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First festival success for former under-21 champion Harvey

Ben Harvey fulfilled a life-long dream when he recorded his first Cheltenham Festival success with the victory of Seddon in the Magners Plate.
The Dubliner only made the switch to the professional ranks before Christmas having been a former Champion Under-21 point-to-point rider in 2020, and like Michael O’Sullivan, he has wasted little time making a big impression inside the rails.
He always had the 20/1 shot to the fore and once striking the front at the penultimate fence the pair were not to be caught as they repelled Fugitif by two lengths.
“Class! That’s the only way to describe it,” Harvey said in the winner’s enclosure. “I had a dream run and I can’t believe it. 
“I jumped off exactly where I wanted to be, winged the first which left me in the position I wanted to be. I was a little bit worried about Coole Cody jumping right; I had a job getting settled back just to try and stop Coole Cody interfering with me. Then I came down the hill and was just resisting the urges of kicking too soon and holding on to him as long as I could. 
“He picked up again up the hill and he hit the line really well. He was brilliant.
“John has been a huge part of my career and I am so lucky to have ridden his first Festival winner and mine, and I can’t thank him enough for everything he has done for me. He’s a genius.
“My family would have always been into horses, and my grandfather trained and my Dad rode a little bit, and we’d keep a few horses at home. John is my local trainer - he’s only 10 minutes from me, so I’ve been with him since I was 14, and I can’t thank him enough. 
“I’ve had great support from my whole family, who have driven me all over the country to get me here today, and I can’t thank them enough. This is what I have been dreaming of my whole life, and I can’t quite believe it has happened.”
The victory was also a first Festival success for Stamullen trainer John McConnell, who holds the Dublin jockey in high regard: “It is like the greatest robbery of all time Ben with five pounds. He is going to lose that very quickly unfortunately for me. He is going to be a top jockey in years to come. 
“His intelligence, he can see a stride from a mile away and he has a clock in his head. I hate bigging him up as I’m afraid I will lose him, but he deserves it.”


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