Cheltenham Festival Horse Racing Sport

Trainer Harry Derham loving life and thrilled at having first Cheltenham Festival runner

Having stepped out from being Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls’ assistant, Harry Derham has begun life as a trainer and started promisingly, having eight wins from 33 runners operating at a 24% strike rate.

It’s a big move to join the training ranks but the former jockey has relished the challenge up to this point.

“Exciting, challenging but I’ve loved it,” Derham said.

“The horses have run well so far this year, which makes life a lot easier. If they’d been running badly I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it that much. You know it’s been great and I’m really pleased with how it’s going so far.”

Shared gave Derham his first runner at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday and although his horse couldn’t get involved in the finish, the trainer was delighted with having a runner at National Hunt Racing’s showpiece event.

“I loved the experience. We all went there knowing he wasn’t quite good enough but we bought him with the dream of going to Cheltenham. And we got here. So it was sort of mission accomplished. He was never really good enough to run well in it but it was just great experience. To have a runner here, walk into the paddock on my own, it was really exciting.”

Whilst the Nicholls protege is evidently pleased with having fielded a runner, the competitiveness from Derham is evident and he made it clear that when he returns to Prestbury Park he doesn’t just want to make up the numbers.

“I’m glad I’ve done it but I think this is the only year I’ll be pleased to be part of it, I want to be part of it and be competitive.“

Derham has his second runner at the festival on Friday, with Bob and Co in the Foxhunters Chase and is currently a 22/1 shot but the trainer admitted that the turn in the weather won’t have aided his chances.

Whilst eyes will be on how Bob and Co fares on Friday there is no doubt that Derham is a trainer to keep a look out for going forward.

“We’ve got a runner on Friday, Bob and Co, who I hope runs well but the rain won’t have helped him.“

Derham also gave his opinions on the feature race of the festival and believes Galopin Des Champs will be a tough horse to get past in the Boodles Gold Cup.

“The horse I’m looking forward to seeing most is Galopin des Champs,” said Derham. “I mean, he’s looked stunning, he’s relaxed better this season. I obviously hope Bravemansgame wins for Paul (Nicholls)  but I think Galopin des Champs is a formidable opponent. “

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