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Press Release 27th January 2024 Cheltenham

By Graham Clark

The Grade One My Pension Expert Clarence House Chase (2m ½f) was rerouted to Cheltenham today, Festival Trials Day, after freezing conditions forced its abandonment at Ascot a week ago.


With star Irish two-miler El Fabiolo bypassing the rescheduled contest, it looked a straightforward opportunity for 1-4 Favourite Jonbon. However, the market leader did not jump with his usual fluency and after leading after the last, he could not repel the renewed challenge of 22-1 chance Elixir De Nutz, who rallied to win by a neck.


It was a first Grade One success for his 18 year old jockey Freddie Gingell and the first for his uncle Joe Tizzard as a trainer.


Freddie Gingell paid tribute to his mother Kim, who died of cancer aged 43 in May 2020.


He said: “It is an amazing day. We came here thinking we might run a big race finishing second or third. I got a lovely start and he travelled and jumped. Editeur Du Gite hit either the third or the fourth, and that really boosted us up there.


“From there he was travelling away lovely. Coming to the top of the hill I was going quite well there, and we know he gets two and a half miles so I wanted to make it a real staying test where they had to come and catch me.


“We got headed coming to the last, and he has then winged the last, but he was amazing after that.


“I’m three from three on him this season and he has been an amazing horse for this season, but he has been an amazing horse in general. Thanks go to Terry Warner (owner) as he has been amazing to me.


“They had the choice of either me or Brendan (Powell) and Terry was very good to let me ride him and I have now won two nice races on him.


“That was definitely the most emotional success I’ve had today. Mum was definitely up there looking down on me today. She has been a massive part of me in helping me to become a jockey.


Crossing the line today I looked up to her and she looked back, and I could tell she was up there doing something.”


Joe Tizzard said: “It is a special day. I didn’t come here thinking we were going to win a Grade One, but we were happy to take our chance with a horse that has been brilliant all season. He bounces off this better ground so the drying ground all week has helped.


“Jonbon, what a mistake he made at the top of the hill, but he came back there and looked like he had us beaten then we probably out jumped him at the last. It was our day today and it is special. We’ve been on the opposite end of it but that is horse racing, and we will take this today.


“At the start of the season I didn’t think I had a genuine Grade One horse, but I’ve bagged one. Haldon Gold Cup day in a handicap was supposed to be a big one, then Newbury was even better again and then we have today.


“He (Freddie Gingell) could have panicked and gone for his stick and sent him on, but he just saved a little bit. I wouldn’t mind being in his position. He is 18 years old and he has got it all in front of him. He is the right size, and he is very good over a fence. Days like this don’t phase him and he can take it. I’m bias, but he has done me proud.


“The big days don’t phase him, but I need to wake him up for a Monday or Tuesday at Plumpton and places, but on the big day he doesn’t panic and he proved that today. I’m chuffed to bits for Fred as he gets a real good tune out of that horse.


“She (Kim Gingell) would be so proud and that is what she put into Freddie to make him the man that he is.


“I had an emotional day back at Exeter with Fred, but it always just does stir the emotions a bit. Terry (Warner) has been a big supporter of the yard as well.”


Nicky Henderson, trainer of Jonbon, said: “He (James Bowen, jockey) said he did remarkably well to get back to where he did, and he had a fair bit of ground to make up. It was a pity he didn’t see a good stride at the last as he lost a bit of momentum there and that let the other horse back in.


“He has lost the battle but not the war. He is quite a busy person, and he lives on his wits a little bit, and the extra week was not what he wanted as he is a clock that you wind up. Now we can unwind it and start again. We were really looking forward to El Fabiolo last weekend and I can’t believe that has changed anything dramatically.


“We have just got to let him off a bit and start the preparation for March.”


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