JP McManus

Which of his big guns will come in?

A profile of the multi-millionaire gambler known as the Sundance Kid

The Paddy Power Blog profiles the man who had his first Cheltenham Festival winner in 1982

JP McManus

Cheltenham Festival Winners: 44

Another three winners last season took the famous McManus silks to 44 Cheltenham Festival successes and, get this, he has only once failed to have a winner since 1994 which was in 2011. The legendary Irish racehorse owner and gambler known as the Sundance Kid clocked up three winners last year and has only once (in 2011) failed to have a winner at the Festival since 1994.

His very first Festival winner dates back to Mister Donovan (1982) trained by Edward O’Grady and of these 44 successes – checking, 24 were for Irish-based trainers, 18 for the British and two for France. And while his last eight winners have been for eight different trainers (Nicky Henderson, Rebecca Curtis, Tony Mullins, Jessica Harrington, Jonjo O’Neill, Gordon Elliott, Alan King and Enda Bolger) it’s his association with Jonjo O’Neill and staying chasers that has paid dividends.

  • They’ve delivered a Gold Cup, World Hurdle, three National Hunt Chases, two Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chases, two Pertemps Handicap Finals, an Albert Bartlett Hurdle, Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase and a Foxhunters. All races over three miles plus. JP has also owned four winners of the Cross Country Chase all supplied by Enda Bolger.

Many of his horses have their campaigns geared around the Festival handicaps and are well supported in the market so it is usually prudent to get on early when the non-runner no-bet signs appear. His record in the final race of the entire meeting – the Grand Annual Chase  – has been particularly eyecatching of late with two winners and two seconds in the last four years to add to his victory in 2005.

If Willie Mulins and Rich Ricci look set to dominate day one then JP could be in for a bonanza on day two with Yanworth in the Neptune Hurdle, More of That in the RSA and Josies Orders in the Cross Country all near the top of the market. And don’t forget On The Fringe in the Foxhunters Chase on the Friday immediately after the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

What do you think?