PART II

DIARY – CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL 2018

DAY THREE

FEATURING THE RYANAIR CHASE

THURSDAY 15 MARCH 2018

 

 

 

Missed Approach.jpg

 

Missed Approach, winner of the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir

Challenge Cup for Amateur Rider’s Handicap Chase

 

 

Click here to read my Day 3 Diary Part I

 

The favourite for the Stayers’ Hurdle was Sam Spinner, trained by Jedd O’Keeffe and ridden by Joe Colliver; price 9-4. 

One runner of interest, namely Yanworth trained by Alan King and ridden by Barry Geraghty.  There was one grey, Donna’s Diamond.

The starting gate was at the beginning of the back straight, so the horses cantered up the all-weather strip in front of the Best Mate enclosure to reach it.  As I wasn’t standing beside the course-side rails, I have no recollection as to there being a pre-race parade ahead of this one ... especially as the Ryanair Chase had been promoted to the position of feature race on Day 3 this year!  Nor can I can’t recall if there was a pre-race parade for the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase in its stead.  

 

The jockeys took their mounts to look at the first flight before heading back along the course to the starting gate.  Girths checked, they headed down the hill towards the home straight, before beginning a very sedate walk towards the tape. 

 

Race 4

Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

Distance

3 miles (12 flights to negotiate)

No. of Runners

15

Bacardys, Donna’s Diamond, L’Ami Serge, Lil Rockerfeller, Penhill, Sam Spinner, Supasundae, The New One, The Worlds End, Unowhatimeanharry, Wholestone, Yanworth, Augusta Kate, Colin’s Sister, Let’s Dance

 

And then they were off with two full circuits of the course to travel.  Sam Spinner led them away, from the grey Donna’s Diamond and last year’s runner-up Lil Rockerfeller.  Yanworth was keen in 4th position, and he was followed by The New One and Supasundae; Unowhatimeanharry had to be restrained in 7th place and he kicked out the orange stripe when jumping the first flight.

Sam Spinner continued to lead, but the pace being set was steadier than expected.  The runners cleared the second flight safely, with Penhill and L’Ami Serge bringing up the rear.  They progressed along the back straight, jumping the third flight without incident, before reaching the dog-leg turn.  Joe Colliver’s mount spearheaded to field, from Donna’s Diamond, Lil Rockerfeller, Yanworth, The New One, Unowhatimeanharry, Supasundae, Wholestone, Augusta Kate, Bacardys, Let’s Dance, Colin’s Sister, The Worlds End, Penhill and L’Ami Serge.

The fifteen runners continued over the fourth flight on their journey to the top of the hill and, subsequently, swung left-handed to travel downhill to the next.  There was little change in the order as Sam Spinner remained at the head of affairs.  There were no noticeable errors at the hurdle and, shortly afterwards, they entered the home straight; the pace remained steady and the runners well-bunched.

The leader got in a little bit close to the hurdle in the home straight and the grey drew almost alongside.  However, he extended his lead once more as they swung left-handed to travel up in front of the Best Mate enclosure; Penhill and L’Ami Serge continued to bring up the rear.  Having entered the back straight for the final time, Sam Spinner continued to lob along at the head of affairs, ears pricked.

Having jumped the seventh, the order was Donna’s Diamond in second position, from Yanworth, Lil Rockerfeller, The New One, Unowhatimeanharry and Supasundae.  They continued their journey, with Donna’s Diamond jumping more fluently than the leader as they cleared the next flight.  The horses progressed along the back straight to the ninth flight; where Sam Spinner was again less than fluent.  At the rear of the field, the mare Let’s Dance crashed through the flight and belly-flopped on landing.  It was a horrible crunching fall, but fortunately the ground being soft, she quickly sprang to her feet and appeared unscathed; Danny Mullins was her jockey.

Meanwhile the remaining fourteen runners soon encountered the dog-leg turn on their way to the third last.  Both Lil Rockerfeller and Penhill were less than fluent at this flight.  Sam Spinner was still leading as the horses began to swing left-handed at the top of the hill; however, owing to the steady pace to date, his rivals were queuing up behind him.  Penhill made eye-catching progress down the outside of the field as they headed down the hill towards the second last.

The favourite held a slight advantage as they crossed this flight, with Donna’s Diamond, Yanworth, Supasundae and Penhill appearing to be his main dangers.  There was a wall of horses across the track as they turned into the home straight, Sam Spinner held the inside line, with Donna’s Diamond, Yanworth, Supasundae, Worlds End and Penhill all in a position to challenge if good enough.

The runners charged down to the final flight, with Penhill now grabbing the lead, hotly pursued by Supasundae, the enigmatic L’Ami Serge, Yanworth and Sam Spinner.  It was left to Penhill and Supasundae to continue their challenge for the lead as they cleared the last flight.  Bacardys, having continued to stay on from the back of the field, over-jumped at the hurdle when challenging for third position and slithered to the ground; Lil Rockerfeller had to side-step around him. 

Meanwhile, the leading duo were locked together in combat as they headed up the hill towards the winning post.  Last year’s Albert Bartlett winner finally asserted and went away from Supasundae to triumph by two lengths at the line; the winning jockey, Paul Townend, punched the air in celebration. 

Wholestone stayed on to claim 3rd, 3 lengths further back.  Colin’s Sister stayed on too to take 4th, with Sam Spinner 5th, Yanworth 6th, and The Worlds End 7th; L’Ami Serge faded into 8th.  These were well ahead of the 9th, Augusta Kate.  None were pulled up, with Lil Rockerfeller the last to cross the line.

Bacardys was fine, he stood up and amateur jockey Patrick Mullins grabbed his reins.  The winner hadn’t run for 323 days and, following injury, it had been doubtful that he might ever race again!  It was Paul Townend’s 7th Cheltenham Festival winner.          

Joe Colliver reported that the favourite had been “distracted” throughout the race.  Sam Spinner didn’t jump well enough to set up a lead on today’s ground; perhaps the partnership was just tentative.

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Penhill

Willie Mullins

Paul Townend

2nd

Supasundae

Jessica Harrington

Robbie Power

3rd

Wholestone

Nigel Twiston-Davies

Aidan Coleman

4th

Colin’s Sister

Fergal O’Brien

Paddy Brennan

 

I remained on the upper steppings overlooking the Winners’ Enclosure.

 

Reports from the Stewards’ Room regarding this race – see link at bottom of this page

The favourite for the fifth event was The Storyteller, trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Davy Russell; price 5-1.  There were two greys in this race, namely Viconte Du Noyer and Guitar Pete.

Having left the horse-walk, the runners headed out across the track to canter up the all-weather strip in front of the Best Mate enclosure before journeying across the back straight to reach the mid-course chute. 

 

Race 5

Browne Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (Handicap Chase) (Grade 3)

Distance

2 miles 5 furlongs (17 fences to negotiate)

No. of Runners

22

Village Vic, Last Goodbye, Ballybolley, The Storyteller, Oldgrangewood, Viconte Du Noyer, Traffic Fluide, Mercian Prince, Quite By Chance, Romain De Senam, Movewiththetimes, Ultragold, Drumcliff, King’s Socks, Pougne Bobbi, Midnight Shot, King’s Odyssey, Guitar Pete, Willie Boy, Ballyalton, Shanahan’s Turn, Splash Of Ginge

 

The runners exited the in-field at the beginning of the chute and then they were off and heading towards the first fence.  Prominent on the inside was Village Vic, also Ballyalton, Mercian Prince, Midnight Shot and Splash Of Ginge.  Towards the inside, the first-time blinkered Quite By Chance blundered at the first; this had a knock-on effect with one or two, including Romain De Senam, which were travelling closely behind him.  Following the fence, Paddy Brennan checked behind before easing his mount further out, to give him more daylight on the approach to the second.

 

Splash Of Ginge held a very narrow advantage over Village Vic and Willie Boy as they cleared the fence; at the rear were the urged-along dark grey Guitar Pete, also Oldgrangewood, Ballybolley and the light grey Viconte Du Noyer.  The twenty-two runners continued over the sanded track-way, before heading across the Old Course intersection to reach the third obstacle.  Village Vic led over this one, from Splash Of Ginge, Willie Boy, Midnight Shot and Ballyalton.

The runners subsequently swung left-handed as they headed down the hill on their way to the entrance of the home straight.  They continued over the next, where Willie Boy and Oldgrangewood weren’t particularly fluent.  Village Vic held a clear advantage as the runners headed over the next; they joined the circuit of the New Course moments later, before heading over a sanded-trackway on their way to the sixth fence. 

Richard Johnson’s mount continued to lead, from Splash Of Ginge, Ballyalton, Midnight Shot and Willie Boy.  Behind these travelled the favourite The Storyteller, Mercian Prince, King’s Odyssey and the blinkered Last Goodbye.  Also in midfield were Traffic Fluide, Shanahan’s Turn, Movewiththetimes, King’s Socks and Romain De Senam.  After these were Pougne Bobbi, Guitar Pete, Ballybolley, Ultragold, Quite By Chance now very much towards the outside of the field, Drumcliff, Oldgrangewood and Viconte Du Noyer. 

The runners headed over the next two fences without any serious jumping issues before swinging left-handed to continue up the hill in front of the Best Mate enclosure; Village Vic continued to lead, with Oldgrangewood bringing up the rear.  Having entered the back straight, the horses headed downhill towards their eighth obstacle.  Again there were no errors at this one.  They continued to the next fence, which was the water-jump and they all cleared this well. 

The runners were becoming strung out as they headed towards the first of the two open-ditches; near the back of the field, Jeremiah McGrath was riding Pougne Bobbi along.  Mercian Prince made an error at this one, Traffic Fluide also hit it.  Having negotiated the fence, the majority of runners towards the rear of the field were now being pushed along.     

The field continued their progress down the back straight to fence number eleven; a plain one.  There were a number of untidy leaps at this one, from the backmarkers; the JP McManus second-string, Drumcliff, hit it hard and Niall Madden decided to pull him up shortly afterwards.

This left twenty-one runners to negotiate the dog-leg turn on their run towards the final open-ditch.  Village Vic continued to hold the advantage as the runners headed over this one, followed by Splash Of Ginge, King’s Odyssey and Ballyalton.  All of the remaining runners cleared the fence, although JP’s other runner, Movewiththetimes stumbled badly on his near fore when landing and Barry Geraghty decided to pull him up. 

Meanwhile the others continued their journey to the top of the hill where Splash Of Ginge jumped into the lead at the next fence.  Willie Boy, currently travelling in fifth position, hit this one hard and lost a few places; jockey Bryan Cooper had to re-gather his reins having gone to the buckle end when landing.  

Having reached the top of the hill, the leaders swung left-handed on their way to four out.  Splash Of Ginge now held the advantage from King’s Odyssey, Village Vic, Ballyalton, King’s Socks, The Storyteller, Midnight Shot and Willie Boy.  The leaders cleared it well, but Willie Boy hit it and came down; his luck had run out.  Further back in the field, Guitar Pete hit the fence, as did Romain De Senam; Viconte Du Noyer was hampered here.

Splash Of Ginge spearheaded the field as they continued down the hill to the third last, King’s Odyssey remained his nearest pursuer; Village Vic narrowly retained third position, from Ballyalton, The Storyteller and King’s Socks.  At the back of the field, having not jumped fluently throughout the race and always been behind, the tailed-off Oldgrangewood was pulled up.

Having cleared three out without incident, bottom-weight Splash Of Ginge continued to lead from the pushed along King’s Odyssey as they headed towards the home turn.  Ballyalton and King’s Socks were in hot pursuit from the tiring top-weight Village Vic, also The Storyteller, Midnight Shot and Shanahan’s Turn.  Following these there was a gap in the field to Last Goodbye and Guitar Pete.

Jamie Bargary’s mount remained ahead as they entered the home straight and crossed the sanded track-way on their run to two out; there was a wall of five horses still in hot pursuit.  The leader got a bit close to this one and hit it, which wouldn’t have helped, but he remained with the advantage.  King’s Socks now hanging to his left, squeezing up The Storyteller as they jumped it too. 

However, the very game Splash Of Ginge continued to fight on as they headed down to the final fence and he remained around two lengths up on his rivals as he cleared it.  Meanwhile Davy Russell had finally got a response from the favourite on the approach to the last and he’d begun to close, heading through a gap between King’s Odyssey and King’s Socks. 

The first five having landed safely, The Storyteller continued to close upon the leader; Splash Of Ginge initially drifting to his left before running straight and true, The Storyteller drifting to his right and coming towards the stands-side rails.  Both jockeys were switching whip hands in an endeavour to keep their mounts on the straight and narrow. 

Splash Of Ginge kept on all the way up the run-in to the line, but The Storyteller was staying on too strongly and triumphed by 1¾ lengths at the winning post.  King’s Odyssey claimed 3rd place, 5 lengths further back, with Ballyalton 4th, King’s Socks 5th and Guitar Pete stayed on into 6th having been outpaced.  Pougne Bobbi completed in 7th, Midnight Shot 8th, Shanahan’s Turn 9th and Last Goodbye 10th.  Seven others completed, including Village Vic in a tired 15th.  Viconte Du Noyer having also been pulled up after 3 out when tailed off.

Yet another winner for the Irish and for Davy Russell too.  Thursday was becoming a white-wash, as it had been last year … 

When interviewed, the winning jockey explained that Gordon Elliott had decided to skip the JLT Novices’ Chase for The Storyteller and come for this handicap race instead. 

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

The Storyteller

Gordon Elliott

Davy Russell

2nd

Splash Of Ginge

Nigel Twiston-Davies

Jamie Bargary

3rd

King’s Odyssey

Evan Williams

Adam Wedge

4th

Ballyalton

Ian Williams

Tom O’Brien

 

I remained on the upper steppings overlooking the Winners’ Enclosure.

 

Reports from the Stewards’ Room regarding this race – see link at bottom of this page

 

The odds-on favourite for the next race was Laurina, trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Paul Townend; price 4-7. 

One runner of interest in this race, namely Spice Girl trained by Martin Keighley and ridden by Richard Johnson. There were no greys in this event.

The starting gate for this event was at the far end of the home straight, with that and one complete circuit to travel.  This being the case, the horses cantered up all-weather strip in front of the grandstands before heading down the turf and re-entering the all-weather strip to complete their journey to the gate. 

 

Race 6

Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2)

Distance

2 miles 179 yards (8 hurdles)

No. of Runners

14

Cap Soleil, Laurina, Maria’s Benefit, Dawn Shadow, Angels Antics, Countister, Cut The Mustard, Ellie Mac, High School Days, Pietralunga, Rouergate, Salsaretta, Spice Girl

It was an orderly start, with the mares walking forward very quietly and then they were off at the first time of asking.  Prominent heading to the first flight were Spice Girl, Maria’s Benefit, Cut The Mustard and Ellie Mac.  Maria’s Benefit jumped into the lead at the obstacle, where the Ricci-owned Salsaretta made a mistake. 

The Stuart Edmonds-trained runner continued to lead as the horses headed up the home straight towards flight number two.  She was followed by Cut The Mustard, Spice Girl, Ellie Mac, the keen Salsaretta, Rouergate, the favourite Laurina, Angels Antics, the JP Mcmanus-owned Countister, Gigginstown’s High School Days, Dawn Shadow, Cap Soleil, Pietralunga and Champayne Lady. 

Cut The Mustard joined the pace setter as they neared the flight, with all fourteen runners clearing it in their stride.  Maria’s Benefit went on again as they swung left-handed to head up the hill in front of the Best Mate Enclosure; one circuit now to travel.  The leading duo was five or six lengths clear of the third, Spice Girl, as they entered the back straight, with Cut The Mustard soon alongside Maria’s Benefit once more.

The two leaders continued to extend their advantage over the main group as they headed down the hill to flight number three.  They all cleared this one well, although Cap Soleil jumped out to her right over it, slightly hampering Pietralunga who travelled in her wake.  The fourteen runners progressed along the back straight to the next flight; there were no jumping errors apart from Cap Soleil’s continuing preference to jump out to her right.  

Maria’s Benefit held a narrow advantage over the Sullivan Bloodstock second-string as they jumped the next flight, before continuing around the dog-leg turn.  The main group had slightly closed the gap upon the leading duo; Spice Girl spearheaded this, from Ellie Mac, the Sullivan Bloodstock first-string and favourite Laurina, Salsaretta, Countister, Dawn Shadow, High School Days, Rouergate, Cap Soleil, Angels Antics, Champayne Lady and, finally, Pietralunga.    

Ciaran Gethings’ mount held a half-length advantage over this long-time companion as they jumped the hurdle on the uphill stretch of the track.  Spice Girl continued over the obstacle in third position, but the seventh-placed mare, Dawn Shadow stepped at the flight and fell.  She somersaulted over, catching High School Days across the hind-legs as she did so.  Having lost her back-end from under her, the Gigginstown-runner was pulled up by Davy Russell shortly afterwards.

Meanwhile, having reached the far turn, Cut The Mustard had taken the advantage; Laurina moved smoothly into third position and began to bridge the gap as they headed down the hill towards two out.  Countister pursued her, with Ellie Mac next, then Salsaretta, Champayne Lady, Spice Girl, Cap Soleil, Rouergate and, finally, Pietralunga. 

Maria’s Benefit had her nose in front as they jumped the penultimate flight, with Cut The Mustard diving out to her right and losing ground over this one; Laurina was over in third.  Further back in the field, Cap Soleil jumped across Rouergate, causing the latter to make an error.

Maria’s Benefit led the runners into the home straight, but Laurina had already cruised up to her quarters, with Cut The Mustard to her outside.  Countister was endeavouring to get on terms with the leading three.  The favourite took the lead as they headed over the sanded track-way, and she went clear effortlessly on the run to the final flight. 

The leader got a little bit close to the obstacle but perhaps she was losing concentration because she was so far ahead of her rivals.  All that was left for Paul Townend was to ride up the hill to the line; he didn’t even have to push her out for the final half a furlong!  Laurina won by a staggering 18 lengths.  Maria’s Benefit chased her up the run-in, but she was tired; this resulted in Champayne Lady (an 80-1 shot) and Cap Soleil staying on past her; with the latter claiming 2nd by a short head.  Maria’s Benefit crossed the line 1¾ lengths behind them in 4th.  Countister had also tired latterly and finished 5th.

Salsaretta came down at the last, a tired fall as she’d jumped it okay, when holding 6th place.  Spice Girl made an error at the last too; I think her eye had been caught by Robbie Power who had just stood up having taken the tumble.  The Martin Keighley runner completed in 8th; 10 finished.  The Ricci-owned mare was down for a while, her sides heaving following the exertions of the race, but she was okay.      

The French-bred winner is not a ‘looker’ but she’s big, with a very good engine.  There was speculation that she could have given the Supreme Novices’ entries a run for their money had she taken part in the race in receipt of a mares’ allowance. 

Oh dear, it was now 6-0 on the day to the Irish … with just one race to go, although the Kim Muir had been our Thursday saviour in 2017.

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Laurina

Willie Mullins

Paul Townend

2nd

Cap Soleil

Fergal O’Brien

Paddy Brennan

3rd

Champayne Lady

Alan Fleming

Denis O’Regan

4th

Maria’s Benefit

Stuart Edmonds

Ciaran Gethings

 

I remained on the upper steppings overlooking the Winners’ Enclosure.

 

Reports from the Stewards’ Room regarding this race – see link at bottom of this page

 

The favourite for this race was Mall Dini, ridden by Mr Patrick Mullins and trained by Patrick G Kelly; price 4-1.  There were two greys – Actinpieces and Squouateur. 

Whilst still an amateur jockey at the start of his career, Choc won the Kim Muir in 1997 aboard King Lucifer.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fulke_Walwyn_Kim_Muir_Challenge_Cup

 

He also won the Hamlet Cigarette Gold Card Handicap Hurdle final aboard Pharanear – that’s the equivalent of the current Pertemps Handicap Hurdle Final.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pertemps_Final

 

Being a 3 mile 2 furlong event, having reached the top end of the all-weather strip, the horses cantered back down the turf to re-enter it and head part way down the home straight before exiting back onto the course close to the starting gate. 

 

Race 7

Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Amateur Riders)

Distance

3 miles 2 furlongs (21 fences to negotiate – with one omitted)

No. of Runners

20

Pendra, Actinpieces, Wild West Wind, Mall Dini, Double Ross, Final Nudge, Tintern Theatre, Missed Approach, Sugar Baron, Squouateur, Very First Time, The Young Master, Aubusson, Marinero, Pressurize, Band Of Blood, Arctic Gold, Captain Buck’s, Millanisi Boy, West Wizard

 

And then they were off, and crossing the sanded track-way on their journey to the first fence.  The field was led by the blinkered Missed Approach, with the also blinkered Pendra to his inside and admirable Double Ross to his outer.  All of the twenty runners cleared the first fence, although to the inside the grey Squouateur made an error, and Mall Dini jumped to the right immediately behind this Gordon Elliott runner; West Wizard was held up towards the back of the field.

The runners continued to the second fence; Millanisi Boy, who was tracking the leaders, hit this fence.  Towards the back of the field, Marinero also made a mistake.  The competitors subsequently swung left-handed to head up the hill in front of the Best Mate enclosure.  Missed Approach, Pendra and Double Ross held a four lengths advantage over the remainder.

The Warren Greatrex-runner spearheaded the leading trio as they headed down the hill to the third fence.  Leading the main group was Millanisi Boy, the blinkered Band of Blood and the grey mare Actinpieces.  The leader hit the fence but remained ahead of his rivals.  Very First Time made an error whilst travelling near the rear of the field.

The next fence was the water-jump; they cleared this without incident, although Very First Time was ridden away from it.  The following obstacle was the first open-ditch where, to the inside in mid-field, Wild West Wind caught his hind-legs on the fence and catapulted Noel George over his head.  The remaining runners progressed along the back straight and over a plain fence; Very First Time, Sugar Baron and Pressurize were all being pushed along as they headed towards the dog-leg turn.

Missed Approach continued to lead as they gained sight of the second open-ditch, from Pendra and Double Ross.  Behind these travelled Actinpieces, Band Of Blood and Millanisi Boy. Next in the field was Aubusson ridden by Lizzie Kelly’s brother Chester, also The Young Master with Sam Waley-Cohen sporting the familiar orange and brown silks, but not those advertised in the race-card.  Arctic Gold travelled to the outside of runners, along with Marinero.  Further back were Final Nudge, Mall Dini, Captain Buck’s, Tintern Theatre, Squouateur, Sugar Baron, Pressurize, Very First Time and, finally, West Wizard. 

Having all cleared the open-ditch safely, the remaining nineteen runners continued up the hill to the next; there were no noticeable jumping errors at this one.  Missed Approach led the field into the far turn, swinging left-handed in order to reach the eighth fence.  Actinpieces stood off from the fence but cleared it safely.  Millanisi Boy hit it, as did Tintern Theatre; they both survived their errors.

Having travelled down the hill, the runners arrived at the next fence; the leader brushed through the top of it and pecked on landing slightly; he remained ahead of his rivals.  Pressurize was now at the back of the field and being pushed along.  There was no change at the head of affairs as they turned into the home straight; the leader continued to bowl along happily a couple of lengths clear of Double Ross.  The latter was ridden by Zac Baker, brother of retired jockey George.

With nineteen horses still in the race, the horses headed over the next without incident; Sugar Baron, who never gives more than he has to, was being pushed along near the back of the field.  The runners subsequently headed over the fence which would be the last one on the next circuit, before swinging left-handed to head up the hill in front of the Best Mate enclosure once more.

Missed Approach led the runners into the back straight, from Double Ross, Pendra, Millanisi Boy, also the strong travelling favourite Mall Dini under Patrick Mullins.  Captain Buck’s made an error at the first fence therein, and Very First Time collided with the hindquarters of Final Nudge as they landed over it.

The horses continued to the water-jump, with the majority of the field now closely packed.  The following fence was the penultimate open-ditch, which Aubusson hit and subsequently dropped back a number of places.  Squouateur had made progress through the field and was amongst the leading contenders now.

The next fence was a plain one, where Millanisi Boy and Tintern Theatre were less than fluent.  At the rear of the field both Sugar Baron and Pressurize were still being driven along, and West Wizard had been relegated to last place once more.  The runners negotiated the dog-leg turn and continued up the hill to the final open-ditch.  They all cleared this one okay, and continued their climb towards five out. 

Tintern Theatre clobbed this one, as did Sugar Baron; the latter almost lost his jockey as a result.  Having reached the top of the hill the runners swung left-handed and had soon arrived at the fourth last.  Missed Approach remained ahead as they crossed this one and none of the horses made a serious error.  Marinero had been relegated to last place by this stage of the race and his jockey decided to call it a day as his rivals continued down the hill to the third last fence.

The long-time leader was half a length up on Mall Dini as they cleared this fence; Actinpieces and Double Ross just behind these.  Squouateur now joined the leading three, as Double Ross began to lose his place.  Missed Approach was being ridden as Mall Dini loomed up to his outside upon turning into the home straight; Squouateur was clinging to their coat-tails, ready to take advantage if either of the leading duo made a mistake.

Missed Approach flew over the penultimate fence, still a length up on the favourite.  The battle continued as they headed to the last, with the brave Missed Approach refusing to relinquish the lead.  The Warren Greatrex-runner nodded slightly on landing but continued to dig deep into his reserves as Mall Dini endeavoured to close in upon his rival.  However, Missed Approach proved too strong and, although his challenger reduced the margin, Noel McParlan’s mount triumphed by a well-earned half-length at the line.  The jockey stood up in his irons to celebrate as he passed the post; it was his first Festival success.  The winner had made all.  Phew ... GB had finally got a winner! 

Squouateur came home in 3rd place, 5 lengths further back, under Jamie Codd.  Double Ross stayed on gamely to finish 4th, with Actinpieces 5th and The Young Master claimed 6th on the run-in having lost his place earlier in the race.  Pressurize, who was pressurised for much of the race, stayed on past beaten horses to finish 7th, with West Wizard also passing beaten horses to claim 8th.

There were 16 finishers.  Millanisi Boy was pulled up before two out and Arctic Gold fell at the last, but was reported to be fine following his mishap.         

The winner was running for the first time since a wind operation.

Result

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

1st

Missed Approach

Warren Greatrex

Mr N McParlan

2nd

Mall Dini

Patrick G Kelly

Mr Patrick Mullins

3rd

Squouateur

Gordon Elliott

Mr Jamie Codd

4th

Double Ross

Nigel Twiston-Davies

Mr Zac Baker

 

Reports from the Stewards’ Room regarding this race – see link at bottom of this page

 

Phew, Missed Approach had saved the day from becoming an Irish whitewash.  But it was too late to win the Prestbury Cup, as Ireland had already gained an unassailable lead having now won a total of 15 races out of the total of 28 available.

 

Betbright Prestbury Cup

Score at the end of Day 3

GB

Ireland

6

15

 

To avoid the problem of the traffic jams encountered on the previous two days, I decided to stay to watch the Tattersalls Ireland Festival Sale; it began at 18:15 in the Winners’ Enclosure and I stayed until Lot 14 arrived in the sales ring. 

Here is a link to the results of the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham Festival sale; Highflyer Bloodstock and Tom Malone were able to secure two horses for Alan King – The Glancing Queen (by Jeremy) and Kootenay River (by Dubai Destination).  Both cost £80,000 and, having not realised the results at the time, of the 14 Lots I saw, I was very taken with the flashy 4-year-old The Glancing Queen:

http://www.tattersalls.ie/ascot-cheltenham/sales/cheltenham-festival-sale/4DCGI/Sale/CFS%2018/Main

Kootenay River (Lot 25) was purchased for Mrs Prowting; her Racing Manager, Hannah Bishop, reported that he is a lovely, uncomplicated horse, having looked after him during his 2018 summer break. 

I felt that I walked to the car park too quickly on this evening; bearing in mind the pelvis issues I’d been suffering since the beginning of January, and which remain un-diagnosed as I complete this diary in mid-August!

It was approximately 19:00 when I drove out of the car park and, having stayed later than usual, I was able to travel to the exit gate with no delay.  Prestbury high street was clear again today; I’m convinced last year’s issues were caused by traffic police giving too much priority to vehicles exiting from Tatchley Lane onto the second mini-roundabout.  I’m also pleased to report that my car’s engine fan, which was replaced last month at much expense, functioned well during my queuing delays; it was so noisy last year, it was embarrassing! 

And just when I thought my journey back to my hotel was going well, I encountered a road closed sign in Witney; the Woodstock Road was blocked due to an accident.  My only option was to take a right at the mini-roundabout in order to head into the great unknown ... but there just had to be a left-hand turn further along which would take me in the direction I wanted.  I arrived at a set of traffic lights and, as hoped, there was a signpost indicating Bladon (that’s where Winston Churchill is buried) and Bicester.  It was in fact Jubilee Way, exactly the road I needed. 

Further along Jubilee Way, the entrance to the other end of Woodstock Road was closed too, with emergency vehicles parked along it.  I got back to my room, in the Lodge, at 20:15.  It was Pot Noodle again tonight! 

It was on this evening that I discovered that my phone was able to connect to the internet when I was in my hotel room.  I’d been completely lost without a connection last year, but hadn’t even bothered to re-try it until now.  Doh! 

 

 

STEWARDS REPORTS – Cheltenham Festival (Index)

PHOTOS – Cheltenham Festival Day 3 (Index)

 

 

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