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Cheltenham

  • 17:15 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual 2m 110y

  • (grade 3) £80,000 added 5yo+ 19 ran
  • Winner: £
  • Going: Good to Soft
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 4m 7.60s
  • Off time: 17:16:23

Pigeon Swoops For Twister Treble

By Tom Peacock, Press Association Sport.   Last Updated: 19/03/10 7:12pm

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Brennan celebrates his second big win of the day.

Brennan celebrates his second big win of the day.

Pigeon Island swooped fast and late to crown a memorable day for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and jockey Paddy Brennan in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase, the closing race of the 2010 Cheltenham Festival.

After the victories of Imperial Commander in the Gold Cup and Baby Run in the Foxhunter's, ridden by his son Sam, Twiston-Davies could have been forgiven he had used up all his luck.

Favourite for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle two years ago, Pigeon Island has found life over fences pretty tough.

However, he scraped in at the bottom of the handicap and not surprisingly ridden with supreme confidence, the 16-1 chance flew up the famous Cheltenham hill.

French Opera, saddled with top weight, made a bold bid under David Bass to keep the race in the Henderson family and he was only a length and a quarter away in second.

Consigliere travelled well for a long way and finished third, with Cornas fourth.

Brennan said: "It's great for the boss.

"After winning the Gold Cup, he said 'please go and try to win this as I could be leading trainer'.

"I thought I had a chance and I tipped him up each-way in my Festival previews.

"Nigel's horses are overpriced and that's good for Nigel and for punters who back his horses.

"I thought he was chucked in today. I thought they went very quick and it's good to win a race like this. Nine times out of 10 it doesn't work out but that did.

"I wish today could last forever. This will last in my memory for the rest of my life."

Twiston-Davies said: "The buses all came at once and this is our day and thank goodness for that.

"He's still only a seven-year-old but he won seven races one season, he had a quiet season last season but he's come back and finished second three times.

"He'd lost his way but Paddy has always had great faith him.

"He could have ridden either of the other two in the race but he said this was the one that's going to win and he was absolutely right.

"It's very special to have a winner for Raymond (Mould, owner) as he's my biggest owner and basically the stable owes everything to him."

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