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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 15 October, 2019
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Massive shock as Douvan finishes unplaced in Queen Mother Champion Chase

Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh’s disappointing Cheltenham Festival continues at Prestbury Park.

Noel Fehily celebrates his Queen Mother Champion Chase win on Special Tiara.
Noel Fehily celebrates his Queen Mother Champion Chase win on Special Tiara.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Updated at 17.50

CHAMPION TRAINER WILLIE Mullins’s nightmare Cheltenham Festival continued today as odds-on favourite Douvan (2/9) flopped in the feature race, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, with honours going to Special Tiara (11/1).

Douvan — who had won at the festival on two previous occasions — never looked at ease from the off and jumped erratically as fellow Irish raider Special Tiara, under Noel Fehily, set the pace.

The game was up, as was his 13-race winning streak, rounding the bend with Fehily going on to land his second feature prize in two days having won the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday.

Henry de Bromhead’s charge stunned the crowds in glorious sunshine to claim victory streets clear of the star attraction, with Fox Norton (7/1) second and Sir Valentino (33/1) third.

It’s also been a disappointing festival to date for Ruby Walsh, as the Kildare jockey is still searching for his first victory of the four-day spectacle.

The same certainly can’t be said of Nicky Henderson and Gordon Elliott however, both trainers adding to their first-day hauls.

Elliott claimed a memorable Day 1 hat-trick with Labaik, Apple’s Jade and Tiger Roll, and Cause of Causes (4/1) then added to that tally today in the Glenfarclas (Cross Country) Chase before he Fayonagh (7/1) stormed home in Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

With leading amateur Jamie Codd on board Cause of Causes, the JP McManus-owned nine-year-old finished strongly to take the Cross Country honours from Bless The Wings (10-1) and Cantlow (9/4f) in what was a one-two finish for Elliott.

Elliott and Codd teamed up again in the final race of the day with Fayonagh charging home from way back in the field to make it five wins in two days for the Meath-based trainer, and land Codd a memorable double.

Henderson also claimed a double yesterday with Altior in the Arkle and Buveur d’Air in the Champion Hurdle and he made it three wins for this year’s festival when Nico de Boinville won today’s RSA Novices’ Chase in a photo finish on Might Bite (4/1).

Might Bite had put in a performance to remember from the start up until the last fence, putting the foot down early and blowing the field away.

However, after a late wobble at the last his race seemed to be run as Whisper, under Davy Russell, charged towards the line.

Might Bite wasn’t done yet though and somehow found a second wind under De Boinville to just about run down his stablemate on the line.

The day will be remembered for Douvan’s defeat but the opening race also delivered a thrilling finish, Ben Pauling’s Willoughby Court (16/1) edging out favourite Neon Wolf (2/1f) to win the Neptune.

Supasundae (16/1) was another surprise winner in the Coral Cup, on a day the bookies definitely came out on top.

Jessica Harrington’s seven-year-old seemed to appreciate the drying ground under Robbie Power to prevail from Taquin Du Seuil (12/1) with a couple of lengths to spare.

Results

13.30: Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle

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

14.10: RSA Novices’ Chase

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

14.50: Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle

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

15.30: Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase 

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

16.10: Glenfarclas Chase (Cross Country Chase) 

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

16.50: Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

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

17.30 Weatherbys Champion Bumper

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

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Alan Waldron

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