Farmers Ann and Ian Hamilton will bid to upset racing loyalty at the Cheltenham Festival    – What We Know!

Ann (left) and Ian Hamilton (right) will seek to cause an upset with Tommy

It’s the David-versus-Goliath- problem that appears a throwback to previous Cheltenham Festivals but when Tommy’s Oscar can win Tuesday’s Champion Hurdle for Ann and Ian Hamilton it will likely be a ready-made script for an award-winning film.

The gelding, who has gained his final 4 races with ever rising authority, is one among solely 4 horses being skilled by the Hamiltons, who even have 1,000 sheep and 300 cattle on their 500-acre Northumberland farm the place Ann was born, 15 miles from Hadrian’s Wall.

On Monday, 74-year-old Ian will drive the horsebox on the 300-mile journey to the Cotswolds so Tommy’s Oscar can line up in opposition to unbeaten reigning champion Honeysuckle, owned by Kenny Alexander, who made his thousands and thousands within the bookmaking enterprise, and 2019 winner Epatante, owned by the even richer JP McManus.

Ann (left) and Ian Hamilton (proper) will search to trigger an upset with Tommy’s Oscar (centre)

Ann and Ian shall be joined by the 2 steady women, Laura Fenwick and Steph Bowey, who trip out the quartet of horses every day.

They’re doing an excellent job. The Hamiltons have had 12 winners from solely 28 runners — a strike charge of 43 per cent — to comply with final season’s 12 wins from 37 runners.

Tommy’s Oscar and three stablemates — Bavington Bob, Pay The Piper and Nuts Properly — have all gained a minimum of twice this season, with the Nuts Properly’s win within the Premier Chase at Kelso final Saturday taking the Hamilton’s prize-money haul to nearly £225,000.

Key to their success, Ian believes, is the very best feed, water from their very own spring and the TLC of the small crew. Ian mentioned: ‘It’s sheer dedication and two tremendous women who assist Ann. A cheerful household taking care of them makes glad horses.’

The story has echoes of Nortons Coin, who sprung a 100-1 shock to win the 1990 Cheltenham Gold Cup for Welsh dairy farmer Sirrell Griffths and sometimes the Hamilton’s horses are used to assist spherical up reluctant cattle.

The Hamiltons on their wedding day 42 years ago with the horse Ann had much success on guest of honour

The Hamiltons on their wedding ceremony day 42 years in the past with the horse Ann had a lot success on visitor of honour

Their involvement with horses dates again nearly half a century and 42 years in the past Dryburn — an enormous of a horse Ann rode in-point-to-points — was a visitor at their wedding ceremony.

‘Ann had a number of enjoyable on him, he was as exhausting as nails,’ mentioned Ian. ‘He ran each week and he or she gained the women’ championship within the northern space on him. She is the one one to do this driving only one horse. I believe he ran 12 instances and gained six and was second or third within the others.

‘It was a shock him turning up at our wedding ceremony. It was Ann’s dad’s thought. Dryburn didn’t come to the reception although, he was 16.2 palms — he couldn’t get by the door.’

Ann, 70, who was driving out till final yr, was a champion novice point-to-point rider in her youth. She credit the ‘stockman’s eye’ in Ian, who additionally rode in point-to-points, for choosing out Tommy’s Oscar.

Colin Bowe, who runs a famend nursery for younger horses in Eire, purchased Tommy’s Oscar for 70,000 euros however, having taken eight begins in point-to-points, Ian says he value them ‘a couple of quarter of that’. The discount has proved a shock package deal. Ian mentioned: ‘We thought he was a possible three-mile chaser however I’m fairly happy that he wasn’t. He has a excessive cruising pace.’

That has been evident in his latest races. Tommy’s Oscar cruised to a five-length win within the Haydock Champion Hurdle Trial final month.

Tommy's Oscar will line up against unbeaten reigning champion Honeysuckle

Tommy’s Oscar will line up in opposition to unbeaten reigning champion Honeysuckle

Ian believes Tommy’s Oscar is a 33-1 shot for the Champion Hurdle as a result of, regardless of their file, they’re nonetheless not taken severely. They need to be. Their wins have included the Fox Hunters’ Chase over the Grand Nationwide fences in 2003. However getting there once more was not straight ahead.

Ian mentioned: ‘We went down in an outdated cattle field and it was not lengthy after the bomb scare Nationwide. The police stopped us and mentioned: ‘The place do you suppose you’re going with that outdated wagon?’ We mentioned we’d bought a horse for the races however he put a sniffer canine within the again. He couldn’t consider we had a racehorse in there!’

Tommy’s Oscar just isn’t the primary runner the Hamiltons have had on the Pageant. Runswick Royal ran within the 2014 County Hurdle however it was not a cheerful expertise. A rival jumped into him from behind through the race and he needed to be pulled up. Ann vowed by no means to return however has been persuaded to offer it one other go.

‘It’s daunting,’ she mentioned. ‘It’s in all probability out of our league but when we don’t go we’ll by no means know, will we?’

Ian added: ‘It’s a horse race. One of the best horse will win whether or not it’s skilled by Willie Mullins, Nicky Henderson or Ann Hamilton.’