Gin On Lime won a barely believable race for the SSS Super Alloys Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham, after My Drogo fell at the second-last fence when there was all to play for.
My Drogo had just taken the lead when he came down – and Gin On Lime slithered on landing and was close to falling at that obstacle herself.
Rachael Blackmore managed to somehow keep the partnership intact, pick the Henry de Bromhead-trained mare up and get her to jump the final obstacle safely.
Gin On Lime (7-4) had given My Drogo a good lead through the early stages, with Harry Skelton taking the 4-9 favorite to the outside of his rival to hold a narrow lead at the penultimate fence, where all the drama unfolded .
Blackmore told ITV Racing: “She didn’t go from left to right so it wasn’t that difficult (to sit). It was very strange, a two-horse race, it just shows you that anything can happen. Harry loomed up beside me and I thought he was going to go away from me at the second-last.
“Such honesty from her to do that, she didn’t put in the best round of jumping. There’s a lot going on around the place and she wasn’t sure where she was going. It was so incredibly honest of the mare to do that “
De Bromhead said: “It was mad, wasn’t it? We looked beaten, I don’t think the favorite deserved it (to fall) at all, he’d jumped brilliantly throughout. It’s one of those things you don’t expect to see, but it worked out in our favour.
“Obviously many days out in the hunting field stood her in good stead there, she was brilliant. You wouldn’t believe it would you?”
He added of his winner: “I’m not sure she was quite herself. She’s quite a buzzy lady and she’d normally run with a lot more zest, she was jumping right and we always felt she was better going left.
“I’m just not sure she was herself, we said we’d come over here to have a look, with maybe a view to the mares’ chase back in the spring. But we’ve been on the go all summer and I think it might have been one run too many. It was great for her to win.”
Trainer Dan Skelton, meanwhile, was in a philosophical mood when giving his assessment of My Drogo.
“He jumped the fence fine and knuckled down on landing. You saw what happened,” he told Racing TV.
“I was delighted with him the whole way round. He jumped beautifully. He was a bit big at a couple down the back. He jumped the ditch at the top of the hill better than the mare.
“He came there on the bridle and would have won. We all know that, but at least he’s all right. I’m totally relaxed about it.
“Frustrated he’s ended up not completing the race and that goes on his record, but that doesn’t mean he’s a lesser horse. He cantered up the straight. He’s gone a nice, strong gallop, which is unusual in a two-horse race . Fair play to Rachael staying on. She made a similar mistake. That’s racing. We move on.”