Windermere in Punchestown frame

  • Last Updated: March 16 2014, 13:34 GMT

Bookmakers close to Jim Culloty's stables in County Cork are still counting the cost of Lord Windermere's victory in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.

  • Lord Windermere: Could head to Punchestown
  • Spring Heeled: Will be entered all over the place 

The betting shop in nearby Churchtown had no time to replenish the coffers after being hit by the Mallow handler's success with 12-1 shot Spring Heeled in Thursday's Kim Muir Challenge Cup before Lord Windermere sprang a 20-1 surprise in the big race of the week on Friday.

And even Culloty's daughter, Eliza, made the bookmakers pay with a small double of her own on her father's two winners.

Culloty said: "The local bookies ran out of money, and that was just after Spring Heeled won. It was even worse for them after Lord Windermere.

"Eliza had a two euro each-way double on Spring Heeled and Lord Windermere so she's won over 1,000 euro."

Culloty revealed that both horses had used a tried-and-trusted path ahead of their victories by working on gallops used by Cottage Rake before his three Gold Cup triumphs between 1948-50.

"Both horses galloped on Vincent O'Brien's old gallops in nearby Churchtown last week, prior to Cheltenham," he said.

"The farm is now owned by Vincent's nephew, Noel O'Brien. He sent me a text after the race saying he had been waiting for another Gold Cup winner to come off the gallops."

Noel O'Brien's daughter, Pauline, said: "Dad is a dairy farmer but he keeps Vincent's old grass gallops open during the winter, not for public use, as such, but more out of a sense of history.

"He was absolutely thrilled that Lord Windermere won. He'd been hoping that another Gold Cup winner would come from the gallops - Cottage Rake was the last so he's delighted!"

In another link with National Hunt history, Culloty's stables are not far away from the origins of steeplechasing at Buttevant in the mid-18th century.

Culloty himself was a triple Gold Cup winner as a jockey aboard Best Mate from 2002-04 and has now joined a small but elite band who also went on to train a winner of the great race.

"It's hard to differentiate between training one and riding one, but they're both fantastic," he said.

"As a trainer you get loads of time to think about it, but as a jockey you only have five minutes not to mess it up."

Culloty will talk with owner Dr Ronan Lambe about running Lord Windermere again this season, possibly in the Punchestown Gold Cup on April 30, though he is inclined to send the eight-year-old on a summer break.

Culloty, speaking at Lord Windermere's homecoming parade, said: "My gut instinct is to leave him off and get him ready for Cheltenham next year.

"But having said all that, we'll discuss it with the owner and he'll probably get a few entries at Punchestown and suchlike. He might just go straight out into the field, though."

Spring Heeled will, however, almost certainly run again this term.

"Spring Heeled will almost definitely go to Fairyhouse or Punchestown," he said. "He'll be entered all over the place and we'll see where he gets his ground."

Culloty admitted he did not get back to his base until late on Saturday evening.

"We got home on Saturday at 9pm, had something to eat and a glass of wine before we went to bed," he said. "We didn't even get down to go down the village.

"We had a couple of drinks, and then I went back, sat down and watched the replay."

More celebrations look certain to follow as, when asked how how he intends to spend the rest of the week, Culloty replied: "Drunk! Dr Lambe will have a party in Dublin and then we'll have one here."


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