1st (20) Wichita Lineman 11/8F
Wichita Lineman on Song 16/03/07
Tony McCoy finally secured his long-awaited first winner of The Festival
this year when Wichita Lineman captured the second race on the final
day, the Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle.
The winner showed he was battler when prevailing by 12 lengths, having
been off the bridle from a long way out, although his task was made easier
with the final flight departure of Black Harry.
Winning trainer Jonjo O’Neill said: “Wichita Lineman is tough - a bit like his jockey!
“He is a lazy horse and thinks everything is just grand unless
you tell him to do something.
“In all he’s races he always comes under pressure - that’s
just the way he is.
“I see him as a chaser in the long-term although I don’t know when that will be.”
Sponsors Ladbrokes make Wichita Lineman a 10/1 shot for the World Hurdle
at The Festival 2008, with his stable companion Black Jack Ketchum at
5/1. Jonjo O’Neill reported Black Jack Ketchum to be a “grand,
just a little bit stiff” after his fall in yesterday’s Ladbrokes
Tony McCoy added: "It's good to get a winner. Obviously things haven't gone good. I was really annoyed yesterday because I thought Black Jack Ketchum could have broken his neck, and if that would have happened it would have killed me, let alone him. I'm pleased he's okay, which is the most important thing.
"But if you're ever in trouble and not riding a winner, this horse has got the heart of a lion. You never know when he's had enough - he's a proper racehorse. He's raced like that the last couple of times. I was a bit worried today that if I got behind too many, I might not get him travelling.
"Myself and Jonjo thought a lot of him since he won his first hurdle race. He's got a great attitude and he's tough - real tough."
McMANUS ENJOYS THIRD CELEBRATION OF THE WEEK
JP McManus had his third winner of the Festival when Wichita Lineman,
left clear when Black Harry crashed out at the final flight, landed some
massive bets to win the Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle.
“Sorry lads,” said McManus as he walked past the bookmakers en route to greet Wichita Lineman, but the leading Irish owner declared:”I never had a bet - I can do without 11-8 chances, and I am just delighted he has won.”
Tony McCoy has told everyone at the Cheltenham previews that Wichita
Lineman was his banker of the meeting, and McManus was relieved for his
jockey that he had gained an overdue first success of the week.
McManus added:”Tony is a strong jockey, and I always felt that
he had Black Harry covered. We were just starting to get on top when
the other horse fell, and we knew that our fellow would tough it out.
“I suppose we could claim this as ‘a nearly Irish’ victory,
and, while yesterday was a bit special with Alan Berry winning on his
first Cheltenham ride, Butler’s Cabin, in the four-miler, this
is equally satisfying, even though I never had a penny on.
“You always regret not backing your horses when they win, but we have a lot to look forward to with Wichita Lineman.”
The owner’s other winner was with Heads Onthe Ground in the Sporting Index Cross Country Handicap Chase on the opening day.
AIR FORCE FLYING TO THE TOP
Trainer Charlie Mann has high hopes for Air Force One next season after
the German-bred benefited from Black Harry’s last-fence fall to
take second place in the Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle.
“I’ve always thought the world of him and he’s a chaser
in the making. I think he’ll be a Gold Cup horse in two years time,” said
Mann. “He ran a great race in the German St Leger and we bought
him for the Triumph last year but was a bit weak to run in it.
“He won’t run again this season and will come back over fences in the autumn. Noel (Fehily) said he ran a bit flat today so if he can run like that when he’s flat then he’s got to be a very good horse.”
Alan King can do little wrong this week and Itsa Legend defied his 100/1
odds to finish third.
“I’m not sure he should have been 100/1 as he always keeps battling away,” said King. “I thought he was pretty good three years but then he had to have a long time off. He’s been progressive all year and if he’s OK we’ll try and find a little race then go novice chasing in the autumn. He won’t go to Aintree.”
Colin Tizzard, trainer of fourth-placed Flight Leader, said: "The ground was a factor - on that ground he was flat out for the last two miles. Softer going would help. He could never hold a position, and they went so fast he didn't pull, which he has in his two previous runs. That's championship racing for you. We'll take him home and see how he is before making plans."
FACTS AND FIGURES BRIT INSURANCE NOVICES’ HURDLE
1.The Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle was added to The Festival in 2005 and provides a valuable opportunity for staying novice hurdlers as it is run over three miles.
2.The inaugural running went to Moulin Riche, trained by Francois Doumen in France and partnered to success by Robert Thornton.
3. Last year’s renewal saw Black Jack Ketchum, trained by Jonjo O’Neill and ridden by Tony McCoy, extend his unbeaten record to six with an impressive nine-length success.
THE 2006 BRIT INSURANCE NOVICES’ HURDLE RESULT IN DETAIL
1 BLACK JACK KETCHUM (IRE) (Gay Smith) Jonjo O'Neill 7-11-07 Tony McCoy
Winning Trainer: JONJO O’NEILL Born: April 13, 1952 Based: Jackdaws Castle, Gloucestershire Career: former National Hunt jockey Cheltenham Festival wins (11): Pertemps Final (1991 Danny Connors, 2003 Inching Closer, 2004 Creon); National Hunt Chase (1995 Front Line, 2002 Rith Dubh, 2003 Sudden Shock, 2004 Native Emperor); Vincent O’Brien County H’cap Hurdle (2000 Master Tern), JCB Triumph Hurdle (2003 Spectroscope), Ladbrokes World Hurdle (2004 Iris’s Gift), Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle (2006 Black Jack Ketchum) Other Big Race Wins: John Smith’s V.S. Hcap Chase (2000 Radiation, 2002 Carbury Cross, 2003 Master Tern), John Smith’s Handicap Hurdle (2002 Sudden Shock); John Smith’s XO Anniversary 4YO Hurdle (2002 Quazar), Cordon Bleu Handicap Hurdle (2002 Intersky Falcon), John Smith’s Topham Chase (2003 Clan Royal), John Smith’s Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (2003 Iris’s Gift), John Smith’s Champion Standard National Hunt Flat Race (2003 Classic Native), John Smith’s Laurel Pub Company Liverpool Hurdle (2004 Iris’s Gift), John Smith’s Aintree Hurdle (2004 Rhinestone Cowboy), Tripleprint Gold Cup (1999 Legal Right), Totesport Silver Cup (2000 Legal Right), Totesport Bookmakers Handicap Hurdle (2002 Native Emperor), Kingwell Hurdle (2003 Rhinestone Cowboy), Challow Hurdle (2002 Coolnagorna), Reynoldstown Chase (2003 Keen Leader), Welsh National (2002 Mini Sensation), Totesport Becher Chase (2003 Clan Royal), Edward Hanmer Chase (2003 Keen Leader), Greatwood Hurdle (2005 Lingo), Brit Insurance Novices’ Hurdle (2005 Black Jack Ketchum), Cleeve Hurdle (2006 Fire Dragon) Horses in Training (1996-2005): 53; 59; 59; 78; 78, 75, 98, 90, 95; 94 Number of Winners (1995/96-2004/05): 18; 17; 32; 38; 44; 58; 113; 114; 102; 96 Wins this Season: 94
Winning Jockey: Anthony Peter McCoy Date of Birth:
04/05/74 First Winner: Thurles, 26/03/92 (First winner in Britain:
07/09/94, Exeter, Chickabiddy) Apprenticeship: Four years with Jim
Bolger. Cheltenham Festival Wins: (18) GRAND ANNUAL CHASE (1996 Kibreet,
1998 Edredon Bleu), IRISH INDEPENDENT ARKLE CHASE (1997 Or Royal, 1998
Champleve, 2004 Well Chief), SMURFIT CHAMPION HURDLE (1997 Make A Stand,
2006 Brave Inca), TOTE GOLD CUP (1997 Mr Mulligan), CATHCART CHASE
(1998 Cyfor Malta, 2002 Royal Auclair) Pertemps Final (1998 Unsinkable
Boxer), VINCENT O’BRIEN COUNTY HURDLE (1998
Blowing Wind), GERRARD SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE (1999 Hors La Loi
III), THE MILDMAY OF FLETE CHALLENGE CUP HCAP CHASE (1999 Majadou), QUEEN
MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE (2000 Edredon Bleu), WEATHERBYS CHAMPION BUMPER
(2003 Liberman), JEWSON NOVICES’ HANDICAP CHASE (2006 Reveillez),
BRIT INSURANCE NOVICES’ HURDLE (2006 Black Jack Ketchum) Leading
Rider at The Festival: 1997 (3), 1998 (5). Other major wins: KING GEORGE
VI CHASE (2002 Best Mate), SCOTTISH GRAND NATIONAL (1997 Belmont King),
REHEARSAL CHASE (1996 Belmont King), PADDY POWER GOLD CUP (1998 Cyfor
Malta, 2000 Lady Cricket, 2001Shooting Light), PILLAR PROPERTY CHASE
(1999 Cyfor Malta), TRIPLEPRINT GOLD CUP CHASE (1998 Northern Starlight),
EXTRAMAN HENRY VIII NOVICES’ CHASE (1998 Dines), MILDMAY & CAZALET
HCAP CHASE (1999 Eudipe), LONG DISTANCE HURDLE (1999 Galant Moss, 2003
Deano’s Beano, 2004 Baracouda), SCILLY ISLES NOVICES’ CHASE
(2000 Upgrade, 2003 Tarxien), FIRST NATIONAL GOLD CUP H’CAP CHASE
(2000 Upgrade, 2001 Wahiba Sands), CHALLOW HURDLE (2001 Classified),
GAME SPIRIT CHASE (2002 Lady Cricket), TOTE GOLD TROPHY (2002 Copeland),
LONG WALK HURDLE (2002 Deano’s Beeno, 2004 Baracouda), RENDLESHAM
HURDLE (2003 Deano’s Beano), RITZ CLUB ASCOT CHASE (2003 Tiutchev),
CLEEVE HURDLE (2003 Classified), SUNDERLANDS IMPERIAL CUP (2003 Korelo),
FINALE JUVENILE HURDLE (2004 Phar Bleu), POWERS GOLD CUP (2005 Like-A-Butterfly),
SCOTTISH CHAMPION HURDLE (2005 Genghis), PETERBOROUGH CHASE (2005 Impek),
FELTHAM NOVICES’ CHASE (2005 Darkness), DECEMBER FESTIVAL HURDLE
(2005 Brave Inca), AIG EUROPE CHAMPION HURDLE (2006 Brave Inca) Winners
1994/5-2004/05:74,175, 189,253,186,245,191, 289, 257, 209, 199 Wins this
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