• Racing/
  • Savello Seals Grand Finale

Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup (Grade 3 Handicap) 2m 110y

  • (5yo+, 2m 110y, Class 1, 23 runners)
  • Winner £51,255 2nd £19,233 3rd £9,630 4th £4,797 5th £2,412 6th £1,206
  • Going: Good, Good to Soft in places
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 4m 1.30s
  • Off time: 17:25:55
  • Last Updated: March 14 2014, 20:15 GMT

Savello sealed an unforgettable day for owner Michael O'Leary and jockey Davy Russell in the final race of the Cheltenham Festival, the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup.

  • Savello (far side) challenges for the lead at the last
  • Davy Russell heads into the winners' enclosure for the third time that day 

O'Leary had already annexed the Triumph, Albert Bartlett and the Martin Pipe and made it four on the day with the Tony Martin-trained nine year old who was providing Russell with a 3,296/1 treble on the card after victories in the Albert Bartlett and the Gold Cup itself.

He was not without support either as he was backed from 33/1 down to 16s and he ran on strongly under a perfectly timed challenge to get up close home.

Next Sensation set a furious pace and had most of the field in trouble a long way from home and there were several fallers in behind.

He began to tire though and Claret Cloak was alongside at the last and travelling nicely only to make a race-ending mistake.

Next Sensation weakened into fourth but Claret Cloak did rally and was just run out of third by the other joint-favourite Ned Buntline but a length and a quarter clear of them were Savello and a jubilant Russell.

Martin said: "We've had a few little problems, but that's racing. You have your ups and downs but it's great to come away with that.

"That was probably the ride of the week. He missed two fences but he had the nerve to sit and wait. It was brilliant."

O'Leary joked: "That shows you how easy it is to have winners at Cheltenham - you wait two years for a winner, then four come along in the space of a few hours! We've got a couple of guests in our box and a couple of them have done a £2 accumulator on our horses - they've won over £150,000!

"It was a brilliant training performance by Tony Martin. He's not had a great week. I thought we had no chance. Tony's horses had not been running well all week, but this is wonderful. I'm not used to having four winners.

"Davy had not had a winner all week, now he's won the Gold Cup and had a treble on the day."

It was later announced that the Alan King-trained Raya Star was humanely put down after fracturing his spine when falling.

Russell added: "When you've got the machinery it makes the job a lot easier, and obviously Tony is a marvellous trainer, but there's nothing easy about this horse and as you can see, he wears a hood.

"He can get quite lit up and we've spent so long trying to get him to settle. All credit to Tony, because he's very much a spooky horse and anything can set him off.

"It went well in the race and I didn't want him to jump any better because I was in the position I wanted to be and was always happy I was going to get there. I had to sit and suffer at the top of the hill, but as he stays a bit further he was going to get home."


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