JOE's Cheltenham Day Three As It Happened
Missed how day Three at Cheltenham went? Here's how the racing unfolded.
4:56: Until the last race success for Ireland, it was England's day. The big race of the day was a thriller, as More Of That just held off Annie Power, and after the race the great Big Buck's was retired. The Ryanair went to favourite Dynaste, as did the Pertemps, won by the tightest of noses by Fingal Bay.
David Pipe and Jonjo O'Neill both had doubles on a day that many Irish punters would have suffered in. Tomorrow is the showpiece, the Gold Cup, and we'll be back to cover that and all the other action tomorrow.
Thanks for staying with us.
4:52: And that's Day Three done. The Cancer Research Charity race is still to come but Ladbrokes don't price up that amateur race so we will leave the blog here.
4:50: So at least we have an Irish winner. Great to see Roberto Goldback show all his old class to take third and Balnaslow stayed on well, after being hampered a bit by a loose horse, to place.
4:47: Lots of mistakes in the closing stages there but the win went to Jim Cullotty's Spring Heeled, who led from start to finish under Robbie McNamara. Indian Castle had a great shot but blundered badly at the last and Cause Of Causes was a battling second.
Here's the result.
1st 11 Spring Heeled (IRE) 12/1
2nd 8 Cause Of Causes (USA) 13/2
3rd 1 Roberto Goldback (IRE) 16/1
4th 13 Balnaslow (IRE) 9/1
4:43: One lap to go and all still standing
4:40: Great to see 12-year-old Roberto Goldback, with Sam Waley-Cohen in the saddle, getting a run. Okay, almost the off here in the last race of the day.
4:38: Seems to be money pouring in for everyone at this point. Lots of folks trying to make a few quid before the end of the day.
4:30: McCain has also won this race twice in the past (Cloudy Lane in 2007 and Ballabriggs in 2010) while favourites have placed in the last four runnings and won twice.
4:25: But this has been England's day so maybe the favourite, trained Donald McCain, Indian Castle, is worth a punt at 5/1. In the top two in every race this season, he looks the class of the race.
Perhaps the best bet for an Irish winner is Jim Cullotty's Spring Heeled. At 12s, it is a decent EW shot.
4:20: The big tip in this morning's papers was Balnaslow. Trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by son Patrick, it has a patchy record but it has gone from 10s to 8s as people search for an Irish winner.
4:18: Okay, about 20 minutes to to go to the Kim Muir, another monster handicap chase. We'll take you through the contenders in a mo.
4:14: Just to recap that one, Tap Night was pulled up about five from home, and the horse never really travelled all that well. Third Intention led for a bit but faded badly and to be honest, we never saw Sraid Padraig once. As soon as the full result comes in, we'll update you on where he finished.
4:10: Here's the result
1st 6 Ballynagour (IRE) 12/1
2nd 3 Colour Squadron (IRE) 5/1 f
3rd 7 Tatenen (FR) 33/1
4th 2 Johns Spirit (IRE) 9/1
4:08: Ballynagour won that one with ease, easily overcoming the favourite Colour Squadron who was given a great ride by AP. A double for David Pipe.
4:00: False start, the first of the meeting I think. Lot of nerves on the line
3:59: With 24 runners this could be action packed so we'll do our best to keep you posted during this one.
3:53: The big money has come for Colin Tizzard's Third Intention, who is in to 15/2 after being at 14s this morning.
3:50: The Irish challenge comes from Tony Martin's Sraid Padraig. Well fancied all winter, one win in November is only form line but it was impressive. However, the market is cold and he is out to 10s.
Hayley has tipped Tap Night, now 11s, and we hope that he is about to hit the top of his form. McCoy has picked Colour Squadron ahead of Tap Night but with two wrong picks so far, he couldn't have three could he?
3:47: Favourite is Colour Squadron. It was this morning but the win by Fingal Bay has seen even more money pile into this horse from the same yard, Phillip Hobbs. Only two horses carrying over 11 stone have won this in the last decade (Non So in 2006 and Mister McGoldrick in 2008) so we would have a small worry about the 11-1 that the favourite has to carry. But that didn't hamper Fingal Bay so...
3:45: Okay, Byrne Group Plate time. Lots of fancied runners in this so we will take you through them all in a mo.
3:42: Confirmation that Big Buck's has retired. What a legend. Enjoy the rest of a long life
3:40: More Of That is 4/1 to win the World Hurdle next year by the way.
3:39: And after that defeat it seems that 11-year-old Big Buck's' great run is over. If he never wins again, he is still one of the all-time greats of the sport.
3:33: Donn reckons that Annie Power wasn't struggling with the distance and was simply beaten by a better horse. We expect we will see these two battle it out many more times.
3:31: Rule The World was looking good but about two from home the tank emptied and the JP McManus runners and Annie Power zipped past. More Of That remains unbeaten and has to be one to be reckoned with for a few Festivals to some as he is only six.
3:28: Here's the result
1st 6 More Of That (IRE) 15/2
2nd 11 Annie Power (IRE) 11/8 f
3rd 1 At Fishers Cross (IRE) 9/1
3:26: More Of That takes it! Annie Power just hadn't got the speed near the end of the three miles. Another win for Barry Geraghty. Big Bucks was never really in it
3:18: Almost at the off here and Annie Power is almost into evens, 5/4, and the money is coming for Big Buck's too, at 7/2 now.
3:11: Two racing legends, JP and Jonjo, enjoying the craic today.
3:08: Away from the big two, there is value to be had. More Of That, unbeaten in four starts, is third in the betting at 9/1 and At Fishers Cross, runner up in the Cleeve Hurdle, is also at 9s.
We like Rule The World, the Mouse Morris trained entry, at 12s, who was second to The New One in last year's Neptune.
3:04: RTE just ran a trailer for an upcoming Colm Murray doc that will broadcast on St Patrick's Day. It looks great, and he is still greatly missed, especially during the Festival.
3: 02: Okay, 10 runners go to post in this stayers hurdle, and it should be an absolute cracker. It pits the one time king of this race, Big Buck's, winner of four on the bounce from 2009 to 2012, against the new pretender, potential super mare Annie Power. The latter is unbeaten and as an added twist, it will be ridden by Ruby Walsh, who piloted Big Buck's to all those victories. Yep, this has the makings of a movie alright.
14:53: Okay, not too long until the big one, the World Hurdle. Time for a quick cuppa and then we will be back to preview it for you.
2:51: TV reporting that Benefficient was pulled up before the last and that Al Ferof was walked back to the paddock. Hopefully both horses will be okay
2:49: Al Ferof, Hunt Ball and Boston Bob all finished strongly but just outside the top three.
2:47: Here's the result
1st 5 Dynaste (FR) 3/1 f
2nd 6 Hidden Cyclone (IRE) 10/1
3rd 11 Rajdhani Express 18/1
2:46: And it is Dynaste, a very classy run and powers home from the last. Looks to be the real deal. Benefficient was out of it two from home.
2:38: Right, they are at the start here. Best of luck. Last market move is Dynaste, who is in to 3/1 now.
2:36: Even Hunt Ball, a winner at the Festival in 2012, is in this one and can be backed at 18/1. This is a super-charged contest but we're sticking with Benefficient.
2:35: As I said, this race is stuffed with class. Al Ferof, a multiple big chase winner, is available at 11/2. Menorah, who loves Cheltenham, is 15/2 and Boston Bob, second in the Albert Bartlett in 2012, also goes and can be backed at 8s.
2:29: Right, let's go through the contenders. Dynaste is the favourite, at 10/3. Trained by David Pipe, the horse was woeful in the King George and hasn't been seen since. That's too much of a worry for us to invest.
Instead, we have plumped for Benefficient (9/2). This horse should be ridden by Bryan Coopr but his broken leg means that Davy Russell gets the ride on Tony Martin's charge. Winner of last year's Jewson, the win at Leopardstown in the Dial-a-Bet was impressive too. Okay, this race is a bit longer but we reckon he'll handle it just fine.
2:21: Won by such luminaries as Our Vic, Imperial Commander, Albertas Run (twice) and Cue Card this is always a really classy contest and the 2014 version is no exception.
The race is stuffed with big names who have had success at the Festival before and trying to parse the form is a hugely difficult task.
2:18: Okay, as we get our breath back after that contest, we have only 20 minutes until the first big one of the day, the Ryanair Chase. We'll preview it fully for you in a minute.
2:16: Just looking at the finish again and there was no more than a horse and a half between the top four. After three miles! Incredible race, and incredible win for Hobbs and Richard Johnson.
2:15: Here's the full result
1st 1 Fingal Bay (IRE) 9/2 f
2nd 2 Southfield Theatre (IRE) 20/1
3rd 10 Pineau De Re (FR) 33/1
4th 4 Trustan Times (IRE) 33/1
Jetson was fifth
2:13: Confirmed that Fingal Bay took it, by the smallest of margins. The favourite wins, such a rarity in this race.
2:11: The top weight Fingal Bay may JUST have taken the closest finish of the week from Southfield Theatre. Gone to a photo.
2:03: Donn McClean on RTE likes Seefood too. Hope is rising here in JOE Towers. The horses are at the start so best of luck, whatever you backed.
1:59: Personally we have gone for Seefood, and not just because we like a good play on words either. With Ruby aboard, this Dessie Hughes horse has a real shot and he beat Jetson handily enough at Leopardstown in December. I reckon the ground will be fine for him and at 16s, it is a great EW bet.
1:56: We know that Hayley likes Jessica Harrington's Jetson but the price is drifting out to 11/1 and there is money for If In Doubt (13/2), which would be a double for AP who rides it.
Josies Orders, another JP McManus horse, was well fancied in the run up and was many experts choice in the previews. The price has softened a bit today though, and the horse can be had at 12s.
1:50: Top weight in the Pertemps is Phillip Hobbs' Fingal Bay but that hasn't put punters off, with the price now into 5s, from 6s. The horse beat three or four of his rivals today on his only run this year, on heavy ground at Exeter, but we will stay away as favourites have a diabolical record in this one, with no wins for years
1:48: Okay, after our money taking a tumble at the first fence in that one (wonder if the delay at the start helped) we will approach the next one, the notoriously tricky Pertemps Final, with caution.
1: 40: Safe to say that was a big win for the bookies. We doubt many had money on the winner and the defeat of Felix Yonger will have sunk a lot of Mullins doubles and trebles
1:36: Here's the result
1st 8 Taquin Du Seuil (FR) 7/1
2nd 9 Uxizandre (FR) 33/1
3rd 2 Double Ross (IRE) 11/1
Felix Yonger held on for fourth
1:35: A first winner at the Festival for AP as McCoy powers Taquin Du Seuil to a fine win, besting Uxizandre by a head after a fine race.
1:31: Oscar Whiskey gone at the first. Taken down by Mozoltov I think. There goes our money...
1:30: Okay, they are lining up early for this one and Ted Walsh is correctly complaining about the delay. A similar problem happened in the Champion Chase yesterday. Hope they don't get too het up and handle the first few jumps calmly.
1:25: Squeezed in between those two is Wonderful Charm, who has never been outside the top two this season and many reckon he is primed for a big run today by Paul Nicholls. He's also priced at 5s. It looks liek the race will be between those three.
1:23: The big threat is Oscar Whiskey. Henderson and Geraghty are having yet another good festival and with his record around Cheltenham, he has to be fancied to be in the shake-up. The horse is currently available at 5s.
1:20: Okay, 12 go to post for the opener, the JLT Novices' Chase. Mullins and Walsh have had the winner of the opener for the first two days and they are looking for Felix Yonger to complete the hat-trick. So are the punters, who have the eight-year-old as the favourite, at 7/2.
1:15: Last bit of housekeeping is the non-runner list for today.
14:05 16 Lie Forrit
14:40 4 Cantlow
15:20 4 Mala Beach 12 Quevega
16:00 9 Carrickboy
16:40 12 Dursey Sound
1:12: Oh yes, and today is the unofficial 'St patrick's Day' at the Festival, so expect to see lots of this in your papers tomorrow, and on TV.
1:05: Before we get into previewing the JLT, have a gander at Hayley O'Connor's tips for the day. Hayley had a stormer yesterday, and she is very hot on Benefficient in the Ryanair. Don't say we didn't warn you.
1.00: Good afternoon and welcome to Day Three of Cheltenham 2014. How are you faring so far? We're doing okay, but not much better than that but Thursday of the Festival is shaping up to a good day for punters with lots of well priced horses in with a shout. A nice balance in the account before the final day would be very nice.
The big race of the day is the World Hurdle at 3.20, as Big Bucks aims to win a fifth title after a year out but the mare Annie Power is aiming to upset the party. That battle will be sensational.
We also have the very juicy Ryanair Chase at 2.40, a very tasty JLT (1.30) to open affairs and the Pertemps (2.05) and the Byrne Group Plate (4.00) are puzzling, and intriguing, handicaps.
Should be another great day.