'Back him for the Gold Cup' - bold jumper L'Homme Presse storms to emotional win

L'Homme Presse: exhilarating round of jumping en route to victory in the Brown Advisory
L'Homme Presse: exhilarating round of jumping en route to victory in the Brown AdvisoryCredit: Edward Whitaker

Wednesday: Brown Advisory Novices' Chase, Cheltenham

There was no Galopin Des Champs and Bravemansgame was taken out at the last minute, but the Cheltenham crowd that sheltered from the Wednesday deluge were served up a race to savour, with L’Homme Presse delivering one of the finest displays of jumping from a novice ever seen at the course.

As soft ground ruled out Bravemansgame, the confidence of passionate part-owner Andy Edwards was growing – he called the rain “liquid sunshine” – and while some questioned the step up to three miles, Edwards had no doubts. His confidence was justified and he is already tipping the horse for the 2023 Gold Cup.

L'Homme Presse was placed prominently by Charlie Deutsch early on and with every slick leap he trimmed the advantage of leader Ahoy Senor. By the seventh, on the far side, the crowd cheered the exceptional leap which took him into the lead and another four out elicited the biggest roar as L'Homme Presse began to take full control.

Brown Advisory Novices' Chase: full result and replay

Ahoy Senor appeared to struggle and just behind the challenge of Threeunderthrufive was fading. Davy Russell and Farouk D’Alene looked threatening as they reached the bottom of the hill but when he fell two out, L’Homme Presse swaggered clear.

Back in the stands, Edwards' enjoyment was not matched by trainer Venetia Williams. “I’m going to need to watch it again to enjoy it properly I think, I haven’t felt so sick watching a race which is rare,” she said.

“I can’t be more thrilled, he’s such a spectacular jumper. I know he’s ended up being favourite but it was lovely to hear the crowd cheer when he put in another of his spectacular leaps.

“We’d been thinking this was the most likely race right from the early days, the only way we’d have gone shorter would have been if we had got proper heavy ground, but that was so unlikely."

Williams has teamed up with Deutsch to win numerous big races this season including the Ladbrokes Trophy and she added: “What a fabulous ride, he did everything right and took up the running when he needed to. We can all dream of anything now.”

Richards is daring to dream too. He stood proud as he revealed the story of the son of Diamond Boy, who he bought despite a leg injury, in France. His patience was thoroughly tested but the reward was worth it.

“I was really really relaxed and calm but then three years of emotion burst out, about ten lengths from the line I was in tears,” he said.

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“This morning at breakfast I got the video out when I picked him out in Normandy and he was gangly and didn’t know where he was. He had two months' box rest and I picked him up to bring him back to England and it has been one emotional journey."

L’Homme Presse is as short as 8-1 for next year’s Gold Cup and Richards added: “Back him now for it. Why wouldn’t you? He was still going away up the hill in this ground and he'll be stronger next year.”

Ahoy Senor stayed on resolutely to finish second, three and a half lengths adrift. He could not complete a famous festival double for trainer Lucinda Russell after Tuesday's win for Corach Rambler but the trainer was thrilled with the run.

“We’re totally proud of him," she said. "He made a mistake along the way and the ground is probably not perfect for him but no excuses. He’s a lovely horse and we can’t wait for next year.”

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