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Quevega completes Cheltenham five-timer in Mares' Hurdle

Updated: Tuesday, 12 Mar 2013 17:31 | Comments

Quevega again proves unbeatable up the Cheltenham hill
Quevega again proves unbeatable up the Cheltenham hill

Quevega made it a remarkable five-timer in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle with a thrilling victory at the Cheltenham Festival.

She came from a difficult position to land the spoils and equal the 1930s Gold Cup hero Golden Miller's record of winning the same race five years in a row.

And she was completing a first-day treble for trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh.

Almost knocked over at the top of the hill, Quevega (8-11 favourite) still had plenty to do at the final flight.

French raider Sirene D'Ainay looked to have the race in the bag when she touched down in front after the last after leading some way out.

But Quevega finally got going and she flew up the hill passing many rivals to get her head in front in the last 100 yards to win by a length and a half, with Swincombe Flame two lengths away third.

Afterwards, Ruby Walsh spoke of his relief as the favourite landed the spoils: "We were very, very lucky.

"I'm not sure if she stood on herself or clipped heels with something else, but she was on the floor at the top of the hill - she nodded and I nearly fell over her ears.

"She has a wonderful attitude and you'd have to say she's trained by a genius" - Ruby praise for horse and trainer

"When she stood back up then, the boys were gone, and I had to sit and suffer down the hill, but she has a tremendous little engine.

"She has a wonderful attitude and you'd have to say she's trained by a genius.

"In fairness to her, she jumped the last and, my God, did she battle.

"I would have won very easily but for what happened at the top of the hill - when your luck is in, your luck is in."

Mullins added: "We thought we had the team in great order coming over.

"She is a fantastic mare. She's just so good and changes gear when she wants to.

"Ruby rode her with a lot of confidence. I thought he was five or six lengths out of his ground but when he slipped her wide, she found another gear.

"Once the last hurdle opened up for her you could see her putting her head down and you knew if she jumped the last she was going to make it.

"She's very good - very precious.

"To be associated with a horse that wins five times at the Festival, you don't dream of those things.

"I used to read about horses like Golden Miller in those racing books when I was young, but those horses are once in a lifetime - once in a century.

"I'm privileged to be part of it." 

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