McDonagh partners first Festival winner on Banbridge

Fri 18th Mar 2022, 17:58

Banbridge (red cap) and Cobblers Dream jumping the last
© Photo Healy Racing

Banbridge completed a clean sweep for Irish-trained horses on the final day of this year's Cheltenham Festival and provided Mark McDonagh with a first Festival winner in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle.

Trained by Joseph O'Brien for Ronnie Bartlett, whose colours were also carried to success by Stattler on Tuesday, the 12/1 chance fought out a protracted battle with Cobblers Dream from the last getting on top in the closing stages by a length and a half.

Hollow Games was a further two and a quarter lengths back in third with Freedom To Dream in fourth.

There was drama from an early stage with 7/2 favourite Langer Dan brought down when Grand Jury fell at the second, while Decimation and Lucky Max both exited at the fourth.

McDonagh said, "He was very sharp away and I got a lovely position early and we didn't go very quick. He was always in his comfort zone and to be fair Mr O'Brien and Mr Bartlett kept it very simple for me to sit wherever he was comfortable and try hold onto him for as long as I could.

"I'm delighted it's all worked out. It's unreal to ride a winner here and thank you to everyone that made this opportunity happen."

O'Brien said, "Mark gave him a great ride. There was plenty of carnage in behind through the race and we managed to avoid some of the loose horses down the hill.

"He's very tough and I'm delighted for Ronnie who has supported me well and delighted to have a winner here."