Fontana king of the County

Daryl Jacob on Lac Fontana (left) makes a winning challenge in the County Hurdle
Daryl Jacob on Lac Fontana (left) makes a winning challenge in the County Hurdle
Share this article
Have your say

Trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Daryl Jacob finally got their name on the 2014 Cheltenham score-sheet when Lac Fontana landed the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle

It was the first win of the week for the combination.

Jacob had been desolate on Thursday when his mount Southfield Theatre was denied narrowly by Fingal Bay in the final of the Pertemps Hurdle.

Jacob produced Lac Fontana (11-1) with a perfectly-timed run on the nearside rail to collar Arctic Fire up the hill and land the spoils by half a length.

Montbazon, who led over the final flight, was a length back in third with Diakali fourth.

Jacob said: “It’s been a very testing week for us all.

“It’s a good team effort from everyone and at the end of the day there can only be one winner. You can only keep looking forward.

“We’re all thinking about the guys that are injured, like Jason (Maguire), Bryan (Cooper), now Ruby (Walsh) and of course JP (McNamara) but this is the place we all want to win.”

He added of the winner: “He’s very, very tough and he kept finding all the way.”

Nicholls said: “It’s been so frustrating (trying to get a winner during the week). Daryl probably needed that more than anyone really, he was on a real down and that will be just what he wanted.

“I told him to just get out there, put everything behind him and that this will win, you have to be positive.

“I told him he’ll stay on up the hill and he gave him a peach.

“He’s quite an emotional guy and you need a bit of luck, he’ll be a different rider now.

“That was magic, just what we wanted.”

Ruby Walsh’s Cheltenham Festival came to a premature end after a crashing fall in the first race left him nursing a broken arm.

The rider was diagnosed with a compound fracture of his right humerus, the bone in the upper arm, after parting company with Abbyssial in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.

Walsh was leading the field over the second hurdle when taking a crunching spill, bringing down stablemate Adriana Des Mottes in the process.

Walsh was able to walk gingerly to the ambulance, but could be seen holding his arm.

The rider was set to undergo surgery on the open fracture at Gloucester Hospital.

A racecourse spokesperson said: “He has a compound fracture of his right humerus. He has been taken to Gloucester for surgery.”