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“The crowd was just unbelievable, biggest boom I’ve ever heard in my life” – Former Jockey, Tom Morgan relives racing in the Cheltenham Gold Cup

In 1989, one of the craziest endings in Cheltenham Gold Cup history took place as Desert Orchid and jockey, Simon Sherwood won the trophy by beating Yahoo and jockey, Tim Morgan by small margins after two horses fell over the final jumps. 

Voted the greatest race by Racing Post readers, the 1989 Gold Cup was one to behold. Despite not winning that day, Morgan takes great pride in taking part in that race and coming runner up. 

“When I pulled up, I just got mixed emotions,” Morgan said.

“Nobody likes finishing second, but it is the blue ribbon in national and steeplechase. It’s real emotional, great memories. It’s all coming back, I can feel it now.”

”The crowd was just unbelievable, biggest boom I’ve ever heard in my life. It was only my mother and John Edward shouting for me and everyone else was shouting for Desert Orchid. Great battle, great race and great memories.” 

The Gold Cup is one of the most prestigious races in the sport, but although there was lots of excitement around the race in the buildup and as it was happening, the former Jockey revealed there weren’t any nerves on his side of things.

”There was no nerves at all,” Morgan said.

“We galloped the horses around ten days before hand around Stratford. Everything went really well, horses trained well before the race. It’s funny Yahoo only finished third in the gallop. The ground was absolutely bottomless and they wanted it that way.”

This year is the 100th Gold Cup and it is clear how much the race means to everyone from the jockeys, trainers and fans. Cheltenham Festival is without a doubt the biggest sporting event in Gloucestershire and the feeling is no different for the Irishman, with Morgan making history by being the first winning jockey to come into the new winners enclosure as it is now at Cheltenham. 

“It’s a very important race,” Morgan said.

”For Steeplechasing it’s the pinnacle. Any championship race, the Queen Mother, the Champion Hurdle, the Champion Chaser, Gold Cup. There is where you want to be.” 

Joining Morgan in the history making club this week at Cheltenham was Willie Mullins. The trainer got his 100th win at Prestbury Park, as someone that has spent a lot of time around Mullins, Morgan explains just how astonishing this achievement is.

”It’s unbelievable. How hard it is to get one down there, never mind 100,” Morgan said. 

“I remember my first one and I remember Willie’s first one, Tourist Attraction was his first one. It had to be a special moment for Willie, the Mullins family have such an association with Cheltenham. It’s a phenomenal achievement and Cheltenham wouldn’t be Cheltenham without them.”

The Cheltenham Gold Cup takes place today at 15:30 with Galopin Des Champs as the favourite.

Photo Credit – jessejames3507

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