A 66-1 long shot at Cheltenham delivers a stunning success for father and daughter from Kilshannig in north Cork

A 66-1 long shot at Cheltenham delivers a stunning success for father and daughter from Kilshannig in north Cork
Jockey Maxine O'Sullivan celebrates on It Came To Pass after winning the St. James's Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase. Picture: Simon Cooper/PA Wire. 

THERE were huge celebrations in Kilshannig after a stunning 66-1 upset at Cheltenham.

It Came To Pass caused a mighty 66-1 shock in the St James's Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup at Cheltenham, under the guidance of father and daughter pair Eugene and Maxine O'Sullivan from north Cork.

It really was a family affair, as the winner is trained in Rebel county 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."

Picture: Simon Cooper/PA Wire.
Picture: Simon Cooper/PA Wire.

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."

It was an incredible week for Cork racing, with Aidan Coleman, Davy Russell, Gavin Sheehan and Paul Townend all crossing the line in first place before O'Sullivan's success.

Townend retained the Gold Cup for Al Boum Photo, owned by Cork man Joe Donnelly, one of his five winners this week, while Russell was in the saddle for two victories. 

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