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Rathvinden gets Irish Pointers off the mark at Cheltenham

Rathvinden gets Irish Pointers off the mark at Cheltenham

Rathvinden got Irish point-to-pointers off the mark at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival when he proved to be a gallant winner of the 4-mile National Hunt Challenge Cup.

The Heron Island gelding was unlucky to came down at the final fence under Willie Thompson in a five-year-old geldings’ maiden at Toomebridge when under the care Ian Ferguson in May 2013, after which he was bought by his current trainer Willie Mullins, for £100,000 in the Tattersalls Ireland sales ring during the Derby sale.

Third behind Faugheen in the Grade 1 Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle on his only previous visit to the Cheltenham Festival, the Heron Island gelding who is already a dual Grade 3 winner over fences this season, was sent off as a 9/2 shot for the longest race at the Festival.

Dropped out under Patrick Mullins, the 10-year-old gelding steadily got closer, and once picking off Sizing Tennessee under reigning champion point-to-point rider Barry O’Neill, Rathvinden then fought out a titanic battle with fellow point-to-point graduate Ms Parfois on the run-in.

Ms Parfois, a four-year-old winner at Boulta for Martin Hassett, proved a very tough horse to dispatch, pushing the eventual winner all the way to the line, with just half a length separating the pair at the line.

Victory in the £125,000 Grade 2 contest, proved a popular one for owner Ronnie Bartlett who is a great supporter of point-to-points, particularly in Northern Ireland, sponsoring a number of races in the regions, whilst his horses are regularly produced through the point-to-point fields.


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