Cause Of Causes joins select club after bagging third festival win
Form figures of 2111 are pretty good wherever they fall but when that is your chasing record at the Cheltenham Festival something very special is clearly going on.
Those are the placings achieved by Cause Of Causes, who roared back to his best here to win the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase at the meeting he thrives at above any other.
In doing so, he joined an elite club of horses who have won three different chases at the festival.
Having placed second in the Kim Muir at the 2014 festival, the Gordon Elliott-trained chaser returned the following year to land the National Hunt Chase, then dropped back to make amends in the Kim Muir in 2016. Now this, and what next? It could be the Randox Health Grand National, for which he was cut to a general 20-1 (from 33).
This was a blinding victory by the 4-1 chance, who crept into the race under ace amateur Jamie Codd, arriving towards the front of affairs as part of a phalanx of runners in the green and gold silks of JP McManus.
Auvergnat and Cantlow were both there for McManus and cross country king Enda Bolger, while Bless The Wings was another in contention for Elliott and the French raider Amazing Comedy turned in a huge performance at massive odds, briefly coming to the fore in the closing stages and leading over the second-last before fading into fifth late on.
There was no dramatic finish though as Cause Of Causes flicked through the last in front and then stormed nine lengths clear to record his third consecutive win at the festival.
"It's a remarkable partnership, a remarkable trainer and all the team back home as well," said Codd. "He's run at four festivals and he's been second and three wins. He's a remarkable little horse, so durable. He's great, he's just a digger and he's been marvellous for my career.
"He's an idle little horse and he'll only do what he has to do, but when you want him there he's very quick. He's been second over two miles in a Galway Hurdle so he's not slow either."
The late JT McNamara, whose loss has been so keenly felt at this year's meeting, won the inaugural festival Cross Country in 2005 and Codd paid tribute to the man whose expertise in this discipline was legendary.
He said: "That means a lot now. I sit under John Thomas's peg in there and he was King of the Banks and that's my first win in the banks race. I'm just delighted and he's looking down on us all here."
This was a fourth winner of the meeting for Elliott, enjoying a superb festival, and he also trained the second home with Bless The Wings leading the Bolger duo of 9-4 favourite Cantlow and 8-1 Auvergnat.
"He seems to like the place and he's been very lucky around here," Elliott said of the winner. "It's brilliant. He's a great horse and it was a great ride. He may now go for the Grand National."
Winners of three different chases at the festival
Dudley 1923 Amateur Riders’ Chase, 1924 & 1925 Grand Annual Chase, 1928 Coventry Cup
Medoc 1938 NH Juvenile Chase, 1940 & 1941 Seven Springs Chase, 1942 Gold Cup
Silver Fame 1948 Seven Springs Chase, 1950 NH Handicap Chase, 1951 Gold Cup
Arctic Gold 1950 Broadway Chase, 1953 Cathcart Chase, 1954 Kim Muir Chase
Cause Of Causes 2015 NH Chase, 2016 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase, 2017 Glenfarclas Chase