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Press Release 14th March 2024 Cheltenham



Thursday 14th March

The relief on Gordon Elliott’s face was evident as 5/4 favourite Teahupoo crossed the finishing line in front in the Grade 1 Paddy Power Stayer’s Hurdle to give his powerful Irish trainer a first win of the week.

“It’s just great to get a winner – we’ve hit the crossbar all week,” said Elliott, for whom it was the 38th Festival success of his career. “The horses are running well and there are no excuses and no hard-luck stories either, but to win the Stayers’ Hurdle is just unbelievable - for the whole team and for Jack [Kennedy, jockey] and for [owners] Robcour. It’s been a long couple of days, but no horse didn’t win that should have won. 

“It’s a great place and we’ve always been back-end heavy so far as our best chances were concerned. We’ve loads of chances still, but this one and Brighterdaysahead [Ryanair Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle on Friday, 15 March] were probably our best of the week. We’ve one on the board now, so we are happy.

“This was always the plan with Teahupoo. He runs well fresh and so we came straight here.

“I was a bit anxious at the top of the hill when he missed the second-last, and then he probably got there a bit soon as he [Kennedy] had to give him a squeeze, but I had loads of confidence in Jack as he’s a world-class jockey and you don’t need to tell him what to do. He’s a nice lad, too.”

Asked to comment on Willie Mullins’ supreme run of success, Elliott joked: “I see Willie every day of the week - you only see him a couple of times a year - so you can imagine what it feels like, but he’s a gentleman and to be in the same era as him is unbelievable.” 

Jack Kennedy said: “He’s an amazing horse; he makes my job very easy. You can put him wherever you want in a race and he jumps great. He is a pleasure to ride. We missed the second last, but other than that it was all straightforward. He’s an honest horse and he came up the hill very well.”

Asked how he has been feeling after a stream of places but no winners, he replied: “I wasn’t too bad, because the horses have been running well, but it started getting a little bit annoying yesterday evening, so it’s brilliant to get off the mark.”

Gavin Cromwell, trainer of runner-up Flooring Porter, who won this race in 2021 and 2022,, said: “I’m delighted with the run. You hate standing in second place, but that is just the nature of the beast. I don’t think we could have done anything different or have ridden him any differently. It was a very game performance. He was headed, but he tried all the way to the line and he was a good second. When you are making the running like that you can be setting it up for everything in behind you, so you are always conscious of that, but at the same time I was happy to see him go on.

“The winner is a worthy winner, and we won’t take that away from him as he is very good. That was a brilliant run and you would have to consider going to Aintree. We will digest this first and see. He has been a warrior for us and, please God, he is not finished yet.”

Joseph O’Brien, trainer of third-placed Home By The Lee, said: “JJ [Slevin] gave him a lovely ride and he galloped on well to the line. I was very proud of his performance. We won’t make any plans yet as to what we will do next, but I’m delighted with the performance.

“I thought we had an each-way chance coming here today if we could get him back to his best. Thankfully, he came back to his best today and gave everyone a good run for their money.”

Paul Gilligan, who trained Buddy One to finish fourth, said: “It was an absolutely super run. If the ground was just a touch better it would have suited him better, but I’m not complaining as when you get into this semi-circle [the winner’s enclosure], this is where you want to be. We were in the winning spot here in November and we will try and get back there sometime.

“The horse pulled up at Leopardstown, but he was very sore in his back afterwards. He has now proven he is the horse we think he is. At one stage he looked like the winner. He would have quickened a little better if the ground was better, but Jack [Gilligan] gave him a fantastic ride. He did exactly what we said we would do. As I’ve said all along, it is horses for courses and he loves this place.

“I won’t go to Punchestown, but I think he might go to Aintree as he ran very well there last year. I will talk to his owners to see what we do.”


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

  1. Teahupoo 5/4F
  2. Flooring Porter 9/1
  3. Home By The Lee 16/1


12 ran

Distances: 33/4l, 21/4l, 21/4l

Time: 6, 7.79s

11th winner at The Festival for jockey Jack Kennedy

38th winner at The Festival for trainer Gordon Elliott


Ireland 11

Great Britain 6


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