Cheltenham Festival Success For Soldier Of Fortune
The Joseph O’Brien trained Early Doors (6g Soldier Of Fortune - Ymlaen, by Desert Prince) carried top weight to victory in a competitive renewal of the Martin Pipe Hurdle on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival.
Third in the 2018 running, the JP McManus-owned bay was last seen chasing home Apple’s Jade in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle over three miles. Returning to two and a half miles and now ridden by Jonjo O’Neill Junior, he raced in midfield for much of the way and improved to track the leaders approaching the second last. Driven out to challenge at the final flight, he kept on well up the hill to beat the favourite, Dallas Des Pictons, by a length and a quarter.
Bred by Derek Clee, Early Doors was bought by his young trainer at the Goffs Land Rover Sale for €36,000. O’Brien and McManus have enjoyed notable success with the progeny of Soldier Of Fortune, including three black-type wins with the talented mare Slowmotion.