Cheltenham Festival: Day Three

Yorkhill gets Willie Mullins and Rugby Walsh on the board at Prestbury Park

Malachy Clerkin Thu, Mar 16
 
LIVE: Cheltenham Festival: Day Three

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  • 12:21
    Day Three and the roads are lined with the scrunched up betting slips of all our hopes and dreams. We're 14 races into the 2017 Cheltenham festival and so far we've seen just two -TWO! - favourites win. It's been gruelling stuff but to hell with it, we go again.
  • 12:22
    Malachy Clerkin here, piloting the liveblog through to teamtime like an office-bound Jamie Codd.
  • 12:27
  • 12:33
  • 12:34
    We're an hour away from the first race - here's guest tipster Tony Keenan's three selections for the day.
  • 12:38
    It's been a terrific festival so far for Irish handlers - unexpectedly so, you'd have to say. Only about three weeks ago, you could have 9/2 on Ireland coming out ahead in the Betbright Cup standings. Contrived and all as the Betbright Cup thingy is, it's still fair going to be leading 8-6 after day two. And not a winner yet for Willie Mullins or Ruby Walsh...
  • 12:39

    Scoreboard After Day Two

    Trainers

    Gordon Elliott 5
    Nicky Henderson 3
    David Pipe 1
    Alan Fleming 1
    Ben Pauling 1
    Jessica Harrington 1
    Henry De Bromhead 1
    Nick Williams 1

    Jockeys
    Nico De Boinville 2
    Noel Fehily 2
    Jamie Codd 2
    Bryan Cooper 1
    Jack Kennedy 1
    Lisa O’Neill 1
    Tom Scudamore 1
    Denis O’Regan 1
    David Bass 1
    Robbie Power 1
    Richard Johnson 1

    Betbright Cup
    Great Britain 6 Ireland 8

     

  • 12:55
    The storylines going into Day Three are legion. Will Gordon Elliott's domination continue unchecked? When will Mullins and/or Walsh get on the board? Will Noel Fehily win the feature race for the third day in a row? Any sign of a Paul Nicholls winner at all, at all?
  • 13:10
    Rotten news for Mark Walsh, that.
  • 13:15

    Right, 20 minutes to post in the JLT Novices' Chase. Here's a betting check...
    Yorkhill 6/4
    Top Notch 7/2
    Disko 9/2
    Politologue 8/1
    Flying Angel 10/1
    20/1 Bar  

  • 13:20
    If this is where punters are going to start the comeback, Yorkhill will presumably be the point of the spear. A big, brutish hooligan of a horse, he does things his own way - to put it politely. He will have Top Notch for company here, a classy NIcky Henderson horse. Yorkhill has massive talent and should win but we've said that about a lot of races already this week.
  • 13:28
    Horses going down to the start
  • 13:30
    And they're away!
  • 13:31
    Balko Des Flos leads off in front. Ruby buries Yorkhill out the back, evereyone else bunched in between.
  • 13:32
    Balko Des Flos has company now in the shape of Disko and Kilcrea Vale. Yorkhill and Top Notch hugging the rail on the inside.
  • 13:32
    Kilcrea Vale leads with 10 to jump
  • 13:33
    Balko Des Flos retakes the lead with eight to go. Yorkhill and Top Notch still waiting to play their cards.
  • 13:33
    Baily Cloud falls! Yorkhill has to step around him.
  • 13:34
    Four to jump,  Balko Des Flos is down! Yorkhill has to step around him as well!
  • 13:34
    Kilcrea Vale and Disko lead ov er the third last, Top Notch and Yorkhill waiting to pounce
  • 13:34
    Yorkhill jumps to the front at the second last!
  • 13:35
    Over the last in front of Disko!
  • 13:35
    Top Notch coming back
  • 13:35
    But Yorkhill sees it out!
  • 13:37
    What an incident-packed race. Yorkhill had to skip around not one but two fallers and jumped to the front at the last before idling on the run-in. Top Notch came back at him up the hill but it only spurred Yorkhill on to the line.
  • 13:37
    "To me he has Gold Cup horse written all over him!" says Ruby Walsh of Yorkhill.
  • 13:38
    "Everything can't go your way all the time. That's sport." Ruby Walsh
  • 13:41
    That's another vintage ride from Ruby Walsh. The thing with Yorkhill is he's so headstrong when there are horses to pass but lazy as all hell when he has them in the rearview mirror. He takes such careful riding and Walsh saw him home again.
  • 13:48
    And just like that, the Festival takes on a far more familiar feel. Walsh, Mullins, a winning favourite. Funny enough, the bookies have gone diving for cover - Un De Sceaux has been cut to 15/8 for the Ryanair as a result.
  • 13:59

    Onto the next, the annual lottery of the Pertemps. A betting check...
    Jury Duty 8/1
    For Good Measure 9/1
    Impulsive Star 9/1
    Tobefair 11/1  
    Presenting Percy 10/1
    Rocklander 14/1
    El Bandit 14/1
    16/1 Bar  

  • 14:05
    Bit of a pin-sticker, this. There's a potentially fun story in Tobefair, a rags-to-who-knows-where horse owned by a pub syndicate in Wales. The shrewdies have been talking about Jury Duty for a couple of weeks and there's been some word for Impulsive Star. But it's a close-your-eyes job really.
  • 14:09
    Horses gone down to the start for the Pertemps...
  • 14:11
    And they're away...
  • 14:12
    There's 24 runners so it's fair bet that the winner won't get a mention here until late on. For what it's worth, Splash Of Ginge is leading them out in a rattling good gallop. Ballymalin and Sutton Manor are prominent too.
  • 14:13
    With eight to jump, it's Ballymalin, Splash Of Ginge and Arctic Gold. Jury Duty and Tobefair are up towards the front as well.
  • 14:14
    Of the horses at the top of the market, Jury Duty and Tobefair are staying up with the pace, ForGoodmeasure, Impulsive Star and Presenting Percy are biding their time towards the back.
  • 14:15
    Pace is rising, horses getting lost out the back. Iselofhopesanddreams is fading away.
  • 14:16
    Turning for home with two to jump, at least a dozen horses have chancesFingal Bay moves to the front, presenting Percy is coming, as is Sutton Manor.
  • 14:16
    Barney Dwan kicks for home off the final bend. Followed by Jury Duty and presenting Percy.
  • 14:17
    And here's Davy Russell on Presenting Percy! Away and gone up the hill.
  • 14:17
    Barney Dwan second, Jury Duty third, The Tourard Man is third.
  • 14:18
    So much for Davy Russell giving out about the British handicapper! He was complaining to anyone who'd listen about the mark he got here but he's just made light of it.
  • 14:19
    The same combination won this race on Mall Dini last year. Ridden by Davy Russell, trained by Pat Kelly, owned by Philip Reynolds, son of former Taoiseach Albert.
  • 14:21
  • 14:22
    Good luck to ITV getting much out of trainer Pat Kelly - a man of few, few words.
  • 14:35
    What a pleasure it is to watch these jockeys at work. Russell gave that another gorgeous, patient, waiting ride. Ride of the week competition is already fierce - Russsell and Walsh today, Jamie Codd in the bumper yesterday, Bryan Cooper in the mares' hurdle on Tuesday.  
  • 14:42
    Next up, the Ryanair Chase. Could be one of the races of the week, this.
    Un De Sceaux 15/8
    Empire Of Dirt 3/1
    Uxizandre 11/2
    Sub Lieutenant 8/1
    Josses Hill 10/1
    Vaniteux 18/1
    25/1 Bar
  • 14:45
    Juicy race in prospect here. Un De Sceaux versus Empire Of Dirt, Mullins v Elliott, Walsh v Cooper. Uxizandre has won this race before but it's two years ago now and he was off for a long time in between. Maybe Josses Hill can get involved but if the market is right, it's between the front two.
  • 14:48
    Horses down at the start...
  • 14:48
  • 14:50
    And they're away...
  • 14:51
    Uxizandre  leads them out over the first two fences. Sub Lieutenant in behind in second.
  • 14:52
    Josses Hill and  Un De Sceaux are third and fourth.  
  • 14:53
    Un De Sceuax is pulling Ruby's arms out and jumps to the front at the end of the first circuit. You have to imagine it isn't what walsh planned. Empire Of Dirt hanging out the back just now.
  • 14:54
    Un De Sceaux has built up a 10-length lead, stringing the field out. With eight to jump, he has  Uxizandre in behind. Empire Of Dirt being shaken up by Cooper at the back.
  • 14:55
    Four to jump, Un De Sceaux is tanking away in front,  Uxizandre chasing. Walsh goes for home - can he last?
  • 14:55
    Two to jump, still Un De Sceaux six lengths clear
  • 14:55
    Empire Of Dirt satying on
  • 14:55
    Un De Sceaux over the last
  • 14:56
    Up the hill and away and gone! Sub Lieutenant in second, Aso in third.
  • 14:58
    Whoosh! What a horse Un De Sceaux is. He did that all on his own. Screamed away, deciding to do what he wanted regardless of Ruby's intentions. That's a mighty performance.
  • 14:59
  • 15:00
    That's got to be nice for Willie Mullins, his first ever Ryanair Chase in the year Gigginstown Stud took 60 horses away from his yard in a row over training fees.  
  • 15:04
  • 15:26
    And the main event of the day is the Stayers Hurdle. It's all about Youknowhatimeanharry and Noel Fehily.
    Betting
    Youknowhatimeanharry 10/11
    Jezki 7
    Cole Harden 9/1
    Nichols Canyon 11/1
    Ballyoptic 14/1
    16/1 Bar
     
  • 15:29
    Horses down at the start...
  • 15:30
    Nobody has ever won the first three feature races of the festival - Noel Fehily has the chance to make history here.
  • 15:31
    And they're away...  
  • 15:31
    Cole Harden, Ballyoptic and L'il Rockerfeller leading them out.
  • 15:32
    Cole Harden isn't a bit shy about this - he's out in front and has the leading trio a good 12 lengths clear of the rest.  Youknowhatimeanharry is in midfield.
  • 15:33
    The strong pace will keep them all honest here anyway.  
  • 15:34
    Cole Harden, Ballyoptic and L'il Rockerfeller still out in front as they complete the first circuit.  Youknowhatimeanharry takes closer order as they head out for the second lap.
  • 15:34
    Six hurdles to jump, a long way to go. Cole Harden, the 2015 winner, still out in front.
  • 15:34
    Youknowhatimeanharry is in fourth, Fehily has had a dream passage so far.
  • 15:35
    Cole Harden going for it now, kicking on with three to jump. This will sort them out from here.  
  • 15:36
    GAvin Sheehan boots Cole Harden forward, L'il |Rockerfeller staying with him,  Youknowhatimeanharry travelling upsides.
  • 15:36
    One to jump, here comes  Youknowhatimeanharry. But Li'l Rockerfeller has got a jump on them all!
  • 15:37
    Youknowhatimeanharry jumps the last upsides! Nicheolls Canyon coming up on the rails!
  • 15:37
    And Nichols Canyon wins it!
  • 15:37
    Another creeping, subtle ride from Ruby Walsh! He was 4/1 for leading jockey this morning - now he's leading!
  • 15:39
    What a finish!  Youknowhatimeanharry had his chance, jumping the last on a par with L'il Rockerfeller. But out of nowhere, Nichols Canyon appeared to take it up the rails.
  • 15:39
  • 15:42
    Brilliant result for Nichols Canyon. This horse has been at nothing all season. He's always been a tough little horse, overlooked for sparklier names. But there was talk that he was coming back to himself over the past month and once Walsh chose him over Shaneshill, that gave some sort of hint.
  • 15:45
  • 15:58
    Onwards.
  • 16:01
    Next Up is the Brown Advisory Plate, a nice big chunky old handicap for everyone to puzzle over. A betting check...
    Diamond King 11/2  
    Starchitect 7/1
    Thomas Crapper 15/2
    Baron Alco 12/1
    Sizing Codelco 12/1
    Bouvreuil 12/1
    14/1 Bar  
  • 16:02
    16/1, 33/1, 12/1, 50/1 - The prices of the last four winners of this race. So who the hell knows, eh?
  • 16:11
    Surely time for an English winner here today. Thomas Crapper had a good win a fortnight ago that got him into this race so maybe there's angle there. Maybe something like Champagne At Tara at 25/1 could be worth a look.
  • 16:11
    And they're away...
  • 16:12
    A cavalry charge to the first. Cold March, Village Vic and Katachenko out in front.
  • 16:13
    They're going a frantic gamble and the field is strung out already. Diamond King and Starchitect are biding their time.
  • 16:13
    Ooof! Diamond King makes a big mistake at the back. Stayed standing but only just.
  • 16:14
    Cold March and Baron Alco in front as they go out onto the second circuit.
  • 16:14
    Road To Respect moves up on the oustide. Diamond King is hampered back in the field by a faller and is pulled up.
  • 16:15
    Baron Alco, Village Vic, Katechanko, Road To respect all prominent with four to jump.
  • 16:15
    Road To Respect is running a huge race for Noel meade and Bryan Cooper here. jumps to the front three out.
  • 16:16
    Road To Respect and Baron Alco have broken clear over the second last.  
  • 16:16
    And Cooper is away on Road To Respect!
  • 16:16
    Clear at the last and away up the hill.
  • 16:17
    Road To Respect the winner, Baron Alco second, Bouvreuil third.
  • 16:17
  • 16:18
    Fifth Irish winner of the day. And he absolutely bolted up!
  • 16:20
    Bryan Cooper could have been gone early in that race - he almost unseated at the first. But another great ride and he's got his second of the week.
  • 16:24
    Noel meade's first ever winner over fences at Cheltenham. Mad game.
  • 16:36
    Two races to go on Day Three. Irish-trained horses have five from five so far and it'll take an act of God for them not to make it six from six here.
  • 16:37
    The Mares' Novices hurdle betting...
    Let's Dance 6/5
    Airlie Beach 9/2
    La Bague Au Roi 11/1
    Forge Meadow 12/1
    14/1 Bar  
  • 16:50
    This is definitely a done deal for Let's Dance. Plenty of good judges thought she should have gone for the Neptune, which would make her a cut above these. But Airlie Beach is no donkey.
  • 16:51
    Horses down at the start...
  • 16:52
    And they're away!  
  • 16:53
    Airlie Beach takes them out with La Bague Au Roi close up behind her. Let's Dance is third from last.
  • 16:53
    Toe The Line has fallen on the flat - rotten luck for John Kiely.
  • 16:54
    Airlie Beach and  La Bague Au Roi are setting a big pace here. There's about 20 lengths from start to finish as a result.
  • 16:54
    Walsh still sitting quietly on Let's Dance at the back.
  • 16:55
    La Bague Au Roi and Airlie Beach at the head of affairs with Dusky Legend just in behind.
  • 16:56
    Tahira pushes on through over the second last. Barra is ranging up on the outside, Let's Dance making headway coming down to the last.
  • 16:56
    Here's Ruby!
  • 16:56
    Over the last in front, away and gone up the hill.
  • 16:56
    Barra in second for Bryan Coooper, Dusky Legend in third.
  • 16:57
    Simple game, this. A four-timer for Walsh and Mullins.
  • 16:59
  • 17:00
    "We're late to the party but we brought the music," says Rich Ricci.
  • 17:10
  • 17:13
    The last race of the day is the Kim Muir. No chance of Ruby making it a five-timer here - this one is for amateur jockeys. A betting check...
    Squouateur 9/2
    Mall Dini 13/2
    Southfield Royale 15/2
    Doctor harper 12/1
    What's Happening 12/1
    14/1 Bar  
  • 17:22
    Two classic plot horses at the head of the betting here. Mall Dini is the Pat Kelly horse that won the pertemps last year. Kelly already had a winner today with Presenting Percy and he has Katie Walsh on board for this one. Squouateur is a Gordon Elliott beast that was backed off the boards  for the Martin Pipe last year. Jamie Codd has the ride, which obviously helps.
  • 17:26
    “What a day, the horses ran well the first two days, they just weren’t winning. In previous years we were front-loaded and this year we were back-loaded, we knew we had great chances today and we think we have a couple tomorrow.”
    Ruby Walsh  
  • 17:28
    Horses going down to the start...
  • 17:31
    Getting dark at Prestbury Park - they'd want to get on with it
  • 17:32
    False start
  • 17:33
    And they're away...
  • 17:33
    Pendra leads them out over the first. Forgotten Gold, Sugar Barron, Southfield Royale all in close order.
  • 17:34
    Squouateur is well out the back, only a couple behind him. But Jamie Codd has won from there twice already this week.
  • 17:35
    Pendra still tanking away on the front end. Lessons In Milan upsides.
  • 17:35
    Southfield Royale is down! Brought Venetian De Mai down with him at that fence.
  • 17:36
    Pendra and Lessons In Milan untroubled at the front. Balbir Du Mathan joins them.  
  • 17:37
    Squouateur making a bit of headway as they pass the stands with a circuit left to go. Balbir Du Mathan out in front, Pendra and lessons In Milan still in touch.
  • 17:37
    Doomsday Book comes to join Balbir Du Matahn.
  • 17:38
    Mall Dini and  Squouateur are still biding their time here with Codd and walsh on board. The field is fairly strung out.
  • 17:38
    Five to jump and Doomsday Book is leading. Premier Bond looming up beside him, Forgottoen Gold and Pendra is still going.
  • 17:38
    Squouateur is down!
  • 17:39
    Pendra coming again here. Doomsday Book scooting down to the last alongside. Mall Dini has lots to do.
  • 17:39
    Pendra is clear coming to the last!
  • 17:39
    Potters Legend is closing fast up the hill!
  • 17:40
    Doomsday Book stays on up the hill and mugs Pendra on the line.  
  • 17:40
    A fantastic ride from Gina Andrews to scoot up the hill and reel in Derek O'Connor on Pendra.
  • 17:41
    Pendra looked hoome and hosed after the last. First Potters Legend came for him and then Doomsday Book found a gear with 100 yards to go. That's a 40/1 winner. And finally one on the board for Britain.
  • 17:42
  • 17:42
    A first festival win for trainer Stuart Edmonds. Poor old Pendra - the line was just too far away.
  • 17:44
    Scoreboard after Day Three

    Trainers
    Gordon Elliott 5
    Willie Mullins 4
    Nicky Henderson 3
    Pat Kelly 1
    Noel Meade 1
    David Pipe 1
    Alan Fleming 1
    Ben Pauling 1
    Jessica Harrington 1
    Henry De Bromhead 1
    Nick Williams 1
    Stuart Edmonds 1

    Jockeys
    Ruby Walsh 4
    Nico De Boinville 2
    Noel Fehily 2
    Jamie Codd 2
    Bryan Cooper 2
    Jack Kennedy 1
    Lisa O’Neill 1
    Tom Scudamore 1
    Denis O’Regan 1
    David Bass 1
    Robbie Power 1
    Richard Johnson 1
    Davy Russell 1
    Gina Andrews 1

    Betbright Cup
    Great Britain 7 Ireland 14