Wednesday 11 March 2015

Here is my round-up of Day Two of this yearís Cheltenham Festival.


I took numerous photographs Ė Day One 255, Day Two 134, Day Three 311 and Day Four 145 Ė so itís going to take a while to select the best, although quite a few did suffer due to the poor light conditions during the final three days.However I have added a number to this Cheltenham blog as a fore-taster.


Windsor Park.jpg

Ordo Ab Chao.jpg


An Irish raider, the Dermot Weld-trained

Windsor Park, wins the

Grade 1 Neptune Novicesí Hurdle;

Davy Russell the jockey


Ordo Ab Chao and Wayne Hutchinson

return having finished 7th in the Neptune

Don Poli.jpg

Coral Cup.jpg


Don Poli heading to the start of the

Grade 1 RSA Chase;

he wins the race by 6 lengths



The Coral Cup; DellíArca takes a tumble

at the flight in front of the stands;

both horse and Tom Scudamore were uninjured

Aux Ptits Soins.jpg

Dodging Bullets & Mr Mole.jpg


Un Ptits Soins (centre frame) wins

the Coral Cup for Paul Nicholls

and Sam Twiston-Davies


Dodging Bullets (Sam Twiston-Davies)

and Mr Mole (AP McCoy) parade ahead

of the Grade 1 Queen Mother Champion Chase


Sire De Grugy.jpg

Sprinter Sacre.jpg


Sire De Grugy (Jamie Moore) parades ahead

of the Grade 1 Queen Mother Champion Chase



Sprinter Sacre (Barry Geraghty) parades ahead

of the Grade 1 Queen Mother Champion Chase


Dodging Bullets.jpg

Any Currency.jpg


Dodging Bullets (centre) wins the

Queen Mother Champion Chase from

Somersby (left) and Special Tiara (right)



Any Currency and Aidan Coleman

head to the start of the

Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase



Rivage D'Or.jpg


Any Currency has to settle for second again this year

... but he was the only Brit to make the frame!


Gigginstown House Stud representative,

Rivage Díor wins the

Glenfarclas Cross Country race





Qualando (pink and blue silks) wins the

Fred Winter Novicesí Handicap Hurdle

for trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Nick Scholfield



Yanworth, trained by Alan King,

in the Parade Ring ahead of the

Grade 1 Champion Bumper; he finished 4th.

Moon Racer.jpg


The final race of the day, the Grade 1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper

is won by the David Pipe-trained, Tom Scudamore-ridden, Moon Racer.




Today I left home at 06:12 and arrived at 09:00.Traffic remained bad between Bicester and the Wolvercote roundabout.Today I ended up in the staff car parking area in the farthest field, adjacent to Swindon Lane.


The weather today was dry, overcast with a very chilly breeze, but no rain apart from a few spots just before racing.


However, by the time Iíd reached Cheltenham, I was dying for a wee ... a little more information than you needed.I never fancy visiting a portaloo, so the only option was to walk down to the town to Marks and Spencers and hope that I make it without incident; I did ... just!But it also cost me money, as I took a quick look around the bras and found a very pretty coloured t-shirt one.Then, downstairs, a brown shearling handbag from their Indigo range reduced from £39.50 to £25.00; a bargain, as Iíd had my eye on this particular one for a few weeks, but didnít think it worth the higher price!††


Anyway, I had returned and was ready to enter the grounds at 10:55.I had awoken with a stiff neck today, and I think this was causing a headache and intermittent nausea.Iíd placed a heat patch on my neck during my drive to Cheltenham and the walk to town had eased the pain a little too, but not completely.I donít think the chill breeze was helping particularly either.In the end, to get warm, I visited the tented village.††


Expensive and tweedy describes the retailers best.Even Hiho Silver has lost its way with the products offered.I remember liking their earrings when I first saw them at the 2009 Festival ... but nothing appeals now.Iíll stick to unique one-off dichroic earrings and necklaces offered by retailers on the Etsy website.I have a number of favourite retailers, in the UK, USA and Australia.


But this also reminds me that my nickel allergy was flaring up by this stage; it is caused by necklace bails, although I thought Iíd painted them all with clear nail polish to negate the problem.And Iím not sure itís only nickel which irritates my skin, as a number of items advertised as Ďnickel-freeí have also caused problems.††


Fortunately Iíd worn my black with white horses snood scarf today and every day so, when standing beside the course-side rails I wrapped this over my head and finally, after nine hours, my headache disappeared.


I also discovered that the passageway between the Parade Ring area and the Membersí lawn, between the old and new grandstands, is like a wind tunnel on days like today!


Anyway, on to the racing ...


Irish-trained Windsor Park was a good winner of the Grade 1 Neptune Novicesí Hurdle.There were ten runners, with the Irish representatives also in third, fifth and sixth.The Alan King representative Ordo Ab Chao finished a close 7th.More


Don Poli was an impressive winner of the Grade 1 RSA Chase; again for Ireland.The Paul Nicholls-trained Southfield Theatre finished 2nd, and the Irish filled the remaining two places.The fancied Kings Palace was a disappointing 6th and The Young Master 7th.More


Paul Nicholls and Sam Twiston-Davies finally got their names on the winnersí board when Aux Ptits Soins won the 25-runner Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle.The horse was having his first race in the UK, the owner Mr Teletubbies himself, John Hales; owner of the ill-fated One Man and of Neptune Collonges and Al Ferof to name but a few.The Irish finished 2nd and 4th in this one.Sadly, one of the six (yes, six) Nicky Henderson runners, Rolling Star, took a fatal fall at the final flight when tired; Nico de Boinville his jockey.That was two fatal falls in front of the grandstands, one today and one yesterday; not a good advert for racing.More


Reputation got the better of the punters who sent Sprinter Sacre off as favourite for the Grade 1 Queen Mother Champion Chase; Sire De Grugy was the second favourite.However, current form held up well, and Dodging Bullets won the race for Paul Nicholls and Sam Twiston-Davies ... the horseís breeder being Frankie Dettori.Veteran Somersby exceeded all expectations to finish just 1ľ lengths behind the winner, Special Tiara was 3rd, with Sire De Grugy 4th; all chance gone, Sprinter Sacre was pulled up before the last.More


Here is news of the Champion Chase also-rans. More


I was hoping that Any Currency (known as Woody in the yard) would go one better than last year in the Cross Country race.Sadly he again found one better, this time Irish runner Rivage Díor for the Gigginstown House Stud; in other words Michael OíLeary of Ryanair.But Woody was the only British runner to make the frame, with Irish runners also third and fourth.There was a nasty incident just before the home turn, when the French-trained favourite, Toutancarmont, ran out through the rails, taking Quantitativeeasing with him.Chicago Grey had to be checked at the start, after Woody had lashed out at him with both hind-hooves!More


The Paul Nicholls third-string Qualando, priced at 25-1 and ridden by Nick Scholfield, won the Fred Winter Novicesí Handicap Hurdle.It was Nickís second Festival victory; the first being Hunt Ball in 2012.No Irish runners made the frame ... that makes a change!In fact Paul Nichollsí horses also claimed 2nd and 5th.More


Moon Racer, an expensive purchase from a Cheltenham Brightwells Sale (£225,000) won the bumper for David Pipe and Tom Scudamore.I saw Moon Racer win the Bumper at Cheltenhamís Showcase fixture.Everything was turned on its head in this one, with British horses filling the first four places.The Alan King representative, Yanworth, ran on well up the hill to claim 4th place.More


The competition for Festival winners between the GB and Ireland now stood at 6-8.


I had no sightings of Choc today.


My own highlights were getting rid of the headache Iíd had for nine hours, and seeing Any Currency run so well in the Cross Country race.


My low lights ... waking up with a stiff neck accompanied by a headache and intermittent nausea in the first place.The fact that Any Currency found one better again this year.Also the death of poor Rolling Star in the Coral Cup. L

Having been parked in the farthest Swindon Lane car park, upon exit I had to turn right; I set out upon my return journey at 18:20 today.This meant my route would be via Windy Ridge, although I was annoyed to discover that all traffic heading west was being sent down this thoroughfare by the traffic police; this caused a tail-back at the far end of it.


Upon reaching Harp Hill, I was bewildered to discover a smallish-sized coach was heading up the incline in front of me, much to the annoyance of oncoming traffic, and me too.Having turned into Greenway Lane, it was also a very tight squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze for him to negotiate the two traffic calming chicanes.The coach was obviously heading towards London, because it then travelled up the A40 immediately ahead of me.


Again I choose the M40/M25 route having reached Oxford.


However, there was an accident just after junction 21A on the M25, so I left at that junction instead of exit 22.As I needed to top up the petrol tank yet again, I drove through the city centre on my way home in order to do so at my usual supermarket forecourt.Home time was 20:43.




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