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Miracle horse Edwulf is a golden great

Winners alright: Derek O’Connor and Edwulf yesterday
Winners alright: Derek O’Connor and Edwulf yesterday

By Robert Jones

Edwulf nearly died last March - and now he has won one of the biggest races in Irish National Hunt racing.

The nine-year-old gelding went badly wrong in action at the Cheltenham Festival, having collapsed in the closing stages of the JT McNamara National Hunt Chase.

The final race on the card was delayed by 10 minutes as he was being treated and he was eventually moved off the course before being loaded into the horse ambulance.

His life, never mind his racing career, was in the balance.

Edwulf happily returned to full fitness, but his comeback run, when pulled up at big odds in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase, hardly suggested he would be a 33/1 winner of the Unibet Irish Gold Cup back at the same track yesterday.

But in what was a tremendous training performance, O'Brien somehow managed to coax him back to his best as he went on to land the Grade One by a neck in the hands of Derek O'Connor.

The young Melbourne Cup-winning handler said: "He's always been a great horse.

"It's a credit to everyone involved - the staff at home, the vets at Cheltenham last year and JP (McManus, owner) and Frank Berry (McManus' racing manager) who gave him all the time in the world.

"It's been a long road to get him back from where he was at Cheltenham when we thought he was gone.

"Derek is an unbelievable horseman. Horses just jump unbelievably well for him and he gets on great with this fella. We're over the moon.

"We'll see how he comes out of this first and we'll think about Cheltenham then."

Belfast Telegraph


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