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Cheltenham Festival Day Two, as it happened
Day Two of Cheltenham had a bit of everything and an awful lot of success for Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty. This is how the day unfolded.

So that’s it for Day Two. The story is about two men and three horses. Barry Geraghty and Nicky Henderson combined to take the three Grade 1s today, a remarkable day for both.

The pair began with Simonsig romping home in the Neptune, followed it up with Bobs Worth denying Grands Crus in the RSA and then topped it off when Finian’s Rainbow outpaced Sizing Australia in a controversial finish to the Queen Mother. A stunning, unforgettable day for both men.

Henderson added another winner when Une Artiste took the Fred Winter. Ireland had just one winner, Willie Mullins’ Champagne Fever in the Bumper, and Wales nabbed one when Rebecca Curtis’ Teaforthree took the opener.

We’re back here tomorrow for the World Hurdle and the Ryanair Chase.  Thanks for staying with us.


Here's the Bumper result;

1st     1 Champagne Fever (IRE)     16-1
2nd     18 New Year's Eve     9-2 F
3rd     9 Pique Sous (FR)     12-1


Champagne Fever wins it for Ireland and Mullins. He had third too, with Pique Sous. New Year's Eve took second after a brave run but Champagne Fever was a great winner.


Here we go, the final race of the day...


Good news as Richard Johnson expected to be okay to ride tomorrow. Last race off in a few minutes...


As an Arsenal fan, I should be sticking a few quid on The Romford Pele. What Arsene Wenger wouldn't give for a 25-year-old Ray Parlour now... Anyway, you can back him at 33/1. The horse, not Parlour, who is probably at Cheltenham.


Usually you would look to Willie Mullins, winner of this race six times. He has two runners, with Ruby aboard Pique Sous and son Patrick Mullins on Champagne Fever.

But the favourite this time is New Year's Eve and guess who's in the saddle. Only Barry Geraghty. Henderson has managed four wins, can Barry match him? We think so so we stuck a few quid on him.


Well, that day has just flown by and we are already at the last race of the day, the Champion Bumper. Normally the preserve of us Irish, we have won 14 of the 19 runnings but the odds look stacked againt us this time.


Your Fred Winter result. If you backed Une Artiste fair play

1st     18 Une Artiste (FR)     40-1
2nd     4 Edeymi (IRE)     11-1
3rd     13 Vendor (FR)     3-1 F
4th     12 Kazlian (FR)     7-1


All this Henderson success makes Long Run look very appealing on Friday doesn't it?


Nicky Henderson strikes again, this time with 40/1 shot Une Artiste. Incredible. Geraghty wasn't aboard, his chance Soliwery pulled up early. Edeyemi was second for Tony Martin.


And they're off


Paul Nicholls has no idea how Ulck Du Lin will go. Has never run outside France. Not exactly inspiring confidence. Big gamble on Edeymi too for Tony Martin as Michael O'Leary looks for his first win.


Right folks the Fred Winter is next, a race the makes the Coral Cup seem easy. Alan King's Vendor leads the betting at 7/2, David Pipe's Kazlian looks dangeros at 7s while Willie Mullins and Ruby will be searching for a win with Gorgeous Sixty.

Top weight is One Cool Shabra, with a far too hefty 11-10 on his back. We've gone for Henderson and Geraghty to strike again on Soliwery and Ulck Du Lin for Paul Nicholls each way.


Quotes from the BBC about the last fence mess in the Queen Mother.

Head of stewarding William Nunneley: "There wasn't any need for us to have an inquiry [in the Queen Mother Champion Chase]. I know there was some confusion about where the chevrons were and the reason they were on the inside was to protect Richard Johnson on the other side of the fence.

"The jockeys might move round the fence, but if you get a loose horse it could easily jump it. The idea is, if the chevrons are there, hopefully if it [a loose horse] jumped it, it would jump it away from where the casualty is.

"The procedures are agreed with the racing department. You can't have a man with the flag on the track as you are putting him in danger. I'm sure, like anything, there are lessons to be learnt from this if needs be, but of paramount safety in a very short space of time was Richard Johnson and the medics treating him."

Now, that's cleared it all up, hasn't it?


Not exactly a great Festival for Ireland so far, unless your name is Barry Geraghty. No winner today yet and just one for the Festival so far. But we did pick up the Best Dressed Lady today, courtesy of Margaret Connolly. The fightback starts here.


Back down to earth for Barry Geraghty, literally, as his mount Spirit River fell at the last. The Meath man appears to be okay. He probably has enough adrenaline in his veins to not feel a thing.


The full result of the Coral Cup:

1st     Son of Flicka          16/1
2nd    Get Me Out of Here   6/1JF
3rd    Veiled                 25/1
4th     Silverhand          25/1


Poor old Get Me Out of Here is second again, having filled that same spot at the Festival during the last two years.


Son of Flicka takes it. Donald McCain and Jason Maguire again, the trainer-jockey combination who lifted the Supreme Novices Hurdle with Cinders and Ashes.


Balgarry, the well-backed joint-favourite, is trying to make every post a winning one here. Hard to win a race like this from the front...


Get Me Out of Here is now joint favourite at 6/1. He's had two seconds at the last two Festivals, and JP and the lads are backing him to go one better here. And they're off...


Couple of big gambles going on in the Coral Cup here, which is about a minute away from the off. Balgarry has been backed off the boards from an 8/1 opening price and is now 11/2 favourite, while Get Me Out of Here is now 7/1 second favourite. David Pipe's other one, Poole Master, is now 8/1.


Henry de Bromhead, trainer of Sizing Europe, interviewed on the box. Jockey Andrew Lynch told him "the last cost me the race". If that's true, then connections of Sizing Europe are £114,000 lighter in the pocket as a result.



Next up is the Coral Cup, always one of the most competitive races of the week. A total of 28 will go to post, and it's currently 8/1 the field, with Balgarry from the David Pipe yard leading the market.

Incidentally, Simonsig, Bobs Worth and Finian's Rainbow is an 87/1 treble in Grade 1 races for Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty. Add that to Sprinter Sacre's win in the Arkle, and it's four wins in six Grade 1 races at the meeting for the pair. Unbelievable.


Controversy reigns over the last fence debacle. Richard Johnson, who has been taken away in an ambulance but only with bruising we are told, was injured so the last fence was to be skipped but the jockeys seemed to be only notified very late and the stewards seemed unsure whether to allow the horses jump it or not until very late.

It didn’t affect the result of the race but it was dangerous and you wonder why they don’t have a decent system in place for this sort of thing.


On the day most associated with the royal family, it's typical a Meath man would dominate. Mark Ward noticed alright...


Here's the result of the Queen Mother;

1st     2 Finian's Rainbow (IRE)     4-1
2nd     7 Sizing Europe (IRE)     4-5 F
3rd     1 Big Zeb (IRE)     13-2


Big Zeb was nowhere


Oh Barry Gearghty and Nicky Henderson do it again! Finian's Rainbow wins, beating Sizing Europe in the run-in. The last fence was skipped as Richard Johnson was still injured. There was some confusion but I don't think anything would have stopped Finian's Rainbow. Another big name beaten.


Nasty fall as Wishfull Thinking sends Richard Johnson off the track and into some photographers...


Kauto Stone falls at the first. Ruby is okay


And we're off. Should be epic this.


Only one win from 10 races so far for Ireland. Time for Europe to deliver for Ireland. Sounds a bit like a referendum campaign slogan that. Don't even think about it Government!


Someone in the ring has put £3,000 each way on Gauvain at 33/1! Do they know something? The price is now in to 20s.


In heavy going in the Tied Cottage last month Sizing Europe blew Big Zeb away. Hard to ignore a result like that.


Oh, by the way, no action in JOE Towers on this one. After three consecutive second places, we are taking a break for this one. But if you twisted my arm, then a few euro would go on Kauto Stone to place. Maybe...


Big Zeb is drifting in the market badly. Now third in the betting at 6/1. No love for the Wexford horse. Boo!


Okay folks it has been a great days racing so far and here comes the highlight, the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

It pitches last year’s winner Sizing Europe against the 2010 winner Big Zeb. It looks like we should be guaranteed an Irish winner then unless Henderson and Geraghty strike again with Finian’s Rainbow.


The full RSA Chase result;

1st     1 Bobs Worth (IRE)     9-2
2nd     4 First Lieutenant (IRE)     9-2
3rd     2 Call The Police (IRE)     20-1


Bookie saved as Grands Crus doesn't have it. Bob's Worth does the business for Henderson/Geraghty again. First Lieutenant just short in the end but finished second. Call The Police was third. Great race and what a meeting for Barry Geraghty so far? An omen for Finian's Rainbow in the next maybe?


Mistake by Cannington Brook but all okay and upright. Grands Crus near the rear


We're off in the RSA


Denis O'Regan on his shocking fall in the last race off Cotton Mill.

"He travelled well enough, but as I approached the second-last he veered towards the left, ducked back out, and then ducked back in. Going as that speed, I wasn't able to stay on board." Miracle he is okay after that, wait til you see it tonight!


Two more bits for you. First Lieutenant beat Champion Hurdle winer Rock On Ruby here last year so that has to count for something.

And if you fancy a long shot, Cannington Brook at 33s is overpriced. Might be worth a euro or two each way.


Previous winners of this one are Arkle and Denman before going on to win the Gold Cup. That's obviously the plan for Grand Crus. Let's see eh?


Simonsig has hurt the bookies so they desperately want Grands Crus to lose. Reason enough to back him but he is skimpy enough now at 6/5. Bob Worth is next in the market at 9/2. Could Henderson and Geraghty strike again?

Or will another grey, Grands Crus, win again?

Our money is on Mouse Morris' First Lieutenant. We liked his build up and Mouse knows how to train them spot on for the Festival. Davy Russell was very positive this morning about him so that will do us.


Red Barry sums up the last race well


Money continues to pile on Grands Crus. Everyone says he's a machine but is he the best staying novice chaser? We'll soon know but David Pipe sounded very sure in today's press.


Geraghty now top jockey with two wins...


Here's your full Neptune result;

1 Simonsig 2-1F

2 Felix Yonger 16-1

3 Monksland 11-2

4 Close House 33-1


That's another win for Nicky Henderson, and with 41 wins, he is now the winningest trainer ever at Cheltenham.

Mullins' Felix Yonger was second and Noel Meade's Moonksland was third. Two races, two second places for me. Thankfully they were each ways so I am slowly, very slowly, clawing back that Hurricane Fly money from yesterday.


Simonsig delivers in some style, a very easy win for Barry Geraghty. Not as easy as Sprinter Sacre yesterday but close. Luckily Denis O'Regan is okay after his horse Cotton Mill refused at the seond last and flung him into the rails. Scary moment.


Going a fair lick here...


And we're off...


In the style of those Fernando Torres tweets, it has been pointed out that Wales, courtesy of Teaforthree, now has as many winners as Ireland. Surely we wll be back ahead tonight. And Nando might even bag one against Napoli


BBC are reporting somebody has stuck £80,000 on Simonsig. He's 2/1 now. Good lord that's madness.


More GAA tips, this time from Ben Brosnan. He has one in the bag already!


That said, I'm each way on one of Willies in this one, Felix Yonger. Ruby left this one for Paul Townend but we hink he a bit of value. We got him at 20s but he is 16s across the board now.

Ruby's on Sous Les Cieux, and he is now 11/2 and has a great chance of upsetting favourite Simonsig.


Right, onto the first Grade 1 of the day, the Neptune. There seems to have been a flood of money onto every horse with prices getting skinnier by the minute on all of them except for Mullins’ Make Your Mark. After having two more fallers in the opener, it seems the punters are deserting him.

And if any of you have Willie for top trainer, you have to be worried, right?


Some more advice, this time from Leitrim footballer Emelyn Mulligan


And here's the result of the first;

1st     18 Teaforthree (IRE)     5-1 F
2nd     10 Harry The Viking     7-1
3rd     9 Four Commanders (IRE)     10-1


Here's tip for the Fred Winter, courtesy of Diarmuid Clancy


Teaforthree wins it, Harry The Viking second, Four Commanders third and I think Our Victoria was fourth. We'll bring you the result when it is declared.


Harry the Viking in third


Still the same at the front, one circuit to go. State Benefit gone. Can't blame Joan Burton for that one.


Damn it Allee Garde gone too. Katie is fine


Soll and Katie Walsh is down. Lot of money gone there...


Twenty one fences left. Teaforthree and Four Commanders at the head of affairs early on. Mistake by Universal Soldier but he's still upright.


Okay folks, here go. Four miles in this one so strap in. And good luck


No big moves in the market in this one but Four Commmanders has shortened from 11s to 9/1. Irish faith lives!


Ben's Folly is out so 19 go to post in the opener. Eight minutes til the madness starts again...


And just a quick reminder to Man U lovers and haters. Alex Ferguson may be in Spain but he will be firing up his iPad, or getting some lackey to do it, so he can keep an eye on Harry The Viking, a horse he owns a share of. He's priced at 6/1 if you want to support the Scot in the first.


Sam Waley-Cohen, probably the only dentist/jocky in the world, is best known for piloting Long Run, as he will in Friday's Gold Cup. He has a ride in the opener today, aboard Alfie Spinner. A horse called Alfie Sherrin won yesterday if you're a superstitious sort.


The money in here is on two Irish each-way shots, Mouse Morris' Four Commanders and Willie Mullins' Allee Garde. With Ireland trailing GB 6-1 after day one, an Irish win would be welcome but Irish-trained winners have only won this race four times in the last 25 years. Stats eh? It's a four-mile test so settle in for a long race.


Right, let's start our look at the first, the Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Chase. The favourite is Rebecca Curtis' Teaforthree and you can still get on at 11/2. However, the big gamble is Soll, tipped up by Pricewise in the Racing Post this morning. He is in from 25s to 7s now.


Barry Geraghty talking on the telly and he is "very sweet" on Simonsig in the Neptune. He also says Finian's Rainbow is "flying" if you fancy him in the Queen Mother. Inside info.


The big non-runner news of the day is that Alan King's Batonnier, fancied by many, is out of Neptune.


Grands Crus now at 11/8. If you were thinking of getting on him for the RSA, go now!


In a quick look to Friday, 15 are declared for the Gold Cup, led, of course, by Kauto Star and Long Run.


And anyone who was wondering why the well fancied Steps To Fredom didn't show at all in the Supreme Novices now has an answer as Jessica Harrington confirms he was coughing after the race. He wasn't the only one, we weren't too pleased in JOE Towers at his run. At least we know


Trainer Paul Nicholls had £500 on his horse Rock On Ruby at 14/1 to win the Champion Hurdle yesterday. He is consequently seven grand richer today. Hope that cheers you all up...


Here's Joey Barton's treble for the day. He had two right yesterday only for Triolo D'Alene to trip him up in the last


Time for a quick run down of today’s three big races and how they are going in the market. In the Neptune Simonsig is on the drift, now 11/4 as money comes in for Monksland and Sous Les Cieux.

In the RSA money continues to pile into Grands Crus, who is now best priced at 5/4 and in the Queen Mother, Big Zeb is out to 5s as Sizing Europe solidifies as an odds-on favourite at around 10/11.


One man who will be at Cheltenham today is our own Shay Given but don't expect to the Donegal stopper to be giving out any tips


So we’re still well over an hour away from today’s action kicking off and the mood on Twitter seems to be still very sombre, especially among the Irish punters.

Hurricane Fly’s failure to fire in the Champion Hurdle has hurt a lot of us very deeply in the pocket so today seems to be a day for wound licking rather than attack.

Sizing Europe and Grands Crus are supposed to be today’s bankers but people’s confidence seems to be shaken by the no-show by Hurricane.


Okay before we get stuck in to the latest gambling news, some tips and what the Twittersphere is saying, here’s a few pointers from our man with a stubby pen tucked behind his ear, Shane Breslin.

Shane didn’t do too bad at all yesterday, and he picked Rock On Ruby for the Champion Hurdle, so you could do a lot worse than follow his advice. Here’s Shane’s Placepot selections for the Tote today and he is forecasting a big payout. You heard it here first.

We also have the best info from those involved with the biggest names today such as Big Zeb, Sizing Europe and Grands Crus, all compiled here so you don’t have to trawl through the papers. See how nice we are to you?


Good afternoon everybody and welcome to JOE's live blog of Day Two of the Cheltenham Festival. We plan to bring you all the latest news, market moves, results, advice, craic and reaction from the biggest National Hunt festival in the world each day. And hopefully a few more winners than yesterday!

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