Horse Racing

Irish take command with 10 victories at the Cheltenham Festival

Ireland take command with 10 victories from 14 races at the Cheltenham Festival as top Irish owner Isaac Souede warns it will only get harder for British hopes to compete

  • One of English victors, The Real Whacker, is Irish-owned and trained by Irishman
  • Brighton owner hits the £1m jackpot after placing one of the biggest bets EVER 
  • Click here for the latest Cheltenham Festival news, schedule and race results

Half-time in the Ireland v GB Prestbury Cup at Cheltenham and it is 10-4 to the visitors after 14 races.

With only three British favourites over the remaining two days it might yet end up as the kind of scoreline which faces England’s rugby players in Dublin this weekend.

A summing up of the Emerald Isle’s now-annual superiority came in Wednesday’s final race, the Festival Bumper, won by A Dream To Share, ridden by 18-year-old John Gleeson. Gleeson had taken a week off school to come over.

Another emblem of the shift of fortunes came in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. One of England’s contenders of the day, Hermes Allen, was left floundering in the wake of the Willie Mullins-trained Impaire et Passe.

The winner belongs to the Anglo-American duo of international financiers Simon Munir and Isaac Souede. They are two of the sport’s heaviest and most astute investors and have gradually shifted their best horses across the Irish Sea.

Willie Mullins-trained Impaire et Passe was a winner for Simon Munir and Isaac Souede 

New York-based Souede said: ‘Everything in life has a cyclicality to it, and the cycle will turn eventually but for the next few years it will be difficult to turn that cycle around because of the quality of the young Irish horses.

‘In terms of success the Irish racing programme is more concentrated so they take themselves on in a much harder way, it’s constant competition. There are less meets per week (in Britain) so it is going to be harder.

‘It’s not like we have a 10-year masterplan, it’s where we find the best chance to be successful. We have some pretty good British horses but our younger horses are in Ireland so it’s going to stay this way with us for a while.’

Even one of the English victors, 8-1 Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase winner The Real Whacker, is Irish-owned and trained in Yorkshire by Irishman Patrick Neville.

‘I trained in Ireland for 15 years,’ said Neville. ‘I made the move because I couldn’t get any owners in Ireland.’

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