Cheltenham Festival trainer Rebecca Curtis' 'amazing gesture' for Ukraine will see horse run in blue and yellow coloursMarch 14, 2022
FORMER Cheltenham Festival winner Lisnagar Oscar will fly the flag for Ukraine this week.
His owners and trainer Rebecca Curtis came up with the idea to change the horses' colours to that of the Ukrainian flag.
The nine-year-old, who was a shock 50-1 winner of the Stayers' Hurdle in 2020, will try to regain his crown in the big Grade 1 on Thursday.
And his familiar green, gold and black silks will be replaced with yellow and blue ones in a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
Part-owner Ron Hyde explained: “We are very happy that Lisnagar Oscar will run in colours of the Ukraine national flag next Thursday.
“It is a great idea and we are delighted to be able to show our support and raise awareness of the humanitarian charitable activities in Ukraine in this unique way.
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“It may only be a grain of sand but if lots of these things keep happening then who knows what effect they will have?"
He continued: “He ran well last time out in the Cleeve Hurdle and Adam Wedge (jockey) said he is back to his best. The only place he seems to be able to win at is Cheltenham – he just comes alive there!
“He was going ever so well when he fell last year and it looks an open race this year.
"When he won in 2020 which actually thought he might win and it wasn’t a fluke as he had run well in the Cleeve that year too.
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“We’re hopeful and it doesn’t look like there is total standout performer in the race. I think we are about 33-1 currently and I see someone has tipped him in the Racing Post, so who knows?”
Curtis, who has trained five Festival winners during her career, was also delighted that her stable star could carry the Ukrainian colours.
She said: “I think this is such a great idea and I am so pleased we are able to support it with Lisnagar Oscar wearing the Ukraine silks at Cheltenham next week.
“The horse showed he was coming back to his best last time out in the Cleeve Hurdle and has been in good form since. Adam Wedge will ride again.”
Punters gave the move a big thumbs up on social media.
One said: "That’s lovely. I wish him a safe trip round and fingers and toes crossed he’ll surprise a few people again. My moneys on him anyway. Best of luck."
Another added: "What a lovely gesture. Best of luck to them."
The Jockey Club, which runs Cheltenham Racecourse, is supporting the charitable efforts of The British Red Cross in its response to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
They have made a donation to the humanitarian appeal and have renamed tomorrow's finale the 'Ukraine Appeal National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys' Novices' Chase'.
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