Tag Archive for: Sam Ewing

Stellar Story denies The Jukebox Man in Bartlett thriller

Sam Ewing and Stellar Story pounced in the very last stride to inflict Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle agony on The Jukebox Man at the Cheltenham Festival.

The Ben Pauling-trained 18-1 outsider, who is owned by Harry Redknapp, had led the field along from flag fall in the hands of Kielan Woods, with Gordon Elliott’s shock 33-1 winner amongst those to track the pace setter.

The sedate early gallop saw plenty in with chances as the runners descended towards two out, but one by one they dropped away as Woods upped the tempo aboard The Jukebox Man and made his bid for home.

Pauling’s charge held the advantage running down to the last, but the six-year-old got in tight and gave Ewing and Stellar Story a glimmer of hope and they took full advantage, rallying to reel in the brave runner-up in the shadow of the post.

It was Elliott’s second success of the week following on from Teahupoo’s Stayers’ Hurdle triumph on Thursday, but for the young rider Ewing, it was not only a first Cheltenham Festival success, but also a maiden strike at Grade One level.

Sam Ewing salutes the Cheltenham crowd
Sam Ewing salutes the Cheltenham crowd (Mike Egerton/PA)

Ewing said: “Absolutely brilliant. He’s a horse that jumps very well, he loved that ground today and he battled very hard for me. He was brilliant at the last as well, when we needed it, so I can’t believe it.”

Elliott admitted he thought Stellar Story’s odds were generous, saying: “To be honest we thought he was overpriced, we knew he’d love the ground and he’s as tough as old nails.

“He stayed very well and Sam was good and positive. We were probably a little bit fortunate that the second horse missed the last as we’ve collared him on the line, but it was brilliant. I knew he was getting there, I just didn’t think he was getting there in time.

“To tell you the honest truth, I wasn’t going to run him. I was going to run Croke Park in the race and he was lame on Wednesday morning, so I brought this horse over late. I was going to send him to Aintree for a three-mile hurdle, so it shows what I know.

Stellar Story (left) chased down The Jukebox Man
Stellar Story (left) chased down The Jukebox Man (Mike Egerton/PA)

“He was bought to be a big chaser, that’s what he is. He’s a lovely horse.

“Sam is a big part of the team and I’m delighted for him.”

Owner Michael O’Leary added: “It’s a relief as I was getting a bit desperate. I had a bad day yesterday as my wife was presenting the Ryanair trophy to an ex Manchester United manager (Sir Alex Ferguson) and I’m a lifelong Man City supporter.

“I’m happy that’s the only trophy Man United are going to win this year, but I’m a bit disappointed it was the Ryanair trophy.

“It’s a complete fluke as we had Croke Park for this race and Gordon only put this horse on the box on Wednesday night. Sam gave him a peach of a ride.

“It was just a slog fest, but I’m very happy to win it. That relieves an awful lot of pressure.

“Winners here are so hard to get, if you don’t appreciate being in here you should give this game up. I tried to give it up about five years ago!

“To get in here is just fantastic.”

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Elliott enjoys another fruitful day at Navan

What’s Up Darling edged out his Gordon Elliott-trained stablemate Dee Capo in a stirring finish to the Bar One Racing For Auction Novice Hurdle at Navan.

On another winner-laden day for the stable, it was the Sam Ewing-ridden six-year-old, who took a big step forward from his hurdling debut at Limerick, who came out on top.

Jack Kennedy was on the hat-trick-seeking Dee Capo, but went down by a neck having shown the odd wayward tendency.

Elliott said of the 15-8 winner: “He’s a quick horse. He probably got racing a bit early but he won, so it’s great.

Jockey Sam Ewing, with trainer Gordon Elliott and What's Up Darling
Jockey Sam Ewing, with trainer Gordon Elliott and What’s Up Darling (Damien Eagers/PA)

“The other horse (Dee Capo) ran a serious race, Jack said he tried to hang off the track on the far side. He probably gave away a lot of lengths.

“Jack said he thought he was going to pull him up but when he straightened out, he sprinted again. I had the one-two, so I won’t complain.”

When asked if the winner could go for the Royal Bond, the trainer added: “To be honest, it might come a bit quick.”

Kennedy was on Elliott’s Stellar Story (4-7 favourite) in the Kilberry Pub & Kitchen Maiden Hurdle, who added to his two bumper wins.

Stellar Story clears the last flight
Stellar Story clears the last flight (Damien Eagers/PA)

“He’s a nice horse. Jack said he’d come on from it too, as he had a bit of a blow,” said Elliott.

“I was a bit worried in the back straight when the other horse was going with us but he said he’d come on plenty from it and we’re delighted.

“He was bought to be a big staying chaser.”

Fortunedefortunata (100-30 favourite) was another for Elliott and Kennedy in the Hotel Park St. Johann In Tirol Austria Handicap Hurdle.

“They (owners, Breakaway’s Syndicate) are all lads that I went to school with, so it’s great,” said Elliott.

Jockey Jack Kennedy with winning connections after Fortunedefortunata won
Jockey Jack Kennedy with winning connections after Fortunedefortunata won (Damien Eagers/PA)

“We didn’t give a fortune (£16,000) for him and today was the plan, thankfully it worked out for him.

“He loves really heavy ground. He probably wouldn’t take a lot of running quickly.”

Eddie and Patrick Harty’s Harvard Guy (7-1) won the Lisadell Equine Hospital Handicap Hurdle in the JP McManus colours.

“It was nice. I thought he might have a squeak based on his run at Fairyhouse,” said Eddie Harty.

“He was all out to do it and we’ll have to look for something similar. I’m delighted to be back on the scoresheet for JP.

“I think it’s Patrick’s first time on the board for JP since being on the licence, so it’s important for him as well.”

Elliott was narrowly denied a four-timer when My Trump Card got going too late in the concluding bumper and narrowly failed to reel in Gavin Cromwell’s Springt De La Mare (5-2), with Apple’s Of Bresil not far away in third.

The first three all look to have big futures.

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