Somerset couple flying high after Cheltenham Festival first win with Golden Chieftain
A couple from Somerset admitted they were ‘still pinching ourselves’ after their first ever victory at the Cheltenham Festival.
Garth and Anne Broom have won once at the racecourse before, but never been in the winners’ enclosure at the Festival itself – until yesterday.
Their horse, Golden Chieftain, romped home ten lengths clear of a large field in the third race of the day, netting them a handy £39,222 in prize money. The couple, from Bradford-on-Tone, near Taunton, own ten horses, split evenly between David Pipe’s stables at Nicholashayne, near Wellington, and with trainer Colin Tizzard at Milborne Port, near Sherborne in Dorset.
Golden Chieftain’s victory was a welcome win for Tizzard, and a first Festival victory for Brendan Powell Jnr, the son of former top jump jockey.
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“It really is unbelievable,” said Mr Broom. “We’re still having to pinch ourselves – it hasn’t sunk in. I think it only will when we watch it back on TV tonight.”
“It’s something we didn’t think would ever happen. They say you come to Cheltenham with good horses and get found out, but to win by ten lengths is something else,” he added.
“For us, owning horses is sort of a business, sort of a hobby, but I guess it’s a guilty pleasure for us,” said Mrs Broom. “You come and you’d be hoping for maybe a place. The nearest we’ve ever come is a seventh place, so we’d be pleased to have been sixth.”
The couple returned to Somerset last night and will be back at Cheltenham today – they have another horse running today. “We haven’t got any plans to celebrate, we didn’t think this would happen to be honest,” added Mr Broom. “I think we might stop at a steakhouse on the way back now, though.”
The win for Colin Tizzard was just as exciting – especially because he only entered the horse with minutes to spare before the deadline last week. “It all went to plan. We were half-worried he wouldn’t get the trip – we didn’t even know he was good enough to win a handicap at Cheltenham like this. Brendan 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. It’s super when it all works out,” he added.
The Waley-Cohen family received a boost ahead of Long Run’s bid to win back the Gold Cup when a horse they bred won the Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase.
Sam rode Rajdhani Express to a hard-fought success in the colours of his father Robert, the chairman of Cheltenham Racecourse.
Sam said: “The horse was so courageous and jumped beautifully. To have a winner here on a horse we bred at home and riding for Dad, what more could you ask for?”
Although the Gold Cup is still to come, it has also been a memorable few days for the rider following the birth of his first child at the weekend.
He said: “They say good things come in threes, so fingers crossed. He jumped so beautifully.
“This place can be a theatre of dreams but it can also be the cauldron of despair when things don’t go right, so you’ve got to enjoy these moments.
“It’s a big day on Friday with Long Run, but they say racing is all about confidence and what better to go into the Gold Cup than on the back of a winner.”