Lizzie Kelly pays tribute to Richard Woollacott after Cheltenham win

Lizzie Kelly on Agracourt
Kelly's charge beat Wholestone by three lengths

Jockey Lizzie Kelly paid tribute to trainer Richard Woollacott, who died on Tuesday, after denying his horse Beer Goggles in Cheltenham's Cleeve Hurdle.

Kelly triumphed on Agrapart (9-1) after Beer Goggles, who had led for much of the race, faded late on.

But she was quick to remember Woollacott, who trained near her stepfather Nick Williams and mother Jane in Devon.

"Richard was so wonderful and funny and we are all heartbroken," said Kelly.

"He was a great person to live locally. He was always at the races offering to give Mum a hand saddling if she needed help.

"I rode a winner for him once and it was the only outside winner I have ever had.

"It's terribly sad and we will miss him dearly. There's nothing that I can say to make it any better and that's the awfulness of it, the finality.

"But that opens the door for open conversation about mental health and to be more aware and more open to the fact that people can hide it very well."

Before the race, Cheltenham fell silent to pay tribute to former point-to-point rider Woollacott, 40, with Beer Goggles running in the name of his widow Kayley.

Earlier on Festival Trials Day, Definitly Red won the Cotswold Chase and will now be aimed at the Gold Cup.

Definitly Red
Definitly Red won by eight lengths from American

Danny Cook rode the 7-1 shot to victory for trainer Brian Ellison, ahead of American and Bristol De Mai.

Bookmakers reacted by cutting Definitly Red's odds for the Gold Cup on 16 March to around 20-1 from 33-1.

"Today would tell us if we went for the Gold Cup, so we'll go now," said Ellison of the horse who was pulled up in last year's Grand National.

Meanwhile, Apple's Shakira maintained her unbeaten record for Nicky Henderson in the Triumph Hurdle Trial, although the 1-7 favourite was made to work hard for victory under Barry Geraghty.

It was a good day for female jockeys as Bryony Frost notched another big Saturday winner when 13-2 chance Frodon, trained by Paul Nicholls, ran clear in the home straight to win the Handicap Chase.


Cornelius Lysaght, BBC horse racing correspondent

Horses are often good at "reading" a situation and coming up with a fairytale performance, but it wasn't to be on this occasion.

Beer Goggles led for much of the way under Richard Johnson, but he was an awkward ride today - inclined to try to lean off a straight line - and faded in the closing stages.

Richard Woollacott's aim of having a go at the Stayers Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival quite likely remains on. Judged by today Beer Goggles may be up against it there, but his late trainer's efforts with him will still surely reap further success in other races in the future.

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