Extraordinary finish marks top trainer’s 2,000th winner

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  • Jonjo O’Neill celebrated his 2,000th winner as a National Hunt trainer following a remarkable finish at Uttoxeter on Thursday (14 October).

    Centuro, ridden by Aidan Coleman, made the milestone for the top trainer by winning the juvenile hurdle in unusual circumstances.

    Footage of the race shows Centuro close in on the leader, Red Hot Chilly, when his jockey, Robbie Dunne, appears to loose his stirrup around 50 yards from the finish — pitching him forwards up the horse’s neck.

    Despite doing his best to cling on to the horse’s side, gravity took over and Robbie hits the ground just before the finish post.

    “2,000 winners is a nice landmark,” Jonjo said on social media that evening.

    “Every winner is very special. Couldn’t have reached it without support of brilliant owners, jockeys and team.”

    Aidan added he was “delighted” to have been able to ride Jonjo’s 2,000th winner.

    Thursday’s race also marked the first win under Rules for the three-year-old son of Cape Blanco, who has previously not been placed higher than fourth.

    A former National Hunt jockey himself, Jonjo won two Jockeys’ Championship titles in the 1970s. He also set a record for the most number of winners ridden in a season in 1977/78, claiming 149 races.

    In 1988, he started his career as a trainer and since then has enjoyed dozens of Cheltenham Festival winners and a Grand National title.

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    Some of his best known runners include 2010 Grand National winner Don’t Push It, 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised and Dawn Run — the only horse to have won both the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

    Leading names from the racing world have sent their congratulations to Jonjo and the team at Jackdaws Castle.

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