WHILE Henry de Bromhead, Rachael Blackmore and Honeysuckle grabbed the headlines on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival 2022 there was Kildare success also at the famous Cotswold track.
The crowds returned to Cheltenham and they provided a rousing reception for 15 in a row winner, Honeysuckle, but they also reserved some adulation for Brazil, the 10/1 winner of the Boodles Juvenile Hurdle. Owned by JP McManus, who was having his 68th winner at The Festival, Brazil is trained on the Curragh by Padraig Roche and he was ridden by Clane jockey, Mark Walsh.
Padraig Roche is son of the famous Christy Roche who won the Derby on Secreto in 1984 and also saddled three winners in Cheltenham. Brazil was the first ever winner in the UK for son Padraig with his first ever UK runner.
Speaking after the race Padraig Roche said, “It’s unbelievable, I’m so lucky to have a horse like him. JP and Noreen (McManus) are very good friends with my mum and dad and for them to give me a horse like that was unbelievable and it’s paid off so I’m absolutely over the moon. ”
“We thought he’d run well coming into today. He was improving with every run so we were hopeful but to go and win was just amazing. We knew he’d stay after jumping the last and he got his head in-front at the right time. This is my fourth year training and I’ve only got a handful of horses at home so it’s just unbelievable to have a winner here. I’m lucky to have good staff and to get it with a horse like him is extra special.”
Clane’s Mark Walsh, who was recording his sixth Cheltenham said “Paul [Townend]’s horse kept jumping right and was actually interfering with me a little bit at the second-last and I was having to pull and kick to get down his inner, because I knew my horse would stay all day, and the line came in time for us. At the second hurdle Paul’s jumped out and squashed me, and I lost a bit of ground, but we weren’t going much of a gallop so I could get back into position alright. ”
“Down at the start everyone wanted to make it, but when we jumped off nothing seemed to go on, so we were just hacking up the straight the first time, and we were actually hacking most of the way. I knew my fella stays so I sent him on down the hill to the third-last because I didn’t want it to be a sprint – I wanted it to be a proper staying race from there, and it ended up being that,” Walsh added.
“He’s had four runs before day so he knows what he’s doing. Padraig [Roche] had him in brilliant condition. I’m delighted for him – he’s a friend of mine and we grew up together, so I’d delighted to give him his first Festival winner. It’s his first runner here so he’s got 100% record so far! And it is very important that it is for Mr McManus, who is such a huge supporter of racing. It’s just great to get a winner on the first day. If you get one winner, it’s great,” the Clane man concluded.