Cheltenham Day Three updates: Ruby Walsh caps great day for the Irish with four-timer

Latest: Let's Dance gave trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh a remarkable four-timer on day three of the Cheltenham Festival when taking her winning run to five in the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle.

  • 1.30pm: JLT Novices’ Chase - Yorkhill wins
  • 2.10pm: RSA Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle - Presenting Percy wins
  • 2.50pm: Ryanair Chase - Un De Sceaux wins
  • 3.30pm: Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle - Nichols Canyon wins
  • 4.10pm: Brown Advisory & Merrie Belle Stable Plate Handicap Chase - Road To Respect wins
  • 4.50pm: Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle - Let’s Dance wins
  • 5.30pm: Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase - Domesday Book wins

We'll keep you posted on all the results and news from Prestbury Park.

Update 5.50pm:

Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir (5.30) result

1 Domesday Book (Miss G Andrews) 40-1

2 Pendra (Mr Derek O’Connor) 16-1

3 Premier Bond (Mr S Waley-Cohen) 9-1

4 Potters Legend (Mr M Legg) 10-1

24 ran

Domesday Book sprang a 40-1 surprise for trainer Stuart Edmunds and jockey Gina Andrews in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase.

It looked as though Pendra was going to defy top weight when he held a three-length advantage at the last, but the burden took its toll up the hill.

Domesday Book responded to the urgings of his rider to get up close home and deny Pendra.

Premier Bond was third and Potters Legend fourth, as a clean sweep by Ireland of the races on day three was prevented.

Edmunds said: "It's unbelievable, it hasn't sunk in.

"I think it's as big a surprise to me as everyone else. He was recommended to me by a late friend who died a couple of weeks ago from Roger Brookhouse's.

"He ran OK at Leicester on his first run for me and we thought the further the better, so we put him in this and told Gina to be forceful on him and he just kept responding.

"I thought he was beat but she gave him a smack and he's always behind the bridle, the blinkers did their job.

"I came here thinking if he finished mid-div we'd do OK!"

Update 5.10pm:

Mares' Novices' Hurdle (4.50)

1 Let’s Dance (R Walsh) 11-8 Fav

2 Barra (B J Cooper) 12-1

3 Dusky Legend (Wayne Hutchinson) 20-1

16 ran

Let's Dance gave trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh a remarkable four-timer on day three of the Cheltenham Festival when taking her winning run to five in the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle.

Walsh oozed confidence on the 11-8 favourite as he kept the Rich Ricci-owned five-year-old towards the back of the field for most of the race.

Verdana Blue led into the straight from Barra but a big leap took Let's Dance to the front and she galloped on strongly up the hill to score by two and three-quarter lengths from Barra. Dusky Legend was a neck away in third.

Mullins said: "We thought this might be the weakest race she was in, even though the trip was short of her best.

"She could go back over a longer trip, she will in time, but when we saw the ratings, this was the race for her."

Ricci was celebrating his first winner of the week and said: "We're late to the party, but we've brought the music.

"First of all I'm delighted for the staff because there's a £50,000 bonus for them and that's about what the prize-money is, I'm delighted for the yard.

"She's a good mare. Joe Chambers (racing manager) deserves plenty of credit because when she was second to Ivanovich Gorbatov in her maiden last year he said 'why not just campaign her in Grade Ones and if we win great and if not she's still a novice'.

"She ran a great race in the Triumph last year.

"It's such a relief to get one, yesterday was tough (defeat of Douvan), it's been a brutal season but there's no future in history, you've got to keep looking forward.

"This game would tame a lion, it's up and down.

"It would be great to give Willie a Gold Cup with Djakadam tomorrow now."

Walsh said: "What a day, the horses ran well the first two days, they just weren't winning.

"In previous years we were front-loaded and this year we were back-loaded, we knew we had great chances today and we think we have a couple tomorrow

"We had a standing start and she dwelt a bit, I just couldn't lay up with them.

"In fairness her jumping was brilliant and got me into a nice position.

"She was always going to stay, our only worry was coming back in trip, she was always going to stay on.

"She's a very good filly with a nice future.

"It's been a super day for the Irish."

Update 4.20pm:

Brown Advisory Plate (4.10) result

1 Road To Respect (B J Cooper) 14-1

2 Baron Alco (J E Moore) 10-1

3 Bouvreuil (Sam Twiston-Davies) 10-1

4 Thomas Crapper (C Poste) 7-1

24 ran

Road To Respect recovered from a bad mistake at the first fence to run away with the Brown Advisory & Merribale Stable Plate Handicap Chase.

The six-year-old, trained by Noel Meade, stormed up the hill in the hands of Bryan Cooper to give owners Gigginstown House Stud their third Festival win of the week.

Baron Alco kept on well for second place, as Road To Respect (14-1) came home six lengths clear. Bouvreuil was a length and three-quarters back in third with Thomas Crapper fourth.

Update 3.40pm: It's a treble for Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins as Nichols Canyon wins the Stayers' Hurdle.

Ruby Walsh celebrates winning the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle on Nichols Canyon. Picture: PA

Walsh conjured an irresistible run from Nichols Canyon to deny the gallant Lil Rockerfeller in the feature race on the third afternoon of the Cheltenham Festival.

Completing a spectacular treble on the card for Walsh and trainer Willie Mullins, the 10-1 winner was produced with a strong run towards the rail to land the spoils for owner Graham Wylie, already a three-time race victor with the great Inglis Drever.

It was only his second attempt at three miles, but the seven-year-old showed he had no problem getting the trip.

He was held up in the early stages as 2015 winner Cole Harden set a strong pace that had the field well strung out.

When he faded out of contention Lil Rockerfeller set sail for home, but Nichols Canyon was produced to lead on the run-in and score by three-quarters of a length.

Unowhatimeanharry, the 5-6 favourite, was three and a half lengths away in third without ever looking like continuing his winning run.

Stayers' Hurdle (3.30) result

1 Nichols Canyon (R Walsh) 10-1

2 Lil Rockerfeller (T E Whelan) 33-1

3 Unowhatimeanharry (N D Fehily) 5-6 Fav

12 ran

Update 3.05pm Un De Sceaux put up a tremendous performance to win the Ryanair Chase and give trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh a big-race double on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival after taking the JLT Novices' Chase with Yorkhill.

    1st Un De Sceaux (R Walsh) 7-4 Fav

    2nd Sub Lieutenant (D J Mullins) 8-1

    3rd Aso (Charlie Deutsch) 40-1

Jockey Ruby Walsh on Un De Sceaux wins the Ryanair Chase during St Patrick's Thursday of the 2017 Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 16, 2017.

Walsh made a brave call to take Un De Sceaux to the front as early as the fifth fence as the horse was keen to get on with things.

From then on Un De Sceaux proceeded to put the opposition to the sword with a series of spectacular leaps.

Though Sub Lieutenant made inroads into the deficit on the run to the line, Un De Sceaux (7-4 favourite) was not for stopping and passed the post a length and a half clear. Aso was six lengths away in third.

Walsh said: "I was a passenger. I got him back at the first fence down the back, but he attacked and jumped and he stayed.

"The jump at the last was special. He's a cracking little horse and he's so consistent, he must be a joy to own, he's a little tiger.

"He wants soft ground at two miles which is why we went two and a half miles on better ground.

"It's been a tough year for Willie but he's taken it great, I've worked for him since I was 17 so could eulogise about him all day."

Update 2.25pm: Presenting Percy turned the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle into a procession as he gave trainer Pat Kelly and jockey Davy Russell back-to-back victories.

    1st Presenting Percy (D N Russell) 11-1

    2nd Barney Dwan (P J Brennan) 16-1

    3rd Jury Duty (J W Kennedy) 9-1

Mall Dini had struck for the same Irish team 12 months ago and Presenting Percy (11-1) followed up in devastating fashion.

Russell brought the six-year-old through the pack to lead before the final flight and storm up the hill to win from Barney Dawn, Jury Duty and The Tourard Man.

Russell said of the three-and-three-quarter-length winner: "To be honest the credit has to go to Pat Kelly, he's a master and he improved for the better ground and I'd like to apologise to Phil Smith (BHA handicapper), maybe he was right (to give him more weight that his official Irish rating).

"Probably 99 times out of 100 the handicapper does a good job, but I thought he'd been a bit harsh on him. Pat has obviously found improvement in him.

"I rode my luck a bit and jumped him off at the back, but he settled lovely and it all went well.

"I've been to a lot of sporting occasions, but this is the ultimate."

Update 1.50pm: Yorkhill gave trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh a belated first winner of this year's Cheltenham Festival when winning a dramatic race for the JLT Novices' Chase.

    1st Yorkhill (R Walsh) 6-4 Fav

    2nd Top Notch (D A Jacob) 7-2

    3rd Disko (B J Cooper) 4-1

Walsh had Graham Wylie's seven-year-old switched off at the back of the field as Balko Des Flos made the running.

16 March 2017; Yorkhill, with Ruby Walsh up, come home after winning the JLT Novices' Steeple Chase ahead of Top Notch, with Daryl Jacob up, during the Cheltenham Racing Festival at Prestbury Park in Cheltenham, England. Photo by Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Baily Cloud fell six out and badly hampered Flying Angel, and the complexion of the race changed even more when Balko Des Flos came down at the fourth-last with Yorkhill doing well to avoid him.

His exit saw Disko go on but Top Notch, Kilcrea Vale and Yorkhill were also bang there and it was the latter who showed his class.

Leading before the final fence, the 6-4 favourite had to be driven out to hold Top Notch by a length, with Disko three lengths away in third.

Walsh said: "There's been a lot of toing and froing about whether to go chasing or stay hurdling, but he's got Gold Cup horse written all over him and always had.

"People crab him because of his jumping, but he has a huge kink in him - people never realised the job Paul Nicholls did with Denman, because he was the same.

"Both are chestnuts by Presenting, the best ones all have a kink, he has a massive engine. He's brilliant.

"He slipped taking off at the first down the back and when he landed I thought 'your luck could be in today'.

"Everything can't go your way all the time and you have to prepare for that."

Mullins said: "To get on the board is huge. To get on the board in a Grade One is better. It's good for Ruby and the whole team.

"We've had a hard few days, but that's the way it is and we take what we can get."

He went on: "He was good, I'm wondering if he idled in front, as I thought he might go away. For a moment it looked like he might be coming back to them, but he held on.

"Ruby was great, he's not the easiest of rides and after the last few days I was wondering if he was too far behind, but you can't give him his head because if he passes one horse he wants to be in front, so he had to sit and suffer and wait for the gap.

"I've no doubt he's a Champion Hurdle horse and Ruby has no doubt he's a Gold Cup horse! Ruby thought he was a lot more settled this year than in the Neptune, so we'll maybe go down the Gold Cup route.

"It took Ruby a long time to pull him up which is a good sign in any horse.

"We're on the board now, so it's a big relief."

Wylie said: "Today he jumped magnificently, straight as a die, and he settled as well. He was nearly brought down, that was the only worry, he's as clever as Einstein that horse.

"Coming to the last if he jumped it I knew he'd win, although Top Notch ran a great race.

"I'm pleased the horse has done himself justice and I'm pleased for Ruby and Willie to give them their first winner."

Earlier: Bookies have had two strong days in Cheltenham so punters will be anxious to see some big names win on day three.

Here’s what we have to look forward to this afternoon.

KEYWORDS: sport, horse-racing.


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