PART I

DIARY – CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL 2017

DAY TWO

FEATURING THE QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE

WEDNESDAY 15 MARCH 2017

 

 

 

 

Sprinter Sacre parade 15 March 2017.jpg

 

Sprinter Sacre is paraded ahead of racing

 

 

 

I thought I’d got up at 05:30, but it later transpired that it was only 04:30! 

Showering proved very difficult.  My room was on the top floor, under the eves of the roof.  This meant that, due to the configuration of the bathroom, it was impossible to stand up in the bath and use the shower head!  In fact it was difficult to even get out of the bath … I rarely have a bath these days, I far prefer to take a shower.

However I love my new vanity case, as all of my make-up and toiletries fit in the one box.  Having worn my lightweight Boots No. 7 Airbrush Away foundation the previous day, I decided upon Max Factor Miracle Match Blur and Nourish today; the condition of my skin seemed to be going downhill and I needed more coverage.  But I still love the Airbrush Away on non-blemish days.  Sadly my ongoing medication means I can break out in spots at any time.

I went to the main Hall at 07:00 for breakfast; cornflakes, two yoghurts, a croissant and coffee.  I didn’t get my monies worth today, perhaps tomorrow once I’d settled in!  

Today’s outfit was my teal polo-neck thermal top, teal printed thermal T-shirt, and turquoise thermal t-shirt, ribbed grey v-neck sweater, teal-coloured BHS v-neck cardigan, teal-coloured fleece, black fleece gillet, short M&S hankie-hem skirt, beige M&S jeggings, flint-coloured Hotter ‘Danville’ ankle boots, a cream hand-knitted loopy scarf, plus ‘trees-designdichroic earrings.  Also my teal-coloured BHS anorak, plus black tights under my jeggings.

I set off for Cheltenham at 08:25 today … I appear to be very laid back now that Oxford-based traffic jams are off the agenda!  However, this meant that I encountered a tailback on the road leading into the centre of Witney but, once the first two mini-roundabouts had been negotiated, the remainder of the route through the town and through Minster Lovell were very straightforward.

I do, however, need to mention that the state of the road surface upon Mill Street was diabolical … as it is in many areas of the country.  Too much traffic and no money to pay for repairs.  But what really annoys me are potholes caused by lazy homeowners … a short distance from where I live, the road surface has deteriorated outside one particular house solely because the previous homeowner used to park one of their cars on the road overnight, despite having room for four or five cars in the driveway. So, because traffic had to brake in order to pass around the stationary vehicle on the busy road, it wore out the tarmac surface; it’s never been properly repaired since and is a problem area to this day.     

Anyway, the day would turn out to be the second warmest in recorded Cheltenham Festival history … although it did get chilly when the sun went down behind the grandstand later in the afternoon. In fact it was shirt-sleeves for some … but definitely not for me, as my outfit description testifies!

I recall that upon two mornings it was misty near to the Puesdown Inn, possibly Wednesday and Thursday; no surprise as it is the highest point upon the A40.  When it is really foggy, the cloud base is so low that the Puesdown Inn area is the only one in bright sunshine as it pokes through the top of the mist.  

Today, I popped into Sainsburys off Priors Road to fill the tank, before heading to the racecourse; I arrived at 09:40 and was instructed to park in the same section of the car park as the previous day. 

I also found a lady to chat to whilst I was queuing; she had a ticket for the Tattersalls enclosure.  As per yesterday, and for the remainder of the Festival, I purchased a race-card before entry; they cost £4.00 each day.  Once the gates opened at 10:30 and having had my bag checked by security just prior to heading through the turnstiles, I paid a visit to the ladies’ loo upon the ground floor of the main grandstand before going to stand upon the steppings above the Winners’ Enclosure.  I probably purchased a bottle of water too, before doing so. 

Sprinter Sacre was paraded in the Parade Ring before racing today, with Nicky Henderson interviewed about his charge.  Martin Kelly’s other guests were Rupert Bell, Davy Russell, and a number of rugby referees who were currently involved in the Six Nations tournament, also Warren Gatland.

RUK’s Tom Stanley interviewed a number of the Ladies’ Day competition entries whilst they stood in the Winners’ Enclosure.  Perhaps it should be re-named Airheads’ Day … but I suppose it could never be as bad as the misnamed Ladies’ Day at the Aintree Festival, which you have to see to believe!!!  Although Tom seemed quite happy to interview the young ladies, despite worrying about being out of his depth from a fashion-standpoint!   

Again I headed off to the course-side rails well ahead of racing in order to reserve my place.

The favourite for the first race of the day was the Harry Fry-trained Neon Wolf, ridden by Noel Fehily and owned by Masterson Holdings; price 2-1.

Alan King had a runner in this race, namely Messire Des Obeaux, ridden by Daryl Jacob.  Another interesting runner was Skipthecuddles trained by Graeme McPherson and ridden by Kielan Woods; the horse lost his tongue as a result of a horse-walker accident the previous summer.

The starting gate for this race was situated at the beginning of the mid-course chute.  This being the case, the horses cantered across the home straight and up along the all-weather strip in front of the Best Mate enclosure to reach it. 

 

Race 1

Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

Distance

2 miles 5 furlongs (10 hurdles to negotiate)

No. of Runners

15

Bacardys, Bon Papa, Brelade, Burbank, Consul De Thaix, De Dollar Man, Keeper Hill, Kemboy, Livelovelaugh, Messire Des Obeaux, Neon Wolf, Poetic Rhythm, Skipthecuddles, Willoughby Court, Shattered Love

 

And then they were off, first time, to another Cheltenham roar from the gathered spectators.  The runners were led to the first flight by Willoughby Court; also prominent were Livelovelaugh and De Dollar Man.  The latter bumped Skipthecuddles as they jumped it; bringing up the rear was Poetic Rhythm.  All 15 runners having cleared this, the Ben Pauling representative continued to lead the way as they headed to, and over the next flight.

They continued their journey, crossing over two intersections; the first with the Old Course and the second with the New Course.  They were heading downhill, swinging to their left as they did so, before reaching the turn into the home straight.  The Rooney-owned Willoughby Court remained at the head of affairs, from De Dollar Man, Neon Wolf upsides Livelovelaugh, Messire Des Obeaux, Kemboy, Skipthecuddles, Keeper Hill, Brelade, Shattered Love, Consul De Thaix, Burbank, Bon Papa, Bacardys and Poetic Rhythm.

Having entered the straight, the runners had soon negotiated the next flight successfully and continued the long journey towards the packed enclosures accompanied by their shadows on this particularly warm and sunny day. Willoughby Court, ears pricked, led them onto the Old Course with the Fergal O’Brien runner continuing to bring up the rear.

The competitors cleared flight number four in their stride before heading up the hill in front of the Best Mate Enclosure and into the back straight for the one and only time.  The two leaders held a clear advantage over their rivals as they headed down the hill to the first flight therein; however, Livelovelaugh and the others had soon bridged the gap. 

The leaders cleared this flight well but, to the inside of mid-field, Consul De Thaix tipped the top and ploughed head first into the ground.  He must have broken his neck upon impact, as he was already dead before he somersaulted over; his lifeless body and limbs causing havoc to those who had been travelling in his wake.  Most badly affected were Bacardys and Poetic Rhythm and they lost a number of lengths; also, but less so, JP McManus’ other runner Bon Papa.

The fourteen remaining runners continued their journey along the back straight and headed over flight number six; Keeper Hill made an error here and landed awkwardly as a result.  Bacardys and Poetic Rhythm remained detached from the field as they headed around the dog-leg turn.  Willoughby Court led the runners over this one, from De Dollar Man; back in the field, Skipthecuddles made a slight error. 

Neon Wolf made progress to the outside of runners as they headed towards the far bend; it was a bit of a tight squeeze for Livelovelaugh and Messire Des Obeaux as the favourite leant in upon them.  In fact as the ground began to fall away, Danny Mullins had to ease his mount back due to lack of room.  Neon Wolf still wasn’t taking any prisoners, as he again squeezed- up the Alan King runner just prior to the inside rail terminating.

Willoughby Court continued to lead as the runners headed down the hill to the third last flight, but Neon Wolf was within touching distance as they jumped it.  Messire Des Obeaux was also well in contention, with Brelade, Livelaughlove, Bon Papa, De Dollar Man and Kemboy close on their heels. 

It was then a mad dash to the second last, with Neon Wolf and Messire Des Obeaux still held at bay by the long-time leader; having successfully negotiated the flight, Brelade was now spearheading the remainder, endeavouring to get on terms with the leading trio.  The Alan King runner proved to be lacking a bit of pace at this point, as Willoughby Court was able to slam the door on him and take the inside line around the bend; Neon Wolf was challenging to outside. 

Now in the home straight, the long-time leader battled on tenaciously and continued to hold the favourite, narrowly.  Meanwhile Messire De Obeaux had shrugged off the challenge of Brelade and Kemboy and continued to chase after the leading duo.  They had now reached the final flight but, just when the favourite needed the best leap possible, he landed awkwardly and this enabled Willoughby Court to gain further advantage.

Once on the run-in, Ben Pauling’s runner drifted to his right crossing in front of Neon Wolf then, further up the hill he drifted back again towards the favourite.  As a result they were side by side as they headed to the line, with Willoughby Court prevailing by a head.  Messire Des Obeaux finished 3¾ lengths back in 3rd, with Burbank staying on to claim 4th.   Skipthecuddles finished 8th.

It was compensation for David Bass’ huge disappointment the previous day, when his mount Charbel had fallen two out in the Arkle when giving Altior a run for his money. Willougby Court was Ben Pauling’s first ever Cheltenham Festival winner.                      

Neon Wolf is owned by Masterson Holdings, owners of the ill-fated Balder Success.  Following his fall from Consul De Thaix, and having given up his later rides, Mark Walsh was subsequently taken to hospital to be checked over; it was discovered that he’d broken a leg. 

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Willoughby Court

David Bass

Ben Pauling

2nd

Neon Wolf

Noel Fehily

Harry Fry

3rd

Messire Des Obeaux

Daryl Jacob

Alan King

4th

Burbank

Jeremiah McGrath

Nicky Henderson

 

I remained beside the course-side rails during the interval between races one and two.

 

Reports from the Stewards’ Room:

Race 1 - 1:30pm
THE NEPTUNE INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT NOVICES' HURDLE RACE (CLASS 1)(Grade 1) (Registered as The BARING BINGHAM)

The Stewards held an enquiry into the use of the whip by Noel Fehily, the rider of NEON WOLF (IRE), placed second, on the run to the line. 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 in an incorrect place. The Stewards suspended Fehily for 2 days as follows: Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 March 2017.

The Stewards noted that BACARDYS (FR), BON PAPA (FR) and KEMBOY (FR), all trained by W.P. Mullins, would wear earplugs.

Ruby Walsh, the rider of BACARDYS (FR), which was pulled up, reported that the gelding was badly hampered by a faller.

Paul Townend, the rider of BON PAPA (FR), which was pulled up, reported that the gelding lost its action coming down the hill. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of the gelding failed to reveal any abnormalities.

Paddy Brennan, the rider of POETIC RHYTHM (IRE), unplaced, reported that the gelding was badly hampered by a faller.

The favourite for the next race was Might Bite, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Nico de Boinville; price 7-2.  There was one grey in this event, namely Aurillac.

The starting gate was located between the nearest two fences in the home straight; this being the case, the horses cantered up in front of the grandstands before returning down the turf and re-entering the all-weather strip to continue part way down it to the start.

 

Race 2

RSA Chase (Grade 1)

Distance

3 miles 110 yards (20 fences to negotiate)

No. of Runners

12

Acapella Bourgeois, Alpha Des Obeaux, Aurillac, Bellshill, Heron Heights, Marinero, Might Bite, O O Seven, Our Kaempfer, Royal Vacation, Whisper, Briery Belle

 

On this occasion they weren’t off at the first attempt.  The sole chestnut, Acapella Bourgeois, was on his toes and keen as they jogged past to the outside of the ‘temporary’ fence and he broke through the tape as a result.  The runners were recalled.  It would now be a standing start; whilst waiting for the chestnut to return to the line, Alpha Des Obeaux lashed out at Aurillac; fortunately his hoof didn’t make contact with the grey. 

Bryan Cooper’s mount continued to kick out, now into thin air to the outside of the runners; meanwhile Acapella Bourgeois refused to stand in line.  One of the Assistant Starters took hold of Alpha Des Obeaux and the Starter asked the runners to take a turn.  They did, but the chestnut was soon out of line again.  The remaining runners turned once more; and the Assistant Starter let go of his charge too.  Acapella Bourgeois was still playing up but, in the end, presumably fed-up with the apparent turmoil, the Starter let them go anyway.

So they were finally off, with the chestnut leading the way despite this; Might Bite travelled at his girth to the inside, against the rail.  All twelve competitors cleared the first without problem and they soon swung left to head up the hill in front of the Best Mate enclosure.  The favourite took the advantage as they cleared the second fence before heading into the back straight. 

They travelled down the slope to fence number three.  Marinero, although one whole stride away from the fence, decided to take off at the same time as his nearest rival, Royal Vacation.  It didn’t help that Colin Tizzard’s runner took off a little too soon as well.  But, whereas he survived his error, Marinero end up on his knees, which catapulted David Mullins over his head; Briery Belle got bumped.  Amazingly, the horse didn’t technically fall and sprang back to his feet before continuing with the others. Ruby Walsh was able to steer Bellshill around the prostrate jockey, whilst Our Kaempfer and Heron Heights also avoided a collision, although both were hampered.

It was four faults at the water-jump for Our Kaempfer.  Whisper hit the next fence, which was the first open-ditch.  The following fence was a plain one and, at the rear of the field, Aurillac was almost carried out by the loose horse as it crossed his path heading towards the outside of the track.  The grey now appeared to be struggling. 

Meanwhile, up front, the leading group of three headed around the dog-leg turn presumably unaware of the problems encountered by their rivals.  Alpha Des Obeaux, which was one of the leading trio, took off a little early at the next but survived.  Briery Belle didn’t jump it particularly fluently either.

The runners were all strung out, despite having travelled for less than a circuit, as they headed down the hill to the next fence.  They all cleared it without any issues and Might Bite, along with Acapella Bourgeois and Alpha Des Obeaux led the way as they continued to the home turn on the first occasion.  The remaining runners, some lengths behind, were led by Royal Vacation, from OO Seven, Whisper, Bellshill, Briery Belle, Our Kaempfer, Heron Heights and Aurillac. 

Having entered the home straight, the runners cleared the next two fences without incident, although Whisper got a little close to the second of these; at the back of the field, the grey had now lost touch with his rivals. 

The leaders soon swung to their left and headed up in front of the Best Mate Enclosure once more, clearing the uphill fence in the process.  The leading trio held an eight lengths advantage over their nearest rival at this stage, although Royal Vacation did make slight inroads into this latterly; Briery Belle was now toiling one from the back of the field.          

Meanwhile Might Bite and his two companions headed down the slope towards the first fence in the back straight.  It was a far better round of jumping on this occasion than it had been on the first circuit although the rider-less Marinero was still with them.  Alpha Des Obeaux cleared the water-jump more slowly than the leading two.  Our Kaempfer received reminders as the runners headed to the next, another open-ditch; he dragged his hind-legs through the fence, losing momentum.  And Aurillac, although continuing, jumped it way out to his right.

Measnwhile Might Bite continued to put his rivals to the sword as he headed over the next, a plain fence.  Acapella Bourgeois was only two or three lengths behind him, but Alpha Des Obeaux had dropped off the pace and now led the main group of runners.  Royal Vacation had lost his place and Our Kaempfer was pulled up as they reached the dog-leg turn, as was Aurillac and Briery Belle. 

The remaining eight continued over the final open-ditch.  However, the tiring Royal Vacation didn’t jump it very well and Paddy Brennan decided to call it a day too.  Having soon reached the top of the hill, the runners swung around the turn and began their journey down the hill to the third last.  Using this descent to his advantage, Might Bite began to pull away further away from his rivals.  He was pursued by the loose horse; Acapella Bourgeois was now around seven lengths behind him, and he currently held a clear advantage over Bellshill, Alpha Des Obeaux, Whisper, O O Seven and Heron Heights. 

The leader jumped the fence well, and began his journey to the home turn.  Meanwhile Bellshill briefly took second, before Whisper overhauled him and set off in hot pursuit of his stable-mate.  However, Might Bite was still miles ahead of his rivals as he turned into the home straight, with what appeared to be just two fences between him and certain victory.     

The leader jumped the first of these well; Whisper cleared it less fluently.  However, Nico de Boinville had to urge him along on the approach to the final fence and his mount put in a short stride in order to pop over it, losing momentum as he did so.  Then, after a few strides, he began to hang into the whip, veering off to his right.  Meanwhile Whisper continued to close under a strong drive from Davy Russell; in contrast, he ran straight and true. 

Might Bite’s waywardness became even more exaggerated once the rail separating the chase course from the hurdles course terminated, his drift to the right more severe. Whisper had soon passed his rival and looked destined to claim an unlikely triumph.  But this was not the end of the story as the long-time leader began to run on again; he was possibly aided by the fact he’d also now got a lead from the loose Marinero. 

Thus, as the winning post drew nearer, Might Bite’s speed picked up and he now continued in a straight line once more; thus he began to gain on his rival with every stride.  The two Nicky Henderson runners flashed past the winning post as one.  It was a photo finish. 

The result was announced … Might Bite had won by a nose!  Bellshill finished 10 lengths back in 3rd place, with Alpha Des Obeaux 8 lengths further away in 4th.  Nicky Henderson’s other runner O O Seven finished 5th, with Acapella Bourgeois the last to finish; Heron Heights was pulled up before two out.

The winner is a half-brother to Beat That.

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Might Bite

Nico de Boinville

Nicky Henderson

2nd

Whisper

Davy Russell

Nicky Henderson

3rd

Bellshill

Ruby Walsh

Willie Mullins

4th

Alpha Des Obeaux

Bryan Cooper

Mouse Morris

 

Once again I remained beside the course-side rails.

 

Reports from the Stewards’ Room:

Race 2 - 2:10pm
THE RSA NOVICES' STEEPLE CHASE (CLASS 1) (Grade 1)

The Stewards held an enquiry into the use of the whip by Davy Russell, the rider of WHISPER (FR), placed second, from the 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 Russell for 4 days as follows: Wednesday 29, Thursday 30 and Friday 31 March and Saturday 1 April 2017.

The Stewards noted that ALPHA DES OBEAUX (FR), trained by M.F. Morris, OUR KAEMPFER (IRE), trained by Charlie Longsdon, and WHISPER (FR), trained by Nicky Henderson, would wear earplugs which would be removed at the start.

The Starters reviewed recordings of the start but were satisfied that no riders should be reported for contravening the starting procedures. The race subsequently was started by flag as the Starter was concerned that the ground staff responsible for the re-fitting of the tape would be at risk from the runners in the confined space.

Tom O'Brien, the rider of BRIERY BELLE, which was pulled up, reported that the mare was never travelling.

The Veterinary Officer reported that ALPHA DES OBEAUX (FR), placed fourth, trained by M.F. Morris, had bled from the nose.

The favourite for the third race was Tombstone, trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Bryan Cooper; price 7-2.

Alan King had two runners in this race, namely Who Dares Wins ridden by Wayne Hutchinson and the JP McManus-owned River Frost ridden by Tom Cannon.  The beautiful Taquin Du Seuil also took part. 

Nico de Boinville took over from the injured Mark Walsh aboard Hargam, and Jamie Bargary aboard Robinshill for the Willy Twiston-Davies who had been injured the previous day.  There were three greys in the race, the aforementioned Hargam, also Scoir Mear and Bravissimo.  Scoir Mear translates as Quick Exit.

Notably, JP McManus had five runners in the race; Modus, Waxies Dargle, River Frost, Hargam and Scoir Mear – 20% of the field in fact!  Admittedly they represented five different trainers – Paul Nicholls, Noel Meade, Alan King, Nicky Henderson and Thomas Mullins and both the GB and Ireland but you can see why some connections feel hard done by when hoping their horse will get a run in any of the oversubscribed Festival handicap hurdle races.

The starting gate for this race was situated at the beginning of the mid-course chute.  Therefore the runners cantered across the home straight and up along the all-weather strip in front of the Best Mate enclosure to reach it. 

 

Race 3

Coral Cup (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade 3)

Distance

2 miles 5 furlongs (10 hurdles to negotiate)

No. of Runners

25

Modus, Old Guard, The Romford Pele, Mister Miyagi, Tombstone, Supasundae, Taquin Du Seuil, Monksland, Kalondra, Waxies Dargle, Who Dares Wins, Thomas Hobson, River Frost, Automated, Peregrine Run, Hawk High, Allblak Des Places, Morello Royale, Tin Soldier, Hargam, Leoncavallo, Robinshill, Scoir Mear, Bravissimo, Sure Reef

 

Having trotted around within the centre of the racecourse, the runners headed towards the beginning of the chute.  However, due to a crush along the inside, Mister Miyagi got squeezed out and ended up to the wrong side of the guide rail.  Having lost his place, Harry Skelton quickly turned a circle on him before joining the back of the pack.

Having now reached the starting gate the runners were off first time.  Prominent to the inside was Hawk High, also River Frost; to the centre of the course, Thomas Hobson was the first to rise as they jumped flight number one.  Also visible just behind the leader were Supasundae, Who Dares Wins, and Bravissimo; at the back of the field, Morello Royale landed awkwardly when jumping this one and Allblak Des Places also made an error here.

Thomas Hobson continued to spearhead the 25-strong field on the run to the second flight, with the dark grey Bravissimo now holding second position.  Waxies Dargle, which was travelling towards to the inside near the back of the field, blundered at this one, flattening the inside panel as a result.

The horses then continued across the Old Course intersection, followed by the New Course intersection, before swinging to their left whilst travelling downhill to the bottom bend.  The two Ricci-owned runners continued to lead the way as they did so. As they approached the corner, Danny Mullins eased his mount back, presumably not wanting to race against the keen Bravissimo at this early stage of the race. 

Thus, turning into the home straight on the first occasion, Katie Walsh’s mount led from Thomas Hobson, Who Dares Wins, Hawk High and Supasundae; the beautiful Tarquin Du Seuil followed closely on the heels of Who Dares Wins.  There were no casualties at the first flight therein.  Bravissimo extended his lead on the long run up the straight to the next obstacle.  Currently towards the rear of the field were Tin Soldier, Allblak Des Places, Kalondra, Scoir Mear and Morello Royale.    

All 25 competitors cleared the flight close to the main enclosures safely and Bravissimo continued to lead the way by three lengths as the runners then headed up the hill in front of the Best Mate enclosure.  Thomas Hobson continued to spearhead the main group, from Who Dares Wins alongside Hawk High, then Supasundae, Tarquin Du Seuil and Sure Reef; the latter sported the black and beige Wylie colours. 

Having turned into the back straight, they headed slightly downhill to the first flight therein; the leader wandered slightly on the approach to this one but cleared it safely, as did all of his rivals.  Allblak Des Places was now a little detached at the rear of the field.  The horses had completed half of the race by the time they reached flight number six.  Thomas Hobson bunny-hopped this one and, further back in the field, The Romford Pele jumped this noticeably slower than those around him and was relegated to the back of the field and subsequently ridden along.

The runners then headed around the dog-leg turn.  Bravissimo continued to lead the way by a length from Thomas Hobson, then Hawk High and Who Dares Wins.  They were pursued by Supasundae, Tarquin Du Seuil, Sure Reef, River Frost, Modus, Peregrine Run, Leoncavallo, Robinshill, Old Guard, Monksland, Tin Soldier the mount of Ruby Walsh, Hargam, Tombstone, Mister Miyagi, Automated, Kalondra, Scoir Mear, Waxies Dargle, Allblak Des Places, Morello Royale and The Romford Pele. 

At the next flight, once again Thomas Hobson made a jumping error; The Romford Pele was now detached from the rear of the field.  Having reached the top of the hill, the runners swung left and began their journey down the hill to the third last flight. It was now Allblak Des Places’ turn to lose touch with his rivals.

The order had changed by the time they had reached this obstacle, with Thomas Hobbs and Who Dares Wins now sharing the lead, from Bravissimo and, to the wide outside, the hooded Modus. The Alan King runner, using his superior flat speed, took a narrow advantage as they headed down to the penultimate flight.  In his shadow were Taquin Du Seuil and Modus; Thomas Campbell was still there, Supasundae close behind, with Hawk High and the hooded Monksland a length back.  In fact the first four finishers would come from within these named runners.  The favourite, Tombstone, was now struggling and had dropped totally out of contention.

Who Dares Wins landed marginally ahead of Supasundae as they jumped the flight; with Taquin Du Seuil having been out-paced momentarily.  Thomas Hobson made a further jumping error here.  It was then a charge to the home turn, with the Jessica Harrington-trained horse sneaking up the inside of the leader as they headed around it.  Still in hot pursuit were Monksland, Taquin Du Seuil and Modus.  River Frost travelled just behind these, alongside Old Guard.

Further back, and swinging wide, were Tin Soldier and Automated.  Meanwhile to the far side, Mister Miyagi was soon short of room between Hawk High, the fading Thomas Hobson and Peregrine Run; David Mullins aboard Scoir Mear had to switch behind them as any hope of a gap closed. 

As the final flight approached, Supasundae took the lead with the staying on Taquin Du Seuil now his closest pursuer; Who Dares Wins was back in third position now.  Having jumped it, the leader continued to slowly grow his advantage as they headed to the line, the winning distance was 2 lengths.  The Jonjo O’Neill-runner completed in the runner-up position, with Who Dares Win a further two and a half lengths away in 3rd.

It was almost a blanket finish for the next few places, with 4th position claimed by Monksland, from Scoir Mear, Modus, Old Guard, and Tin Soldier.  River Frost completed a further 1½ lengths behind this group in 9th.  Twenty-three completed; the last of the finishers being Robinshill and pulled up were The Romford Pele and Allblak Des Places.  The Romford Pele had struck into himself too.  Mister Miyagi had met trouble at the start and in running; Scoir Mear had been unlucky in running too, as was Peregrine Run.

It was the winner’s first handicap race.  The horse had begun his career at Ascot, when trained by Andrew Balding; he’d beaten Yanworth in a bumper that day!  His sire is Galileo!  Evidently Supasundae is best mates with Sizing John.  The starting prices of the first four finishers were 16-1, 12-1, 33-1 and 66-1.

Taquin Du Seuil means Teaser Threshold or Teasing the Threshold when translated from French; a strange name for such a gorgeous animal. 

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Supasundae

Robbie Power

Jessica Harrington

2nd

Taquin Du Seuil

Aidan Coleman

Jonjo O’Neill

3rd

Who Dares Wins

Wayne Hutchinson

Alan King

4th

Monksland

Donagh Meyler

Noel Meade

 

Once again I remained beside the course-side rails.

 

Reports from the Stewards’ Room:

Race 3 - 2:50pm
THE CORAL CUP HANDICAP HURDLE RACE (CLASS 1) (Grade 3)

The Stewards gave permission for MISTER MIYAGI (IRE), trained by Dan Skelton, to be mounted in the chute and noted that the gelding would wear earplugs which would be removed at the start. They also noted that THOMAS HOBSON, ALLBLAK DES PLACES (FR), and BRAVISSIMO (FR), all trained by W.P. Mullins, would wear earplugs.

B.J. Cooper, the rider of TOMBSTONE (IRE), unplaced, reported that the gelding was never travelling. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of the gelding, during routine testing, failed to reveal any abnormalities but he found that TOMBSTONE (IRE) had lost its left hind shoe.

The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of AUTOMATED, unplaced, trained by Gordon Elliott, during routine testing, revealed it to be lame right hind.

Well, that’s it for the first half of the diary, please ...

Click here to read my Day 2 Diary Part II

 

 

Rounded Rectangle: RETURN TO DIARY INDEX
Rounded Rectangle: RETURN TO HOME PAGE