Malzard living the dream

WHAT Wembley is to football, so Cheltenham is to National Hunt racing. Just as every aspiring young footballer dreams that one day he’ll score a goal at Wembley, so all young jump jockeys want to ride a winner at Cheltenham, the spiritual home of the sport.

Kansas City Chief (right) ridden by Victoria Malzard on the way to winning the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham racecourse. PICTURE: David Davies/PA Wire
Kansas City Chief (right) ridden by Victoria Malzard on the way to winning the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham racecourse. PICTURE: David Davies/PA Wire

For Jersey’s Victoria Malzard, the dream came true on Saturday.

Riding the veteran Kansas City Chief, Malzard won the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle over three miles and worth over £13,000 to the winning owners. Not only a Cheltenham winner, but a high-profile one, watched by a big audience on ITV, something many riders never achieve.

The magnitude of this success is measured in the fact that this was only Malzard’s seventh ride in the UK as a licensed amateur jockey, the previous six yielding one second and one third. That third place came on the same horse in the same race last year when they were beaten by 12 lengths.

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Not long after that, Malzard was injured and was out of action for a long spell.

Kansas City Chief, trained by Neil Mulholland, is owned by a syndicate called Jersey Racing Friends and no doubt the celebrations reverberated around St Ouen on Saturday evening. The 12-year-old gelding spent time in Jersey this summer, with Malzard’s mother Alyson, multiple champion local trainer and he had one run at Les Landes on the season’s final fixture when, with Malzard in the saddle, he finished last. Perhaps that led to the Racing Post dismissing his Cheltenham prospects on Saturday as, ‘probably placed at best, if he’s lucky’, and why he started at 20/1.

By coincidence there was a headline in Saturday’s Racing Post which read, ‘Jersey can put in a royal performance in Pertemps poser’. However, the reference, by Tom Segal writing as the paper’s top tipster Pricewise, was not to Malzard and Kansas City Chief, but to Jersey Wonder, owned by Race Club vice-president Anthony Taylor, in the same race.

Unfortunately for him, Jersey Wonder finished sixth, over nine lengths behind the winner. Taylor’s Jersey Bean also finished sixth in an earlier race.

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