Iroko stays on in style to make history in the Martin Pipe for Greenall and Guerriero, saying, “I can’t describe the feeling.”
With Iroko’s strong staying victory in the final race of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, two trainers got their first taste of victory.
No Ordinary Joe defeated 28-1 shot Buddy One for second, handing owner JP McManus a 1-2, as Oliver Greenall and Josh Guerriero celebrated as their horse speared between two rivals on the run in.
Since joining forces, the two trainers have had an excellent season. They share the license at their base in Cheshire. At the meeting, it was a first success for the pair in their current roles and rider Aidan Kelly.
“I can’t describe the feeling, really – amazing,” Greenall said. “We always knew the horse was nice, but we just felt maybe he’d be tapped for toe a little here but he managed to hold his position. He’s such an easy horse, so straightforward, just tough, honest.
“He shows nothing at home, he’s not a good work horse, but he’s so straightforward, he doesn’t take much work. He toughed it out and winged the last, and it’s just great.”
Iroko was prominently positioned inside throughout, but as the field accelerated down the hill, she came under pressure. However, he generously reacted to Kelly’s suggestions and powered to a length and a half advantage at the finish, overcoming a 10lb increase from his win at Wetherby the previous time.
Greenall had won the meeting as a rider in 2008, so he was familiar with the festival, but he described his current success as a different kind of buzz.
“I rode the winner of the Foxhunters here in 2008 on Amicelli so to train one here is amazing,” he said. “Josh mainly works on the horse side and is there every day, and I do more with the owners. We’ve got 70 in training, with 50 running at any one time, mainly over jumps but some on the Flat too.”
With Ireland eight wins ahead, the outcome increased Britain’s festival lead for the meeting to 10 points. It was a slight improvement over the 20-8 defeat of the previous year.
The Martin Pipe is frequently won by outstanding staying prospects, as the 2021 hero Galopin Des Champs demonstrated in the Gold Cup just two hours earlier.
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