Agrapart sees off old rival Wholestone to land Cleeve

Sat 27 Jan 2018

Watch a full replay of the Cleeve Hurdle won by Agrapart at Cheltenham on Saturday, Stewart Machin's interviews with winning connections and read our report.

Agrapart provided Lizzie Kelly with another big-race triumph when outstaying Wholestone to win the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Nigel Twiston-Davies' Wholestone appeared to be going much the better running down to the last in the Grade Two contest, but he failed to see the near three-mile trip out as well as the Nick Williams-trained 9-1 winner.

Finian's Oscar, back over hurdles, was disappointing after briefly threatening.

Beer Goggles, running in the memory of Richard Woollacott, who died earlier in the week, aged 40, finished fifth, having led for much of the way under champion jockey Richard Johnson.

"This horse has helped shape my career, the owners have been so good to me," said Kelly.

"I'm delighted their faith in me has paid off. They started using me when I was a 10lb claimer.

"I love riding this horse, as he tries so hard. He travelled so well, I got to the front too soon.

"Once this horse gets his head in front he doesn't like being beaten."

Williams' seven-year-old has a fondness for soft ground and does not hold an entry in the Stayers' Hurdle at the Festival.

His trainer said: "I don't think we were ever worried about him getting the trip.

"It was similar to last time (Relkeel Hurdle) with Wholestone, they like having tough battles.

"We haven't even made an entry for March, the ground is so important. There's a 90 per cent chance the ground won't be soft enough, even soft isn't soft enough for him so he's quite hard to place."

Johnson said of Beer Goggles: "He jumped great and travelled great and he has still run a great race. It is a very hard day for all the connections and family. "The horse has still put up another bold show compared to where he was 18 months ago.

"The most important thing is to remember Richard in the spirit we always saw him at the races in.

"It is never easy when there is a bereavement anywhere, but it's very sad not to see a young man like that at the races anymore. He was a man who was a pleasure to see at the races and doing well for himself."

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