Briar gives bookies plenty to cheer
Briar Hill had been available to back at 66/1 yesterday morning, possibly due to the perception that he was the second string at best, with Patrick opting for Union Dues instead.
That didn't stop him capping a 167/2 double for the trainer and owner Graham Wylie by galloping seven lengths clear of Regal Encore, the JP McManus-owned runner that was one of the joint-favourites along with Liz Doyle's eventual seventh Le Vent D'Antan.
Mullins admitted to being as surprised as everyone else by the result. "I thought one of the others might win it," he conceded. "I wasn't particularly pushed about bringing him over!"
On a day that Barry Geraghty joined Pat Taaffe as the most successful jockey in the history of the Queen Mother Champion Chase by cruising to a facile fifth win on Sprinter Sacre, 8/1 and 25/1 triumphs for Lord Windermere and Flaxen Flare meant that the combined odds of the four Irish-based winners came in at an eye-watering 19,772/1.
As had been the case on Tuesday, yesterday's attendance of 53,295 set a record since the meeting stretched to four days in 2005, though it was the bookies rather than the punters that emerged on top this time.
• There is an 8.0 precautionary inspection for the third day of the Festival.