Arkle Trial: Lalor claims poignant victory at Cheltenham on debut over fences

Jockey Richard Johnson rides Lalor to victory in the Arkle Trial
Jockey Richard Johnson rode Lalor to victory during a dominant debut over fences

Lalor scored another emotional success as he won at Cheltenham 10 months after trainer Richard Woollacott's death.

Widow Kayley took over the training licence and now has the 6-1 second favourite for the Arkle Chase at jump racing's showpiece Cheltenham Festival.

Lalor scored another poignant victory over hurdles at Aintree in April.

But this was even more impressive, a dominant debut over fences before a 20,000 crowd in the Arkle Trial which belied his odds of 11-2.

Nietzsche, trained by Brian Ellison, won the Greatwood Hurdle to give conditional jockey Danny McMenamin the biggest success of his career so far.

Jockey Richard Johnson guided Lalor to a seven-length victory.

"We've worked so hard for this," Kayley Woollacott told ITV Racing. "He took to it like a duck to water. It was amazing.

"We're on Plan F probably, we've tried so hard to get out before now and I suppose we've learned that sometimes it pays to be brave."

The progress of Lalor is set to be one of the key stories of the jump racing season as Kayley guides the horse towards one of the Festival's major races.

Leading runners in the Arkle Chase often go on to run in Cheltenham's championship contests such as the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Gold Cup.

A video of Richard and Kayley's daughter Bella feeding carrots to Lalor has been viewed over 70,000 times on social media as racing fans follow the stable's fortunes.

Video of Bella Woollacott feeding Lalor carrots on Twitter
A video of Bella feeding Lalor carrots has been liked over 1,000 times on Twitter

Analysis

BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

There was an emotional success at Cheltenham when Lalor put in a near flawless round of jumping to win by seven lengths.

As people filled in their forms for the ever-popular 'Ten to Follow' competitions as the core national hunt season got going in recent weeks, Lalor featured quite heavily.

However, though many no doubt hoped that the horse might fulfil his late trainer's belief that he could make it big as a chaser, they probably added the name to their lists more out of a sense of sentimental hope.

But in a hot race this was a near-flawless display, and hard-nosed pundits joined romantics in believing he has a bright future.

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