The Real Whacker clings on to land Brown Advisory glory
A winner at the Prestbury Park track on both of his previous outings this term, including the 'Dipper' over shorter on New Year's Day, he was bounced out by Sam Twiston-Davies to take up his customary position at the head of affairs. The Real Whacker (8/1) produced a clinical round of jumping on the front end, with the Daryl Jacob-ridden Bronn hot on his tail throughout. Despite Galia Des Liteaux, 5/4 favourite Gerri Colombe and the heavily-backed Sir Gerhard all edging their way into contention when the race began to develop, as the runners turned for home at the bottom of the famous hill it was The Real Whacker and Bronn that were still disputing matters. Bronn was beaten off after the last, but the drama did not end there as Jordan Gainford conjured up extra from the fast-finishing Gerri Colombe who was staying on strongly as The Real Whacker's stride began to shorten. But the line came just in time to give Neville his first winner at the Festival and the inspired Twiston-Davies his first since 2016. "It was a fantastic race, it's always a privilege to be asked to ride in these races," said the delighted winning rider. "I was lucky to ride him in the Dipper, let alone today as well. Paddy Neville, all the way through, has been a great supporter. He said he was in wicked good nick and fair play, he was absolutely spot on. "He races in a great manner - although he's in front and he's doing a lot of the hard work you're able to get the breathers in everywhere you want. With his jumping he's always filling himself up, my God it feels like a long way up the run-in!" The Real Whacker had also been under consideration for Friday's Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup before connections opted to stick to novice company. Part-owner Davey Mann said: "I thought he was beaten, honestly - I genuinely thought we'd been caught on the line. "He was there, he jumped well and came up the hill and did everything right. I thought we were beaten, but he stuck his old head out and fair play to him. "We had him in the Gold Cup and the decision was Paddy's. He kept it open for a while, but we always thought it would be the Brown Advisory and I think it was the right call. "Who can say in the last six months that they've had three winners in Cheltenham? We had the November meeting, we had New Year's Day and now we've pulled off the Brown Advisory." Ahead of The Real Whacker's New Year's Day triumph, County Limerick nightclub owner Mann pulled an all-nighter before travelling to Cheltenham and was sporting the same red suit and sunglasses combination for his return to the Cotswolds. He added: "I bought this suit in Chicago a year ago and I kept it for the first time we were here in Cheltenham. "Paddy said to me after New Year's Day 'keep that suit for March'. I got home, gave it to my girls and said 'take it to cleaners, leave the plastic on it and leave it for March'!" Neville, who is based in Leyburn, said: "It was a long run to the line, but he toughed it out and he's a lovely horse. "The ground was a bit soft for him and we were dreading that, but he jumped well and it worked out. "I was happy with the rhythm he was in and Sam kept him out for the better ground. We made that plan earlier on today and it worked. "He's won three times now here - I don't think I'll run him anywhere else! "I trained in Ireland for 15 years and had a couple of good winners, but the last couple of years were tough as I just couldn't get the owners. Hopefully it will work out better over here." Considering future plans, the trainer added: "If we can keep him one piece, we'll come back here next year for the Gold Cup. "I was toying with the Gold Cup this year, but we probably made the right decision for the horse because he'd only run six times before today. "We'll see how he comes out of this. We might put him away for the summer or we might go to Punchestown and we might go to Listowel in the autumn as it's one of my favourite tracks." Gordon Elliott admitted his disappointment in defeat, but retains plenty of faith in the narrow runner-up. He said: "We're disappointed, you always want to win but you can't take anything away from the winner, he jumped out and went along in front the whole way. "They were probably playing cat and mouse and then looked up and the winner had gone but there's no taking away from him, the best horse on the day won and there was no excuse. "Jordan is a bit disappointed but he gave him a great ride. He's only young and he's going to have loads of days. We won't lose faith in Gerri yet. "He hit the second last on the first circuit and got a bit close to that but apart form that he wasn't too bad. I'm disappointed but that's the game we're in. "He's been beaten a short head in a Grade One and a stride after the line he was up by a neck. "I'd say it's very difficult for the jockeys with the whip rules, it will be playing on their minds."
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