Cheltenham Festival 2018: Day Two

It's Champion Chase day at Prestbury Park with Altior and Douvan set to go toe to toe

Patrick Madden Wed, Mar 14
LIVE: Cheltenham Festival 2018: Day Two

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  • 12:18

    Good afternoon!

    Welcome to our coverage of the second day of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.

    Whisper it quietly, but a royal rumble is in the offing at Prestbury Park.

    In one corner, stands the unbeaten Altior. Oozing class and style, he is the heir to Sprinter Sacre's throne - Nicky Henderson's next great two-mile chaser.

    And in the other corner, stands Douvan. The aura of invincibility slipped last March, but after a year of recovery the horse who once looked unbeatable is back in business.

    Forget Ali v Frazier, Hagler v Hearns - this is the clash for the ages.

    And outside of a potentially vintage Champion Chase we also get to see the limitless Samcro tackle the hill for the first time, before Presenting Percy and Monalee slug it out in the RSA.

    Not bad for a dreary Wednesday.

    We'll be bringing you all of the action - here's to a good one.

    Come on!!!

  • 12:20
  • 12:28

    Today's offering:

    1.30 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
    2.10 RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase
    2.50 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle
    3.30 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
    4.10 Glenfarclas Chase
    4.50 Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
    5.30 Weatherbys Champion Bumper

  • 12:38

    Brian O'Connor is in the Cotswolds and you can read his Champion Chase preview HERE.

    And there's another shout for our all you need to know Cheltenham guide, which you can read HERE.

  • 12:46

    The home team are slightly ahead after the opening day of the Festival - Mister Whitaker gettiing up in the last to make it 4-3 in the Prestbury Cup.

    There was a hat-trick for Willie Mullins however - courtesy of Footpad, Benie Des Deaux and Rathvinde. He's two clear of Nicky Henderson in the race for the trainer's title - but Henderson took the Champion Hurdle through the classy, gutsy Buveur D'Air.

    Battle for the trainer's title:
    Willie Mullins 3
    Nicky Henderson 1
    Tom George 1
    Nick Williams 1
    Mick Channon 1

  • 12:49

    Meanwhile it was some return for Ruby Walsh, who delivered one of the rides of the day on the brilliant Footpad - before upsetting the odds-on Apple's Jade aboard Benie Des Deaux.  

    He's chosen to ride Douvan in the Champion Chase today - you get the feeling if he lands that one it would trump the rest quite comfortably.

    Jockey's table:
    Ruby Walsh 2
    Lizzie Kelly 1
    Noel Fehily 1
    Barry Geraghty 1
    Patrick Mullins 1
    Brian Hughes 1

  • 12:49
  • 12:56

    Yesterday our guest tipster Tony Keenan tipped Petit Mouchoir to beat Footpad - but was reprieved by selecting Shantou Flyer in the Ultima, who ran into second place at 14-1 to earn some nice each way money.

    You can see his tips for day two HERE.

  • 13:01
    Right then, 30 minutes until the off - first up it's the Ballymore.
  • 13:06

    1.30 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

    Samcro (G Elliott, J Kennedy) 4-5
    Next Destination (W Mullins, R Walsh) 4-1
    Black Op (T George, N Fehily) 11-1
    Duc Des Genievres (W Mullins, P Townend) 16-1
    Vision Des Flos (C Tizzard, R Power) 16-1
    Brahma Bull (W Mullins, D Mullins) 25-1
    Scarpeta (W Mullins, Danny Mullins) 33-1
    Gowiththeflow (B Pauling, D Jacob) 50-1
    BAR 66-1


  • 13:11

    All eyes on Samcro, then - many people's Irish banker of the week. Michael O'Leary might have talked him down but there's a sparkle in Gordon Elliott's eye when he speaks about the six-year-old.

    His last win, in Grade One company at Leopardstown, was special. Jack Kennedy just had to give him a squeeze and he glided home to win by five and a half lengths from  Duc Des Genievres.

    He's yet to have to get off the bridle, and if he matches the type he will be hard to beat today. Willie Mullins' Next Destination looks the main danger - he's unbeaten over hurdles this year and won a Grade One at Naas in January.

  • 13:21
    Michael O'Leary speaking to Matt Champman: "I had to watch you talking rubbish on the Morning Line all morning... now we're doomed to fail."
  • 13:26
    James Burgess hoping to bash the bookies today, got my wife and kids on samcro at 1.30
  • 13:26
    Gordon Elliott's stomach must be like a tumble dryer right now. Samcro lives up to the hype here and he's got a genuine superstar on his hands.
  • 13:29
    The horses are down at the start and having a mooch at the practice fence.
  • 13:30
    18-year-old Jack Kennedy on Samcro - they could be a serious duo over the next few years.
  • 13:30
    Samcro is going to go off odds-on.
  • 13:31
    They're off in the Ballymore!
  • 13:32
    Scarpeta and Gowiththeflow showing early on, Samcro on the outside back in midfield.
  • 13:32
    Gowiththeflow leads them over the third, Scarpeta and then Coolanly.
  • 13:33
    Black Op rattles the fourth and Samcro has a nervous moment following him over. Not getting it all his own way.
  • 13:33
    Six to go and they all pass the stands - Ahead of the Curve struggling at the back.
  • 13:34
    Gowiththeflow still leading dwon the back, followed by Scarpeta, Samcro handy enough in around fifth on the outside.
  • 13:34
    Four to go, same order.
  • 13:35
    Next Destination back in midfield on the rail, but they're well grouped.
  • 13:35
    Three to go, Gowiththeflow leads.
  • 13:36
    Samcro looming on the outside with two to go, Vision Des Flow moves into the lead.
  • 13:36
    Samcro crusising up on the outside.
  • 13:36
    Samcro leading up the hill.
  • 13:36
  • 13:39
    1 Samcro 8-11
    2 Black Op 8-1
    3 Next Destination 4-1
  • 13:41
    Ellliott went mad when Samcro passed the post there - and you can't blame him. The way Samcro loomed up on the outside and cleared up the hill was very impressive. He idled a bit up the hill over the last but Kennedy nursed him home with ease. Great run from Black Op in second.
  • 13:44
    A mighty roar greets the returning heroes in the parade ring. It won't be the last time Samcro and Jack Kennedy make their way back in victorious.
  • 13:45
  • 13:49
    Well, that was a nice start to the day. Next up, an intriguing RSA.
  • 13:52

    2.10 RSA Novices' Chase (3m)
    Presenting Percy (P Kelly, D Russell) 11-4
    Monalee (H De Bromhead, N Fehily) 7-2
    Black Corton (P Nicholls, B Frost) 15-2
    Dounikos (G Elliott, J Kennedy) 8-1
    Al Boum Photo (W Mullins, R Walsh) 8-1
    Elegant Escape(C Tizzard, H Cobden) 10-1
    Ballyoptic (N Twiston-Davies, S Twiston-Davies) 16-1

  • 13:58
    It has been an interesting season for the favourite Presenting Percy - he's ran over hurdles and fences, from 2m 4f through to 3m 5f - but he's shone in pretty much everything he's done. He ran a stormer last time out in the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park - coming a game second to Irish grand National winner and Gold Cup fancy Our Duke. He's versatile, and he's good.
  • 14:08
    Monalee is a very live danger to Presenting Percy, Henry De Bromhead's seven-year-old took a crashing fall when looking handy at Leopardstown in December but bounced back to win a Grade One at the same track in February - beating Al Boum Photo.
  • 14:09
    They're on their way down to the start in the RSA.
  • 14:11
    They're off in the RSA!
  • 14:11
    They're all over the first safely.
  • 14:12
    Elegant Escape showing from Black Corton early on.
  • 14:12
    Black Corton keen in front, Monalee on the outside in third. The front three have 5L on the rest.
  • 14:13
    Black Corton not particularly fluent up front. Davy Russell happily tucking Presenting Percy on the inside at the back.
  • 14:14
    Monalee is keen as well and he jumps upsides with Black Corton with 11 left to jump.
  • 14:14
    Nice jump from Black Corton, leading with nine to go.  
  • 14:15
    Bunched as they sweep past the stands.
  • 14:15
    Eight to go - Black Corton from Monalee who is still keen, Presenting Percy creeping up the inside.
  • 14:16
    Five to jump, Black Corton from Monalee.
  • 14:16
    presenting Percy creeping up on the inside still with four to go. Full Irish is beaten at the back.
  • 14:16
    Black Corton leads around the turn, Monalee travelling nicely in second.
  • 14:17
    Monalee leads with two to go, Presenting Percy sweeping up.
  • 14:17
    Presenting Percy taking on Monalee up front.
  • 14:17
    Presenting Percy pops the last.
  • 14:18
  • 14:19
    1 Presenting Percy 5-2
    2 Monalee 10-3
    3 Elegant Escape 9-1
  • 14:20
    Davy Russell: "I've underestimated this horse all along. He's unimpressive to me, but he's some horse."
  • 14:21
    Ruby Walsh is down after a crashnig fall at the last on Al Boum Photo.
  • 14:21
    Ruby is limping off the track.
  • 14:25
  • 14:34




  • 14:36
    Paul Townend is taking the ride on Max Dynamite in the next - the Coral Cup.
  • 14:37
    That news on Rugby has come from Rich Ricci - AP McCoy has spoken to Ted Welsh who says he's off to hospital for an x-ray.
  • 14:39

    2.50 Coral Cup (2m 5f)
    Max Dynamite 9-1
    William Henry 9-1
    Topofthegame 12-1
    Mount Mews 12-1
    Voix Du Reve 14-1
    Le Breuil 16-1
    Fixe Le Kap 18-1
    Burbank 18-1
    Barra 20-1
    As You Were 22-1
    River Frost 22-1
    Royal Vacation 22-1
    BAR 25-1

  • 14:41
    Fair play to anyone who unpicks the Coral Cup puzzle.  
  • 14:45
    That result in the RSA has had an effect for the Gold Cup betting, with Our Duke being shortened to a 9-2 joint favourite with Might Bite with some bookies. 9-2 might make it easier to look past Might Bite's qwirks.
  • 14:50
  • 14:50
    The runners are down at the start.
  • 14:51
    They're off in the Coral Cup!
  • 14:51
    Springtown Lake and Richard Johnson lead them over the first couple.
  • 14:52
    Dusky Legend is down, forcing Diamond King out of the race with him.
  • 14:52
    Eight to jump max Dynamite tucked away in midfield. Springtown Lake tanking along with a 2L lead.
  • 14:53
    Past the stands it's still Springtown Lake, Stowaway Magic and Royal Vacation tracking. Mount Mews handy on the inside.
  • 14:54
    As You Were dropping off. Five left Springtown Lake still leads.
  • 14:55
    Four out and Springtown Lake looking good up front from Stowaway Magic.
  • 14:55
    Very grouped with three to jump.
  • 14:56
    Stowaway Magic now moves past the hard-ridden Springtown Lake.
  • 14:56
    Topofthegame travelling nicely.
  • 14:56
    Topofthegame leads over the last.
  • 14:57
  • 14:59

    1 Bleu Berry 20-1
    2 Topofthegame 17-1
    3 Barra 18-1
    4 William Henry 7-1
    5 The Organist 22-1

  • 15:00
    That's a maiden Festival winner for Mark Walsh - who took the ride from Paul Townend who switched to Max Dynamite after Ruby's injury. It's a funny old game.
  • 15:02

    That's three Irish winners from three this morning - and a fourth of the Festival for Willie Mullins.

    Prestbury Cup: Ireland 6 UK 4

  • 15:04
    Right, nearly time for the big one - the Champion Chase.
  • 15:09

    3.30 Champion Chase (2m)
    Altior (N Henderson, N De Boinville) Evs
    Min (W Mullins, P Townend) 3-1
    Douvan (W Mullins, P Mullins) 5-1
    Politologue (P Nicholls, S Twiston-Davies) 16-1
    Special Tiara (H De Bromhead, N Fehily) 33-1
    Charbel(K Bailey, D Bass) 40-1
    Ar Mad (G Moore, J Moore) 66-1
    Gods Own (T George, P Brennan) 66-1
    Ordinary World (H De Bromhead, D Russell) 66-1

  • 15:19

    Nicky Henderson's Altior is undoubtedly the horse to beat here. He oozes class and is unbeaten in 12 over hurdles and fences - but today will be the biggest test of his career so far.

    Douvan was Altior's superior 12 months ago but he was well beaten in the Champion Chase and found later to be lame with a stress fracture of the pelvis. He hasn't been seen since but has clearly done enough at home to persuade Willie Mullins to pitch him against Altior here.

    It won't be a straightforward gunfight between those two however - Douvan's stablemate Min was top class at Leopardstown last month and looks to be coming into his own. Further down the betting the freewheeling Special Tiara looks to defend his crown.

    The injury to Ruby Walsh means Patrick Mullins takes the ride on Douvan - a free shot at making history.

  • 15:23
    AP McCoy: "If Douvan wins this will be Willie Mullins' greatest training performance."
  • 15:24
    They're going down for the big one.
  • 15:26
    Altior now odds-on in places.
  • 15:28
    The nine runners are out on the track. Here we go.
  • 15:30
    They're off in the Champion Chase!!!!
  • 15:31
    Ar Mad and Special Tiara show first with Douvan sitting in third.
  • 15:31
    Special Tiara going like the clappers up front. Douvan moving nicely in third. Altior upsides Politologue in midfield.
  • 15:32
    Special Tiara with a 6L lead until he clobbers one past the stands - but he keeps going.
  • 15:32
    Charbel has gone.
  • 15:32
    Douvan shadowing Special Tiara up front - he moves ahead with six to go.
  • 15:33
    Reminders for Altior back in midfield to keep him honest.
  • 15:33
    Four to go and Douvan leads from Special Tiara.
  • 15:33
  • 15:34
    Poilitilogue and Gods Own lead. Altior being worked on.
  • 15:34
    Politilogue leads two out.
  • 15:34
    Altior hard ridden in third! Min looking handy.
  • 15:34
    Min pings the second last.
  • 15:34
    here comes Altior.
  • 15:34
    Altior and Min.
  • 15:35
  • 15:36
    1 Altior Evs
    2 Min 5-2
    3 God's Own 40-1
  • 15:37
    All class from Altior - but Douvan was looking so good until he took that crashing fall. The question of who the best two-miler is still hasn't been properly answered. Douvan is up and so too Patrick Mullins.
  • 15:42

    Politilogue and then Min tried it on with Altior up the hill but neither were able to lay a glove on the champ in the end.

    Just can't help but think what might have been had Douvan stayed on his feet.

  • 15:42
  • 15:50
    Right then - now the fancy Dans have got their two-mile dash out of the way, it's time to go cross-country.
  • 15:57

    4.10 Cross Country Chase (3m 6f)
    Cause Of Causes (G Elliott, J Codd) 7-2
    The Last Samuri (K Bailey, D Bass) 5-1
    Tiger Roll (G Elliott, K Donoghue) 13-2
    Josies Orders (E Bolger, N Carberry) 8-1
    Auvergnat (E Bolger, M Walsh) 9-1
    Bless The Wings (G Elliott, D Russell) 10-1
    Urgent De Gregaine (E Clayeux, F D Giles) 16-1
    Hurricane Darwin (A Fleming, D O'Regan) 28-1
    Cantlow (E Bolger, E McInerney) 28-1
    Bar 40-1

  • 16:08
    Cause Of Causes is looking to defend his Cross Country crown and win at Cheltenham for a staggering fourth time. He would be a hugely popular winner for Gordon Elliott. The Last Samuri has had plenty of support and is now in to 5-1 for Kim Bailey.
  • 16:08
    The Last Samuri has now been smashed into 7-2 in places.
  • 16:09
    The runners are all down at the star - this will be a gruelling test.
  • 16:10
    They're off the Cross Country!!!
  • 16:11
    Actually, they're not. They're goign to have another go.
  • 16:11
    Standing start...they're off!
  • 16:12
    Everyone is safely over the first.
  • 16:12
    Beeves showing from The Last Samuri. Everyone smoothly over the first three.
  • 16:14
    Through five fences and everyone is still gouing. The Last Samuri making much of the early running - Jamie Codd being very patient on Cause Of Causes out the back.
  • 16:15
    20 fences to go and Cause Of Causes is the back marker.
  • 16:15
    Wow! Bless the Wings has gone and Cause Of Causes clatters him over the bank! Jamie Codd does well to keep him going.
  • 16:16
    Cantlow and Beeves the front pair with 14 to go - Cause Of Causes dead last.
  • 16:17
    Cause Of Causes is a mile off the pace now with 11 fences to go.
  • 16:18
    Beeves from The Last Samuri - still a circuit to go and Cause Of Causes is 6L off the main pack.
  • 16:18
    Cantlow and Tiger Roll both looking handy with six to go.
  • 16:19
    Cause Of Cause is being pulled up.
  • 16:19
    Beeves leads from Tiger Roll who looks very handy under Keith Donoghue.
  • 16:19
    Tiger Roll leads over the third last. He's tanking.
  • 16:20
    Tiger Roll leads up the hill, chased by  Urgent De Gregaine.
  • 16:20
  • 16:23
    1 Tiger Roll 7-1
    2  Urgent De Gregaine 16-1
    3 The Last Samuri 7-2
    4 Auvergnat 9-1
    5 Chic Name 150-1
  • 16:26
  • 16:34
    Leslie What price is Lizzie Kelly’s house
  • 16:36

    Lizzie Kelly is on Espirit De Somoza in the next, best price 16-1 with oddschecker.

  • 16:38

    4.50 Fred Winter handicap Hurdle
    Mitchouka 9-1
    Eradon De Chanay 10-1
    Look My Way 10-1
    Nube Negra 10-1
    The King Of May 11-1
    Lisp 12-1
    Style De Garde 14-1
    Act Of Valour 14-1
    Oxford Blu 16-1
    Espirit De Somoza 16-1
    Grand Sancy 18-1
    Turning Gold 20-1
    Knight Destroyer 25-1
    Mastermind 25-1
    BAR 28-1

  • 16:44
  • 16:49
    They're down at the start in the Fred Winter.
  • 16:50
    Mitchouka, Nube Negra, Look My Way and Eradon De Chaney now four-way favourites at 8-1.
  • 16:51
    They're off in the Fred Winter!
  • 16:52
    All 22 runners are over the first - going at a very decent clip.
  • 16:53
    Knight Destroyer leading from Eureu De Boulay but they're well bunched.
  • 16:53
    Knight Desroyer is down! Mitchouka hampered, Lisp also out of it.
  • 16:54
    The King Of May moves into the lead but still pleny with live chances.
  • 16:55
    King Of May leads with three to jump.
  • 16:55
    Nube Negra leads into the straight.
  • 16:56
  • 16:57
    1 Veneer of Charm 33-1
    2 Style De Garde 12-1
    3 Nube Negra 15-2
  • 17:00
    Latest Prestbury Cup standings: Ireland 8 UK 5
  • 17:06
    That's a hat-trick on th day for Gordon Elliott - Jack Kennedy showing his ability by guiding an odds-on Samcro home and then getting 33-1 shot Veneer Of Charm through the field and up the hill. Willie Mullins currently leads Gordon Elliott 4-3, but he's lost Ruby Walsh for the week.
  • 17:07
    Right, time for one last spin - it's the Bumper.
  • 17:12

    5.30 Champion Bumper (2m 1/2f)
    Rhinestone 6-1
    Blackbow 6-1
    Acey Milan 13-2
    Felix Desjy 8-1
    Carefully Selected 10-1
    Tornado Flyer 12-1
    Didtheyleaveyououtto 14-1
    Know The Score 20-1
    Thebannerkingrebel 25-1
    The Big Bite 25-1
    Mercy Me 25-1
    Crooks Peak 28-1
    Seddon 33-1
    Relegate 40-1
    50-1 BAR

  • 17:12
    It's been an Irish day, you wouldn't put it past Joseph O'Brien sneaking the last with Rhinestone.
  • 17:15
    Reports of a knee injury for Davy Russell, but he'll be back in the saddle tomorrow.
  • 17:25
    Rhinestone backed into 9-2...
  • 17:25
  • 17:29
    They're down at the start for the Bumper.
  • 17:32
    They're off in the last!
  • 17:32
    Carefully Selected handed a 5L lead by the starter.
  • 17:33
    Acey Milan follows the early leader at the head of a well-grouped bunch.
  • 17:34
    Carefully Selected still has a ncie lead down the back ahead of Acey Milan and Know The Score.
  • 17:35
    Up the hill and still Carefully Selected but he's being stalked. Rhinestone in midfield with 5f left to go.
  • 17:35
    Towards the home turn Acey Milan takes it up from Carefully Selected.
  • 17:36
    Tornado Flyer with a run.
  • 17:36
    Here comes Relegate!
  • 17:36
  • 17:39
    1 Relegate 25-1
    2 Carefully Selected 6-1
    3 Tornado Flyer 14-1
    4 Acey Milan 9-2

  • 17:39
  • 17:45
    Bit of good news for Ruby Walsh at the end of a difficult day as sister katie takes the Bumper - according to a family statement he has aggravated his previous injury and will see a consultant next week.
  • 17:57

    The latest trainer's table:

    Willie Mullins 5
    Gordon Elliott 3
    Nicky Henderson 2
    P Kelly 1
    T George 1
    Nick Williams 1
    Mick Channon 1

  • 18:01

    Latest jockey's table:

    R Walsh 2
    J Kennedy 2
    Lizzie Kelly 1
    Noel Fehily 1
    Barry Geraghty 1
    Patrick Mullins 1
    Brian Hughes 1
    Katie Walsh 1
    Mark Walsh 1
    Keith Donoghue 1
    Davy Russell 1
    N De Boinville 1

  • 18:02
    And the Prestbury Cup: Ireland 9 UK 5
  • 18:03

    Right, thanks for joining on a brilliant day. We got the pleasure to see a bonafide superstar in Altior, and two in the making in the form of Samcro and Presenting Percy.