CHELTENHAM 2014 FESTIVAL DIARY: DAY 4

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Updated: March 14, 2014

Fog again shrouded the course early on but had lifted by race time, although the mists were descending again as the last race got under way. Officially the going was Good with Good to Soft in places.

1330 JCB Triumph Hurdle (Juvenile Grade 1): Distance 2m 1 f: Fences 8: Runners 15

Ballyclasheen was declared a non runner for this race, where Pete Buchanan took the mount of Achtung as jockey C D Timmons failed a breathalyser test in the weighing room. The initial running saw Abbyssial, Guitar Pete, Kentucky Hyden and Plinth span the width of the field. A terrible fall by Abbyssial at the second caused jockey Ruby Walsh to sustain an injury high up his right arm, meaning the race meeting was now over for him.  Adriana Des Mottes was another fallen horse at the second. With three hurdles to go the head of the field found Plinth on the near side, Royal Irish Hussar on the outside and Guitar Pete. A long way from home before the second last obstacle, jockey D Jacobs lost his stirrups on Calipto placed just behind Guitar Pete, who at that point shaded it from Kentucky Hyden. Between the final two hurdles Rutherglen behind the group leaders seemed to display a nice turn of speed, but at the last it was Tiger Roll who took on Kentucky Hyden and Guitar Pete. Victory went to Tiger Roll at 10-1 by 3 ¼ lengths over Kentucky Hyden at 20-1 odds. 1 ¾ lengths behind second place Guitar Pete rode in at 7-1 and in fourth spot Calipto with jockey D Jacob lucky to still be on board.

Tiger Roll Romps Home

Tiger Roll Romps Home

1405 Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3): Distance 2m 1f: Fences 8: Runners 28

A slight delay occurred to enable a swap of jockeys for the Willie Mullins string of racers, due to the Ruby Walsh injury in the 1330. David Casey was given Walsh’s ride on Arctic Fire. In the early running we saw Master Of The Game, Strong Point and Cheltenian take to the front with Rainbow Peak and Barizan nearby. This remained the case going uphill with three to go, and at this point Lac Fontana and Tzora were positioned midfield. With one fence left Flaxen Flare was going very well on the outside but Strong Point had faded. At the final hurdle Montbazon and Arctic Fire were both in contention; however Lac Fontana having manoeuvred to the near side of Arctic Fire powered toward the line, winning by ½ a length at 11-1 defeating the 7-1 2F Arctic Fire. A length behind the second favourite Montbazon came in at 20-1 and 3 ¼ lengths later Diakali finished at 25-1.

Lac Fontana and Daryl Jacob

Lac Fontana and Daryl Jacob

1440 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1): Distance 3m: Fences 12: Runners 18

Blakemount was declared a non runner beforehand but the race suffered another withdrawal literally minutes before the due start. Port Melon; ridden by the 1405 winning jockey Daryl Jacob; got spooked on the cantor toward the start and ploughed into the railings. The crowd and a TV cameraman narrowly missed being taken out by the stricken horse, and Jacob went head first into the tarmac. Having fallen just inside the railings near the winners post, Daryl was given medical attention, and as a result the start was delayed by thirteen minutes. When the racing action finally began The Job Is Right and Kings Palace took the initiative with Masters Hill just behind the leaders. At the highest point of the course Urban Hymn and Deputy Dan had joined the front two and Captain Cutter was placed midfield. With six to jump Brior Hill fell but his deputy jockey David Casey (for Ruby Walsh) appeared unhurt. Two out Mosspark pulled up and Apache Jack had moved into second place. Deputy Dan slowed going into the final hurdle and Very Wood having pushed through the field took full advantage to romp home at 33-1 XXX lengths ahead of a tight second and third place. Deputy Dan at 10-1 took the runners up spot XXX lengths ahead of Apache at 20-1.

1520 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1): Distance 3m 2f 110y: Fences: 22: Runners 13

First Lieutenant was a non runner but Last Instalment did participate as the ground conditions suited the horse. Delayed by fifteen minutes because of the Daryl Jacob injury in the 1440, the Gold Cup had two false starts. Finally underway with Bobs Worth near the rear, Knockara Beau took to the front with On His Own, TeaForThree and Last Instalment strung out along side. With one circuit complete Lord Windermere was at the rear of the field. With nine to jump the front horses were positioned in line, On His Own, TeaForThree, Last Instalment and Cloudy Too. Last Instalment blundered badly with six to go and Knockara Beau was struggling. Bobs Worth was in sixth place going into the fourth last obstacle, and two jumps later he was in the second spot just behind Silviniaco Conti. On the last fence Lord Windermere having subtly moved through the field jumped positioned between On His Own and Silviniaco Conti. The home stretch beckoned and all the horses pulled hard with Silviniaco Conti veering to one side of the railings. The Giant Bolster was positioned on the opposite railing with On His Own alongside and Lord Windermere making up the trio fighting for the line. At the winning post Lord Windermere at 20-1 odds won by a short head over On His Own at 16-1. Only ¾ of a length behind them came The Giant Bolster at 14-1. A stewards inquiry investigated the final result but conceded that On His Own; sandwiched between The Giant Bolster and Lord Windermere; was not hampered enough to change the outcome.

Praises Be Lord Windermere

Praises Be Lord Windermere

1600 CGA Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup: Distance 3m 2f 110 y: Fences 22: Runners 24

The race began thirteen minutes late and Double Bank was a casualty of the first fence with Ockey De Neulliac going at the second. Carsonstown Boy took up the running almost immediately and remained in this position virtually until the end. Gale Force Oscar pulled up before twelve to go, and Made In Time and That’s Rhythm by this point, were up at the head of the field with Carsonstown Boy. At ten to go That’s Rhythm nearly fell and Tammys Hill switched off into the inside. Divine Intavention blundered at the fourth from last and tumbled to the ground on the second from home. Carsonstown Boy and Tammys Hill were joined at the final hurdle by On The Fringe and possibly Minella Stars. With the charge toward the winners post, Carsonstown Boy kept a small advantage but Tammys Hill stayed with him and took victory at 15-2 odds by 3 ¼ lengths.  Carsonstown Boy at 40-1 was a worthy second with 11-2 J2F On The Fringe 1 ¾ lengths behind Boy. Pearly Steps romped in five lengths behind The Fringe at 8-1 odds.

1640 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle: Distance 2m 4f 110y: Runners 24

Only six minutes late this race had a charged start which was allowed to stand, and by the fourth flight Vieux Lion Rouge  and The Disengager had the advantage over Dolatulo and One Lucky Lady. Open Day was losing ground rapidly with three to go but Urban De Sivola was travelling well. Thomas Crapper took full advantage of a decent position on the second last fence, running alongside Local Hero stationed marginally at the head of the field. On the last jump Don Poli (having joined the lead group), clipped the hedge giving Thomas Crapper a small advantage hitting the home straight. But at the line Don Poli had a 4 ½ length advantage to secure victory at 12-1. Thomas Crapper at 10-1 was second with Caid Du Berlais third at 9-1 just 1 ¼ lengths behind. Fourth spot went to the 33-1 Urbain De Sivola.

1715 Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup (Grade 3): Distance 2 m 110y: Runners 23

The last race of this years’ festival was not without incident. It began ten minutes late due to the horse Oscar Hill bolting before the start. He completed about five circuits of the track before being brought under control. Obviously the race couldn’t begin until the horse was secure, and as a result of his exploits Oscar Hill was withdrawn. When the chase finally got underway Passage Vendome fell at one of the earlier closely packed fences, and Changing The Guard was in third place. But the distance between first and last place of the field was about thirty lengths, as Next Sensation streaked to the front. By the top of the hill Next Sensation was around fifteen lengths ahead, although gradually the distance reduced as the race progressed to the finish. At the second last fence Claret Cloak and Anquetta had joined Next Sensation, but Claret Cloak made a mistake at the last. With the home straight ahead, Savello and Ned Buntline had added the pressure to Claret Cloak and Next Sensation.  All four demonstrated tremendous form and stamina, but at the line there could only be one winner. A 1 ¼ length victory went to 16-1 Savello and literally a neck separated the next three horses. Ned Buntline 6-1JF was second, Claret Cloak 6-1JF third and Next Sensation an incredible fourth at 7-1. Having shown blistering pace through the whole race, Next Sensation did incredibly well to hang on to be in contention. And the distance between fourth and first wasn’t all that much in the end.

All image credits to @Channel4Racing

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