Flooring Porter was relentless when leading from start to finish to take this afternoon’s Grade One Stayers’ Hurdle on day three of the Cheltenham Festival.
The six-year-old, trained by Gavin Cromwell and owned by the Flooring Porter Syndicate, powered up the hill under Danny Mullins, for whom this was a first Cheltenham Festival victory. But Danny only got the call-up to ride the son of Yeats earlier today after his usual jockey Jonathan Moore stood himself down following a fall he took at Naas on Sunday (14 March) which left him with an injured back.
“I took the decision while riding Flooring Porter this morning and I couldn’t stand up in my stirrups, so I concluded it wouldn’t be fair on the horse if I wasn’t 100%,” said Jonathan, who has partnered this horse on all five previous winning starts. “I’m delighted for the horse and I gave Danny as much information as I could prior to the race. I’m so proud of the horse for showing everyone what he can do.”
Danny Mullins was self-deprecating when analysing his win: “This is a proper good horse. It is fantastic to win and for it to be a Grade One too, but I just had to steer this one — it’s special to win here,” he said.
“It’s such a shame the owners can’t be here, but that was a massive performance by Flooring Porter — he’s got a huge engine,” said Gavin Cromwell. “I just feel terrible for Jonathan — it was a huge call for him to make in not riding the horse.”
The syndicate behind Flooring Porter is made up of Ned Hogarty, who owns a flooring business in Galway, while the other members of the syndicate own a pub, hence this horse’s name, paid just €10,000 (£8,553) for the gelding three years ago after seeing a Facebook advert.
Sire Du Berlais finished three-and-a-quarter lengths behind Flooring Porter under Mark Walsh for Denise Foster. Favourite and previous winner of this race Paisley Park finished in eventual third under Aidan Coleman for trainer Emma Lavelle.
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