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Dublin: 2°C Friday 7 May 2021


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Hello and welcome to today’s Cheltenham liveblog, your one-stop shop to keep on track of all the action at Prestbury Park.

Stuck in work and unable to see the racing? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Just subscribe to our results service using the button at the bottom of the page (for mobile devices only) and we’ll send you on the results of each race as they land.

The first day was a successful one for Gordon Elliott, Nicky Henderson, JP McManus, Michael O’Leary and the bookmakers. Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh had a rare winless day at Cheltenham but they’re expected to strike at least once this afternoon.

Below is a reminder of today’s schedule, the 3.30 Queen Mother Champion Chase being the feature event of the afternoon where Mullins’s Douvan is expected to win at a canter. There are plenty of other exciting races to look forward to, including three Grade 1s, two Grade 3s and the Cross Country Chase.

Here’s a reminder of today’s schedule:
13.30: Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle — Grade 1, 4yo+, 2m,5f, 15 runners
14.10: RSA Novices’ Chase — Grade 1, 5yo+, 3m,80y, 12 runners
14.50: Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle — Grade 3, 4yo+, 2m,5f 26y, 25 runners
15.30: Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase — Grade 1, 5yo+, 1m7f, 10 runners
16.10: Glenfarclas Chase (Cross Country) — 5yo+, 3m,6f,37y, 16 runners
16.50: Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle — Grade 3, 4yo, 2m,87y, 22 runners
17.30: Weatherbys Champion Bumper — Grade 1, 4yo-6yo, 2m,87y, 22 runners

The going is good to soft and good in places and the ground is only going to get drier as the day progresses.

Your tips — good, bad or indifferent — are welcome in our comments section, which has undergone a makeover, below.


The first race of the day looks like a humdinger. Mullins and Walsh team up with Bacardys no doubt keen to get off the mark at this year’s festival.

Currently rated as second favourite (7/2) behind Noel Fehily’s mount Neon Wolf (15/8), Bacardys has been popular with the punters despite the yard’s slow start.

With Elliott’s yard clearly in good form there has also been plenty of interest in Bryan Cooper’s ride Shattered Love (10/1) while Messire Des Obeaux (10/1), and the McManus-owned duo of Bon Papa (14/1) and Consul De Thaix (16/1) have also been attracting notable attention.

The first race of the day is just minutes away.

Willoughby Court holds on to claim Neptune from favourite Neon Wolf

Another cracking finish at Cheltenham. Willoughby Court digging in brilliantly up the hill. A great result for the bookmakers.

1. Willoughby Court (14/1) — David Bass/Ben Pauling
2. Neon Wolf (2/1f) — Noel Fehily/Harry Fry
3. Messire Des Obeaux (8/1) — Daryl Jacob/Alan King

*Apologies if you didn’t receive the push notification after the Neptune. We’re working on it to hopefully have it fully operational again for the next race.

And here is how the 14/1 shot managed to sneak the win.

Yet another disappointing race for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh after second favourite Bacardys was unfortunate to get caught up in Consul De Thaix’s fall.

Kemboy was the best of the Mullins yard in fifth, while Elliott saddled Brelade in sixth under Jack Kennedy.

We’re just hearing that JP McManus’ and Nicky Henderson’s Consul De Thaix was fatally injured in that Neptune fall under Mark Walsh.

Next up is the RSA Chase at 2.10.

Nicky Henderson’s Might Bite (4/1) currently leads the betting with Alpha Des Obeaux (5/1), Whisper (5/1), Acapella Bourgeois (6/1) and Bellshill (7/1) among the others leading the market in the 12-runner field.

Warren Gatland is among the thousands attending the racing today. Just five minutes away from the RSA now.

Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Might Bite takes the honours in the RSA Chase in photo finish

What a bizarre race. Might Bite put in a stunning performance from start to finish only to burn out over the last fence. He started to fade and leant to his right and Whisper looked to have him beaten.

However Nico de Boinville’s mount somehow rallied once again to win on the line in a photo finish. Incredible drama and a one-two for Henderson. Bellshill finished back in third for Willie Mullins.

1. Might Bite (4/1) — Nico de Boinville/Nicky Henderson
2. Whisper (9/2) — Davy Russell/Nicky Henderson
3. Bellshill (5/1) — Ruby Walsh/Willie Mullins

We’re also hearing that jockey Mark Walsh has been stood down for the day after taking a heavy fall on Consul De Thaix.

The Grade 3 Coral Cup is next up at 2.50 and Tombstone (7/2) is the heavy favourite in a 25-strong field. Willie Mullins’ Tin Soldier (7/1) is next in the betting, followed by Peregrine Run (8/1).

Here’s a reminder of that bizarre finish in the RSA. Incredible drama as Might Bite rallied back into contention to win by a nose hair.

Supasundae claims the Coral Cup for Jessica Harrington

A great ride by Robbie Power. Supasundae seemed to enjoy the improving ground and finished very strongly to win with a few lengths in hand.

Another great result for the bookies.

1. Supasundae (16/1) — Robbie Power/Jessica Harrington
2. Taquin Du Seuil (12/1) — Aidan Coleman/Jonjo O’Neill
2. Who Dares Wins (33/1) — Wayne Hutchinson/Alan King
4. Monksland (66/1) — Donagh Meyler/Noel Meade


The big one is up next. Will Douvan do it to get Willie and Ruby off the mark? And assuming he does, how much will he win by?

Just 10 minutes until the big one.

Jockey Mark Walsh has now been ruled out of the Cheltenham Festival after Consul De Thaix’s fatal fall in the Neptune.

Douvan is beaten in the Queen Mother Champion Chase as Special Tiara claims the win.

1. Special Tiara (11/1) – Noel Fehily/Henry de Bromhead
2. Fox Norton (7/1) – Aidan Coleman/Colin Tizzard
3. Sir Valentino (33/1) – Paddy Brennan/Tom George

Cheltenham is stunned right now. No one saw this coming. Not even the connections of Special Tiara.

Right, got your breath back?

The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase is on next (4.10). We caught up with Nina Carberry last week and she likes Auvergnat in the next.

Cause of Causes wins the Glenfarclas Chase (Cross Country) for Jamie Codd and Gordon Elliott.

A great ride from Codd. JP McManus’ colours swooped as the race reached the dying stages.

1. Cause of Causes (4-1) — Jamie Codd/Gordon Elliott
2. Bless The Wings (10-1) — Davy Russell/Gordon Elliott
3. Cantlow (9/4f) — Adrian Heskin/Enda Bolger

Gordon Elliott’s superb festival continues with a one-two finish. And another Cross Country win for Ireland is secured.

The penultimate race of the day is the Grade 3 Fred Winter (4.50) with Divin Bore (4-1), Linger (7/1), Long Call (9/1) leading the betting.

Flying Tiger wins the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle for Nick Williams and Richard Johnson. It’s a first festival winner for Williams.

1. Flying Tiger (33/1) — Richard Johnson/Nick Williams
2. Divin Bere (9/2f) — Noel Fehily/Nicky Henderson
3. Nietzsche (12/1) — Danny Cook/Brian Ellison
4. Project Bluebook (14/1) — Brian Hughes/JJ Quinn

The fun isn’t over just yet at Prestbury Park with the Grade 1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper still to come at 5.30 to round off the day’s action.

Can Willie Mullins finally get off the mark? He has the second favourite in this with Carter Mckay (11/2) just behind Cause Toujours in the market (5/1).

Here is a reminder of Special Tiara’s remarkable winner earlier.

********As some of you may be aware we’ve been having problems with our push notifications today, hence the reason you haven’t been receiving them. Or if you have, they’ve been arriving hours after the race.

Apologies for that, our tech team are working on the issue.

Just about to get under way in the last race of the day.

Fayonagh wins the Weatherbys Champion Bumper for Jamie Codd and Gordon Elliott.

1. Fayonagh (7/1) — Jamie Codd/Gordon Elliott
2. Debuchet (10/1) — Danny Mullins/Margaret Mullins
3. Claimantakinforgan (22/1) — Nico de Boinville/Nickey Henderson
4. Next Destination (10/1) — Ruby Walsh/Willie Mullins

That’s five wins in two days for Gordon Elliott and a double for jockey Jamie Codd after his earlier triumph on Cause of Causes.

That’s our lot after a dramatic day at Cheltenham that had it all, an afternoon where the disappointing performance from Douvan was main talking point.

We’ll be back again tomorrow when the Stayers’ Hurdle is the feature race. Thanks for stopping by.

About the author:

Alan Waldron