Michael O’Sullivan is “greedy for more” success at the Cheltenham Festival as he reflects on a stellar week in the saddle at Prestbury Park.
The young Irishman – who had previously ridden in just one race at the Festival – enhanced his growing reputation with an impressive day one double at the big meeting.
Having held his nerve to produce Barry Connell’s Marine Nationale to perfection in the opening Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, he then navigated his way through the pack to strike aboard Gordon Elliott’s Jazzy Matty in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.
It was a day that will live long in the memory of the 23-year-old – whose services continued to be called upon by an array of well-known connections throughout the rest of the week – and one he hopes to repeat at future Festivals.
“It was brilliant, a great day,” said O’Sullivan.
“The first one was very important and then to add another was a nice bonus – it was a special day and one I won’t forget.
“It takes the pressure off. I was obviously very busy for the rest of the week so it’s hard to say you enjoy it as you hardly ever have a minute. But it certainly made the week overall more enjoyable all right.”
He went on: “You’re just greedy for more. After Tuesday I was definitely hoping I would get another one and it’s a bit of a bug – you’re just really greedy for more. I hope it’s not the last one I have anyway.”
O’Sullivan gave Marine Nationale an ice-cool ride when registering his first Grade One victory in the Royal Bond earlier in the season and he showed his steely big-race temperament once again aboard the unbeaten six-year-old – waiting until he had cleared the last before pushing the button to breeze past Facile Vega.
The Cork native was thrilled to see the horse that has helped forge his relationship with owner-trainer Connell thrive yet again on the big stage and, having won a Festival Grade One in facile fashion, is confident there is more to come.
He continued: “We were very happy with him beforehand. I ride him most of the time and I was delighted with him.
“The only worry was the ground, but his class got him through and he showed what we always thought of him and how good he is. He’s only going to get better and it was a brilliant performance. He didn’t have a hard race.
“You don’t let yourself feel the buzz until you are over the line, but going down to the last I was really happy I had Facile Vega covered and it was just a matter of jumping the last well. He quickened up nicely and won pretty easily.”