From Fontwell to Festival: Cole Harden conquers the World

Gavin Sheehan and Cole Harden celebrate victory in the World Hurdle
Gavin Sheehan and Cole Harden celebrate victory in the World Hurdle
Markov and jockey Tom Bellamyon their way to victory. Picture: Fontwell Park

Honeyball hat-trick lights up Fontwell

  • Gavin Sheehan claims Cheltenham honour on Fontwell favourite
  • Warren Greatrex trains 14/1 World Hurdle champion
  • Maiden win in West Sussex sparks run to Prestbury Park
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Gavin Sheehan drew breath after his World Hurdle triumph on Cole Harden and revealed: It was a dream come true.

The Irish jockey produced a stellar front-running display on the six-year-old son of Westerner to take the Grade 1 crown on day three of the Cheltenham Festival.

Trained by Warren Greatrex, Cole Harden never looked like surrendering his lead before crossing the line more than three lengths in front of favourite Saphir Du Rheu at 14/1.

Zarkandar filled out the places but there was no stopping Sheehan and his mount.

The jockey said: ‘It was amazing.

‘It was definitely my dream come true.

‘I had my head down going for home.

‘I didn’t know where the good horses were but I wasn’t going to look around.

‘When we hit the line, my heart sunk, you know?

‘It means a lot to me, to Warren and everyone at home.

It means a lot to me, to Warren and everyone at home. It’s what dreams are made of

Gavin Sheehan

‘It’s what dreams are made of.’

Cole Harden launched his hurdling career at Fontwell.

After finishing fourth on his debut in October 2013, he returned to show his true potential in a maiden win.

He kicked off the current campaign with success in the Grade 2 West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby.

But defeats to Medinas, Rock On Ruby and Saphir Du Rheu – who flopped in the 2014 National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell – followed.

Sheehan added: ‘He’s got so much spark.

‘He hasn’t really given me that feel all season, even when he won at Wetherby.

‘I was just coming into the race thinking we were a big player.

‘But he gave me an exceptional ride.

‘When I pulled him up after the race, he still had more running in him.

‘He doesn’t know he’s had a race – even when it’s a World Hurdle!

‘It’s very special. Very, very special.

‘It means everything, especially coming from a yard that I lost my claim with.

‘A big shout to Graham Baines, who rides him out every day.’

The Cheltenham Festival culminates today – with the Grade 1 Gold Cup the feature race at 3.20pm.