A pair of sons of famous fathers teamed up to take the final race of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, the £70,000 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle, as Early Doors (5/1), trained by Joseph O’Brien – son of legendary trainer Aidan – and ridden by Jonjo O’Neill Jnr, whose Co. Cork-born father Jonjo is one of only five people to have ridden and trained a winner of the Bulmers Cheltenham Gold Cup, beat Dallas Des Pictons by a length and a quarter.
It was Joseph O’Brien’s second success of the meeting, following Band Of Outlaws’ victory in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle on Wednesday, while the victory gave top owner J P McManus a fifth win over the four days.
The win was all the more poignant as O’Brien and McManus had lost Sir Erec in the day’s opening race, the Grade 1 JCB Triumph Hurdle, when the four-year-old son of Camelot got injured and had to be euthanized on welfare grounds.
The top-weight Early Doors, a six-year-old son of Soldier Of Fortune ran on strongly in the closing stages of the meeting’s final race to defeat the well-supported Gordon Elliott-trained 7/2 favourite Dallas Des Pictons, with another Elliott inmate, Defi Bleu, four-lengths further back in third.
5.30pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
1 Early Doors (J P McManus) Joseph O’Brien IRE 6-11-10 Jonjo O’Neill Jnr 5/1
2 Dallas Des Pictons (Gigginstown House Stud) Gordon Elliott IRE 6-11-05 Donagh Meyler 7/2f
3 Defi Bleu (Gigginstown House Stud) Gordon Elliott IRE 6-11-04 Conor Brassil 14/1
4 Champagne Court (I F Gosden And DJ Coles) Jeremy Scott 6-10-05 Rex Dingle 14/1
Distances: 1¼, 4, 7