delta Work 11/10F
  2. Galvin 11/4
  3. Franco De Port 9/2


16 ran

Distances: 2½, 26, 7½

4th winner at The Festival for jockey Keith Donoghue

36th winner at The Festival for trainer Gordon Elliott

33rd winner at The Festival for owner Gigginstown House Stud


Ireland 8 - Great Britain 4


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