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Mixed final day for Hutchinson at Cheltenham
6:00am Saturday 16th March 2013 in Sport
SWINDON jockey Wayne Hutchinson endured mixed fortunes on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival after Kumbeshwar fell in the closing Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase.
It was a disappointing finish for the man who won the corresponding race in 2009, as he fell at the fourth fence in a race which was eventually won by AP McCoy on 3-1 favourite Alderwood ahead of Nicky Henderson’s charge Kid Cassidy.
Lambourn trainer Henderson had six horses in the race named after his father, but couldn’t add to his haul of winners while Alan King’s Oh Crick came in 10th.
Earlier in the day, Hutchinson finished third in the Handicap Hurdle on 25-1 Manyriverstocross for Barbury Castle trainer King, as he superbly guided the long-shot home behind winner Ted Veale and Tennis Cap in second.
Hutchinson also had King of Dudes in the opening race of the final day of the Festival, but the duo could only manage a 13th place finish on a day where heavy rain made track conditions difficult.
The Festival’s top jockey was Ruby Walsh, with four winners ahead of Barry Geraghty and Bryan Cooper with three, with three of Walsh’s victories coming on the opening day.
The treble put Walsh, who won the award for the first time in 2004, on his way and his win on 25-1 shot Briar Hill in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper turned out to be decisive.
Geraghty had a winner on three of the four days but it was not enough for him to retain the title he won for a second time last year.
The big surprise was emerging star Cooper who enjoyed a double on the last day to supplement his single on Thursday.
Victory for the Tom Mullins-trained Alderwood in the final race completed a superb week for Irish horses, with a record 14 winners coming from across the Irish Sea.
The previous best came two years ago when Irish runners totalled 13 successes, and this year’s haul is a big improvement after the visitors only managed five successes in 2012.
Mullins’ brother Willie claimed the trainer’s title with five successes, all earned on the opening day of the Festival, ahead of Lambourn’s Henderson who won four times.