An Irish day at the races
Lord Windermere eked out a nail-biting Gold Cup triumph to help Irish-trained runners depart with six of the seven races on an unforgettable last day of the Cheltenham Festival.
Davy Russell stole the show with a 3,926/1 treble, as the Jim Culloty-trained Lord Windermere survived a stewards' inquiry to prompt ecstatic scenes of celebration in the winner's circle as the most prized trophy in the game began its journey back to its spiritual home in north Cork. It was a first Irish victory in the race since War Of Attrition in 2006.
However, it was a day of high attrition in the Cotswolds.
Ruby Walsh faces two months on the sidelines after suffering a compound fracture to his right humerus in a crashing fall from Abbyssial in the Triumph Hurdle, while Daryl Jacob broke his knee, leg and elbow when thrown from Port Melon onto a hard surface before the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.
Paul Townend came off Adriana Des Mottes, and stood himself down before the Albert Bartlett due to a shoulder injury.
David Casey stepped in on Willie Mullins' string, and nearly ended up with a Gold Cup winner when On His Own forced a photo-finish and a stewards' inquiry. There was a further sting in the tail for Casey, as he got a seven-day ban and £1,300 fine for his use of the whip.
Mullins' Don Poli landed the conditional jockeys' race for Mikey Fogarty to ensure that he retained his Irish Independent leading trainers' award. SEEPAGES 48-51