Sunnyhill Boy picks up to land O’Neill another winner

Jonjo O’Neill trained his second winner of the week as Sunnyhillboy won the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.

Alan Berry was vigorously riding his mount around the final turn as Becauseicouldntsee travelled well in the lead, but the JP McManus-owned horse responded well to the urgings.

He stayed on best of all up the hill, running on really strongly to eventually win by four-and-a-half lengths.

Becauseicouldntsee was second with Exmoor Ranger third and Up The Beat fourth.

O’Neill said: “He’s a brilliant little horse and he loves this place, he’s been unlucky down the years but he’s great for the yard.

“He’s not very big and I always feel he’s better on better ground but he stays well.

“I wanted to run him in the Pertemps if I’d had a choice but he couldn’t get in.

“We were left with this so that was that.

“Alan’s ridden a few Festival winners, he’s a great lad and a big part of the team and he did all the work on Don’t Push It before he won the National.

“We haven’t really discussed it but I think he’d be able to handle the National. If he could get over the first couple all right I’m sure he’d run a big race.”

O’Neill runs Synchronised in tomorrow’s Gold Cup and added: “The ground is better than we expected it to be tomorrow for Synchronised in the Gold Cup, he’s there with his chance. He’s in great form.”

Berry said: “He’s a genuine horse and he deserves a race like that, he’s done nothing wrong but you can only be so confident coming to Cheltenham.

“It all worked out well, I got a nice run down the inner.

“I don’t think I travelled a yard throughout the first half of the race but then he came to life and started jumping away.

“He’s a horse I ride at home all the time. He impresses in everything he does but he is getting a bit older and a bit slower.”

Noel Glynn, trainer of the runner-up, said: “He always seems to find one too good but it might be a different proposition off 10st 3lb in the National.

“Everything went to plan but the other one went by us with a stone in hand.

“It’s disappointing and you’d rather be in pole position but he’s done us proud.”