Salsify takes advantage as Oscar Delta and Jane Mangan part companyPICTURE: Getty Images
Despair for Mangan as Salsify racks up double
Report: Cheltenham Festival, Friday
CGA Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup 3m2½f, 5yo+
SALSIFY notched back-to-back victories in the Foxhunter Chase in the most dramatic of circumstances as leader Oscar Delta jinked on the run to the line and unseated jockey Jane Mangan with the race seemingly at their mercy.
In scenes reminiscent of Devon Loch in the 1956 Grand National, Oscar Delta threw away the race as he sidestepped to his left towards the tape stopping the runners from going out for a third circuit.
Mangan, daughter of trainer Jimmy, was ejected from the saddle and left dejected having got up unscathed after what must rate as one of the most unfortunate defeats in Cheltenham Festival history.
She said: "It felt like it was a dream when I hit the ground. It was like a Disney film or something. He just thought we were going for another circuit, then he jinked, corrected himself and I wasn't ready. But as Dad said, thinking of the McNamaras, it could have been a lot worse."
In a total reverse of her emotions, Colman Sweeney, riding the winner for father Rodger for the second year in a row, could hardly believe his luck, a feeling no doubt shared by backers of the 2-1 favourite.
"I wouldn't have got there," said the winning rider. "He can be very, very keen. I dropped him right out and when I jumped into it he started taking me there. What this fella does is he rallies and he stays."
The victory provided Ireland with a 13th success of the week, a figure that equals their best tally at the festival.
The aptly-named Divine Intavention (50-1) and Cottage Oak (9-1) came home in second and third, while Paddy Power refunded all losing bets on Oscar Delta.
Jockey Mark Wall, 20 lengths back on the runner-up, said: "That was as good as winning, because the ground has gone against him. I'm so pleased for the horse because a lot of people had written him off.
"That's my second ride in the race - on the first occasion I broke my
"He got me out of trouble a couple of times - when horses get in deep to a fence on this ground they struggle to get their feet out, but Fran [Moller] has done a great job with the horse."