RUGBY stars James Simpson-Daniel, Mike Tindall and Nicky Robinson celebrated an unforgettable stunning success on the second day of the Open meeting at Cheltenham.
The trio's racehorse Monbeg Dude sprang a 25-1 surprise as he got the better of 15 rivals to land the Henrietta Knight Handicap Chase in a nail-biting finish and provide trainer Michael Scudamore, son of former champion jockey Peter, with the biggest winner of his career.
Monbeg Dude challenged the Fergal O'Brien-trained Bradley coming into the home straight before winning the war of attrition by a neck under Jamie Moore.
Tindall couldn't be present because he was playing for Gloucester in their 46-20 victory over London Welsh, but Simpson-Daniel and Robinson were mobbed by well-wishers in the winner's enclosure.
Simpson-Daniel said: "When you're playing rugby you can control things yourself, but this was out of our hands and we've been nervous all day not really expecting a huge amount.
"We were just watching him jumping, then we're saying, 'He's still there, he's still there', and then we got more and more excited. We can't believe it, we're absolutely thrilled.
The Gloucester wing's former Kingsholm team-mate Robinson, now playing for Wasps, said they had been on edge all day in anticipation of Monbeg Dude's race.
Robinson was especially nervous, he admitted, because Monbeg Dude had fallen the last time he ran at Cheltenham, last month.
"I can't believe what he's just done," he said. "We were tossing up about whether to come here or Wetherby, but we decided to come here because we can all have a day out and enjoy that.
"I joked to Sinbad (Simpson-Daniel) this morning 'I'll take top four' and he laughed and said he'd take top ten.
"The nerves going into it were unbelievable. We sat and had food and we could barely eat it.
"It's literally like a game day. You're not looking forward to the race, you just want it to be over.
"The way the race unfolded he just stayed there and all credit to Jamie. Not that I know much about what jockeys do, but he did exactly what he said he'd do.
"That buzz coming up the hill was incredible. When we bought him we talked about him running up the hill at Cheltenham and to be here to see him do that is amazing.
"He fell at Cheltenham three weeks ago and when he jumped the same fence we were a bit nervous, but he seemed to jump pretty well.
"I'd hate there to have been a camera on us coming over the last two jumps because I pulled some horrendous faces.
"I know people were looking round, we were screaming that much.
"We all know that feeling when you've got money on a horse, but when you actually own it you know why people do it now.
"All we wanted was for him to have good run.
"I joined in when I was having a curry and got a text saying, 'Do you want a horse?' I should have asked how much first before I said yes, but seeing him win at Lingfield last year and at Cheltenham makes it all worthwhile."
Tindall, meanwhile had to settle for watching the race unfold at home in Cheltenham before heading off to work.
Gloucester's player / backs coach played against London Welsh in buoyant mood after seeing his charge claim a maiden Cheltenham win earlier in the day.
"It was great to watch, I was just gutted I was literally sat at home on my own watching it, especially knowing that Sinbad and Nicky were at the racecourse," Tindall said.
"But even so, it was a special moment.
"I've had a couple that have raced there, but it's my first win there, and the same for Sinbad and Nicky.
"It's Michael Scudamore, who's been training him, it's his first win there too, so it's been great for the whole team.