IT wasn’t the fairytale finish that Pembrokeshire race lovers were hoping for – but seven-year-old gelding Tobefair still provided a memorable day for the ‘Down the Quay’ club when he ran in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival this afternoon (Thursday).
Trained by Paul and Debbie Hamer, and owned by a local syndicate that’s based at the Cresselly Arms pub, the horse went into the world famous festival on the back of seven consecutive wins.
And his achievements gripped the county, with many packed around television sets at 2.10pm this afternoon having had a flutter on the 10-1 shot, ridden by Trevor Whelan.
But despite being packed in just behind the leaders for much of the race, Tobefair faded in the latter stages, but finished safely in 22nd place.
Another horse with local interest, Clondow Cian, ridden by Pembrokeshire’s Sean Bowen, finished 17th.
A number of the ‘Down the Quay’ members were at Cheltenham to support their new star, including John Tennick and Tim Parry, who both spoke to Telegraph Sport after being interviewed live on ITV before the race.
“It's been an amazing experience,” said John.
“To even get to Cheltenham is an unbelievable achievement. We are proud of Deborah, Paul and Callum and the rest of the guys at the stables - and Trevor Whelan has done a great job in riding him in six out of his seven wins.
“The syndicate are all extremely proud and we are just looking forward now to the future to see what else he is capable of.”
Tim agreed the day had been an ‘amazing’ experience, and explained why Tobefair decelerated somewhat in the closing moments.
“Trevor felt it was a race too many this season and he should have finished after his Newbury run, after which the handicapper put his weight up. He told us once he knew he was beaten coming up the Cheltenham Hill he didn't want to give him a hard time trying to finish sixth or seventh so let him cruise home.
“We are just so proud of the horse. The support has been huge and has come from as far away as countries like Germany, America and New Zealand.
“We got to meet and chat to HRH Princess Anne and it's been a very special day. Well done to everyone connected, but it's all about the horse and we are happy to have him home safe.”
The race was won by 11-1 shot Presenting Percy, ridden by Davy Russell.