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Dublin: 2 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019


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Good afternoon and welcome to Cheltenham’s second day. It’s ladies day, don’t you know… maybe the fairer sex and their outrageous hats will bring us all better fortune than yesterday.

Just under 20 minutes to go until the first race of the day so be sure to check out Mark Hobbs’ tips for the day in Mark your card and also our convenient office sweepstakes kit for the Queen mother Chase which is coming up later.

OK, so the Diamond Jubilee novices chase is coming up. Who do you fancy?

Willie Mullins’ Allee Garde has been heavily tipped all week, he starts as 13/2 second favourite behind 5/1 shot Teaforthree.

Mullins also has a strong chance with Soll, who has Katie Walsh on board.

In a fairly open field with plenty of good value, Dermot Weld has entered Daffern Seal (20/1).

Once again, we’re running our tipsters mini-league (you can still join in and pit your wits against us if you dare).

Both sport and the grown-up side of the newsroom have picked Willie Mullins chances.

The Journal have go for Soll and The Score, after a good thorough look at the hooves, like the cut of Allee Garde’s jib.

Remember, it’s four points for a winning nag, two for the runner-up and one for any other place.

Let’s get it on!

Once again, our man in the Gloucestershire is Niall Kelly. You’ll be hearing more from him through today.

The first race is underway.

Soll is down.

Ah crap, Allee Garde is gone aswell.

Teaforthree, the favourite, leads with 10 still to jump.

Teaforthree wins

Diamond jubilee novices chase result: 1st: Teaforthree. 2nd: Harry the Viking. 3rd: Four Commanders.

A decent start for the punters then with JT McNamara ensuring the formbook is still relevant. “He never missed a beat” said the jockey atop his 5/1 winner trained by Rebecca Curtain.


Next up is the 2.05, the Neptune Investment Novice hurdle.

Simonsig is a big favourite here, trained by Noel Henderson, he’ll go off at around 9/4 with Barry Geraghty in the saddle.

Noel meade and Willie Mullins train the second and third priced runners. Respectively, they are Monksland (5/1) and Sous Les Cieux (11/2)

Quevega aside, it’s been a pretty disastrous meeting so far for Mullins. He’ll be hoping that Ruby Walsh can take this one to the front to get his festival into full swing.

Mullins also has Davy Russell in the saddle on Make Your Mark and Paul Townend on Felix Younger, an outside bet at 16/1.

Noel Meade says about Monksland: “We always felt he’d be better on good ground.” And the sun is shining on a dry track in the Cotswolds today.

The Journal have picked the 16/1 shot Benefficient. we here at The Score will go for (eenue, meenie minie, moe….) Simonsig.

And they’re off in the Neptune novices hurdle….

Filulin, an 80/1 outsider is leading a tightly bunched field which included Simonsig.

Simonsig wins at a canter.

2.05 result: 1st Simonsig. 2nd Felix Younger. 3rd. Monksland.

After that tight bunch we mentioned at the halfway point Cotton Mill broke clear with Simonsig in pursuit.

Cotton Mill was travelling well but refused the third to last fence and threw off his jockey.

Barry Geraghty, who also won by a number of lengths with Sprinter Sacre yesterday, was able to ease off the whip on the final stretch.

Two favourites in a row, the bookies aren’t happy with that start.

Nicky Henderson is now the top trainer at the festival, but that result brings good news for Ireland with Mullins’ 16/1 shot arrived in second and Noel Meade’s Monksland, third.

OK, the hotly anticipated RSA chase is upon us.

Grand Crus, who came close to registering for the Gold Cup is a heavy favourite here at 5/4.

But as he’s led to the paddock, the Channel four presenter was none-to-impressed with his languid demeanour.

“Grand Crus walking with all the urgency of an overweight labrador.”

I’ll have you know, some of my best friends are overweight labradors.

They say Mouse Morris ignores 361 days of the year, his sole focus is on the four at Cheltenham.

His entry here is First Lieutenant, a 5/1 shot which The Score has picked to win.

The Journal like Grand Crus, but can the big fat labrador turn on the style?

Those two aside, the leading trainer Nicky Henderson has Barry Geraghty on Bobs Worth.

Ruby Walsh is on, the Paul Nicholls trained, Join Together (7/1). Willie Mullins has two outsiders; Call the Police (18/1) and Lambro (25/1)

OK, the nine horses are at the starting line ready for a three mile chase….

Ted Walsh is impressed by Joined Together. And they’re off.

Join Together is leading the way from First Lieutenant.

Grand Crus is down the field, but not far.

At the halfway point  the pace has been upped. Bobs Worth and first Lieutenant still lead the way, stalked by Grand Crus.

This will be close.

Bobs Worth wins.

Grands Crus looked well placed coming into the final turn but found no extra gear and was badly beaten into fourth.

Barry Geraghty on Bobs Worth says “He just keeps winning” we could say the same about you, Baz.

RSA chase result: 1st Bobs Worth. 2nd First Lieutenant. 3rd Call the Police.

So, how is that tipster mini-league looking, eh?

Well, well, well, what have we here?

A winner and a place for The Score already today. And The Journal have (1,2,3..) no points for the day.

All of which means the standings currently look a little like this:

The Score: 16

The Journal: 8

Next up is the big one, The Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Sizing Europe, Big Zeb, that sort of thing.

Sizing Europe is many peoples dead-cert for the week, but will probability allow another favourite to win? Henry de Bromhead’s horse is currently 5/6.

Barry Geraghty’s form has taken the odds on Finians Rainbow down to second favourite 9/2. Big Zeb (6/1) is strongly favoured, but is he past his best?

If you reckon Ruby Walsh is overdue a win, he is on Kauto Stone, a 14/1 outsider for Paul Nicholls. he finished second to Sizing Europe already this season.

The Journal have chosen Sizing Europe, while we like the form of Barry Geraghty and Finians Rainbow.

Place your bets, the Queen Mother Champion Chase is just five minutes away.

Lot of odds changing rapidly, Realt Dubh’s odds are tumbling. Big Zeb is drifting out, but nobody can see far past Sizing Europe.

Here comes the big race of the day, the Queen Mother Champion Chase is under way.

Kauto Stone and Ruby Walsh fall at the first.

They’re dropping like horse-flies. Wishful thinking hits the fence and may have taken a photographer down with him.

Sizing Europe leads the way from Finians Rainbow with three to jump.

Finians Rainbow wins by a head of Sizing Europe.

A thrilling finish.

Queen Mother Champion Chase result: 1st Finians Rainbow. 2nd Sizing Europe. 3rd Big Zeb.

A controversial finish to that one as the last jump was cordoned off at the last minute because of Wishful Thinking’s fall.

Sizing got caught between two stools and had to force his way out, clashed with Finians Rainbow, but Geraghty kept up the pace and pulled away by a head in the end.

“I thought he had it to do it.” Said Geraghty after his third win of the day. “He’s turned a corner since Ascot.”

Richard Johnson has been stretchered away after that fall into the fence. Just bad bruising we hear and the stretcher is just a precaution.

Henry De Bromhead will not be please by this ending, it was far from clear that the last hurdle was closed and Lynch could be forgiven for keeping Sizing Europe on course for the jump.

So, barring a (completely unfair) stewards enquiry The Score net four points from that win and The Journal, beaten into second, grab two.

This truly is the sport of  kings.

The Score: 20

The Journal: 10

Right… Next up we have the Coral Cup. The Journal are plumping for Balgarry, while The Score like the look of Carlito Brigante. Place your bets…

28 runners for this Grade 3 hurdle. Get Me Out Of Here, under AP McCoy, is joint favourite with the bookies, along with Balgarry. They’re both at sevens.

A hugely competitive race this. Ted Walsh favours Get Me Out Of Here, and he’s not a man to be trifled with. We’re almost away…

Balgarry makes a fine start, as does last year’s winner Carlito Brigante. There’s office politics at stake here, daggers being thrown across the room at The Journal lads… Not actual daggers. They’d hate that.

Star of Angels and Abergavenny have both gone, as Balgarry and Golan Way make all the running. Consiglieri also going well.

Balgarry leads, The Journal are on the brink of victory. Carlito Brigante is in last place. Spirit River is second… It’s the final turn… Balgarry has been taken by Son Of Flicka!

Son of Flicka, under Jason Maguire, wins the Coral Cup from Get Me Out Of Here – the perennial bridesmaid. The winning trainer is Donald McCain. Veiled was third, with Silverhand fourth.

I hope The Journal didn’t see that finish, victory looked to be all-but theirs, but Balgarry (who led all the way) just could not last the pace.

No change in our tipster mini-league standings, so.

Next up is the Fred Winter Handicap hurdle in 15 short minutes.

Vendor (7/2) is by far the favourite with Tony Scudamore on Kazilan now the second favourite at 7/1.

The form of Willie Mullins has pushed Gorgeous Sixty out to nines. With Ruby Walsh on board, that looks like decent value.

There’s no doubt about who the winning combination of the festival so far, Barry Geraghty and Nicky Henderson’s entry is the 20/1 shot Soliwery – who has finished second on his last two outings.

This race is wide open if you have any doubts about Vendor.

We here at The Score have pinned the tail on Ruby Walsh’s donkey. It’s about time he and Willie Mullins combine to win and Gorgeous Sixty is the one to do it, we say.

The Journal, meanwhile will go with Ulck Du Lin, Paul Nicholls’ 12/1 shot.

But with over 20 runners, anything could happen.

The Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle is at the post and we are almost ready to go, and… they false start.

BANG! They get away at the second time of asking.

Nine Irish runners here, can we up the ratio a bit?

One Cool Shabra leads from Kazilan and Kie as the race takes shape.

A mistake from One Cool Shabra puts him back into third, behind Leom drop red. Kazilan clear in the lead.

Une Artiste wins. Yet another one for Nicky Henderson.

Fred Winter Handicap hurdle result: 1st Une Artiste. 2nd Edeymi. 3rd Vendor.

There you have it, the bookies keep clawing back after a good early start for the favourites. Une Artiste was a 40/1 shot and there won’t be much change for anyone who backed the favourite, Vendor, who came in third.

With one race to go on day two, Cheltenham 2012 is not looking like a vintage Irish year.

Nicky Henderson, rejoice.

And lo, the final race of day two cometh.

The grade 1 Champion Bumper has Barry Geraghty looking for his fourth winner of the day atop New Years Eve, which looks set to go out at 9/2.

Ruby Walsh is on Mullins’ Pique Sous, but neither have hit good form (yet).

A horse who is in good form is Moscow Mannon (7/1), having won his last three outings. This, however, is a step up in class.

This one is wide open. The Journal have scribbled their initials beside Pique Sous and there is a barely legible TS next to Royal Guardsman, trained and jockeyed by that crafty Tizzard family, who did so well with Cue Card yesterday.

Almost there.

And they’re off.

Come on Royal Guardsman, daddy needs a new pair of shoes.

At the half way point, Champagne Fever leads from Horatio Hornblower and Moscow Mannon.

Pique Sous is up to second, New Years Even in thirds. Two furlongs to go.

But Champagne Fever holds on for the win.

Champion Bumper result: 1st Champagne Fever. 2nd New Years Eve. 3rd Pique Sous. 4th Moscow Mannon.

So yet another win for Ireland in the Champion Bumper, it’s Willie Mullins’ 16/1 shot.

Pique Sous was another Mullins horse, backed by The Journal, who took third. So they effectively grab a crucial goal at half time.

Will that swing momentum their way?

Here’s how the the tipster mini-league looks after day two of Cheltenham.

The Score: 20

The Journal: 11

Well, that’s it from me for the day. Thanks for joining in and I hope you backed Barry Geraghty not once, not twice, but thrice.

Be Sure to join us before lunchtime again tomorrow.

The show-piece events of the day will be the Ryanair Chase (where Geraghty is now the 5/1 favourite on Riverside Theatre) and if Ruby Walsh can’t win the World Hurdle on Big Bucks (8/13) then he can forget about Kauto Star in the Gold Cup.

Well, that will all play out in due course.

Good luck and safe home.

About the author:

Sean Farrell