The Real Whacker, a memorable Cheltenham winner

On the winners’ presentation podium at Cheltenham.

Cheltenham Festival headline-maker The Real Whacker is likely to be aimed at the Kerry National in Listowel next September, according to its trainer.
Paddy Neville, originally from Ballysteen but based in Yorkshire for the past couple of years, fulfilled a boyhood dream when his 8/1 shot won a thrilling edition of the £100,000 (first prize) Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase.
The winner, who was scoring for a third time on the trot around Prestbury Park, was given a trem-endous ride by Sam Twiston-Davies.
Neville joked: “He’s won three times now here – I don’t think I’ll run him anywhere else!”
He added: “If we can keep him in one piece, we’ll come back here next year for the Gold Cup.
“I was toying with the Gold Cup this year, but we probably made the right decision for the horse because he’d only run six times before today.
“We’ll see how he comes out of this. We might put him away for the summer or we might go to Punchestown, and we might go to Listowel in the Autumn (Kerry National) as it’s one of my favourite tracks.”
The Real Whacker is owned by a small syndicate headed-up by colourful Rathkeale hotelier Davy Mann, who was dressed in a bright red suit. He revealed: “This [suit] hasn’t been worn since New Year’s Day. In case you think I wear this every day, I don’t. I got this in Chicago for a wedding a year ago and I kept it for the first time we were here at Cheltenham.
“Paddy said after we were here on New Year’s Day, keep that suit for March. I went home and said to one of my girls, take it to the cleaners with the plastic on it and leave it for March.”
He added: “It is a dream come true. Everybody knows the king of the crop is the big festival meeting which is today.” (See photos on page 78).