Cheltenham Gold Cup Day: Rock the World ends Cheltenham on a high note for the Irish
Cheltenham 2017 ends with a 19-9 win for Ireland after the Jessica Harrington trained Rock the World collected the bumper.
Day 4 results:
- 1.30pm: Triumph Hurdle - Defi Du Seuil wins
- 2.10pm: County Hurdle - Arctic Fire wins
- 2.50pm: AB Novices Hurdle - Penhill wins
- 3.30pm: Gold Cup - Sizing John wins
- 4.10pm: Foxhunter Chase - Pacha Du Polder wins
- 4.50pm: Conditionals Hurdle - Champagne Classic wins
- 5.30pm: Grand Annual Chase - Rock the World wins
Update 5.35pm: Rock The World storms up the hill to win for jockey Robbie Power and Jessica Harrington adding to their Gold Cup success from earlier this afternoon.
Power charged through on Rock The World (10-1) to lead at the final fence and storm up the hill to win from Gardefort with Theinval third and Dandridge fourth.
It was Ireland's 19th win of the week to Great Britain's nine.
1 Rock The World (R M Power) 10-1
2 Gardefort (D A Jacob) 20-1
3 Theinval (J McGrath) 9-1
4 Dandridge (D N Russell) 13-2
Champagne Classic gave Gordon Elliott his sixth winner of the Cheltenham Festival when taking the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle under JJ Slevin.
Lizzie Kelly tried to make all on Coo Star Sivola, but the pack closed in two out with Champagne Classic well positioned.
The 12-1 shot, owned by Gigginstown House Stud, was in the lead at the last and went on to score by two and a quarter lengths from Verni, with Run For Dave, a stablemate of the winner, a length and a quarter back in third.
Coo Star Sivola stuck on for fourth.
Winning owner Michael O’Leary said: "I think that was miraculous as he’s probably the worst horse we own, but it will mean more to Gordon as this is a race he’s always wanted to win because he’s very close to Martin.
"When you buy in numbers there some are duds and he’s one of them! The jockey gave him a great ride.
"We should be very grateful and very humble, it’s great for Gordon and young JJ Slevin, he’s ridden a couple of winners for us."
Slevin said: "Michael might not think he’s much use, but he’s good enough for me.
"I was lucky the ride came up and I put a call in and got it, but then I got offered another ride and Gordon wouldn’t let me off him.
"He travelled everywhere, jumped every hurdle and was a winner all the way really.
"Gordon’s had an unbelievable week and it’s a privilege to ride for him."
Martin Pipe Hurdle (4.50) result
1 Champagne Classic (J J Slevin) 12-1
2 Verni (Thomas Cheesman) 25-1
3 Runfordave (D Meyler) 9-1
4 Coo Star Sivola (Lizzie Kelly) 13-2
Update 4.25pm: Pacha Du Polder and Wonderful Charm gave Paul Nicholls a one-two in the St James’s Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup as the Ditcheat trainer finally had his first winner of the week at the Cheltenham Festival.
Fifth under Victoria Pendleton 12 months ago, Bryony Frost took the reins this time and rode a confident race on the 10-year-old.
Balnaslow made a brave attempt to make all the running but Pacha Du Polder sneaked up his inside at the final fence and went on from there.
Wonderful Charm came from the clouds to take second place, beaten a neck, with Barrel Of Laughs another neck back in third and On The Fringe fourth after winning the race for the previous two years.
Nicholls said: "Everyone always expects plenty this week, it’s been an amazing week.
"Saphir Du Rheu in the Gold Cup (fifth) gave me an amazing buzz and for young Bryony to ride him like that is great.
"She’s Jimmy’s (Frost, Grand National winner) daughter and to give these young girls chances is great."
Frost said: "It’s hard to describe, it’s an unbelievable feeling.
"I’ve watched people ride winners here, but to actually be here in this enclosure is amazing.
"To jump the last and know you’re still travelling - and he tried all the way.
"I saw the head of Wonderful Charm and all I could think was ’don’t deny me today’.
"I couldn’t have asked for a better run, maybe a bit more forward but I’ve only been here once before and got a bit left at the start.
"This horse travelled, he jumped and he stayed on. He tried his heart out.
"Bangor was a lovely prep, he came here fresh and the connections filled me with confidence."
Foxhunter Chase (4.10) result
1 Pacha Du Polder (Miss B Frost) 16-1
2 Wonderful Charm (Ms K Walsh) 7-2
3 Barel Of Laughs (Mr Alex Edwards) 100-1
Update 3.40pm: Sizing John (7-1) roared up the famous hill to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup for trainer Jessica Harrington and jockey Robbie Power, beating Minella Rocco and Native River.
Given a patient ride by Robbie Power, the seven-year-old completed the English-Irish Gold Cup double in style to dispel any stamina doubts.
Djakadam travelled well for most of the race and looked as though he might end Willie Mullins’ hoodoo in the showpiece event, but Sizing John (7-1) pounced to lead between the final two fences.
So often in the shadow of Douvan over two miles, Sizing John kept on strongly up the hill to score by two and three-quarter lengths from the staying-on Minella Rocco (18-1).
Native River (7-2) was a short-head away in third and Djakadam - twice the runner-up - was fourth.
Owner Alan Potts said: "It’s unreal, it’s my dream and it’s come true.
Gold Cup (3.30) result
1 Sizing John (R M Power) 7-1
2 Minella Rocco (N D Fehily) 18-1
3 Native River (R Johnson) 7-2
Update 3pm: Penhill came from way off the pace to come out on top in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle as Ireland continue to dominate at Cheltenham.
Successful with Arctic Fire in the County Hurdle earlier on the card, Willie Mullins was winning his sixth race of the Festival and Paul Townend his second.
Ami Desbois did the donkey work to two out but there were soon just three vying for victory with Penhill, Monalee and Wholestone taking over.
The latter was the first to crack and try as Monalee could, Penhill (16-1) held the aces as he powered up the hill to win by three and a half lengths. Wholestone was four lengths away in third.
Townend said: "He’s a class horse, we kept him wide to get into a rhythm.
"I won on him over three miles at Christmas at Limerick on heavy ground and he saw it out really well."
Owner Tony Bloom, chairman of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club, said: "I’m over the moon for everyone involved, it was a great ride by Paul and it’s a brilliant horse we have here.
"He was looking good all the way and two out we were expecting him to win, his hurdling was a lot better than it has been and he’s got the pace.
"Racing over three miles has been the making of him, as it gives him more time for his jumping.
"I haven’t had many Cheltenham runners, so it is very exciting. I’ve brought a lot of friends and they’re all on at 16 and 20-1."
Mullins said: "It’s not a race that has been lucky for us. It’s been a great day for Paul with two winners. Penhill has class. We were trying to win with him over two miles, but he just couldn’t handle the pace of top-class races over two miles.
"We put him up to three and he did it easily at Christmas, then we said we would go for this race.
"He will go to Punchestown now and he is horse that could go back on the Flat. He could be a Melbourne Cup horse.
"Maybe he won’t be good enough when we go back and try the Flat but we will see. He has got a typical profile for the horses we manage going back to the Flat.
"They are just going two or three miles an hour slower over three and it just gives his brain time to work and get him in the right order jumping."
Henry de Bromhead said of Monalee: "I’m delighted with him, he ran a great race, we were just beaten by a battle-hardened horse unfortunately, and a very good horse.
"We’ll look forward to going over fences with him next season, that should be exciting.
"We’ll get him home and see how he is before we decide if he runs again."
Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (2.50) result
1 Penhill (P Townend) 16-1
2 Monalee (D J Mullins) 8-1
3 Wholestone (D A Jacob) 13-2
Update 2.20pm: Arctic Fire put up a terrific weight-carrying performance to give Willie Mullins a fifth Cheltenham Festival winner of the week in the Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle.
Runner-up in the 2015 Champion Hurdle, Arctie Fire (20-1) got up on the run to the line under Paul Townend to snatch the spoils.
Wakea held a clear lead up to the final flight where he was swallowed up by the pack, as Arctic Fire came through late to win by a neck from L’Ami Serge. Ozzie The Oscar was another neck away in third and Air Horse One fourth.
Townend said: "It’s some training performance to get him back after such a long absence.
"He had top weight but he had it for a reason and I went out with the mindset to ride him like the best horse and thankfully it paid off.
"Donagh (Meyler, on Wakea) had a big lead but it’s very hard to do round here, you don’t get that much of a lead without doing a hell of a lot.
"At that stage I had no choice but to drop in, there was nothing I could do about it."
Mullins said: "It’s a bit of a surprise for me, I fancied our other one, Renneti, as he’d been working well at home and I thought Arctic Fire could be a social runner!
"But he’s a class horse on his day, even with top weight he’d been dropped 6lb.
"He pulled so hard going down Paul dropped him right in, lucky enough he got a clear passage on the outside. It’s fantastic for Paul and Nick Peacock, the owner.
"He chipped a bone when I was getting him ready for last year’s Champion Hurdle and he has joint trouble all the time, he’s a bit like me getting out of bed on a morning.
"Donal, who rides him at home all the time, knows him inside out and he tells me when he’s right or not."
Nicky Henderson said of the narrow runner-up L’Ami Serge: "He ran a great race. We ran him in the race as soon as we knew Arctic Fire was going to go for it as we knew it would keep his weight down.
"He proved he can still do it after he ran a shocker at Fontwell in what was a funny old race. He is still a decent horse.
"Daryl Jacob gave him a wonderful ride as he needs to get there as late as possible.
"He will definitely run again this season. I think we might go to Ayr for the Scottish Champion Hurdle. It is a good handicap on a big track that will suit him. He deserves to get his head in front in one."
County Hurdle (2.10) result
1 Arctic Fire (P Townend) 20-1
2 L’Ami Serge (D A Jacob) 25-1
3 Ozzie The Oscar (T J O’Brien) 50-1
4 Air Horse One (N D Fehily) 10-1
Update 1.35pm: Defi Du Seuil took his 100% record over jumps to six with an impressive victory in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, the opening race on the last day of the Cheltenham Festival.
Champion jockey Richard Johnson always looked happy on the Philip Hobbs-trained gelding as Mega Fortune, Dinaria Des Obeaux and Evening Hush cut out the running.
Defi Du Seuil, wearing the first colours of owner JP McManus, cruised through to challenge at the second-last flight and was switched nearer to the stands rail.
The 5-2 favourite soon took command and pulled clear on the run-in to score by five lengths from Mega Fortune, who held Bapaume by a short head for second.
Johnson said: "I was a passenger all the way to be honest, he travelled and jumped.
"At Christmas he shocked me how much speed he had and on the better ground some people thought that was a negative.
"He’s just improved all year and I can’t believe he’s the same horse I rode at Ffos Las four or five months ago.
"All credit to Philip, he’s handled him brilliantly all year.
"He travelled so well and I was just trying not to get there too soon.
"I spoke to Barry (Geraghty), who would have ridden him, and it must be very hard for him watching, but he told me exactly how to ride him.
"It’s hard for juveniles to make the jump to the Champion Hurdle, but he’s not a typical juvenile as he’s not an ex-Flat horse."
Hobbs said: "That’s fantastic, he couldn’t have won any better.
"It’s a big relief as he’s been favourite all year - it’s great when it goes right.
"He travelled so well, we were so lucky to get him.
"He could go Champion Hurdle or Arkle next year, we’ll have to see."
- Triumph Hurdle (1.30) result:
- 1 Defi Du Seuil (R Johnson) 5-2 Fav
- 2 Mega Fortune (D N Russell) 7-1
- 3 Bapaume (R Walsh) 10-1
- 15 ran
Earlier: Can Ruby Walsh win the Gold Cup with Djakadam for Willie Mullins and continue yesterday’s excellent form of four winners?
We’ll keep you posted on all the results and news from Prestbury Park.