Cheltenham Festival: The Real Whacker denies Gerri Colombe in Brown Advisory thriller  | Racing News


The Real Whacker and Sam Twiston-Davies brought the house down as they held off the late charge of Gerri Colombe to take the Brown Advisory for trainer Patrick Neville. 

It was a jumping masterclass from The Real Whacker that sealed the deal, leading from the front and would not be headed despite a galvanised Gerri Colombe flying home under the Jordan Gainford drive in the final 100 yards.

The victory is even sweeter for trainer Neville, who left training in Ireland to move to Ann Duffield’s North Yorkshire base, citing a lack of owners for taking his relatively small string across to the UK.

Sam Twiston-Davies celebrates victory on The Real Whacker

That move proved to be vindicated with a Grade One success at the Cheltenham Festival, defeating heavyweight Irish trainers Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott in the process.

The early skirmishes saw The Real Whacker and Bronn, who stayed on to finish third, battle it out but eyes were drawn to Sir Gerhard who put in some poor leaps in the opening mile.

He soon warmed to the task and coming down the hill for the last time looked to have every chance alongside Gerri Colombe, who was pushed along to find more in the closing stages.

The front two managed to pull away and were four lengths clear jumping the last, with Bronn wilting and The Real Whacker staying on and then holding off a determined late charge from Gerri Colombe to win by a nose.

Bronn ultimately was back in third for Daryl Jacob, with I Am Maximus back in fourth for the Willie Mullins team.

The fancied Thyme Hill jumped poorly and was ultimately well-beaten in eighth, with Sir Gerhard one place further back after being eased close home.

“It was a fantastic race, it’s always a privilege to be asked to ride in these races,” said the delighted winning rider.

“I was lucky to ride him in the Dipper, let alone today as well. Paddy Neville, all the way through, has been a great supporter. He said he was in wicked good nick and fair play, he was absolutely spot on.

“He races in a great manner – although he’s in front and he’s doing a lot of the hard work you’re able to get the breathers in everywhere you want.

“With his jumping he’s always filling himself up, my God it feels like a long way up the run-in!”