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Cheltenham Festival Day Three as it happened
For all the latest betting news, results, stories, reaction and a bit of craic, keep it with JOE’s live blog of Day Three of the Cheltenham Festival.

Right, that’s it for Day Three. It was a day dominated by favourites, with Riverside Theatre taking the Ryanair and Big Buck’s confirmed his legendary status with a fourth consecutive win in the World Hurdle.

The day started so well for Ireland with a romping win, and gamble, for Sir Des Champs in the Jewson and he looks to be a real class animal. Cape Tribulation took the Pertemps and the Byrne Plate, unusually, went to the favourite Salut Flo, as did the Kim Muir, landed by JP McManus’ Sunnyhillboy.

Tomorrow is final day with Kauto Star v Long Run in the Gold Cup. We'll see you back here tomorrow for all the action.


Pascha Bere took it. Niall came home in midfield on The Baler. He will be over the moon anyway. He better get back to the press box now and file some copy!


We're off in the Charity Race...


Some news from the course...


For what it’s worth Prince of Fire heads the betting at 2/1. The Baler is available at 16s. The race is 1m5f flat.


Now the final race of the day and while it isn’t really taken seriously by the either the bookies or the racing press, the charity race not only raises a lot of money for cancer research but it allows people to fulfil a dream of riding at the Festival.

Evening Herald racing correspondent Niall Cronin is one of those living out his dream right now. I spoke to Niall last month and he was so excited about this race that we have to support him. He rides a horse called The Baler, and he has won a few of the charity races before. I would love to see him do it again and the amount of work he has put in merits some reward.

Here's your full result for the Kim Muir;

1st     3 Sunnyhillboy     13-2 F
2nd     6 Becauseicouldntsee     9-1
3rd     2 Exmoor Ranger     33-1
4th     1 Up The Beat     8-1


Great race in the end and a few quid in the bank thanks to Becauseicouldntsee finishing second. It has been a good day here in JOE Towers.


Another favourite strikes! The bookies will be hurting. A fine run from the last saw him overtake Becauseicouldntsee, who led the whole way.


Great jump by Becauseicouldntsee at the head of affairs. Close run race up to now


In the race, by the way, not me. They're just circling close to the tape here, so this may take a while


Just about to go here...


Alan King's Midnight Appeal has been talked up by the yard and his form looks very good. May be worth a few quid at 10s.


Summery Justice has taken some money in. Started at 20/1 this morning, now at 10s. Venetia Williams is without a win this year so she may hit the target here.


Favourites have won the last three races today. An omen for Sunnyhillboy perhaps?


Top Irish hope is again a Mullins runner, Up The Beat. Son Patrick, a winner yesterday, is aboard but he does carry top weight. Because of that we think it could be a win for Becauseicouldntsee who has improved steadily and should like the going. You can get him at 12/1.


Right, the telly boys have knocked off but we're with you all the way to the finish.

Next up is the Kim Muir Chase, and this is one for the amateur rider. Sunnyhillboy leads the betting at 6/1 and as a horse that has placed at the Festival and in the Irish Grand National, Jonjo O'Neill's horse has some class.


Result of the Byrne Group Plate;

1. Salut Flo 9-2 Fav

2. The Cockney Mackem 10-1

3. Glam Gerry 33-1

4. Divers 8-1


The favourite, Salut Flo takes it. Led all the way, hit the fourth last hard but kept on. Crack Away Jack was disappointing. Hector's Choice hit a few and fell away. Full result will follow


Uh oh. Notus De La Tour fell there. So much for that gamble


And they're off in the 4.00


Divers also goes, and many seem to be putting some money on as they will AP McCoy to a first win. Notus De La Tur is now at 9s from 19s. Wow, could be one to watch.


Some money for The Cockney Mackem, now at 10s.


For what it's worth, Hector's Choice is getting our money just because we imagine Hector from the radio shouting at the telly like a lunatic. He has solid form over course and distance and at 10/1 he is worth an each-way look.


Salut Flo is the favourite at 6s but there are a bunch of horses all getting money in the ring. Weight probably rules out the Henderson Geraghty entry of Giorgio Quercus. Ruby and Nicholls could double up with VCrack Away Jack, a Fred Winter winner in the past. At 7/1 he has a shout.


Six diferent horses are tipped to win this in today's papers (Salut Flo, Niceonefrankie, Charingworth, Hector's Choice, The Cockney Mackem, Crack Away Jack).


Okay, hopefully Big Buck’s brought you some money in accumulators. He’s already as low as evens with some to win a fifth next year. Incredible.

Anyway, on to the Byrne Group Plate, a truly crazy race to try and pick a winner in.


Here's your World Hurdle result then:

1. Big Buck's 5-6 fav

2. Voler la Vedette 20-1

3. Smad Place 20-1


Oscar Whisky never featured so a lot of tipsters were wrong. Looking at the replay, Andrew Lynch did great work aboard Voler La Vedette. No wins yet but his rides on Sizing Europe yesterday and the runner-up today have been excellent.


Walsh calls the winner “amazing”. Nicholls just called him “awesome”. Just a super animal and the bookies will be hurting after he came in.


Hope you backed Smad Place, he took third, with Thousand Stars in fourth. Sweet 16 for Big Buck's though. What a horse he is.


Big Buck's does it again! He had to fight as Voler La Vedette came back and briefly led but Ruby coaxed another win from the champion.


Voler La Vedette a bit dettached. The rest all bunched up


We're off in the World Hurdle...


Smad Place is coming in in price. Does someone know something? Now at 25s from 33s if you want an each-way value bet.


The bookies really want to see Big Buck's beaten. He is in so many accumulators, inclding a huge amount with Quevega who held up her end earlier in the week. Some firms are reporting they have some £10,000 doubles on the pair. Yikes!


In all the excitement, we forgot to post up the full result of the Ryanair. Here it is...

1st     11 Riverside Theatre     7-2 F
2nd     1 Albertas Run      10-1
3rd     7 Medermit    8-1


Mourad, Voler La Vedette, So Young and Mikael D’Haguenet all go for Ireland but how the magnificent Big Buck’s goes is the only show in town in this race. A win would be an incredible achievement, while defeat would be shocking after such a long winning run.

Either way, this is gonna be a great race to watch. How long the favourite, now 4/5, idles in the middle of the race, as he usually does, will be key to watch. If he leaves it too long, others may strike. We’ve thought that before though about this horse...


Outside those three it is hard to see any contenders. They bet 8/11 Big Buck’s, 4/1 Oscar Whisky and 8/1 Thousand Stars.


Right the big race of the day is next, the World Hurdle. The stayers hurdle championship has been the domain of the mighty Big Bucks for the last three years and Nicholls charge goes for four-in-a-row here. But concerns over the form of Nicholls’ yard has led some to look elsewhere in this one.

The money is coming for Oscar Whisky, understandable considering you know who has trained it and who will be in the saddle. Irish hopes rest on Mullins’ Thousand Stars with Paul Townend.

Thousand Stars has been improving but can he beat Big Buck’s? It’s a big ask...


Henderson on the win: "You won't see a better race than that. That was some ride [from jockey barry Geraghty] to get it right."


Mike Tindall has just appeared on screen there. We could make a joke about jockeys and an incident in New Zealand but we're better than that here.


Henderson is now ahead of Paul Nicholls in the trainer championship. Incredible, and great credit to Geraghty who drove him past AP like, well, AP.


Another win for Barry Geraghty and Nicky Henderson. What a Festival for that pair.


What a race! Riverside Theatre finishes like a train to just pip Albertas Run, who was so brave and led most of the way. Medermit was a fantastic third.


Rubi Light looking well, Blazing Tempo has pulled out


Noble Prince looking far from good


We're off, this should be a cracker


Poquelin is out


Poquelin being examined at the line and Ruby has dismounted...


Just a reminder that the boss liked Medermit in his Ryanair Chase ante-post piece, and he picked Rock On Ruby for the Champion Hurdle.


We almost forgot about Albertas Run. A three-time Festival winner he has been off thre track since October but he loves this track and with AP still searching for a win, he could strike again. But we're sticking with Noble Prince.


With the confidence of picking an 18/1 winner coursing through our veins we will ‘re-invest’ some of our winnings in Noble Prince to win the Ryanair. Paul Nolan’s horse won the Jewson last year and we think he has a great shout of repeating here.

Somersby is also getting some money, and Rubi Light has claims too. Blazing Tempo will carry Ruby and she beat Noble Prince last time out. Winner of a Galway Plate too, she’s a bit of value at 16s.


Okay, the Ryanair is about to take off and this is one of the most intriguing races of the week. The big horse in the race is Riverside Theatre, part owned by actor Jimmy Nesbitt. With the dream team of Henderson and Geraghty involved too he leads the market at 4/1. But his only run at Cheltenham, in the 2010 Arkle, was not good and we just don't fancy him. WE seem to be in the minority though...


Full Pertemps Final result

1st     9 Cape Tribulation     14-1
2nd     12 Catch Me      14-1
3rd     18 Cantlow     33-1
4th     15 Houblon Des Obeaux     33-1


That was O'Regan first winner at Cheltenham in 66 races. Some of you may get paid for fifth, which was Reinder Dippin. Full SP to follow...


Cape Tribulation wins it. Your joyous correspondent had a few quid each way on him at 18s. Very nice return. Catch Me was second. Cantlow was third, Houblon Des Obeaux was fourth.

Great for Denis O'Regan to get a win after his bad fall on Tuesday.


Barwell Bridge looks to be struggling a bit with a lap to go.


We're off and Rick leads early


Right, we are close to the off here. It's three miles, with 24 runners, so this is a really enjoyable race to watch but we couldn't advise you to invest too much in this one. Bit of money for Barwell Bridge, now at 10s from 16s this morning. Sixth in this last year and expected to improve.

Buena Vista won this one for the last two years and was second in 2009. Carries six pounds more than last year though. Now 7/1.


Right, the Pertemps is up next, a devil of a race to pick a winner in. Favourites have a terrible record in this one so maybe avoid current leader Our Father and go for Buena Vista, who is getting a flood of money at the course. Both are Pipe horses and he does love a handicap.

Ruby’s on Sergeant Guib’s, another Mullins entry. We have six Irish in this but Sergeant Guib’s seems the best bet at 8s.

AP McCoy is winless so far so maybe he can strike on Edward O’Grady’s Catch Me at 12s. We also like the look of Cape Tribulation with Denis O’Regan in the saddle at 16s.

But this is a real puzzle so good luck with whatever you back in this one.


Michael O'Leary's post-race thougts: "We've been hitting the crossbar all week and it is nice to put one in the back of the net. It is very refreshing not to be looking at Nicky Henderson's bum!" Indeed.


"Definitely" was Mullins response when asked if Sir Des Champs would go for the Gold Cup next year. He's already in to 7s from 16/1 for the 2013 Gold Cup. Have to say it might be a good idea to get on now...


Already talking about Sir Des Champs as a Gold Cup horse. He skated home in the 2m4f we just watched and his jumping was superb. Very, very impressive run and win.


Here's the result of the opener. One in the book for Ireland and a lot of Irish pockets now have a few quid in them at last.

1st     10 Sir Des Champs      3-1
2nd     2 Champion Court      8-1
3rd     5 For Non Stop     8-1


Sir Des Champs romps home, a real classy run. Peddlers Cross never featured. A first win for Davy Russell and a win for Michael O'Leary on Ryanair day.


A circuit left, Zaynar and Champion Court lead as expected. Peddler's CRross and Sir Des Champs nicely placed.


And we're off in the Jewson. A lot of Irish money on Sir Des Champs, can he deliver?


World Hurdle supremo Big Buck's reportedly "asleep in his box" according to Paul Nicholls. Touch of the Usain Bolt about that story.


And if you think the Henderson/Geraghty team can keep up their phenomenal form, then Solix is the one to back, at 8/1. The fog has been mentioned again. It does look bad on the telly but we're being assured racing will be okay. Fingers crossed.


Irish hopes rest on Sir Des Champs. We won the race last year with Noble Prince, who goes again later today in the Ryanair, but the way our luck has been this year, this one may well go to GB again.

On The Morning Line this morning, obviously, Ted Walsh tipped up his son's mount, Paul Nicholls' Cristal Bonus. Yours at 6/1.


Okay 15 minutes to the off in the opener so let’s have a look at the Jewson. Peddler’s Cross is taking all the money, while Zaynar, third in the Champion Hurdle two years ago, is getting the each-way money. Pipe’s runner is now into 16s and worth a few euro we think.


Here's Joey Barton's Day Three tips. He has got two out of three right each day so far so the QPR man is worth listening to. On horses anyway.



A few more moves for you. Peddler's Cross is now in to 11/4 while Riverside Theatre is getting a flood of money, but not ours, and is now in to 7/2 from 11/2 this morning.


And here's a Mayo man representing, Joe Mellett from Swinford.


Margaret Connolly won the best dressed lady prize at Ladies Day yesterday. Here's what she's wearing today... we told you green was the colour of the day.


The fog has yet to lift at the course and it is getting worse according to those at the course. We have been assured that racing isn't under threat so no panic. Yet...


Speaking of Gigginstown, Michael O'Leary is the telly now talking about racing. This is Ryanair day after all. It's also 'St Patrick's Thursday' at the Festival. As far as we can ascertain, all that means is that lots of people are wearing green hats.


Here's our first tweet tip of the day, from Wexford's Red Barry. The horse he is referring to in the first is Sir Des Champs, trained by Willie Mllins and priced at 4/1. Davy Russell will be in the saddle and it looks to have a great chance.


Okay time for our first look at the market movers, to see where the money is going this morning. In the opener, the Jewson Novices’ Chase, the money is all for the favourite, Peddlers Cross. He swerved the Arkle for this and trainer Donald McCain is in fine form so his price is shortening all the time, in to 3s now from 4s in places this morning.

Pineau De Re, tipped by Pricewise in the Racing Post, is in from 22/1 to 14s in the Pertemps and Mathui is in to 20/1 in the Byrne Group Plate from 33s this morning.

There’s still lots of money out there it seems...


First up, a bit of housekeeping. Here's today's non-runners:

13:30     1 Bold Sir Brian (IRE),6 Imperial Shabra (IRE)
14:40     10 Realt Dubh (IRE)
15:20     2 Carlito Brigante (IRE),6 King Of The Night (GER)
16:00     3 Rebel Du Maquis (FR),4 Jack The Giant (IRE)
16:40     24 The Sawyer (BEL)


As always our man with the well thumbed Racing Post, Shane Breslin, has been studying the form and trying to make us all a bit of money on the Tote.

His Placepot selections have been very close these last two days but he assures me that his choices today are extra special. You can check them out here.

We also have all the inside info from the connections in all the big races for you here. Honestly, we’re spoiling you.


So, how we all doing today? We’re halfway through one of the best weeks of the year already and it has been a tough one for us Irish punters so far.

Just two Irish winners, both for Willie Mullins, so far but we have seen a lot of gambles fall just short. The good news is Irish jockeys are having a great time, and none more so than Meath’s Barry Geraghty. He has four winners already - he scooped all three Grade 1s yesterday - and he is on the favourite for what should be today’s best race, Riverside Theatre in the Ryanair Chase.

Today will also see Big Buck's try and win a remarkable 16th straight race in the World Hurdle and the day ends up with Irish amateur Niall Cronin riding in the charity race. You can get the full story behind Niall’s journey to a Festival ride here from my interview with him last month.

As always, if you have any tips please don’t hesitate to send them in. We recovered a little of our Hurricane Fly-related losses but a good day today would make tomorrow much more fun for all of us.

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