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Rover's big return for Nelmes
TRAINER Helen Nelmes heads for the Cheltenham Festival on the back of her biggest success yet.
Warmwell-based Nelmes runs Unowhatimeanharry in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper next Wednesday fresh from seeing Paul Moloney ride The Clyda Rover to victory in the Higos Insurance Devon National.
Tuesday’s seven-length win over three miles six-and-a-half furlongs at Exeter was not only Nelmes’ greatest triumph to date as a trainer but came at odds of 22-1.
Moloney earned praise from Nelmes afterwards as he took the nine-year-old into third place four fences out and eased clear of Sea Saffron having led at the last.
“We thought the horse would go well but not that well,” admitted Nelmes, whose husband Ken rides out the horse every day for his wife.
“It’s a fairly large race so it’s not a bad feat for a small yard like us.
“We are doing better than in previous years and that would have to be our biggest win so far.
“Paul gave him a fantastic ride, he was so cool on board and nobody else could have done it like he did.
“He is a lovely horse and will go up in the handicap now and we’ll keep him going with long distance chases.”
The Clyda Rover’s win was his second, his first coming at Fontwell last May, and the West Sussex course has been kind to Nelmes. It was where Cheltenham hopeful Unowhatimeanharry earned a maiden success on debut at the end of last month.
A trainer for six years now, Nelmes runs a tight-knit family yard, looking after 10 horses for owners living in Bridport, Salisbury and even Monaco.
“We’re a small operation and we’ve got to live the dream,” added Nelmes, whose son Owyn, a former national hunt jockey, is involved in the set-up. “The horses are running out of their skin at the moment.
“With all the wet ground this winter it has been horrendous and like everyone else we could do with more owners but the main aim is just to keep training winners.”