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Lil Rockerfeller's storming Cheltenham run

Written by Tony Millett on .

The Neil King trained Lil Rockerfeller missed the glory of a Cheltenham Festival victory by just three-quarters of a length to the Irish raider Nichols Canyon - trained by Willie Mullins.  

[Pre-Festival report and photo of Lil Rockerfeller at Neil King’s Burderop stables here.]

Ridden by King's stable jockey Trevor Whelan, Lil Rockerfeller went to post with the extraordinarily long odds of 33-1.  Coming in third in the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1) - four and a quarter lengths behind the winner - was the favourite Unowwhatimeanharry.

The headline in the Racing Post summed up Lil Rockerfeller's achievement: "Rockerfeller runs race of his life for proud connections".  He was described as 'the horse who just keeps on giving'.

After the race, viewers of ITV's coverage saw bookmaker Andy Smith - one of the four owners after Neil King bought the Richard Hannon-trained horse at the sales for £31,000 - took over the microphone:

"I'm just so proud of my horse...I thought he'd won it at the last.  We got beaten by a better horse on the day, but I'm pleased for Willie, pleased for Neil and ploeased for everyone.  It's what jump racing is all about."

Trevor Whelan - who thinks the world of Lil Rockerfeller: "What a horse he is. He was over his sickness and he jumped and travelled really well. We beaten only by a multiple Grade 1 winner."

The race analysis in the Racing Post finished: "He deserves to land a big prize."