Golden ride earns stable Cheltenham Festival glory
JOCKEY Brendan Powell Jnr admitted his opening day Cheltenham Festival victory may take time to sink in after initially just being happy he had a ride.
The 17-year-old led 28-1 outsider Golden Chieftain to glory in Tuesday's JLT Speciality Handicap Chase, blowing apart the field to win in style and by ten lengths for Colin Tizzard's Milborne Port yard.
However, the Brocade Racing horse – third in outings at Exeter and Warwick last month – was not even his trainer's first choice for the race, with Tizzard's son Joe saddling Hey Big Spender.
Speaking immediately after the triumph Powell said: "It's amazing, it's brilliant. I have to pinch myself, I don't quite think I'm awake, it's unbelievable.
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"I probably went too far in the end but he has always had that class to do it. It's unbelievable, I came here today delighted with a ride, let alone getting a winner.
"It hasn't sunk in yet and I don't think it will for a few days. He's a very classy horse and in fairness he was probably well-handicapped."
Trainer Tizzard added after the success over three miles and half a furlong: "At Cheltenham 28-1 means nothing, Cue Card was 40-1.
"It's absolutely brilliant. He's a lovely handicapper horse and to run like that is unbelievable. He was the last one in (entered into the race). On Monday we were wondering which day to run and we only ran him because he got in."
On Powell's maiden Festival victory, Tizzard said: "He makes it look quite simple. He's a good boy, works hard and is a good kid.
"Bre- ndan has been good for a long time now, but he's getting better all the time. He's a cool boy, he's always in the right position and he listens."
Silviniaco Conte represents Paul Nicholls' chance of Gold Cup glory tomorrow, with the Ditcheat yard confident but refusing to get carried away.
For more Festival news see Page 95.