Min gets the least he deserves with long-awaited Cheltenham win

He had to wait four years but Min finally got the Cheltenham Festival he so richly deserved when getting the better of Saint Calvados and A Plus Tard in the Ryanair Chase.

Min and Paul Townend with Rich and Sussanah Ricci and Dermot Sheehan after winning the Ryanair Chase. Photo Healy Racing
Min and Paul Townend with Rich and Sussanah Ricci and Dermot Sheehan after winning the Ryanair Chase. Photo Healy Racing

It was a case of no Altior, no problem as, with his nemesis out of the picture, Min finally got the job done at Prestbury Park.

The Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old jumped superbly and travelled sweetly for Paul Townend throughout and was holding on up the famous hill.

“He's been a super horse for us and it's great he's had his day here,” Mullins said.

“We used the wrong tactics on him in the Champion Chase last year and it didn't work out. He likes to be up there, Paul let him do that and here he is again at the top table.

“I was very worried when Saint Calvados came up to challenge but he threw a lovely leap at the last and put it to bed. He still had a little bit left in the tank. I'm wondering does he just get that trip, is that the extent of his stamina? I think he could come back to two miles, but this seems to be his optimum.”

Townend added: “We went pretty hard early on but then we steadied it down and Min got into a great rhythm. It's very important to win here, it's a big week.”

Harry Whittington said of runner-up Saint Calvados: “I'm so proud of him, I could feel how well he was saddling him and I knew he was going to run a big race. The change in tactics has worked and he's still unexposed, he can go up in trip again next year. I'm gutted, but so thrilled for the horse.”

More on this topic

Al Boum Photo joins the greats with second Gold Cup successAl Boum Photo joins the greats with second Gold Cup success

Pat Keane: Power not to blame for Benie Des Dieux’s demisePat Keane: Power not to blame for Benie Des Dieux’s demise

Ruby Walsh: Another magical Festival and another Irish celebrationRuby Walsh: Another magical Festival and another Irish celebration

Mug's Game: Okay, so I was steeped but a win is a win — isn’t it?Mug's Game: Okay, so I was steeped but a win is a win — isn’t it?