Sportsmail’s Laura Lambert owns a Cheltenham Festival winner after Pentland Hills springs a surprise in the Triumph Hurdle
- A syndicate of 3,000 called the Owners Group have a share in Pentland Hills
- The 20-1 shot claimed a shock victory for Nico de Boinville and Nicky Henderson
- He did not make his hurdling debut until last month when winning at Plumpton
I still can’t believe it. I own a Cheltenham Festival winner. What a crazy thing to be able to say.
On Friday, just after 1.30pm I screamed Pentland Hills home up the Cheltenham hill as he sprung a surprise in the Triumph Hurdle from a starting price of 20-1.
I lost all composure and will admit to shedding a few tears, but now I can appreciate why you often seen connections going mad in the paddock.
Sportsmail’s Laura Lambert with the triumphant Pentland Hills at Cheltenham on Friday
To set things straight, I’m far from the only owner. I am one of 3,000, all of us part of a syndicate called Owners Group.
I think I probably own a hair in his tail, or maybe a cell in his hoof. But it doesn’t matter how small a part of him I own, he gave me one of the best days of my life.
It was worth every penny of the £57 I spent on my share last October. Yet, anyone thinking that I’ll now be rolling in prize money has another thing coming, though. I think I’m in line for about £20.
And for Pentland Hills’ win at Plumpton a couple of weeks ago I think I’ll have taken home less than £1.
But it’s not about the money for me, and I’m sure it isn’t for many of my fellow syndicate members. Syndicates, when done right, have the ability to give people the experience of being an owner, which they wouldn’t otherwise have.
Before the Triumph on Friday, I was in the huddle with Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville as they spoke through the race plan for Pentland Hills.
They told us they wanted to ‘hunt behind the pace’ and see what happened. Although both of them thought highly of our horse, it was a venture into the unknown, as he had only run once over hurdles before.
I’ve always watched those conversations from afar, and to be a part of one was a privilege.
I walked away thinking that I would be happy simply for Pentland Hills to come home safe and sound.
The tragic injury to Sir Erec during the race highlighted how anything can happen in racing, and how grateful my fellow 2,999 owners and I should be for having the experience.
Jockey Nico de Boinville celebrates with Pentland Hills as they walk into the winners enclosure
My grandmother first got me involved in Owners Group in 2017, when she bought me and my family a share each in another horse owned by the syndicate. His results that season were not amazing, so I opted not to renew that share and buy myself a share in another horse.
It was just my luck that Owners Group had just bought Pentland Hills, and the early signs were that he could be a good one.
I wanted to share in any joy – and pain – that came from his career, so I bought my fiance a share as a Christmas present. I think I might be pretty popular now.
Pentland Hills might never win again. But it couldn’t matter less to me. He won the Triumph Hurdle for us on Friday, and gave all 3,000 of us a day we will cherish forever.