Reports17 March 2023

'I had my lucky bit of shamrock on my coat' - Murphy's joy as Impervious rallies late to deny Allegorie De Vassy

Impervious: on the way to landing the Mares' Chase for Colm Murphy and Brian Hayes
Impervious: on the way to landing the Mares' Chase for Colm Murphy and Brian HayesCredit: Patrick McCann

Colm Murphy will have a St Patrick’s Day to remember after Impervious left it late to deny Allegorie De Vassy in a thrilling finale to the Paddy Power Mares' Chase.

The seven-year-old mare challenged her nearest rival all the way and despite losing the lead after the final fence, she rallied to hand jockey Brian Hayes a first Cheltenham Festival winner.

The winning trainer was full of admiration for Impervious and admitted that more doors had opened as a result of the victory.

Murphy said: “It’s great and she’s done fantastically well. You do it for winning feelings like this. We’ve always hoped she would be a nice one. 

"I would say she would get further if we wanted, we’ve got loads of options. I’m not sure about what we’ll do next. We’ll get her home and I’d imagine she’ll get a few entries, and we’ll go from there. I had my lucky bit of shamrock on my coat and it’s done the trick!"

The JP McManus-owned Impervious has been transformed since returning earlier this season and her two-and-a-half-length success over Allegorie De Vassy ensured she extended her winning run over fences to four.

Hayes said: "This is different gravy. It’s the festival everyone wants to get a winner at and I got one, so it’s amazing."

Brian Hayes celebrated a first Cheltenham Festival winner onboard Impervious
Brian Hayes celebrated a first Cheltenham Festival winner on ImperviousCredit: Patrick McCann

The winning jockey has now steered Impervious to five of her seven victories and he praised Murphy for the hard work and effort he has demonstrated in the lead-up to Cheltenham.

He said: "She puts her head down and her ears back — she just wants it. I must say about Colm, if there’s a man to get them ready for Cheltenham, it’s him.

“He’s been here and he’s done it. Colm rides her every day and they were doing a bit of work in a circle, and he couldn’t pull her up. I thought she was flying.

“She has scope and power, and she commits to it. Colm has done a world of schooling with her and he’s turned the fences white; he did everything to perfection.”

Impervious's breeder Tom O'Doherty was there to see the daughter of Shantou land a fourth successive victory of the season. Speaking to Racing TV, he said: “I saw two fences. I could not watch, my heart was in my mouth, even though she is a fantastic jumper. 

“I knew she wouldn’t let me down. Once she got into battle, I knew she’d out-battle the rest.”

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Liam HeaddReporter
Published on 17 March 2023Last updated 18:21, 17 March 2023