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Press Release 13th March 2024 Cheltenham



Wednesday 13th March


Captain Guiness went one place better than in 2023 to win the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.

The nine-year-old was winning a Grade One race at his 14th attempt. The 2-9 Favourite El Fabiolo was pulled up by jockey Paul Townend after making a bad mistake at the fifth fence.

Winning jockey Rachael Blackmore told ITV Racing: “He travelled incredibly and jumped really well. The hill felt like a long hill today! It’s just incredible. I’m so pleased for his owner, Declan Landy. He’s been knocking on the door in these big races, but this is the biggest of his division, so…oh man, it’s unbelievable.”

On Henry de Bromhead’s ability to peak horses at the right time, she added: “He’s incredible, all of his team, it’s unbelievable, it’s a pleasure to be riding them. That’s some race to win.”

On what it means to add the Champion Chase to her CV, Blackmore added: “It’s incredible, just incredible and I’m so happy to do it on this horse. He always runs his race and he is a really enjoyable horse to ride, enthusiastic. Too enthusiastic here in the Arkle one year and that didn’t go to plan, but his style of running now is a lot more reserved. It’s magic.”

Blackmore went on to say: “I knew El Fabiolo was out of the equation but there was still quite a long way to go. It does change your brain a little bit, but you are still just trying to ride from fence to fence. 

“The horse in front (Edwardstone) is such a good jumper, but I’m a good jumper as well and I didn’t want him to have it too easy in front. It was a long way up the hill after the last and I was glad when we got to the line.

“He’s an incredible horse and just fantastic. I’m not shocked, because I thought his day would come but at the same time I can’t believe it came today.

“Although he was beaten a long way, he ran a really good race here last year behind an incredibly talented horse, and when you are riding for Henry around here this week he does just get them spot on, so I was very, very hopeful coming into the race. I’m just so delighted it’s finally happened, and on the biggest stage of all. It's an incredible race to win. It's unbelievable.”

Successful trainer Henry de Bromhead said: “He’s had a tricky season - at Christmas he had his atrial fibrillation. Anyway, all that was fine, he passed all his tests, and it’s great to see him back. We’ve always said he deserved to win a Grade One so much, and to win this is incredible, so expectations, whenever there’s an odds-on shot… It’s a horse race, you know?

“I’d need to see [where El Fabiolo made a bad mistake and was subsequently pulled up] it again, but Captain Guinness absolutely winged the first few fences, and I just wondered, did he question the favourite a little bit, but I could be wrong. And then the race completely opened up and it was incredible.

“You just leave it to her [Rachael]. I’ve said it all before, she’s such an incredible rider, and whatever it is about here, she’s amazing here as well, even better - as good as she is everywhere else, she’s even better here. We’ve had some incredible days.

“When I saw Gentleman De Mee coming at us, I thought, oh no, but he’s such a warrior, he just picked up.

“We’ve won four of these [Betway Queen Mother Champion Chases] now. You dream of winning races like this. It’s absolutely incredible.

“The horses have seemed well [in the build-up to the Festival] but you never really know for sure until you get out, but they seemed good. All our scopes were good last week, and we’d blood-test all the horses once a month and they were good, but a lot of hard work goes into it, and there’s some team behind us - with us, I should say, not behind us - some team with us, and to get these days is incredible.

“Captain Guinness is loved round the yard. Sam Cotterill, who looks after him, he [Captain Guinness] has been trying to kill him for the last two weeks - he’s  been bucking every day. He’s a legend - we’ve had him since he was four, and he’s a gorgeous horse.”

Declan Landy, the winning owner, told ITV Racing: “I’m absolutely shocked and delighted. I was just watching Captain Guinness, I couldn’t believe [what happened with] El Fabiolo. I’m shocked, unbelievably shocked, and delighted.”

Landy added: “It’s going to be hard to sink in, but we are delighted at the same time. Thrilled, absolutely thrilled, for Rachael as well, and the yard and Henry.”

Willie Mullins trainer of Gentleman De Mee (second) said: “He’s run a cracker. I’m delighted for Henry, delighted for Rachael, and our fellow has run a cracker, so we’re delighted.”

On El Fabiolo, Mullins said: “He got very low over a few of them, I know he was a little bit chancy before, but I was very concerned, and then he jumped the last one good, but of course then he went on to the next one and just stood back too far at it and didn’t get high enough. Disappointing.”

4.00pm Betway Queen Mother Champion 2m

1 Captain Guinness 17-2

2 Gentleman De Mee 16-1

3 Funambule Sivola 100-1

6 ran

Distances: 1½, 49

Time: 4m 10.91s

16th winner at The Festival for jockey Rachael Blackmore

23rd winner at The Festival for trainer Henry de Bromhead


Ireland 9

Great Britain 2


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