Happy Diva wins £160,000 BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham as jockey Richard Patrick lands the biggest win of his career
- 14-1 Happy Diva records impressive win at Cheltenham in BetVictor Gold Cup
- The action-packed race saw just eight of the 17 starters cross the finish line
- Patrick claimed the win was just reward for all the bad luck experienced last year
Happy Diva, brought down four fences out when travelling well 12 months earlier, got the breaks second time round as she landed the £160,000 BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham yesterday for trainer Kerry Lee and jockey Richard Patrick.
In an eventful race in which only eight of the 17 starters finished, 14-1 shot Happy Diva led approaching the second-last fence where 4-1 favourite Slate House, who had not jumped well but was travelling smoothy after being nursed into the race by jockey Robbie Power, exited.
That left Happy Diva in command but at the line she was hanging on as Barry Geraghty on JP McManus-owned Brelan D’As closed the winning margin down to a neck.
Richard Patrick, riding Happy Diva, won the £160,000 BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham
Lee, who took over the running of the family stable in Herefordshire from her father Richard in 2015, won the 2016 Welsh National with Mountainous and the Grade One Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse with Kylemore Lough in the same season, but yesterday’s race with a first prize of £90,000 was her most valuable win.
Lee said: ‘With a circuit to go I was thinking Richard had her perfectly positioned. I could not have been happier but you never let yourself get carried away because you know what might be around the corner.
‘It’s magnificent for us because we have had a fairly quiet season and one or two have fallen by the wayside with their owners.’
Happy Diva’s win meant 4-1 favourite Slate House was left defeated by jockey Richard Patrick
For Patrick, 24, who grew up in Wales riding against the Bowen brothers who are now his weighing room rivals, it was easily the biggest win of his career.
He said: ‘We had bad luck last year but this definitely makes up for it.’
Features of the Cheltenham undercard included Philip Hobbs-trained Thyme Hill making it two from two over hurdles with an impressive three-length win form Champagne Well in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
He will probably head to the Challow Hurdle at Newbury over Christmas and Hobbs said ground conditions will decide whether Thyme Hill’s Festival target will be the two-and-a-half or three-mile novice hurdle.
Dan Skelton-trained Allmankind stamped himself as the best juvenile hurdler seen out this season, making all and keeping going remarkably well in testing conditions in the JC Triumph Hurdle Trial.
Meanwhile at Punchestown, where Faugheen made an impressive chasing debut despite one bad mistake, there was a shock in the Morgiana Hurdle when Willie Mullins-trained 2-5 favourite Klassical Dream could only finish third to stablemate Saldier, who was running for the first time since fracturing his nose in a fall a year earlier.
Patrick’s win on Saturday was undoubtedly the biggest success of the jockey’s career so far