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The Real Whacker Lands Thrilling Cheltenham Victory For Limerick Duo

15 March 2023; Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies, centre, with winning connections after winning the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase on The Real Whacker during day two of the Cheltenham Racing Festival at Prestbury Park in Cheltenham, England. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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"A magic feeling," is how trainer Paddy Neville described watching The Real Whacker win the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase at Cheltenham on Wednesday.

Neville, a Limerick man who had trained in Ireland for 17 years, moved to England two years ago and is now based in Yorkshire where he has a stable of around 20 horses.

"I couldn't get owners in Ireland," Neville told ITV.

"It was more or less either give up or stay going. It worked out great. These days are brilliant."


The Real Whacker, with Sam Twiston-Davies on board, won in a thrilling photo-finish with the Gordon Elliott-trained favourite Gerri Colombe.

"A super horse," Neville added.

"Sure, his jumping is unbelievable. I had him in the Gold Cup and they said I was mad."



Neville is not the only Limerick connection to The Real Whacker. David Mann, a publican in Rathkeale, is the horse's owner, and also a lifelong friend of the trainer.

"We're so proud of our team," said Mann.

"Especially Paddy Neville that came [to England] from Ireland two years ago, one of my best friends that grew up in the small village of Ballysteen [in Limerick]. I must mention where I work too in Rathkeale, County Limerick because that's a great part of my life as well.


See Also: Michael O'Leary Wishes Davy Russell Had 'Stayed Retired'

"Paddy has done so, so much, and brought this horse on. Three runs in Cheltenham, three wins in Cheltenham. Where would you get it?

"It's a dream come through [to have a winner at the Cheltenham Festival]. I'm coming here over 20 years, and I just never thought we were going to have a day like this.

"Even though everyone says he's a brilliant jumper, my heart was in my mouth at every fence."


Put to Neville that it was the right choice to run The Real Whacker in the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase rather than the Gold Cup he replied, "Well... It is now! Next year, next year."

See Also: Young Cork Jockey Emotional After Riding First Cheltenham Winner

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