Cheltenham and Aintree exploits highlighted supreme talent
Of all Malcolm Jefferson's achievements, perhaps the most memorable is his 'double-double' of horses who won at the Cheltenham Festival in 2012 and followed up at Aintree the following month.
The fun began with Cape Tribulation, who landed the Pertemps Final on Cheltenham Thursday in the hands of Denis O'Regan, watched by the trainer but not by Sue, his worrier of a wife, who was "so worked up she couldn't go. Then she was so bloody upset that she wasn't there when it happened, she couldn't miss the next day, so she was ready by half past six in the morning".
The next day was all right, according to Sue, because "you didn't think it could happen twice – when it looks like it can happen, that's the worst thing".
She must have been mortified when Attaglance completed the first double in the Martin Pipe for Harry Haynes, and a bag of nerves when the Newstead bandwagon rolled on to Liverpool, where 'Cape' led the way in the Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle under O'Regan. "He came here in some fettle," reported the trainer, although not until afterwards.
The following day, Attaglance again rounded off the week, landing the Daily Mirror Punters Club Handicap Hurdle under the guidance of Haynes. He was another who arrived "in fine fettle" from Cheltenham, while his trainer no doubt went back to Norton in equally good shape.
The remarkable achievement ended a 17-year wait for the yard since their last festival winner and crowned a career high on longevity but glad of a defining day or four in the sun. The trainer didn't get carried away, but he was happy to take the plaudits in his own low-key fashion.
"They said it's never been done and I don't know whether it has or it hasn't," he reflected, "but you'd say there were people who were more likely to do it than Malcolm Jefferson up in the north of England with 46 boxes."