Colin Bowe opens Cheltenham account with Shantou Flyer
Trainer may target four-mile National Hunt Chase as Festival
Mark Walsh riding Shantou Flyer (far left) clears the last on the way to winning The Ryman Stationary Cheltenham Business Club Novices’ Steeple Chase at Cheltenham. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Colin Bowe was thrilled to saddle his first winner at Cheltenham as Shantou Flyer lunged late to land the Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Novices’ Chase.
One of Ireland’s leading point-to-point handlers and trainer of high-class mare Little King Robin, Bowe has saddled just a handful of previous runners on British soil without success.
Despite having won twice and finished second twice from five previous chase starts, Shantou Flyer was a 14-1 shot for what looked his toughest chasing assignment to date.
The Irish challenger was not done any favours when the pacesetting favourite Vintage Vinnie crashed out three fences from the finish, but Mark Walsh managed to get Shantou Flyer back on an even keel and he finished powerfully from the final fence to get up and beat Weather Babe by a length and a half.
Bowe’s charge is around the 20-1 mark for the four-mile National Hunt Chase back at Cheltenham next March and the trainer confirmed that Festival prize could be a target.
Bowe said: “I think this is my third runner at Cheltenham, so it’s great to get a winner.
“I didn’t think he was going to win when he was nearly brought down by the horse that fell and then he missed the second last, but he’s gone and done it well in the end.
“He’s only a five-year-old and is still learning his trade. We could maybe bring him back here for the four-miler.”
There was also success for Ireland in the three-runner squareintheair.com Novices’ Chase as the Jessica Harrington-trained Rock The World made most of the running under Barry Geraghty.
The even-money favourite led his two opponents into home straight and while Qewy looked the most likely winner approaching the final fence, not for the first time he fluffed his lines in the jumping department and Rock The World stayed on best to take the prize by two lengths from Dormello Mo.
“He jumped very well, but he’s had a good practice all summer having won two and finished second three times,” Harrington told Racing UK.
“He’s going to go on holiday now and won’t run again until the spring. He’s done me well this summer and deserves a break.”
Penglai Pavilion (11-4) made it three from three over obstacles in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle.
Trainer John Ferguson said: “He was a good Flat horse a long time ago and has had his difficult times. I was very lucky to be given him.
“You’ve got the Paddy Power meeting coming up in a month. I might give that a miss and just leave him for the Challow Hurdle, or something like that.”
Conditional jockey Lewis Gordon was delighted to enter the hallowed Prestbury Park winner’s enclosure for the first time after steering 11-1 shot Dark Spirit to success in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle for his boss Evan Williams.
Gordon said: “My 10lb claim has gone now and I couldn’t have chosen a better place to lose it.
“You don’t get applause like it anywhere else. It gives you goosebumps.”