CHELTENHAM: Heartbreak for luckless Mangan

Your heart had to go out to Jane Mangan, after she had victory dragged from her grasp in the Foxhunters yesterday.

CHELTENHAM: Heartbreak for luckless Mangan

The sensational 19-year-old is one of the rising stars of the game and has a massive future. She gave Oscar Delta, trained by her father, Jimmy, an unbelievable drive. Mangan had him near the front throughout and made her move over the third last.

They were tactics that seemed destined to succeed. Oscar Delta flew the last and started up the hill with a clear lead and the contest at his mercy.

But halfway up the run in, he hung dramatically to his left, towards the far rail. Jane was instantly aware of what was happening and immediately pulled her whip into her left hand. But it was too late, as Oscar Delta swerved, jinked and dislodged her.

“It felt like it was a dream when I hit the ground,” she said afterwards. “It was like a Disney film or something.

“He just thought we were going for another circuit, then he jinked, corrected himself and I wasn’t ready but as dad (Jimmy Mangan) said, thinking of the McNamaras it could be a lot worse.”

The heavily backed favourite, Salsify, was left in front and moved on to land a fortuitous victory, to go with his win in the race last year.

Said Jimmy: “The only thing hurt is Jane’s pride. It could have been a lot worse. She gave the horse a brilliant ride, I couldn’t be more proud.”

Fortuitous as Salsify’s second consecutive victory may have been, credit must go to father and son team of Rodger and Colman Sweeney from Castlelyons in Cork for producing the eight-year-old to peak at Cheltenham. Persistent rain made the ground unsuitably soft for the well-backed 2-1 chance, but under a typically patient ride from Sweeney Jnr, the son of Beneficial crept into contention on the final circuit. Produced with every chance in the straight, he looked held until the unfortunate incident when Mangan was unshipped.

Sweeney, winning the race for the third time in his career, said: “God was on my side, I feel sorry for Jane, though.

“I did feel he was going to rally but I probably wouldn’t have got there.

“This horse is a different horse on decent ground, he didn’t feel the same at all on soft. He can be very keen so I dropped him right out until I got settled and then he jumped into it. He does rally and stay on but I think Jane would have won.

“I’d like to dedicate this to John Thomas (McNamara) as everything we do, we do for love. He was one of the senior boys when I first started and he still is. We’re all thinking of him.”

Sweeney Snr said: “It was very lucky and I’m gutted for Jane, who is a good friend of ours and a very polished rider. Our fellow didn’t like the ground but he kept trying his best but Jimmy Mangan should’ve been the winner.”

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