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Six St Patrick's Day winners for Ireland as Vautour flies highest in Ryanair Chase

There was a treble for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh along with victories for Gordon Elliott, Colm Murphy and Patrick Kelly on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival.

Vautour en route to a stunning Ryanair Chase win.
Vautour en route to a stunning Ryanair Chase win.
Image: David Davies

Updated 18.00

IT’S BEEN A stunning St Patrick’s Day for the Irish at Cheltenham with six wins from seven, including three for the incredible partnership of Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh.

The only race which escaped the Irish grasp was the World Hurdle, won in commanding style by Thistlecrack, Colin Tizzard’s even-money favourite.

Vautour, who was controversially pulled out of the Gold Cup earlier this week due to some sloppy work at home, showed no signs of rust in a commanding Ryanair Chase performance.

It was a fourth win of the week for owner Rich Ricci after opening-day victories on Douvan, Annie Power and Vroom Vroom Mag.

It was an Irish 1,2,3 in the Ryanair Chase with Vautour’s stablemate Valseur Lido six lengths behind, a half-length ahead of Noel Meade’s Road to Riches.

Mullins and Walsh again teamed up to win the Mares Novices’ Hurdle, with Limini (8/11f) an impressive victor. It brought Mullins and Walsh to seven wins each this week, the trainer now just one shy of his festival record set last year.

Limini powered home in an entertaining race and had four and a half lengths to spare on Dusky Legend (50/1), with Bloody Mary (7/1) back in third.

A great day for the punters as Thistlecrack storms home in the World Hurdle

Earlier, there was a good start to the day of Ireland’s patron saint for Walsh as he rode Black Hercules to victory in the opening race of the festival’s third day.

Walsh was victorious at 4/1 in the JLT Novices’ Chase, with Bristol De Mai (4/1) in second and L’Ami Serge (8/1) third.

It was a fifth winner of this year’s festival for Mullins, but there was some controversy early on as Zabana jinked and unseated a furious Davy Russell as the tapes went up, with some bookmakers refunding bets on the horse to limited stakes.

In the day’s second race, the Pertemps Final Hurdle, Mall Dini (14/1) claimed another St Patrick’s Day win for Ireland, this time for trainer Patrick Kelly, under the stewardship of Russell who was understandably delighted after his misfortune in the opener.

Davy Russell celebrates his win. Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

He was followed home, after a messy finish that led to a stewards’ inquiry, by Arpege D’alaene (14/1) in second and If in Doubt (10/1) in third.

Sixteen-year-old Dingle jockey Jack Kennedy scored himself a fourth-place finish in his first Cheltenham outing on Gordon Elliott’s Taglietelle (14/1).

Bryan Cooper claimed his first win of the festival on Empire of Dirt (16/1) in the Brown Advisory Plate for trainer Colm Murphy.

He came home ahead of Tango De Juilley (33/1), Kings Palace (11/1) and Full Shift (7/1).

And in the day’s final race, the Kim Muir Handicap Chase, Elliott’s Cause of Causes (9/2) came from the back of the field late on to claim a thrilling win under Jamie Codd.

He romped home, by 12 lengths in the end, from A Good Skin (14/1), with Silvergrove (16/1) and Knock House filling the minor placings.

Results:

1.30 — JLT Novices’ Chase
1. Black Hercules (4/1)
2. Bristol De Mai (4/1)
3. L’Ami Serge (8/1)

2.10 — Pertemps Final Hurdle
1. Mall Dini (14/1)
2. Arpege D’alene (14/1)
3. If In Doubt (10/1)
4. Taglietelle (14/1)

2.50 — Ryanair Chase
1. Vautour (Evens)
2. Valseur Lido (11/1)
3. Road To Riches (7/1)

3.30 — World Hurdle
1. Thistlecrack (Evens)
2. Alpha Des Obeaux (8/1)
3. Bobs Worth (33/1)

4.10 — Brown Advisory Plate
1. Empire of Dirt (16/1)
2. Tandgo De Juilley (33/1)
3. Kings Palace (11/1)
4. Full Shift (7/1)

4.50 – Mares Novices’ Hurdle
1. Limini (8/11)
2. Dusky Legend (50/1)
3. Bloody Mary (7/1)

5.20 – Kim Muir Handicap Chase
1. Cause of Causes (9/2)
2. A Good Skin (14/1)
3. Silvergrove (16/1)
4. Knock House (16/1)

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Alan Waldron

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