Quilixios triumphs in style for brilliant Blackmore

Quilixios gave Rachael Blackmore a remarkable sixth victory of the week at the Cheltenham Festival when landing the JCB Triumph Hurdle.

Blackmore can do nothing wrong and produced another brilliant ride on the Cheveley Park Stud-owned four-year-old, trained by Henry de Bromhead.

She had Quilixios (2-1) up with the pace from the outset, with rank outsider Talking About You for company.

When that horse weakened coming down the hill with two flights left, Blackmore asked Quilixios for his effort and got first run on the field.

Adagio tried to cover the move, but was outclassed by the unbeaten Quilixios, who powered up the hill to win by three and a quarter lengths.

Adagio held Haut En Couleurs by a head for second place. Zanahiyr, the 11-8 favourite, was fourth after failing to get in a blow.

Quilixios – a recent transfer to the De Bromhead yard having previously been trained by the suspended Gordon Elliott – was given a quote of 12-1 for next year’s Champion Hurdle with Betfair and 14-1 with Coral.

De Bromhead said: “It’s been an incredible week.

“He’s a lovely horse, but we’ve only just got him. He’s a gorgeous horse and I’m pleased for Cheveley Park, as they are great supporters of ours.

“All credit to Gordon and his team as he looked amazing on joining us, we’ve done very little with him.

“We knew he jumped really well, and had been really impressive before today and he’s a lovely looking horse. He’ll be a nice chaser in time.

“I wouldn’t know about next year, we’ll have a chat and see what everyone wants to do.”

Blackmore admitted her parents are thoroughly enjoying her exploits at home in Ireland.

She said: “They’re getting a great kick out of it, so it’s brilliant. I know they’d have loved to have been here today, like a lot of people.

“I’m just happy I’m here and these horses are here.”

David Pipe said of Adagio: “I’d normally never happily take second, but we’d have taken that before the race as it looked an above-average Triumph.

Quilixios sees off his rivals in the Triumph Hurdle
Quilixios sees off his rivals in the Triumph Hurdle (Michael Steele/PA)

“He had colic not so long ago, so to do that was fantastic, and remember he came out of a claimer. We’ll see how he comes out of this, but he’s quite a tough horse and Aintree is the obvious place if he runs again. There will be lots more good days to have with him.”

Willie Mullins, trainer of third home Haut En Couleurs and Tax For Max, who was sixth, said: “It was a very good run and we’re delighted with him. He jumped and galloped and he’ll come on a lot for that. We’ll head to Punchestown we think.

“Tax For Max was very green and it’ll be educational for him for the future.”

Lisa O’Neill, representing Denise Foster, trainer of Zanahiyr, who had to settle for fourth, said: “It was a little bit disappointing. He probably ran a bit too keen and struggled to get up the hill after that. We’ll take him home and see how he is after the run before making a decision about running again this season.”

Alan King said of fifth-placed Tritonic: “He just floundered away a bit on that ground. We’ll see about Aintree, but he might go back on the Flat instead.”

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