09:55 Good morning from Cheltenham where, as opposed to yesterday’s sunshine, we are greeted with an overcast start to St Patrick’s Day.
The official going this morning is Good, Good to Soft in Places.
Our selections are:-
|Rite Of Passage
|Notus De La Tour
|Day Of A Lifetime
10:00 We had no non-runners yesterday, today we have two so far Kildonnan is out of the NH Cup andFlight Leader is out of the RSA.
10:17 Early betting news: Punchestowns is attracting strong support having been backed into as short as 2/1 from 11/4 for the RSA Chase.
Coral go 2/1 and totesport and Boylesports have trimmed him to 9/4 with William Hill a best-priced 11/4.
Conversely stablemate Long Run is an uneasy favourite and has drifted to 5/2 with Coral.
Synchronised has been cut to 6/1 with several layers for the opener with Paul Nicholls' Massasoit (10/1 from 7/1) a drifter.
Not much movement in the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase market with Master Minded a solid 10/11.
The Coral Cup has some movement with Hampshire Express (16/1 from 22/1), Gold Award (20’s from 33’s) and Shadow Dancer (14/1 from 16/1) have all been backed with Stan James.
10:42 It's St Patrick's Day today, so we could be in for a very lively afternoon.
10:52 The gamble in the opener is out, Synchronised does not run, due to the going.
11:27 There are Irish dancers strutting their stuff in the parade ring - only three of them so more a Streamdance than a Riverdance.
12:08 The Guinness Village is filling up
12:18 Taking pity on my neighbours today - no onions, fish and chips instead.
By the way the ground has plenty of bounce today - should be some fast times.
12:43 It is heaving now - getting around this afternoon is going to be very interesting. Have just been watching an ITV news reporter attempting to record a 10 second piece to camera - it has taken at least 20 attempts so far and he still has not managed to get it right.
13:18 The 18 runners for the opener are in the parade ring the most unusual race of the week a four mile contest with amateur riders, inexperienced horses and run over four miles.
13:59 Well there were only two lady riders in the Hunt Cup and they put the lads to shame by battling it out for the finish.
Nina Carberry on Becaiseicouldntsee was sent off second favourite, however the horse shed a plate at the start and the farrier was unable to put a new shoe on because the horse would not stand still enough.
Becaiseicouldntsee hit the front coming down the hill and with it being St Patrick’s Day there was a huge roar from the crowd. There was an even bigger roar as Katie Walsh on Poker De Sivola emerged from the pack to challenge.
Becaiseicouldntsee still held the advantage approaching the last but Walsh was on her quarters poised to attack. They jumped the last together but as they came up the run-in Poker De Sivola pulled clear to record a 2¼ length victory.
Prudent Honour made some decent progress to come home a closing third a further 2¼ lengths behind.
Favourite Mobaasher never launched a serious challenge, coming home a never nearer fifth.
14:29 Drama early on in the Neptune Investments Hurdle as Quel Esprite crashes out and badly hampers the well fancied Manyriverstocross, indeed it was a good performance from Choc Thornton to stay on board, however it was probably enough to end any chances Alan King’s runner may have had.
Sleepy Hollow and The Knoxs set the pace up front and they remained together until the top of the hill when The Knoxs was the first to cede the advantage.
Reve De Sivola and Quartano became the main challengers to the front runner.
By the time we reached the business end two out Sleepy Hollow was also out of contention with Reve De Sivola holding the advantage with the favourite Rite Of Passage looking threatening on his quarters.
However the favourite was unable to get his head in front and as they turned for home the distress signals were coming across in no uncertain terms.
Poker De Sivola was not going to be passed by the favourite, however another, more dangerous, challenge was about to manifest itself as Peddlers Cross, who had been settled mid-division, made eye catching progress. Indeed so eye catching the Donald McCain runner, under Jason Maguire, hit the front approaching the last.
To his credit Reve De Sivola did his utmost to fight back but to no avail, eventually going down by half a length.
Rite Of Passage managed to hold on to third spot with Summit Meeting doing his best work in the closing stages to finish fourth.
Finians Rainbow, who looked a threat coming down the hill was only able to finish fifth.
15:02 Well the script said Nicky Henderson was going to clean-up in the RSA Chase but as often happens the script was torn up and thrown away.
Three out it looked as though everything was going to go to plan as Long Run hit the front, his jumping fluent for once, with stablemate and favourite Punchestowns in pursuit.
However as the pace picked up Punchestowns was unable to go with it and soon Long Run was also being passed as Weapon’s Amnesty came with a late charge and approaching the last he was well clear and never looking to be in any danger.
Burton Port, under a strong McCoy ride made late progress to run into second but was never going to challenge the winner.
Long time winner Citizen Vic took a crashing fall two out and it did not look good, I will bring an update when I get confirmation of what happened.
I will also try and find out why Punchestowns ran so badly.
15:09 It seems Punchestowns lost a shoe on his "bad" foot, which will explain his poor performance.
15:58 First of all some housekeeping and sad to confirm Citizen Vic’s fall in the last was fatal.
Well the shocks continue as Master Minded becomes another big winner for the layers as he flops in the Queen Mother, coming home only a disappointing fourth.
The “surprise” winner was Colm Murphy’s Big Zeb, usually rekown for his iffy jumping, however today he put in a faultless round, settled mid-division and running on between the last two with the result never in doubt after the last.
Front running Forpaddydeplasterer did nothing wrong in second spot, with Kalahari King back in third.
Master Minded was settled mid-division and he made a couple of minor jumping mistakes. When Ruby Walsh asked for an effort coming down the hill there was no response and hopes of three consecutive wins were dashed.
Winning trainer Colm Murphy said: "He's had his bad days, and has made stupid mistakes, but everything has gone really well this year.
"We got a little bit greedy and went to Sandown for the Tingle Creek when we probably shouldn't have.
"But he's taken a bit of knowing and we're learning about him every day.
"Barry really believes in him and the pair of them have struck up a really good relationship and it's just fantastic.”
"It was a great performance and he's jumped well all year,” said Geraghty.
"He ran no race at Sandown but, other than that, he's been very good.
"He had a good look around after the last and I thought he was going to pull up, but he found plenty when he needed to.
"I saw Master Minded coming but I had a lot left when I kicked for home."
Ruby Walsh observed, "He (Master Minded) wouldn't go on the ground as it was too quick for him."
Tom Cooper trainer of Forpadydeplasterer was delighted, "I'm very happy, but I suppose a bit sickened at the same time.
"He did have an interrupted preparation but that's got nothing to do with it as we were very happy with him beforehand.
"The only thing Tony and I feel is that he'd have preferred a stronger gallop early on as he's just been beaten by a quicker horse.
"He'll definitely go to Aintree or Punchestown now."
16:20 I’m afraid no report on the Coral Cup as I was chasing comments from connections of the Queen Mother.
Suffice to say a quick double for Barry Geraghty as his mount Spirit River came home 4½ lengths clear of the running on Tullamore Dew, with James de Vassey third.
The favourite Wishful Thinking fell when running into contention two out.
16:29 Clerk of Course Simon Claisse has said there will be some watering overnight tonight.
16:35 Loch Long has just had a hissy fit and attempted to demolish the parade ring rails.
17:00 If you recall in the last race yesterday Ruby Walsh rode his 25th Festival winner to join Pat Taffe as the all-time top rider.
We predicted he would surpass the record today and he has, although somewhat later in the day than many imagined.
He became the topmost winning Festival rider in some style winning the competitive Fred Winter by nine lengths.
It was a patient ride from Walsh with him making progress as they turned for home and once he hit the front none of his rivals were able to respond and all they could do is watch him pull away up the hill to an almighty roar from the crowd, most of whom seemed to have backed him. This being the first winning favourite of the day.
Notus De La Tour was the only runner in striking distance at the last and he was not the most fluent at that flight.
Orsippus was making late progress and came within a length and a half of the runner-up.
Son Anix looked as though he was going to be in the shake-up but was only able to come home in fourth place.
Hunterview was prominent throughout but faded late on having burst a blood vessel.
17:11 A very heavy punt in the Bumper with Shot From The Hip being very well backed.
17:13 Even though it is St Patrick's Day the "home" team currently lead the Irish 4-2 today, although there is little doubt it will be 4-3 after the Bumper.
17:34 Well would you Adam and Eve it the Irish failed to win the bumper, indeed it was a 1-2 for the home team as the Irish team were well beaten.
It isn’t very often a Cheltenham winner comes home in relative silence by the lack of raucous cheering showed it was an outsider taking the race.
Cue Card, trained by Colin Tizzard and ridden by son Joe took the contest in some style coming home eight lengths clear of the Paul Nicholls front runner Al Ferof.
The front running had been shared by On His Own.
Hot favourite Shot From The Hip was in a challenging position and looked to be a serious threat as they came down the hill, only to fade rapidly.
The Irish managed to take third spot, but with one of their less fancied runners, Frawley.
17:41 Well that’s it from day two of the Festival and, arguably, an even worse day for punters than yesterday.
Only one winning favourite this afternoon and more than a fair share of shock results.
A good crowd for St Patrick’s Day although the Irish only managed two winners, going down 5-2 to the home team today. The “half time” score is Britain 9 – Ireland 4.
We will be back for day three tomorrow, where the highlight should be the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
From a busy, noisy, raucous Cheltenham a very good evening.
Return to race archive:
8 Kildonnan (bad scope - SC 07:53)
17 Synchronised (going - 10:52)
5 Flight Leader (lame - SC 09:53)
Results Old Course
13:30 National Hunt Chase 4m
1st 14 Poker De Sivola 14/1
2nd 3 Becauseicouldntsee 13/2
3rd 16 Prudent Honour 40/1
19 Ran NR 8
Distances 2¼ & 2¼
Fav 10 Mobaasher 6/1 (5th)
Places £4.90 £2.40 £15.80
Time 8' 14.1"
14:05 Neptune INvestment Management Hurdle 2m 5f
1st 8 Peddlers Cross 7/1
2nd 11 Reve De Sivola 15/2
3rd 12 Rite Of Passage 7/2 fav
Distances 1½ & 3¾
Places £2.90 £2.90 £2.00
Time 5' 02.8"
14:40 Royal and Sun Alliance Chase 3m 110yds
1st 9 Weapons Amnesty 10/1
2nd 1 Burton Port 9/1
3rd 10 Long Run 11/4
9 Ran Nr 5
Distances 7 & short head
Fav 8 Punchestowns 2/1 (5th)
Places £3.00 £2.20 £1.40
Time 6' 11.9"
15:20 Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase 2m
1st 1 Big Zeb 10/1
2nd 2 Forpaddydeplasterer 10/1
3rd 4 Kalahari King 9/2
Distances 6 & 3¼
Fav 6 Master Minded 4/5 (4th)
Places £2.80 £2.30 £1.70
Time 3' 52.7"
16:00 Coral Cup Hurdle 2m 5f
1st 8 Spirit River 14/1
2nd 15 Tullamore Dew 80/1
3rd 7 James de Vassey 16/1
4th 3 Michael Flips 33/1
Distances 4½ , 2¾ & ½
Fav 17 Deutchland 7/1
Places £5.00 £22.40 £6.90 £7.20
Time 5' 05.4"
16:40 Fred Winter Hurdle 2m 110yds
1st 11 Sanctuaire 4/1 fav
2nd 4 Notus De La Tour 13/2
3rd 16 Orsippus 33/1
4th 5 Son Amix 14/1
Distances 9 & 1½
Places £2.60 £2.80 £12.60 £3.70
Time 3' 55.1"
17:15 Weatherbys Champion Bumper 2m 110yds
1st 23 Cue Card 40/1
2nd 1 Al Ferof 8/1
3rd 13 Frawley 14/1
Distances 8 & 8
Fav 19 Shot From The Hip 3/1
Places £11.30 £3.70 £5.00
Tricast £4, 750.12
Time no time taken