DIARY – CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL 2014
DAY FOUR - FEATURING THE CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP
FRIDAY 14 MARCH 2014
After the Gold Cup:
The vanquished ... Triolo D’Alene (AP McCoy) and
last year’s winner Bobs Worth (Barry Geraghty).
I wonder what the horses are saying to each other!
I am accustomed to seeing Choc come down to the racecourse with his colleagues to watch the feature race at close quarters when at the Festival but not actually riding in the Gold Cup, and today was no different!
He’d put on his long tweed coat to keep warm and headed down the horse-walk to avoid being caught up in the crowds of spectators. Choc and two colleagues then walked down the racecourse to a vantage point on the Old Course, just across from where the runners would circle ahead of the start. Whilst the field was undertaking the first circuit, they returned to view the remainder of the race from the nearside of the final Old Course fence, very close to the one furlong marker.
The favourite for this event was last year’s winner, Bobs Worth, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Barry Geraghty; price 6-4. The second favourite being Silviniaco Conti, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden, as usual, by Noel Fehily; price 11-4.
David Casey was on board On His Own, in place of both original jockey booking Ruby Walsh and the would-be first choice substitute, Paul Townend; both having been injured during the Triumph Hurdle.
The jockeys took their mounts to look at the first fence before cantering back down the racecourse, initially overshooting the small corral located to the inside of the track. However they returned to it, and had their girths checked ahead of being called out onto the racecourse.
Then they were off ... or rather they weren’t. In the rush to get out onto the racecourse, Houblon Des Obeaux had been pushed so wide that he ran off the main track. It was a false start, the flag man waving his yellow flag to stop the runners as they headed towards the first; brakes were applied to Knockara Beau, On His Own, and the others. The runners jogged back to the start. The Giant Bolster had to be led back for part of the way, as he was being a little awkward.
They tried again, but the track wasn’t quite clear as a member of the starting team was in front of the tape. A second false start, with Cloudy Too making a bid for escape on this occasion; he trotted back to join the others. They were sent back from the tape, turned in and finally they were off; Houblon Des Obeaux still wide of the field, accompanied by The Giant Bolster who was led in.
Knockara Beau led the runners to the first, accompany by Teaforthree to the outside and On His Own between them. The latter was a little slower than his rivals over this one, with jockey David Casey riding him along for a few strides endeavouring to retain his place just behind the leaders. Last Instalment had bounded over the first and had moved up to the outside of Teaforthree.
The runners cleared the second fence and headed up the hill led by Knockara Beau. Teaforthree travelled in second, from Last Instalment, On His Own, Cloudy Too, Houblon Des Obeaux, Lyreen Legend, Silviniaco Conti hugging the rail, Katenko, Bobs Worth, The Giant Bolster, Triolo D’Alene and Lord Windermere; the latter a couple of lengths adrift in rear.
The horses entered the back straight; On His Own with ears pricked, landed almost alongside the leader as they jumped the first fence therein. The horses headed to and jumped the water; David Casey’s mount had now assumed the lead. Following this they jumped the first-open ditch, where Bobs Worth was probably the least fluent of the runners; jockey Barry Geraghty adjusted his reins as they headed away from the fence.
On His Own led over the next, a plain fence, although his jockey was tapping the horse down the shoulder as he approached it; the horse has a tendency to jump out to its right too. In mid-field, Lyreen Legend made an error at this fence. The next fence is an open-ditch; Cloudy Too hit this one but it didn’t seem to affect his momentum, as he moved up into fourth position approaching the following obstacle, where Bobs Worth was again less fluent than those around him, as was The Giant Bolster one from last in the field.
Having reached the top of the hill, Last Instalment now led from Cloudy Too, On His Own, Houblon Des Obeaux and Teaforthree. The runners negotiated the far corner and headed to the tricky fence near the top of the downhill section. Bobs Worth was in fifth position prior to the fence, but got a little close and dropped back to eighth place within the closely packed mid-field.
Last instalment led, narrowly, as they jumped the fence at the bottom of the hill, On His Own to the inside was now in second, from Teaforthree and Cloudy Too. Triolo D’Alene and The Giant Bolster brought up the rear of the main group, with Lord Windermere detached under a patient ride from Davy Russell. The Willie Mullins-trained runner assumed the lead once more as they headed into the home straight again.
The Giant Bolster made an error at fence number eleven; Tom Scudamore urging his mount forward in order to remain in touch with his rivals. The runners cleared the next, and headed up past the packed grandstands; On His Own led, from Teaforthree, Lyreen Legend, Last Instalment, Cloudy Too, Silviniaco Conti, Houblon Des Obeaux, Knockara Beau, Bobs Worth, Katenko, Triolo D’Alene, The Giant Bolster and Lord Windermere.
The runners began their journey down the back straight for the final time; David Casey’s mount still narrowly ahead as they cleared the first therein. Katenko made an error here; Aidan Coleman re-gathering his knitting as a result. He also landed a little awkwardly as they jumped the water; both he and The Giant Bolster were being ridden along. The following fence is an open-ditch, which the runners cleared safely; Lord Windermere had now relegated Knockara Beau to last place.
Both the leaders jumped out to their right as they cleared fence number sixteen; the big-eared On His Own still led, with Silviniaco Conti now tracking him as they negotiated the dog-leg turn. Last Instalment, who had dropped back quickly through the field, blundered and unseated Brian O’Connell at the final open-ditch. The runners continued to head up the hill, Teaforthree, Cloudy Too, Houblon Des Obeaux and Silviniaco Conti continued to press the long-time leader as they jumped the next fence.
They headed around the far corner and towards the New Course’s tricky fence, Silviniaco Conti jumping it upsides On His Own. Having dropped back through the field, Houblon Des Obeaux made an error at the fence. The runners began the journey down the hill for the final time; Noel Fehily’s mount with a narrow lead jumping three out, from On His Own, Lyreen Legend, Bobs Worth, Teaforthree, Triolo D’Alene and The Giant Bolster. Back in the field, Katenko and Cloudy Too bumped each other in the air over this one.
The leaders headed around the final turn and into the home straight. Silviniaco Conti had a one and a half length advantage from Lyreen Legend, with Bobs Worth and On His Own less than a length behind the second-placed horse. They headed to the penultimate fence; Bobs Worth gradually closing and just a length down on the leader as they jumped it. Lyreen Legend blundered here, On His Own bumped into The Giant Bolster as they landed and Triolo D’Alene was hampered as a result. Meanwhile, Lord Windermere had appeared on the scene and crept stealthily up the inside rail.
Barry Geraghty switched his mount to the far-side as Silviniaco Conti drifted across in front of him on the run to the final fence. With Lyreen Legend still holding a rail position, Davy Russell decided to switch Lord Windermere between Silviniaco Conti and the rallying On His Own; The Giant Bolster travelled to the outside of him, with Teaforthree behind these.
Not surprisingly in view of the prize, Noel Fehily was administering vigorous encouragement with his whip, but Silviniaco Conti responded and remained ahead as they runners cleared the final fence. Bobs Worth was his nearest pursuer, with Lord Windermere a couple of lengths behind him. However, on the run to the line, Noel’s mount veered to his left in the direction of Bobs Worth, then back to his right which the latter initially imitated.
Meanwhile Lord Windermere was finishing the strongest and took the lead, but in the process he drifted to his right; this may or may not have initially been a reaction to Silviniaco Conti’s swerve towards him. The former runner caused the rallying On His Own, also under a vigorous drive, to be carried out to his right, as was The Giant Bolster to their outside. The winning distance a mere short-head at the line.
The unofficial result was Lord Windermere first, On His Own second, The Giant Bolster third, Silviniaco Conti fourth and Bobs Worth fifth. Back in the field, Cloudy Too unseated at the last.
With all the steering problems on the run-in, it was no surprise that a Stewards’ Enquiry was announced.
Race over, Choc walked back across the track and entered the horse-walk to return to the Weighing Room once more, prior to any of the horses returning.
Eventually it was announced that the result would stand; with connections of the second deciding that it would not be sporting to appeal against the decision. On His Own had been supplemented for the race, at a stake of £27,500; he won £102, 825 as runner-up, so it was well worth the speculation.
It was the third victory of the Festival for owner Dr Lambe; the second for trainer Jim Culloty, well-known for his association with triple Gold Cup winner Best Mate.
I remained beside the course-side rails ahead of the next race ... I’ve never seen the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner return to the Winners’ Enclosure; perhaps one day.
NEWS FROM THE STEWARDS’ ROOM FOLLOWING THE RACE:
Stewards held an enquiry under Rule (B)11.6 into
possible interference on the run in. Having heard their evidence and viewed
recordings of the race they found that the winner, LORD WINDERMERE (IRE),
ridden by Davy Russell, had interfered with ON HIS OWN (IRE), placed second,
ridden by D.J. Casey, who in turn interfered with THE GIANT BOLSTER, placed
third, ridden by Tom Scudamore, and that the
interference had not improved LORD WINDERMERE (IRE)’s placing. They ordered
the placings to remain unaltered. The Stewards
found Russell in breach of Rule (B)54.1 and guilty
of careless riding in that he allowed his horse to drift right handed into
the whip. They suspended him for 1 day as follows: Friday 28 March 2014.
WHY THEY RAN BADLY:
The representative of Nicky
Henderson, the trainer of TRIOLO D’ALENE (FR), unplaced, reported that the
gelding had a breathing problem.
The 5-1 favourite for the next event was Harbour Court, ridden by Mr James Tudor and trained by Alan Hill, husband of Lawney. Their son Joe was also riding in the race, aboard the ex-Alan King trained Ravethebrave. Martin Keighley had a runner in this event too, Divine Intavention ridden by his usual pilot, Mr Mark Wall.
The Foxhunter Chase is the amateur riders’ equivalent of the Gold Cup; run over the same course and distance. Having left the Parade Ring, the competitors cantered up the all-weather strip in front of the grandstand before returning via the racecourse turf to re-enter the strip and exit onto the racecourse part way down it. The amateur jockeys took their mounts to look at their first fence before returning to the starting gate.
With so many runners in this event, the corral to the inside of the course was too small for purpose, so the horses’ girths were checked whilst the competitors were milling about out on the track.
Then they were off. The field was led away by Carsonstown Boy, followed by last year’s unlucky loser Oscar Delta, The Hollinwell and the first-time blinkered Berties Dream. The runners jumped the first, where in mid-field Double Bank blundered and unshipped his jockey over his left shoulder. They headed to the second fence; near the rear of the field, it was Ockey De Neulliac’s turn to blunder here and ping his lady jockey out of the saddle.
Twenty two of the runners having successfully negotiated the first two fences, the runners headed up the hill with Carsonstown Boy leading the way from the visored That’s Rhythm, Croan Rock, The Hollinwell and Foundry Square. Into the back straight they headed; every runner successfully negotiated the third fence. The loose Double Bank had followed the field but headed off onto the Old Course, meanwhile the other rider-less horse, Ockey De Neulliac chose to remain with the others, travelling in the middle of the pack. The runners headed over the next, the water-jump; near the rear of the field the chestnut Ganbei displayed a tendency to jump out to his right.
Fence number five was the first open-ditch, where the sole mare Lucette Annie made a slight error; Gale Force Oscar travelled at the rear of the field and was being pushed along. The competitors cleared the next fence without incident and headed around the dog-leg turn; Carsonstown Boy continued to lead the way from That’s Rhythm, Croan Rock, Foundry Square, The Hollinwell, the second-string JP McManus runner Made In Time and Berties Dream. The loose Ockey De Neulliac travelled up between the two leaders as they jumped the second open-ditch. Gale Force Oscar was already tailed off, and Shy John and Lucette Annie were detached in rear.
The runners then headed to and cleared the final fence towards the top of the hill before negotiating the far corner and beginning the journey downhill. There were no casualties at the problematic ninth fence, although Ravethebrave was less than fluent near the back of the field. They continued their journey downhill to fence number ten; the loose horse, now ahead of the runners, veered off to his right to bypass the obstacle. At the head of affairs, four horses jumped the fence in unison; from the inside Carsonstown Boy, That’s Rhythm, Croan Rock and Made In Time. Having tailed off, Gale Force Oscar was pulled up before this fence.
The horses headed around the turn and into the home straight once more; they’d completed the first circuit with twenty one runners still in the race. Made In Time had now assumed the lead, from Carstonstown Boy, That’s Rhythm, Croan Rock, Berties Dream, Foundry Square and Doctor Kingsley. Berties Dream wasn’t particularly fluent at the next and was ridden away from it. He also made an error at the following fence. The field now headed up the hill in front of the Best Mate enclosure and out into the country once more.
They headed over fence number thirteen, where in the front rank That’s Rhythm stumbled and pecked on landing; back in the field, Oscar Delta made an error here. Meanwhile Carsonstown Boy continued to travel at the head of affairs, ears pricked; to the outside was Made In Time. The runners jumped the water and headed to the open-ditch; in mid-field Croan Rock made a mistake. The following fence is a plain one, where Ravethebrave made an error when struggling in rear.
The runners negotiated the dog-leg turn and headed to the final open-ditch. Foundry Square had back-pedalled through the field by this stage; in contrast, Boxing Along and Tammys Hill had made progress and travelled just behind the leaders; although the latter wasn’t particularly fluent at the fence. The horses continued their climb up the hill, clearing the fifth last before reaching the far corner and beginning the journey downhill.
Heading to the trickiest fence on the course, Made In Time held a very narrow advantage over Carsonstown Boy to the inside and Tammys Hill to the outside. These were followed by Boxing Along and Ganbei; in their wake the cheek-pieced Minella Stars and Divine Intavention. The latter got too close and blundered at the fence but the partnership survived; they lost ground and began to struggle as a result.
Meanwhile the leaders headed down the hill to the third last. Carsonstown Boy retained a narrow advantage to the inside of the track, Made In Time and Tammys Hill bumped in mid-air further out on the course. Boxing Along jumped to their inner, Ganbei to the outer fell; On The Fringe to his outside missed the flailing legs, but Divine Intavention was in the wrong place at the wrong time and received a broadside as the horse got to his feet and Mark Wall was flung out over the horse’s left-hand side. Oscar Delta avoided both in their wake.
Meanwhile Carsonstown Boy continued to lead around the home turn with Tammys Hill almost upsides to his outside and Made In Time now under pressure in third position. Minella Stars was in fourth, Boxing Along to the inside shared fifth position with On The Fringe to the outside, and tagging on to the back of this group were the favourite Harbour Court along with Pearlysteps.
The game Carsonstown Boy still held a very narrow advantage as they jumped the penultimate fence; the weakening Made In Time somersaulted over the fence, badly hampering the fading Boxing Along. Meanwhile the leaders headed to the final fence; with Carsonstown Boy’s pilot administering more than the permitted number of whip strokes to his mount.
However, it was a three-way go as they jumped the last, between him, On The Fringe nearside and Tammys Hill centre-track. The latter pulled away as they approached the line, winning by 3¼ lengths. The very game Carsonstown Boy finished 2nd, with On The Fringe 1¾ lengths away in 3rd. Pearlysteps was 4th and the favourite Harbour Court 5th.
There were fourteen finishers; Croan Rock was pulled up before 3 out, as was Ravethebrave. Foundry Square was pulled up before 2 out and, last but not least, That’s Rhythm before the last having slowed to a walk just prior to the fence.
Despite his heavy fall two out, Made In Time was quickly on his feet and cantered away; although pilot Miss Leanda Tickle looked pretty sore.
Both the first and the runner-up were trained in Northern Ireland.
RUK’s Lydia Hislop interviewed both the winning trainer and, later, the winning jockey. The former explained that he’d won a race aboard Tammys Hill’s mother!
One was almost in need of an interpreter to understand James Smyth; my goodness, he didn’t half waffle on in his broad Northern Ireland accent. The rider explained that he thought he’d win at the top of the hill, having needed to take a pull at that stage.
NEWS FROM THE STEWARDS’ ROOM FOLLOWING THE RACE:
The Stewards held an enquiry into the use of the whip by Mr P. McParlan, the rider of CARSONSTOWN BOY (IRE), placed second, from the second last fence. Having heard his evidence and viewed recordings of the race, they found him in breach of Schedule (B)6 Part 2 in that he had used his whip above the permitted level. The Stewards suspended Mr McParlan for 4 days on dates to be notified to him by the British Horseracing Authority.
WHY THEY RAN BADLY:
Hill, the trainer of HARBOUR COURT, unplaced, reported that the gelding
The 9-2 favourite for the next event was Full Shift, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Nico de Boinville. Just one David Pipe runner in this race, second favourite Vieux Lion Rouge, ridden by Tom Bellamy.
The starting gate for this race was in the mid-course chute; upon exiting the horse walkway, the runners cantered across the home straight and headed up the all-weather track around the top bend. They then crossed the racecourse to reach the mid-course chute; having with two flights to negotiate before the far turn.
With no more races to be run upon this part of the racecourse, the competitors had their girths checked and milled around upon the track. It wasn’t particularly organised ahead of the off; the Conditional jockeys were ready to go, but the Starter was not. The tape was released to prevent any of the runners getting snagged upon it as they jogged in. One of the Paul Nicholls’ trio of runners namely Urbain De Sivola, was miles behind the others on this initial attempt to start.
The horses loitered for a bit, many facing in the wrong direction, before their jockeys decided to walk back from the tape as it was re-strung. The Starter and his Assistant were still unhappy as they lined up again; the riders were therefore instructed to take their horses further back up the course before attempting to line up once more. However, they then split into two groups; one group trotted around the rail island between the chase and hurdles course, the other halted and turned back again.
Then they were off. But Andrias Guerin, who appeared keen to hold up his mount at the rear of the field, completely missed the break as a result of this disorganisation and Urbain De Sivola was already tailed off before they’d reached the first flight. Meanwhile, the others had safely cleared the obstacle, with The Disengager leading the way. They crossed the Old Course and headed to the next flight, where in mid-field Art Professor flattened one of its panels.
The Disengager led the runners around the far turn, pursued by Vieux Lion Rouge, One Lucky Lady, Dolatulo, Ruacana and The Skyfarmer. The field turned into the home straight, where the leader got a little bit close to the third flight. Having built up momentum travelling down the hill, Urbain De Sivola had now made up most of the ground he’d lost at the start and soon attached himself to the back of the field.
The runners continued their journey up the home straight, heading towards flight number four. The Disengager disputed the lead with Vieux Lion Rouge; the leading duo was followed by Dolatulo and One Lucky Lady. Ruacana travelled in fifth position, in front of Shantou Magic, Rum And Butter and The Skyfarmer; behind these Hazy Tom, Full Shift, Carlito Brigante, Une Artiste, Open Day, Royal Regatta, Art Professor, Virak, Princely Player, Leo Lunar, Don Poli, Local Hero, Junction Fourteen, Thomas Crapper, Caid Du Berlais and Urbain De Sivola.
There were no problems encountered clearing the flight in front of the stands. The runners then headed up the hill towards the back straight; on the outside of the field, the JP McManus third-string, Open Day, was being bumped along as they did so. As they entered the back straight for the one and only time, new ‘wonder boy’ Gavin Sheehan’s mount travelled up on the outside of the field to take the lead. Rum And Butter hit the first flight in the back straight, as did Junction Fourteen further back in the field.
They headed on to the next. The Disengager was now on the retreat and he hit this flight; Royal Regatta flattened a panel and Junction Fourteen made another mistake. Dolatula pressed on towards the following hurdle, where he made an error; he lost the lead to Vieux Lion Rouge for a few strides but was back disputing it with the Martin Pipe-trained runner by the time they negotiated the dog-leg turn.
Heading up the hill and over the eighth flight, those making progress through the field included Don Poli, Caid Du Berlais and Urbain De Sivola; as they neared the far corner, Thomas Crapper was making headway on the outside of the field too. The leaders were closely bunched as they began the journey down the hill; Dolatulo and One Lucky Lady disputing the lead at this point. Don Poli got caught behind a wall of horses as Urbain De Sivola and Thomas Crapper got clear daylight around the outside of the field; however, Mikey Fogarty angled his mount wide to follow them as they progressed down the slope towards the penultimate flight.
Initially leading the runners down the hill were Dolatulo, One Lucky Lady and Local Hero. But, as they reached it, Thomas Crapper took over at the head of affairs. Local Hero was now in second position, with Don Poli third, and Urbain De Sivola disputing fourth with One Lucky Lady; all the action was taking place towards the wide outside as they headed towards the final turn.
As the runners entered the home straight and crossed the pathway, Thomas Crapper had almost been joined by Don Poli; Local Hero now in third a length behind them. It was then nip and tuck as they headed to the final flight, the Robin Dickin-trained runner nearside, with the Willie Mullins Gigginstown runner to his inside. They jumped the hurdle upsides but, having cleared it, Don Poli began to draw away from his rival on the run to the line, winning by 4½ lengths.
The latter had tired quickly and initially wandered away from the rail; but he did hold on to second, with 1¼ lengths in hand over the first of the Paul Nicholls runners to finish, namely Caid Du Berlais. Stablemate Urbain De Sivola completed in fourth, just 1¾ lengths further back. All bar one runner completed the race, Open Day having been pulled up before the last.
The third Gigginstown winner of the day, following Tiger Roll in the Triumph Hurdle and Very Wood in the Albert Bartlett. It was becoming an Irish rout too, the sole British winner so far today being Lac Fontana in the County Hurdle. Also the first Cheltenham Festival winner for Mikey Fogarty; during his interview with Lydia Hislop, the jockey said he’d received advice about his ride today from both Bryan Cooper, who he’d visited in hospital, and from Ruby Walsh too.
With the spectator numbers decreasing by this stage of the day, I decided to head to the Parade Ring prior to the final race of the 2014 Festival.
NEWS FROM THE STEWARDS’ ROOM FOLLOWING THE RACE:
The Stewards held an enquiry following a report from the Starter that Andrias Guerin, the rider of URBAIN DE SIVOLA (FR), had failed to obey his instructions. They interviewed the rider and the Starter. Having heard their evidence and viewed recordings of the start the Stewards found the rider in breach of Rule (D)44.4 and suspended him for 1 day as follows: Friday 28 March 2014.
final day diary has become so large that I’ve split it into three sections