Cromwell claims Cheltenham double

Gavin Cromwell and Keith Donoghue enjoyed a double on the opening day of the new season at Cheltenham, with both My Mate Mozzie and Encanto Bruno breezing to victories in their respective contests.

Trainer : Gavin Cromwell
Trainer : Gavin Cromwell Picture: (Michael Steele/Getty Images)

My Mate Mozzie fluffed his lines on chasing debut at Fairyhouse but proved a class above his three rivals in the Novices' Chase on day one of The Showcase at Cheltenham this afternoon.

Having been turned over by a 50-1 chance on his chasing debut at Fairyhouse earlier this month the Gavin Cromwell-trained Grade 3-winning hurdler made amends with an effortless-looking success in the two-mile contest under Keith Donoghue.

The strong 4-7 market leader tracked two rivals throughout before breezing into contention on the run down to the final fence to throw down his challenge.

Keith Donoghue barely required his mount to come out of second gear to move clear of both rivals before passing the post with three lengths in hand.

Cromwell said: "It was good. He jumped out a little bit to his right, and he made a couple of little novicey mistakes, but I'm happy with the result anyway.

"He arrives into all of his races travelling very well, and he has got beaten odds on in running trading very short on a few occasions, but thankfully he didn't today.

"On ratings, he should have won at Fairyhouse no matter what way you rode him, but I think he really needs to be ridden to arrive late on and he probably only just barely sees out the two miles."

A return to Cheltenham next month for the Grade Two SSS Super Alloys Arkle Challenge Trophy Trial Novices' Chase on November 17th could be on the cards, should the ground be suitable.

Cromwell added: "He could possibly come back here for the Arkle Trial next month, but it will all be ground permitting. I don't think you would run him on too-softer ground. We will give him a little break in the middle of the season and then bring him back in the spring.

"Leopardstown at Christmas is probably the only time we will get nice ground, but the timing of it is not great. We are just happy with that result today and we will go back and have a look at things.

"He will have to get another bit of experience along the way somewhere and step forward plenty from that to be competitive at the Cheltenham Festival, but we wouldn't rule it out.

"It does take some doing around here so winning today is a tick in the right box."

Just thirty-five minutes or so after My Mate Mozzie's impressive performance, Gavin Cromwell was once again in the winners' enclosure, with Encanto Bruno bouncing back to record an emphatic stable debut success in the Trustatrader Novices' Hurdle on day one of The Showcase at Cheltenham today.

The son of Mahler moved effortlessly into contention as the field approached the final flight where he was one of a handful of runners still holding every chance. A smart turn of foot soon put the race to bed and Encanto Bruno breezed clear for a commanding two-length victory, bringing up a near 5/1 double for both trainer and jockey.

Cromwell said: "He was keen quite early, and he jumped a few of them quite big, but he travelled very strongly, and he won very well.

"Although he goes quite well at home, I'd say he is a far better racehorse than he is a workhorse, which is always the way you like to have it. I'm delighted with that, and it was a good performance.

"He is a pretty straightforward horse and I'm delighted to have him. It was one of those runs [when he pulled up the last day] that you leave behind you as there was something amiss and I wouldn't read into that.

"He is versatile, as he has won over two and a half miles today, and although he doesn't show much pace at home, he could certainly come back to two miles as he was quite keen at home.

"He is a lovely horse to look forward to. I think he will be a lovely horse when he jumps a fence too.

"We will go away and have a think about it and have chat with the owners and Keith (Donoghue) and weighing it all up [as to what we do next].

"I don't think he would like deep Irish winter ground so he would be more for the spring."

"We will have to look at a better race next and when life gets harder that's when we will see how good he is."

Betfair left Encanto Bruno unchanged at 25-1 for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and 33-1 for the Ballymore.

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