Cheltenham Festival: Golden victory for Brendan Powell and Golden Chieftain
Jockey Brendan Powell junior celebrated a dream first winner at the Festival after turning one of the most competitive races of the meeting into a procession.
Powell, whose dad rode two winners at the meeting, spread-eagled the field as he won the JLT Specialty Handicap Chase by ten lengths aboard Golden Chieftain, trained by Colin Tizzard.
He sent the 28-1 shot into the lead with two fences to jump and he stormed clear up of runner-up Our Mick in the home straight.
Power was virtually lost for his words as he described afterwards what victory on the biggest stage in jump racing meant to him.
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"It's unbelievable," he said. "He possibly won by two far but he's always had the class to do it. He's a very classy horse and he looked well handicapped.
"I came here today delighted just to have a ride, let alone a winner, and this hasn't really sunk in and I think it will take a few days."
Thrilled for Powell, Tizzard admitted Golden Chieftain nearly didn't even run yesterday, scraping into the race at the bottom of the weight, and he had been thinking of running him later in the week.
While Powell feared winning by so far had ruined the gelding's handicap mark for future races, Tizzard didn't care and enjoyed savouring victory.
"It's brilliant," said Tizzard, whose leading hopes during the rest of the Festival include Cue Card in Thursday's Ryanair Chase. "He's a beautiful-looking horse and for him to win like that is unbelievable. He's done it really well and stayed on beautifully.
"We weren't even sure he'd get into the race and it was last-minute decision to run. Racing has funny way of showing itself, but it's turned out well.
"Brendan makes the job look easy. He's a really good lad, work hard and he's a good kid.
"He rode a peach of a race and the horse proved he stays. He rode the horse to get the trip and everything went right for him."