Pascha Bere - Cheltenham 15.03.2012

Tina Cook and Pascha Bere on their way to winning the St Patrick's Derby

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)  

Eventer Cook storms to charity race success

LONDON Olympics-bound eventer Tina Cook completed what could be the first half of a famous double after she won the St Patrick's Derby in aid of Cancer Research UK on her brother Nick Gifford's Pascha Bere.

Cook, daughter of the late Josh Gifford, who died in February, found plenty at the bottom of the hill to win by over a length from Worcester Royal Hospital staff nurse Lindsey Hunting on Wild Desert and Coolmore Stud employee Wendy Normile on Price Of Fire.

After winning bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics, Cook is no stranger to the thrill of victory on a grand stage but she was overwhelmed by the experience of winning at the festival.

"It's absolutely brilliant. It's so exciting and a total thrill, I loved it," she said. "I came down the bottom of the hill and just started passing horses and I thought, let's go for it."

Cook, who rides out for her brother, admitted she had taken some ribbing at home before her Cheltenham debut. "They all took the mickey out of me at home saying don't fall off and don't get left at the start," she said.

Cook will compete for Britain at Greenwich Park at London 2012 but added: "It's all about Cheltenham today - the Olympics would be another dream. Huge amounts of money have been raised for a really good cause and there's been such a good team involved."

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