CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL 2019
Day 3 – Thursday 14 March
Picture of the Day
Ryanair Chase (Grade 1):
The winner – Frodon,
trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Bryony Frost;
the first lady to win a Grade 1 race at the Cheltenham Festival
Once again, my alarm clock sounded just before 06:00 … and I couldn’t be bothered to rise for around 45 minutes. I’m just so chilled out this year; possibly too chilled out!
I showered and washed and dried my hair before heading to the main Hall before 07:30. Again today, there was a group of what appeared to be ‘service personnel’ sitting in the Library; a testosterone-filled environment.
When I went to help myself to the components of a full-English breakfast, another fairly young male guest interacted with me by passing across the serving utensils as I followed him down the line. That made a nice change for, at my age, I’ve grown accustomed to being ignored by men.
Having returned to my room and applied my make-up, I thought I was ready to go; I then realised I’d forgotten to put my contact lenses in! This delayed departure time until 09:35!
Again the trip to Cheltenham was free from any major holdups, unlike last year, and I arrived at Cheltenham racecourse at 10:40; parking in the lower part of the north public car park once again. It was another dry weather day.
Having passed through the turnstiles and purchased a race-card, I paid a visit to the ladies’ loo, before selecting my toteplacepot and heading to the upper steppings overlooking the Winners’ Enclosure.
My selections were:
The favourite for the first race was Defi Du Seuil, trained by Philip Hobbs and ridden by Barry Geraghty; price 3-1.
And the favourite duly obliged; as a former Triumph Hurdle winner, he has a better turn of foot than my selection Lostintranslation. I didn’t choose Defi Du Seuil as my selection, as he seemed to take a while to warm to the task of steeplechasing earlier in the season.
The favourite for the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle was the Gordon Elliott-trained Sire Du Berlais, ridden by Barry Geraghty; price 4-1.
Once again, the favourite obliged; the bookies couldn’t have been happy!
The feature race of Day 3, and featured as such on the front of the race-card, was the Ryanair Chase. The favourite was Footpad, trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Ruby Walsh; price 7-2.
One of my favourites, the grey Terrefort, was running in this race.
The race was won by the Frodon, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Bryony Frost. She became the first lady jockey to ride a Grade 1 winner at the Cheltenham Festival.
There were wonderful scenes during Bryony’s journey back to the Winners’ Enclosure and also therein. It was a joy to be there on the day. That is what horseracing is all about!!!
The favourite for the Stayers’ Hurdle was Paisley Park, trained Emma Lavelle and ridden by Aidan Coleman; price 11-8.
The Alan King-trained Yanworth was taking part too.
And Paisley Park duly obliged for owner Andrew Gemmell; Andrew has been blind since birth but this has not stopped him from accomplishing in life and he loves his horses and sports in general.
It was Aidan Coleman’s first official Festival winner; Any Currency had won the Cross Country for him in 2016, before an accidental drug-related transgression robbed connections of the race.
Last year’s favourite Sam Spinner ran brilliantly too and, with Paisley Park making an error at the final flight, finished as runner-up, just 2¾ lengths behind the winner! Faugheen ran well to finish 3rd too.
Yanworth finished 13th this year.
The favourite for the Plate was Janika, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Daryl Jacob; price 3-1.
There was a runner of interest in this race, the Alan King-trained Azzerti ridden by Wayne Hutchinson.
However it was my selection, the Nick Williams-trained Siruh Du Lac which won; it was a second Cheltenham Festival winning ride for his step-daughter Lizzie Kelly. I thought Wednesday was Ladies Day!!!
The favourite for the next was the Nicky Henderson-trained Epatante, ridden by Barry Geraghty; price 15-8.
But it was a 50-1 shot which won, Eglantine Du Seuil, trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Noel Fehily, for retaining owner Jared Sullivan.
The main story of the race was the fact that winning jockey Noel Fehily then announced that he would be retiring, shortly.
I left after the fifth race, keen not to get caught up in the post-race day traffic.
The favourite for the final race of the day was Measureofmydreams, trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Mr Jamie Codd; price 3-1.
But it was Ruby Walsh’s dad Ted who trained the winner, Any Second Now ridden by Mr Derek O’Connor.
The day had been slightly better for Team GB, than Ireland; with one day and 7 races still to be run, the home side was just one behind.
And my placepot results:
Having left just before 17:00 again today, my journey back to my hotel went smoothly, following my usual route.
I’d arrived back by 18:00, with Pot Noodle for supper again today!
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Noel Fehily retired on Saturday 23 March, at Newbury, going out with a winner on his final ever ride. He won the Goffs UK Spring Sale Bumper (Standard Open NH Flat Race) aboard Get In The Queue for trainer Harry Fry.
The racecourse and colleagues honoured his retirement with a special presentation and guard of honour; he also set aside time to sign autographs for a long queue of punters, prior to racing commencing.