'This is our Gold Cup': O’Sullivan family 'over the moon' to take Foxhunter shock

It Came To Pass caused a mighty 66-1 upset in the St. James’s Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup at Cheltenham.

Jockey Maxine O'Sullivan and her father and winning trainer Eugene celebrate with the trophy after It Came To Pass won the St. James's Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup during day four of the Cheltenham Festival. Photo: Simon Cooper/PA
Jockey Maxine O'Sullivan and her father and winning trainer Eugene celebrate with the trophy after It Came To Pass won the St. James's Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup during day four of the Cheltenham Festival. Photo: Simon Cooper/PA

It was a family affair, as the winner is trained in Lombardstown, Co. Cork, by Eugene O’Sullivan, who sent out Lovely Citizen to take this prized hunter chase in 1991, and was ridden by his daughter, Maxine.

Marcle Ridge made the running and soon had the runners stretched out before he came back to the field and was headed three out.

Shantou Flyer went on under his owner David Maxwell, but it was not long before It Came To Pass came on the scene with a well-timed challenge.

The 10-year-old put daylight between himself and his rivals and had 10 lengths to spare over 11-4 favourite Billaway at the line.

Shantou Flyer was five lengths away in third, with Staker Wallace another three and a quarter lengths back in fourth.

The winning trainer said: “I’m over the moon. We won this race 29 years ago, with my brother William riding. Sadly my father isn’t with us anymore, but I’m sure he was looking down on us today.

“We’ve a great family operation at home, there’s an awful lot of people involved and a lot of hard work.

“Maxine does an awful lot of work and she’s a brilliant girl. She has little faith in herself and her riding, but she is brilliant.”

Maxine O’Sullivan said: “He just loved it the whole way and everything went right. I couldn’t have asked for a better run round.

“We knew if he returned to his old form that he would have a serious chance, and he did. He was better today than he’s ever been. We knew he’d stay really well.

“It’s really special for our family. My uncle won it in 1991, my dad trained it and my granddad owned and bred it. Unfortunately, my granddad died in the last couple of years, but he’d be so proud.

“This is our Gold Cup. It’s such a family business. It means a lot to us.”

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