The Cheltenham Festival's most successful trainer of all-time doesn't usually saddle 50/1 shots, but at Cheltenham on Thursday one such horse led home a 66/1 stablemate.
In a race Willie Mullins has won the three times it has been run, the Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle, the trainer had seven runners, and the shortest-priced at odds of 13/2 was the Ruby Walsh-ridden My Sister Sarah.
While that five-year-old finished 13th, 50/1 chance Eglantine Du Seuil battled hard to pip 66/1 stablemate Concertista by a short-head with the Gordon Elliott-trained 40/1 chance Tintangle taking third to produce a monstrous £73,711.25 payout on the Tricast.
4:50 CHELTENHAM - 2019 DAWN RUN MARES’ NOVICES HURDLE RESULT— Gambling.com UK (@gambling_com) March 14, 2019
1. Eglantine Du Seuil - 50/1
2. Concertista - 66/1
3. Tintangle - 40/1
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Even more sensational was that the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh were all huge odds, coming up at odds of 25/1, 33/1, 50/1 and 100/1! The 15/8 favourite Epatante finished ninth, behind 3/1 second favourite Posh Trish.
Willie Mullins, who had saddled Faugheen to be third in the feature race earlier, said: "They have both run so well. I was watching Danny [Mullins, jockey] on Concertista the whole time, and the next thing I saw something coming on the inside and I thought, 'keep going, Danny,' then thought 'hopefully it's one of my own,' as I had so many runners in it.
"It was a fantastic performance by her jockey Noel Fehily. I said to him, 'she's not the fastest in the world, so just get her jumping and try and get her to run well."
The second, Concertista, had never run over hurdles before, and had not run in a race since leaving France in 2017.
"I couldn't run her this year on the ground at home," said Mullin, 'but I felt she was well enough and her jumping was good enough to run over hurdles here.
"I said to Danny the same thing as I said to Noel. I could see her coming round the outside, full of horse the whole time. She just got into a little bit of trouble before the last and I was hoping he might come. She's run a great race."
The winning rider Noel Fehily announced that this was his last Cheltenham Festival and that he would soon retire, after what was his first success of the week.
"This is going to be my last Festival," said the 43-year-old, "as I am getting a bit old for this job. It's a young man's game. I've been thinking about retiring for a couple of weeks.
"I wasn't well for a while and I thought it was time to let the young lads get on with it. I have spoken to my agent Chris Broad, who had been brilliant, and my wife and kids.
"I haven't spoken to the trainers I ride for, so it will probably be in a couple of weeks, we'll play it by ear." He added: "It's been a fantastic time. I love riding horses, but it's time to let everyone else get on with it."
Fehily has now ridden seven Cheltenham Festival winners during his career, starting with Silver Jaro in the 2008 County Hurdle. He also rode two Champion Hurdle winners - Rock On Ruby and Buveur D'Air - and won the 2017 Champion Chase on Special Tiara.
His remaining two victories came on Unowhatimeanharry to win the 2016 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, and on Summerville Boy in last year's Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
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