FOR Venetia Williams and Charlie Deutsch, L’Homme is where the heart is.
They have been dreaming of this day all season, and when the moment arrived L’Homme Presse didn’t let them down.
The rain poured and the seven-year-old poured it on to bag the Brown Advisory on day two at Cheltenham.
Williams, Deutsch and delirious owner Andy Edwards can now dream even bigger dreams, with next year’s Gold Cup at the forefront of their minds.
But that is for another day – they will want to savour this win for a while yet.
On a miserable afternoon when even ducks might have thought twice about leaving home, Edwards beamed about the “liquid sunshine” that turned the track into a quagmire in the nick of time for his mud-loving horse.
If he was pleased to see the heavens open, a dark cloud was hanging over Paul Nicholls who decided to withdraw big fancy Bravemansgame just minutes before the race.
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No doubt that made L’Homme Presse’s task easier, but in truth it probably would have taken Pegasus to beat him in this form.
It wasn’t Deutsch’s plan to go from the front, but his spring-heeled partner jumped his way there at the seventh fence.
He never saw another rival after that, and a string of massive leaps were met with ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the crowd.
Turning for home he was still travelling like a dream and the only moment of concern came as the horse pricked his ears and copped a look at the packed stands as they roared him home.
The win was even given the Royal seal of approval by Princess Anne, who quietly congratulated Williams as she waited to collect her trophy.
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“I’m thrilled for you, I really fancied your horse,” the Princess said with a grin.
She wasn’t alone, judging by the reaction of the punters who had braved the elements in huge numbers.
Williams: “I will need to watch the race again to enjoy it properly – I don’t remember the last time I felt so sick during a race.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled, he is such a spectacular jumper and Charlie was very brave on him.
“It’s so good to have the crowd back here and they gave him a cheer every time he put in one of his big leaps.
“He has been a work in progress and has had his injury issues earlier in life, so we have had to be patient.
“It’s a great relief and we can start dreaming now about what the future holds.”
The future is definitely bright for L’Homme Presse, who is 14-1 for next year’s Gold Cup, but it’s also rosy for his rider Deutsch.
That wasn’t necessarily the case four years ago, when he was jailed for 10 months for dangerous driving while over the limit.
The 25-year-old has rebuilt his career and he can now call himself a Cheltenham Festival winning jockey.
He said: “It’s been an amazing season but, yes, this really tops it off.
“I said going into the week that if we could get a Cheltenham Festival winner it would make the season, and it has. I’m pinching myself, really.
“He is an amazing horse and an amazing jumper. He just makes everything look so easy.”
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