GORDON Elliott's Shattered Love, backed into 4/1, made full use of the 7lb mares' weight allowance when winning the Grade 1 JLT Novices' Chase by a comfortable seven lengths from Terrefort at Cheltenham on Thursday.
The Yeats mare hit the final fence hard, but recovered well under Jack Kennedy to record her trainer Elliott's fourth success of the Festival. The trainer went on to saddle two more Thursday winners later on the card.
Elliott said of Shattered Love: "She gallops, she jumps, she stays. She's like a big gelding. She was great today and we're lucky to have her. I closed my eyes when she made that mistake at the last but luckily enough she got away with it.
"She'd won a Grade 1 already [at Leopardstown on December 29th] and I think she will stay further. We will try to avoid Presenting Percy [winner of yesterday's RSA Insurance Chase] wherever he goes, but she's a good mare. She'll probably go to Punchestown now.
"She is the type of horse Gigginstown buy - big, staying chasers. All credit to Jack Kennedy, at 18 years of age he's come here and nothing's fazing him.
"Yesterday was amazing [with three winners] and to get one on the board already today is great."
Shattered Love beats the boys in the JLT Novices' Chase @CheltenhamRaces and is now 5-6 over fences. #TheFestival— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) March 15, 2018
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Nicky Henderson's Terrefort, the 3/1 favourite, was second with Gary Moore's Benatar (10/1) a further five lengths behind in third.
Kennedy, registering his third victory of the week and fourth at the Festival overall, was pleased to make his only ride of the day a winning one. He said: "I was confident coming here today, with the one ride, that Shattered Love would have a fair chance.
"Gordon is a genius - he has all these horses spot-on for the week and it's just a privilege to ride these horses. He leaves no stone unturned and he is the best around.
"I was jumping and travelling - I was happy the whole way round and she did it well. She's not slow and she stays well. The way she jumps is unreal - she's a lovely mare.
"Shattered Love has kept improving and who knows when she will stop. She does everything so easily and I am just delighted. A big thanks to the O'Learys, Gordon and all the team at home. They are very good to me and it is all down to them."
Shattered Love is owned by Gigginstown House Stud, whose owner Michael O'Leary commented: "She's terrific. She's built like a gelding; she's a huge, big mare and a great jumper, but Jack gave her a peach of a ride. A hairy jump there at the last but the mares' allowance, which I don't always agree with, was very helpful there.
"Her form over fences has been very good - she beat Presenting Percy over fences earlier in the season [at Punchestown in November]. She's won over further - three miles at Leopardstown at Christmas - and she's a very good mare. It's terrific to have good mares like her and Apple's Jade."
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