THERE were no northern-trained winners over the first two days of the National Hunt festival at Cheltenham but Constitution Hill, who impressively landed the opening Grade 1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle for the Nicky Henderson yard, spent his early career at Warren Ewing’s Bernice Stables.
The British-bred Blue Bresil gelding, who was beaten by a head in a four-year-old geldings’ maiden at Tipperary last April on his only start between the flags, was purchased by Ewing and his good friend and business partner Barry Geraghty as a foal at the 2017 Tattersalls Ireland November National Hunt Sale.
It was great that both men and their families were at Prestbury Park on Tuesday to see the Nico de Bonville-partnered bay make it three wins from three starts on the track.
There’s little more than can be said about Honeysuckle with the eight-year-old Sulamani mare, another British-bred Tattersalls Ireland graduate, recording back-to-back wins in the Grade 1 Unibet Champion Hurdle.
While the Kenny Alexander-owned bay has famously been trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by Rachael Blackmore for 15 successive track victories, she had one win from one outing between the flags when, the records will show, she was trained by Jerry Cosgrave and was owned by Sara O’Hare whose husband Mark was in the saddle.
Mark too was at Prestbury Park this week and he watched Tuesday’s feature race down at the final flight. Both he and Warren were among the consignors at Thursday evening’s Tattersalls Cheltenham Festival Sale.
Scotland’s Ronnie Bartlett, a regular visitor to Northern Ireland, saw his colours carried to success for the third time in the National Hunt Chase on Tuesday when the Willie Mullins-trained, Patrick Mullins-ridden Stattler saw off the 15/8 favourite, Run Wild Fred, by eight lengths.
The 2015 Stowaway gelding was purchased as a three-year-old at the 2018 Goffs UK Spring Store Sale at Doncaster by Cullybackey’s Ian Ferguson who was also involved in the early careers of Bartlett’s winners of the Grade 2 chase in 2021 and 2018, Galvin and Rathvinden.
The Ben Pauling-trained Global Citizen, who landed Wednesday’s Grade 3 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase on his first start over fences since December 2020, won a five-year-old geldings’ maiden first time out at Bellurgan Park in April 2017 when ridden by Noel McParlan.