Minella Indo claimed victory in the Gold Cup on Friday, as Henry de Bromhead became the first trainer to win the big three races at the Cheltenham Festival in the same year.
De Bromhead had already landed both the Champion Hurdle and Champion Chase at Prestbury Park earlier this week and he completed the set on Friday, securing a one-two in the Gold Cup, as Minella Indo was followed home by stablemate A Plus Tard.
Jack Kennedy guides Minella Indo home to win the 2021 Cheltenhamm Gold Cup!pic.twitter.com/yizULQdVTW
— BETFRED (@Betfred) March 19, 2021
The magnitude of the achievement had not quite sunk in for De Bromhead in the aftermath of the race, with his individual success capping what had been a dominant week overall for Irish trainers, as they accounted for 23 of the 28 winning horses in total.
“It’s unbelievable. I’m delighted for all connections – the Maloneys, Barry and Mike and everyone,” the 48-year-old told reporters. “I think I’m still in my hotel, it’s Monday evening and I’m about wake up and nothing’s even started yet. That’s where I’m at at the moment, it’s brilliant.”
De Bromhead was not the only history-maker at the Festival on Friday, as Rachael Blackmore, who narrowly missed out on Gold Cup glory with A Plus Tard, became the first female jockey to land the coveted top jockeys’ award.
The 31-year-old had earlier claimed her sixth win of the week when steering another of De Bromhead’s horses, Quilixios (12/1 2022 Champion Hurdle) home in the opening race of Friday’s card, the JCB Triumph Hurdle.
Friday’s other Festival winners included Vanillier (12/1 2022 Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase), who made all the running in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle for trainer Gavin Cromwell, while Willie Mullins’ Galopin Des Champs claimed the spoils in the final race of the Festival, the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
That victory for Galopin Des Champs proved vital in the top trainer battle as it brought Mullins level with De Bromhead on six wins apiece, the Closutton handler then getting the nod over his compatriot on count back.
One of Mullins’ winner came in the inaugural running of the Mares’ Chase as Colreevy held off stablemate Elimay.
There were a couple of big price winners in-between the Mullins and de Bromhead successes as Beflast Banter stormed home to win the County Handicap Hurdle, while Portlock Bay held off favourite Billaway in the Hunters’ Chase.