There were six winners for Ireland on a day to remember for Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins.
Are we ready to go again?
After yesterday’s drama, we can’t wait for this afternoon’s action from Prestbury Park. We’ll be here for the day with rolling results.
Tomorrow’s Gold Cup may be the big one, of course, but we have seven races today, the pick of them being the Ryanair Chase (2.50) and the Stayers’ Hurdle (3.30).
Here’s how the jockeys and trainers ahead of today’s action; still no sign of Willie Mullins, of course:
- Gordon Elliott 5 wins
- Nicky Henderson 3
- Henry De Bromhead 1
- Alan Fleming 1
- Jessica Harrington 1
- Ben Pauling 1
- David Pipe 1
- Nick Williams 1
- Noel Fehily 2
- Nico De Boinville 2
- Jamie Codd 2
- Bryan Cooper 1
- David Bass 1
- Richard Johnson 1
- Jack Kennedy 1
- Lisa O’Neill 1
- Denis O’Regan 1
- Robbie Power 1
- Tom Scudamore 1
Our talking points from this morning’s preview:
Three big talking points…
1. All about that treble: If I told you at the start of the week that an Irish jockey would be going for a Championship Race treble in the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle (3.30pm), you’d probably have assumed it would be Ruby Walsh.
But while Walsh is (somehow) still waiting for his first winner at this year’s festival, Noel Fehily has been dominating the big races this week after winning both the Champion Hurdle on Buveur D’Air and Champion Chase on Special Tiara.
And on Day Three he rides the favourite Unowhatimeanharry (11/8) in the Stayers’ Hurdle over two miles and seven furlongs and it’s really easy to see that price being even shorter come the off tomorrow.
The biggest threat is likely to come from another JP McManus trained horse, Jezki (6/1) but don’t sleep on Ballyoptic (14/1) with four wins in his eight goes over the smaller jumps and has a victory in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle – won by Thistlecrack in 2015 and who went on to win this with aplomb last year.
2. Un De Sceaux far, Sceaux bad: At the time of writing, Willie Mullins has had 25 runners at the 2017 Cheltenham festival and exactly zero winners.
As signs of an impending apocalypse go, that’s a big one.
The form of the yard — Douvan’s long unbeaten run coming to an end as exhibit A — is poor to say the least, but Un De Sceaux (9/4) is unbeaten this season and looked in top notch when he accounted for Uxizandre (10/3) in the re-arranged Clarence House Chase at this track in January.
Empire Of Dirt (10/3) and Sub Lieutenant (8/1) carry the silks of Michael O’Leary and he will hope one of them can win the race named after his airline (2.50pm) for the first time.
3. Marching up to the top of the Yorkhill: Of course, the Mullins/Walsh combination may already have a winner by the time the Ryanair Chase comes around as they saddle the favourite Yorkhill (evens) in the JLT Novices’ Chase at 1.30pm.
A good winner of the Neptune last year (beating Yanworth), he should have the perfect mix of speed and stamina for both course and distance.
If he does continue his habit of jumping left, Top Notch (9/2) may well be the horse to take advantage.
JLT Novice Chase (1.30)
They’re off in the first off the day.
Willie Mullins gets off the mark at last as Ruby Walsh steers the favourite home.
JLT Novice Chase (1.30) result
1 Yorkhill (R Walsh) 6-4 Fav
2 Top Notch (D A Jacob) 7-2
3 Disko (B J Cooper) 4-1
It’s a 53rd Festival winner for Ruby Walsh. “He has Gold Cup horse written all over him”, he says afterwards.
Willie Mullins looks a bit more chilled out after that: “On the board anyway, a big relief.”
ITV’s new infrared cameras showing Yorkhill cooling off with buckets of water after that win.
2:10 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle
So here we go again.
We’ve just seen a lovely VT from the Cresselly Arms on Cresswell Quay in Pembroke. That’s the place to head to if Tobefair wins with the syndicate based out of the local.
Here’s some of the odds:
- For Good Measure 8/1 Johnson/Hobbs
- Impulsive Star 8/1 Waley-Cohen/Mulholland
- Jury Duty 8/1 Kennedy/Elliott
- Tobefair 10/1 Whelan/Hamer
- Rocklander 12/1 Heskin/George
- Presenting Percy 12/1 Russell/Kelly
- Isleofhopendreams 12/1 Walsh/Mullins
And after a long walk towards the starter, they’re off in the second of the day.
Presenting Percy wins the Pertemps Final
Davy Russell gets his win. Great ride.
Davy Russell: “I have to give credit to Pat Kelly. There’ll be bonfires in Craughwell again tonight.”
Here’s the result:
- Presenting Percy (D Russell) 11-1
- Barney Dwan (P J Brennan) 16-1
- Jury Duty (J Kennedy) 9-1
- The Tourard Man (Kevin Dowling) 66-1
Next up is the Ryanair Chase. Can Michael O’Leary finally get a win in this race? He’s got Empire of Dirt and Sub Lieutenant in this. Un De Sceaux is your favourite at 7-4.
Un De Sceaux takes the Ryanair Chase for Mullins and Walsh
We were just talking in the office about how there hadn’t been too many standout performances this year. Well that certainly was one.
Un De Sceaux put the foot down early on and the rest of the field couldn’t live with him. Eighteen wins from 23 starts. What an animal.
1. Un De Sceaux (7/4f) — Ruby Walsh/Willie Mullins
2. Sub Lieutenant (8/1) — David Mullins/Henry de Bromhead
3. Aso (40/1) — Charlie Deutsch/Venetia Williams
Never in doubt.
Next up is the feature race of the day, the Sun Bet Stayers’ Hurdle, or what we once used to call the World Hurdle.
Unowhatimeanharry (evens) is the current favourite, followed by Jezki (15/2) and Cole Harden (9/1)
Nichols Canyon claims the honours in the Stayer's Hurdle
1. Nichols Canyon (10/1) — Ruby Walsh/Willie Mullins
2. Lil Rockerfeller (33/1) — Trevor Whelan/Neil King
3. Unowhatimeanharry (5/6f) — Noel Fehily/Harry Fry
Next up is the Grade 3 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase
Road to Respect wins the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap
1. Road To Respect (14/1) — Bryan Cooper/Noel Meade
2. Baron Alco (10/1) — Gary Moore/Jamie Moore
3. Bouvreuil (12/1) — Sam Twiston-Davies/Paul Nicholls
4. Thomas Crapper (7/1) — Charlie Poste/Robin Dickin
Next up at Cheltenham is the Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.
Lets Dance (5/4) leads the betting for Walsh and Mullins and you’d be brave to back against them making it four for the day. Owner Rich Ricci is also still looking for his first win of the festival too remember.
Mullins’s second string is Airlie Beach (4/1), La Bague Au Roi (11/1) and Forge Meadow (12/1) are next in the market.
Just five minutes until the penultimate race at Cheltenham today.
Lets Dance wins the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle
1. Lets Dance (11/8f) — Ruby Walsh/Willie Mullins
2. Barra (12/1) — Bryan Cooper/Gordon Elliott
3. Dusky Legend (20/1) — Wayne Hutchinson/Alan King
4. Verdana Blue (25/1) — Jeremiah McGrath/Nicky Henderson
The final race of the day is the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase. Pat Kelly is looking to land his second win of the day with second favourite Mall Dini (6/1).
Gordon Elliott’s Squouateur (5/1) leads the betting and how he’d like to get a sixth winner of the festival with Willie Mullins now breathing down his neck in the race for leading trainer.
Southfield Royale (7/1), Premier Bond (9/1) and Potters Legend (10/1) are next in the market.
Domesday Book takes the Kim Muir for Stuart Edmunds
1. Domesday Book (40/1) — Gina Andrews/Stuart Edmunds
2. Pendra (16/1) — Charlie Longsdon/Derek O’Connor
3. Premier Bond (9/1) — Sam Waley-Cohen/Nicky Henderson
4. Potters Legend (10/1) — Lucy Wadham/Michael Legg
5. Mall Dini (11/2) — Katie Walsh/Pat Kelly
Finally an English winner today after Ireland claimed the first six races. That makes it 14-7 to Ireland in the battle for the Prestbury Cup.
That’s all from us this afternoon, thanks for stopping by. We’ll be back again tomorrow to bring the curtain down on another Cheltenham Festival after seeing if Willie Mullins can finally win a Gold Cup.