Cheltenham’s Festival meeting rolls into a second day tomorrow, when Pearl Bloodstock’s Carter McKay (pictured) is set to line up in the closing Weatherbys Champion Bumper.
A Flat race run over two miles and a stepping stone for future jumpers, the event has been won by a number of horses who went on to become stars over hurdles or fences, including Florida Pearl and Cue Card – the last-named is a leading fancy for Friday’s highlight of The Festival, the Gr.1 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Florida Pearl was one of eight winners of the race for Ireland’s champion trainer Willie Mullins, who now handles Carter McKay. Mullins’ son, Patrick, will ride the six-year-old, who was bought at public auction last year by Harold Kirk and David Redvers on Sheikh Fahad’s behalf. Carter McKay won a point-to-point over three miles before landing bumpers at Leopardstown and Naas.
Mullins also runs Next Destination, who will be ridden by Ruby Walsh, and who won his sole bumper start following a point-to-point win.
At Cheltenham today trainer Gordon Elliott was the man to follow, saddling three winners. Among them was Labaik, who took the Gr.1 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, and who last year was ridden to victory by Sheikh Fahad in a leg of the Corinthian Challenge.