The Conditional wins dramatic Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival after seeing off competition from Kildisart
The Conditional clung on grimly to emerge victorious in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.
The 15-2 shot ridden bolted towards the finish line after jockey Brendan Powell waited patiently for an opening. The 10-1 Kildisart, ridden by Daryl Jacob, narrowly missed out.
Discorama and Vinndication, two of the favourites for the race, came third and fourth respectively.
Jockey Brendan Powell celebrates after The Conditional won the Ultimate Handicap Chase
Powell said it was an ‘unbelievable’ feeling to win the race after a difficult time last year
Winning trainer David Bridgwater savours the race victory by the 15-2 shot on Tuesday
The eight-year-old Conditional travelled strongly for much of the thee-mile-one-furlong journey in the hands of a confident-looking Powell.
There was a scare for The Conditional’s supporters at the second fence from the finish, but he winged the final obstacle and galloped all the way to the line to hold the persistent challenge of Kildisart by diminishing neck.
A winner over the course and distance in October, David Bridgwater’s charge went on to fill the runner-up spot in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury before placing fourth when favourite for the Classic Chase at Warwick in January.
The runners and riders in action during the second lap of the race at Cheltenham Festival
Powell was in disbelief after the race and said it was an ‘unbelievable’ feeling after some poor luck last year.
‘It is unbelievable. I’m lucky to have been in this position before but the time in-between has been tough.
‘When I was here before, things were going well, then I had a couple of quiet seasons. This season has brought it back to life.
The Conditional jumps the final fence before racing clear to secure victory at the Ultima
The Brendan Powell ridden horse edges ahead of Vinnidication, one of the pre-race favourites
‘I was really struggling for winners last year and they have brought me back up again.’
Winning trainer Bridgwater was full of praise for Powell after the race.
‘What a great jockey – I thought we were stuffed [after the mistake],’ said Bridgwater. ‘He’s a brilliant jockey – he’s given that a peach [of a ride]. I was confident last night – this is unbelievable. I’m very emotional.’