It was the third day of Cheltenham and it was St Patricks Day. Last year it brought us some memorable moments with Frodon and Paisley Park winning in dramatic style. Hopefully, more world-class racing was to come!
Marsh Novices’ Chase – Samcro
The first race was a much-anticipated one with Faugheen the favourite at 3/1 with Paul Townend on board. Many were hoping that the 12-year-old would win, but he had tough competition from Samcro and Sticky Feet!
Faugheen showed he meant business as he leads right from the off. Power Play joined him up the top and going down the home straight on the first circuit the favourite was still in front. However, Faugheen and both Itchy Feet weren’t jumping very well and Itchy Feet unseated Gavin Sheehan.
Melon then moved passed Faugheen to take the lead and was jumping very well. Davy Russell was just behind with Samcro, keeping pace for the whole race. As they approached the final fence, Melon and Samcro jumped much better than Faugheen and pushed each other to the very end. It was extremely tight and Samcro won it on a photo finish by a nostril!
There were no fallers in this race except for Itchy Feet unseating.
Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle – Sire Du Berlais
A maximum field of 24 horses for the second race of the day. The odds were changing all day between Relegate, Welsh Saint and Storyteller. At the off, Relegate was the favourite at 5/1 with his two challengers at 11/2.
Relegate started at the back of the field as they set off with Burrows Park taking the lead. Over the third hurdle, Welsh Saint made a mistake as Relegate still sat at the back. The storyteller was in the middle of the field, sat next to last years winner Sire Du Berlais.
The 80/1 priced Kansas City was setting the pace for the field as they came round the final turn. Relegate started making a move for the front as the 80/1 still lead with two to go. As they hit the final furlong, Barry Geraghty and Davey Russell were battling it out on Sire Du Berlais and Storyteller. Barry Geraghty got himself another festival win beating Storyteller by half a length.
Unfortunately Copper Gone West sustained a leg injury and was put down after the race.
Ryanair Chase – Min
This Grade 1 race had the largest winnings of the day at £196,000. A Plus Tard was the 13/8 favourite but Min was priced at just 2/1 showing this was going to be a very tight race. Frodon was back to try and make it a Ryanair double with Bryony Frost on board at 11/2.
Like last year, Frodon went off the fastest and lead the field. Min was just behind whilst A Plus Tard sat in around fifth place seemingly happy to let the others get ahead of her. As they finished the first circuit Min took over from Frodon to lead, with Bryony Frost dropping back into the field.
Shattered Love was in second place as they came round the turn as Riders On The Storm fell. A Plus Tard made a late push but had let the gap get too big between Min. It was now between Min and Shattered Love and the horse trained by Willie Mullins was first over the line.
This was a huge win for Min who finally got its first Grade 1 victory.
The only faller of the race was Riders On The Storm.
Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle – Lisnagar Oscar
The shortest-priced favourite of the day was last year’s winner of this race Paisley Park. Some bookmakers had him priced at 8/13, with many debating how many lengths he would win by not if he would win at all!
The well-known Apples Jade went off from the start and drew away from the field by some distance. The 2018 winner of this race Penhill pulled up after the third flight due to going lame. Apple’s Jade kept moving at a good pace and increased the distance on the field.
With three out the field started to catch up on Apple’s Jade with Paisley Park staying very much in the middle. Aiden Coleman pushed Paisley Park with two to go, as Summerville Boy looked to attack. Bacardys was winning as they approached the last and then the 50/1 Lisnagar Oscar came from nowhere. They went on to win by two lengths, bringing in the biggest winner of the festival so far.
14 of the horses finished the race, with Penhill the only one to pull up.
Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase – Simply The Betts
23 horses entered this one with Clondaw Castle being the only non-runner. Simply The Betts being ridden by Gavin Sheehan was the 10/3 favourite who was looking to beat 17/2 priced Death Duty to the £62,000 prize.
Last years winner Siruh Du Lac was clearly confident of winning this one again as they pulled out to the front. Simply The Betts was a close second, not wanting to allow Lizzie Kelly to get too much of a lead early on.
As they came round the second circuit, La Bague Au Roi unseated rider Richard Johnson after a poor jump. With two to go Happy Diva now joined up in front to make it a clear three front runners as they approached the home straight. Going over the second last jump, Siruh Du Lac fell and unseated Lizzie Kelly which then also unseated James Best from Imperial Presence.
Going over the last it was now between the favourite and Happy Diva, and Gavin Sheehan got that bit extra out of Simply The Betts to win by a length and a half.
Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle – Concertista
The penultimate race of the day had 22 horses in it, battling it out to try and win £50,000. Minella Melody went off as the bookmakers favourite at 11/4, with Rachel Blackmore on board.
After everyone clearing the first fence, it was clear Minella Melody was going to try and lead from the front for the whole race. They took the early lead with Colreevy challenging at the front also. Concertista was in the middle of the field, not looking to make a move any time soon.
The field stayed together for the majority of the race with Minella Melody setting the pace whilst others tried to join her at the front. With one fence to go they were still leading, but now Concertista and Dolcita were making a move. As they jumped the final fence, Minella Melody seemed to be going backwards as the rest of the field caught up. It was between Dolcita and Concertista, and the latter powered ahead to win very convincingly after coming second last year.
There were no fallers but Anna Bunina and Red Archangel both pulled up.
Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase – Milan Native
The final race of day three was a 3 miles and two furlongs long race with 21 fences. There were two joint-favourites for the race in Champagne Platinum and Le Breuil, both priced at 5/1.
One Style and Cabaret Queen contested the lead early on in the race with the two favourites keeping back in the field. The field stayed fairly compacted as they went around with Milan Native staying mid-division for the majority of the race.
As they approached four out Milan Native moved towards the front with The Young Master unseating Mr Sam Waley. Two to go Kilfilum Cross and Milan Native were battling it out for the front spot. Milan Native though had enough to win by one and 3/4 lengths.
This race wasn’t the most successful of the day, there were two fallers, five pulled up and one unseated rider.