Cheltenham Festival feature: Miracle horse Edwulf
Last Updated: 06/03/18 11:55am
Edwulf bids to add a bonus chapter to his remarkable story when he goes for the biggest prize in jumps racing, the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Yet 12 months ago, that prospect was unthinkable.
Edwulf's life hung in the balance after he collapsed after the final fence in the JT McNamara National Hunt Chase and there were fears he might die.
Not only did he defy those odds thanks to the help of the veterinary and support staff at Cheltenham, but he worked his way back into training with Joseph O'Brien.
The fact he was able to race again was testament to all concerned, but for him to land a most unlikely victory in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown last month was beyond anyone's wildest dreams.
The persistence of Cheltenham racecourse head vet Liam Kearns and his team paid off as after just a week, Edwulf was well enough to travel go back home to Ireland where he continued his convalescence at owner JP McManus' Martinstown Stud in County Limerick.
Kearns said: "To see him come back from where he was and do the business in such a big race was amazing.
"It will be fantastic to see him come back for the Gold Cup.
"He's done so incredibly well so far and anything is possible after his performance at Leopardstown."
O'Brien is happy for the nine-year-old to have his chance of immortality in chasing's blue riband prize.
"He's good enough to win a Gold Cup," said the County Kilkenny trainer.
"He's in good form and he's well entitled to take his chance. You need luck and we'll see what happens."
Edwulf was ridden at both Cheltenham and Leopardstown by top Irish amateur Derek O'Connor, who is so proud and grateful to be part of the horse's fantastic journey.
"It's an incredible story with the horse. Just to be part of it and to ride a prestigious Grade One winner for Joseph was a jockey's dream," said O'Connor.
"The medical team and vets at Cheltenham and the racecourse were all absolutely incredible. Thanks to them all, it paid dividends.
"Without it I wouldn't have had a Grade One winner in an Irish Gold Cup. It was amazing what they did.
"I'm hoping he has a good chance. He has come out of his Leopardstown win well and Joseph is quite happy with him, but it's a very competitive Gold Cup.
"There's a good few horses with an open chance - Might Bite, Native River, Sizing John, Our Duke - there are are four or five horses there you'd say could win it. You wouldn't be surprised and you've got to respect them."