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Ravenhill cantered into second place

Ravenhill cantered into second place

PA

Ravenhill cantered into second place

Trainer Gordon Elliott got off the mark at Cheltenham courtesy of Ravenhill's victory in the final race of Day One.

Partnered by Jamie Codd, the winner was travelling and jumping easily at the rear of the field.

However when asked, Ravenhill cantered into second place and, having jumped the last beside Lord Du Mesnil, readily went clear to the delight of the owners, The Try Ravenhill Syndicate.

The winner was bred locally by Aaron Metcalfe, owner of the Beechlawn Hotel, at his Comber base, and he is one of the syndicate members along with Ray Nicholas, a Belfast businessman and a committee member of the Down Royal Corporation of Horse Breeders, who also is a bookmaker at the local courses and point to points.

Codd said: "We really like this horse. The plan was to run in the Kim Muir (for amateur riders) but Gordon rang and said he was going to run in the National Hunt Chase - he is just a genius.

"He was a handicapper running against novices. He was running away with me the whole of the race."

Ravenhill had won a Templepatrick point to point for Lisburn trainer George Stewart, who taught him his trade prior to moving to Elliott.

After finishing runner-up in the Kerry National and an excellent effort in the Galway Plate, the 10-year novice finally opened his account over fences at the festival to reward the Ravenhill syndicate, many of whom are also major rugby fans.

Honeysuckle, bought from Banbridge trainer Gerry Cosgrave, remains unbeaten in seven races after winning the mares hurdle for trainer Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore.

Belfast Telegraph