Alex Ferguson enjoys ‘fantastic’ first Cheltenham winner

Iconic former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson hailed his first Cheltenham Festival winner as a racehorse owner after Monmiral’s victory in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle on Wednesday.

The 82-year-old, who enjoyed 26 trophy-laden years at Old Trafford, roared home his first success at the showpiece jump racing festival.

Monmiral, a 25/1 shot, was ridden patiently by Harry Cobden before powering up the hill to win by one and a quarter lengths from Kyntara.

“I’ve waited a long time for this, but it is fantastic. The jockey was absolutely brilliant on him,” said Ferguson.

“What I was thinking at the tapes was, ‘What the hell is he doing at the back’, but he crept forward and judged it perfectly…

“It has been probably 20 years that I’ve wanted to have a winner here as when I first started (in racing) I just had flat horses and no National Hunt ones.”

Ferguson did not have to wait long to get back into the winners’ enclosure, as Protektorat powered away from reigning champion and favourite Envoi Allen in the next race, the Grade One Ryanair Chase.

The 17/2 shot gave rider Harry Skelton and his brother, trainer Dan Skelton, their fourth win of the week after Grey Dawning’s earlier victory in the Turners Novices’ Chase.


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