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Holywell - Cheltenham 2013

Holywell and Richie McLernon after their triumph at the 2013 festival

  PICTURE: John Grossick (  

McLernon buzzing at Holywell Gold Cup ride

RICHIE McLERNON is relishing the opportunity to ride Holywell in next week's Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup and hopes he can make it a hat-trick of festival wins on the eight-year-old.

The pair combined to win the Pertemps Final in 2013 and struck in what is now the Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase 12 months ago.

Holywell, who will be McLernon's first Gold Cup ride, is 10-1 to capture the meeting's most prestigious prize.

"I am very much looking forward to partnering Holywell," said the excited rider, whose other festival winner came in 2012 on Alfie Sherrin in the race Holywell won in 2013.

"He is a great ride to get. The horse has been brilliant for me already at the festival so I am really, really looking forward to the day."

Trained by Jonjo O'Neill for Gay Smith, the son of Gold Well earned Grade 1 honours as a novice at Aintree last term and was an easy winner under Tony McCoy at Kelso last month.

The champion jockey, however, partners Carlingford Lough for his boss JP McManus in the Gold Cup, meaning McLernon can team up with his old buddy.

"Holywell is always a better horse in the spring and it was good to see him win the last time at Kelso," he added.

"He loves Cheltenham. He is only a small horse but he has got a massive heart and a lot of class.

"He is a real little character, a lovely and very kind-natured horse - a real dude," said McLernon who has signed a two-year sponsorship deal with Swindon-based Regulatory Finance Solutions

"I rode Holywell when he first ran for Jonjo, at Plumpton where he finished third and he always felt like a nice horse and just had something about him."

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