Minella Indo put up a remarkable display to win the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at 50-1 as Rachael Blackmore followed Bryony Frost into the record books with a Grade One winner over obstacles at the Cheltenham Festival.
A maiden coming into the race, Henry de Bromhead’s charge was nevertheless one of the most lightly-raced runners in the field, having run in just one bumper and two novice hurdles.
While he had shown promise on all three starts, his price seemingly reflected his chance as he had finished behind Willie Mullins’ Allaho last time out and had four lengths to make up on that rival.
But Minella Indo had clearly improved for the run, as after two miles of the three he was still pulling Blackmore’s arms out.
While there were plenty seemingly going well in behind, including the likes of favourite Commander Of Fleet, Dickie Diver and Allaho, Blackmore kicked again on the long run to the last and once she was over it the race was won.
Blackmore was celebrating a second winner of the week for De Bromhead after A Plus Tard and she missed out on a notable first by just a day after Frost’s win in the Ryanair with Frodon.
Blackmore – who is still in the race for the Irish jump jockeys’ championship – said: “I can’t believe it. I always knew he was a really nice horse and thought he was coming with a right shout, but you just don’t think it’s going to work out.
“It’s brilliant I don’t know what to say. It’s an amazing place and I’m so glad to be part of it.”
De Bromhead: “Monalee ran well yesterday, but we were a bit flat. It was amazing to come out with this guy. We always liked him. Rachael thought he would improve from Clonmel and I think he dragged her around for three miles.
“We’ve been so lucky to have her, she is brilliant. What can you say, she just wins.
“He was disappointing at Limerick the first day, but he has kidded me completely. He is a chancer at home and we hadn’t got him well enough and he got very tired.
“He ran really well at Clonmel and we had to do all the donkey work. We felt we would get a stronger-run race here, so we thought we would take the chance.
“We’d been racing for a long way in fairness, but he is tough. I thought I had him fully fit at Clonmel, but he took another huge blow. I’m delighted to get it for the lads, as they have been brilliant supporters over the years and this means a lot to them.
“Now we have got rid of his novice tag late in the year we might as well make the most of it, so we will probably go to Punchestown.”
Elliott said of the runner-up: “We were beaten by a better horse on the day. We will think about Punchestown, but I’m in no rush with him, he’s only a baby.”
Mullins was similarly satisfied with Allaho, adding: “I’m delighted with his run today. I’m really looking forward to going novice chasing with him next year. He’s a real chaser in the making.”