Homme Public capitalises on JPR One stumble

Homme Public ensured Henry Brooke could celebrate his first ever victory at Cheltenham in the SSS Super Alloys Arkle Challenge Trophy Trial Novices’ Chase but he was fortunate to do so.

The favourite JPR One looked to have done everything right the whole way round as Brendan Powell set a scorching gallop.

Coming down the hill before the turn for home, it possibly looked like he had gone too fast as the three other runners all closed up, including Homme Public.

However, Powell had saved plenty on Joe Tizzard’s six-year-old and no sooner had he given the others a sniff had he shot clear again and seemingly put the race to bed.

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He cleared the second last in style and with just one fence left to negotiate, it appeared the UK had a rock-solid contender for Arkle glory but, as many before him have found, the last at Cheltenham takes some jumping and he landed too steeply, giving Powell no chance.

Suddenly Homme Public, having looked booked for second, was left in front and while Petit Tonnerre gave him a fright, he won by two lengths.

Homme Public is trained by Oliver Greenall and Josh Guerriero, who have made a fantastic start to the season and won the Grand Sefton last weekend with Gesskille.

“If anything, he didn’t love the ground today. He just never really took the bit like he would normally,” said Brooke.

“His jumping was very good and Brendan went a nice gallop out in front. I came to join him but Brendan slipped away down to two out. I’ve missed both two out and the last, but he’s very good, he’s nimble on his feet, he knows where his feet are.

“Brendan’s misfortune has maybe been my luck today, but I was just saying he’s had a harsh fall but he could be a lot worse. They are both OK and they live to fight another day and that’s the main thing. There are people in worse circumstances right now and we’ve got to think about them.

“He’s a willing partner and that’s what you need on the big day and hopefully he will be there for many more.

“When Jonjo (O’Neill on Petit Tonnerre) came to my girths he’s fairly scurried away and he’s just improved and improved.

“I was looking at his form on the way down here and we didn’t even win with him off 120 at one stage and it has just showed how far the team have come and progressed these horses. They are bringing the horses with them and are a good outfit.”

On his first winner at Cheltenham, he added: “(It means) a lot. I might enjoy driving down here next time I come after today.”

Homme Public provided Henry Brooke with a first winner at Cheltenham
Homme Public provided Henry Brooke with a first winner at Cheltenham (David Davies/PA)



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Greenall said: “He’s a likeable horse and since he’s switched to fences he’s improved.

“Maybe it is just me but I don’t think he looked quite as happy on the ground today. I think he is better on a better surface and it was good ground at Wetherby and he just seemed to spring and jump a bit better. Obviously it was a better class of race today, but I do think he’s a better horse on better ground.

“Henry gave him a nice ride and he’s been fantastic. He comes in once a week and is a good member of the team. He’s had his injuries in the past but he rides really well.

“He will have to step out of handicap company now, but we will see what Henry says. I think he will be better on better ground. We always thought he would want further last year, but I think we will just stick to two miles for now.

“We entered him today just to have a look and we thought there might be some more highly-rated horses in it.

“We’ll just see how we go and Josh does a lot of the race planning etc, so he will have a look and we will discuss it.”

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