Meet top showjumper’s home-bred Royal Ascot-winning racehorse, who is a Cheltenham Festival contender

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  • British showjumper Tim Gredley has enjoyed a tremendous year in the saddle after making a welcome return to the top tier of the sport, including helping Great Britain win the Nations Cup at Hickstead for the first time in 13 years in July. But away from the showjumping ring, Tim and his family have long been making waves on the racecourse, too.

    Their successful Stetchworth breeding operation resulted in 2017 Royal Ascot Gold Cup-winning Big Orange (by Duke Of Marmalade out of Fasliyev mare Miss Brown To You), while Allmankind (Sea The Moon out of Sadler’s Wells mare Wemyss Bay) was also a winner on the Flat for the same trainer, Michael Bell, before causing a sensation over hurdles in the hands of Dan Skelton and his brother Harry. He finished third in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival at the end of his first season before proving to be a winning chaser, too, claiming the Grade One Henry VIII novices’ chase at Sandown Park and the Monet’s Garden Old Roan chase at Aintree. Tim’s father Bill Gredley has also owned several other top class racehorses.

    From the Gredley family’s latest crops of home-breds, it is now three-year-old Burdett Road who has got everyone talking. The son of Royal Ascot and Qipco British Champion Sprint Stakes winner Muhaarar is out of an unraced Galileo mare, Diamond Bangle, a half-sister to the great Rip Van Winkle from the mighty Aidan O’Brien stable.

    “We actually bought the mare in a mare sale a few years ago and she’s always bred very nice stock, although up until Burdett Road she hadn’t really had a load of winners. But we stuck with her and we’re glad we did,” says Tim.

    Burdett Road showed smart form on the Flat for trainers Roger Varian, followed by Michael Bell, with whom his greatest triumph came in the 1m2f Golden Gates Stakes at Royal Ascot at odds of 20/1.

    Tim Gredley: ‘We thought he might be top of his class if we went hurdling’

    Having successfully taken the route from Flat racing to jumps racing with Allmankind (pictured below), Tim says they were keen to do it again and Burdett Road seemed the perfect type to do so.

    “It sounds strange, but I was watching the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham last year and the horse who won it, A Dream To Share, was almost exactly the same breeding as Burdett Road – by Muhaarar from a Galileo mother – so that put the idea in my head,” says Tim. “Obviously every time you take a horse off the Flat and send it jumping, it’s a bit of an experiment, but we had a bit more of an idea having had Allmankind take a similar route a few years ago.

    “Burdett Road ran to a very high standard on the Flat, but he was never going to be a Group horse, and probably wasn’t rated high enough to go to any of those big money events in Saudi and so on. So we took the view that actually he might be top of his class if we went hurdling.”

    Harry Skelton and Tim Gredley's racehorse Allmankind

    The Gredley family’s Allmankind, ridden by Harry Skelton, en route to victory in the Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow Racecourse.

    Burdett Road was switched to Newmarket jumps trainer James Owen and the talented gelding made an eye-catching winning debut over hurdles at Huntingdon earlier this month under Harry Cobden. A fortnight later, they followed up with an emphatic win in the Grade Two JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle at the Cheltenham November Meeting and that race at the Cheltenham Festival is now a very exciting target, with Burdett Road heading the ante-post market as 6/1 favourite.

    “I need to speak to James, but following the Allmankind route, we’re going to look at the Grade One Coral Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow just after Christmas [won by Allmankind in 2019 en route to the Festival] and see how he comes out of that,” explains Tim. “We’d like to go to Cheltenham with a fresh horse.”

    Burdett Road: ‘For a Flat horse, he has plenty of guts’

    Trainer James Owen said after Burdett Road’s Cheltenham win, “He is a fair animal. On good ground he is going to be exciting come March.

    “He was a bit more amenable today as he settled and jumped better. He has got some engine and he is tough. For a Flat horse, he has got plenty of guts about him. I knew he would keep coming. Harry Cobden is a lot cooler than me as I’ve been so nervous, but I love it.”

    Newmarket-based showjumper Tim Gredley says they always had a feeling “he was going to be pretty good”.

    “After Royal Ascot, he ran in a Group Three at Goodwood and it was really soft, but at that point we thought we’d run him just to see how he handled that ground,” explains Tim. “He ended up finishing fifth [to Desert Hero] and ran a really good race but more importantly the jockey [Neil Callan] said he enjoyed it and could really handle that kind of ground.

    “I think he’ll be even better on better ground, but we were hopeful that he’d give us a big run anyway.”

    Tim is going to be based in Wellington, Florida, competing there with his string of showjumping horses for the early part of Olympic year, hoping to get his horses in great shape outdoors ahead of selection, but there’s a week in March he certainly won’t miss.

    “Everybody hates to say it, but jump racing is all about the Cheltenham Festival, so as long as we can get him there in the best shape, that’s what it’s all about really,” he says.

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