Harry Redknapp was nowhere to be seen but the sight of trainer Ben Pauling laughing into a mobile phone told you the legendary football manager was happy.
As ever at Cheltenham, stories were thrown up left, right and centre but none were more rapturously received than the one involving Redknapp and his valiant chaser Shakem Up’Arry, who powered up the famous hill to give him one of his greatest days as an owner.
The 10-year-old, who had been without a win since December 2022, has caused Pauling to pull his hair out at times and the trainer wasn’t overly confident about his chances but, under a super ride from Ben Jones, the horse Redknapp bought for £24,400 in 2014 capitalised on a wretched run from odds-on favourite Stage Star.
‘It’s great for Harry, he’s a big supporter of mine and I’m delighted we’ve been able to land a big one,’ said Pauling. ‘Sadly, Sandra (his wife) isn’t well, she has a bit of flu, so he didn’t want to leave her. But this is definitely a special day.’
An extra layer to the success was provided by Jones, who was partnering his first Cheltenham winner, and Pauling added: ‘Harry was chuffed to pieces. He is a competitive man; you are not in the industry he’s been in all his life to come second. It means a lot to everyone.
‘I’d say this is his biggest day as an owner. It is important to have them. I wondered whether we were going back into waters that we had swam in before and would end up with the same result but that was a proper job.’
"It's great for Harry, he's a big supporter of mine and I'm delighted we've been able to land a big one" said Pauling.