Bob Olinger blasts to Ballymore success at Cheltenham

Rachael Blackmore’s dream Cheltenham Festival continued into the second day as Bob Olinger sprouted wings in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.

With the Champion Hurdle already in the bag through Honeysuckle and a top-class book of rides to come through the rest of the week, Blackmore is proving unstoppable.

Harry Cobden tried to dominate from the front at a steady tempo on Bravemansgame and in the early stages the Henry de Bromhead-trained Bob Olinger (6-4 favourite) was keen enough, pulling himself into second position.

As they went down the back straight Bear Ghylls attempted to inject some pace to the race and put pressure on the leader, as Blackmore sat in wait.


Paul Townend was scraping the paint on Gaillard Du Mesnil and did get a little short of room at the second-last, as Blackmore forced her way between Bravemansgame and Bear Ghylls.

But turning in there was only going to be one winner and it was a matter of ‘how far?’. The answer was seven and a half lengths back to Gaillard Du Mesnil.

Blackmore was impressed as Bob Olinger took his winning sequence to three, and doubled his Grade One tally.

“It’s unbelievable,” she told ITV Racing.

“I’m so delighted for (owner) Brian Acheson and his family – he puts a lot into this game and he’s got a very special horse on his hands now.

“His potential is sky high, I’d say – he was phenomenal there.

“He won a point-to-point for Pat Doyle, and Henry got him then – anyone who’s ever been associated with him has thought an awful lot of him. Winning at Cheltenham is what it’s all about. and he’s done that now.

“There’ll be plenty of big days in him hopefully, but it’s just fantastic for everyone in the yard.”

De Bromhead said: “I’m delighted with him. Rachael was brilliant on him again and he couldn’t have done it any better.

“He’s a horse we’ve always liked. He’s done very little wrong and he’s very exciting.

“I started the season aiming at the Supreme, but everyone persuaded me, quite rightly, to step up in trip.

“We were very hopeful coming here, but it was obviously a very good race and you never know on the day.”

On future plans, he added: “We’ll get through his novice season and see.

“He’s built like a chaser and jumps like one, so we’d normally look at going that way, but we’ll speak to Brian (Acheson, owner) and Robcour and see what everyone would like to do. We’ll enjoy today.”

De Bromhead also reported Honeysuckle in good shape following her brilliant performance.

He said: “She was great and was really good this morning. We’re delighted with her – she’s full of herself.

“I’d imagine we’ll probably look towards Punchestown, but we haven’t decided yet.”

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