Sky's the limit for 46-1 Cheltenham Festival treble

By Andrew Atkinson

Jonjo O’Neill trained Sky Pirate – tipped by (14-1) from 16s won the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival to complete a 46-1 treble.

“I thank Jonjo and owner Mr Tedham for giving me the chance to get the ride,” said jockey Nick Schofield, who broke his leg early in the season.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity – the horse is a star. Sky Pirate is still a Novice but quite sharp and we had a dream run,” said Schofield.

Schofield, riding his third career Cheltenham Festival win, added: “When we got away from the last we just held on and credit to the horse, carrying 11st 6lbs. He has shown his toughness.”

Touching on his leg break, Schofield said: “After breaking my fibula and tibia in three places I thank God that’s behind me.”

Sky Pirate held on to beat Entoucas (7-1) by a head, who finished strongly on the run-in to the winning post.

Ibleo (9-1) tipped each-way by trained by Venetia Williams ran third.

“It’s great for Nick. He’s an amazing horse this year – different from the last couple of years,” said trainer O’Neill.

“It’s harder to get winners as a trainer,” said former jockey O’Neill.

“Cheltenham is magical and to get a win at the Festival is brilliant. For Nick to come back from a broken leg was a peach of a ride,” added O’Neill.

*Bob Olinger (6-4), Monkfish (1-4) and Sky Pirate (14-1) completed a 46-1 treble.

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