Richard Forristal's day 4 Race Reads
Richard Forristal's guide to day 4 at Cheltenham.
1.30 Grade 1 JCB Triumph Hurdle 2m 1f
Abbyssial fell when in front at the second and brought down Adriana Des Mottes in a horrible incident. Guitar Pete, Royal Irish Hussar, Kentucky Hyden and Plinth then vied for the lead, as Davy Russell tracked them aboard Tiger Roll.
His mount travelled smoothly and Russell eased him to the front at the last flight to win with some authority. Kentucky Hyden kept at it all the way to hold on for second from Guitar Pete and Calipto. After his stirrup leather snapped two-out, Daryl Jacob was forced to kick his feet out of the irons on Calipto, which compromised his chance. He was running well at the time.
Royal Irish Hussar didn't get home, tiring into sixth, while Rutherglen stayed on from the middle for fifth. Broughton never got into it before finishing down the field.
2.05 GRADE 3 VINCENT O'BRIEN
HANDICAP HURDLE 2M 1F
Jacob couldn't catch a break all week, yet he rode Lac Fontana with remarkable confidence and patience from just off the pace. He had to niggle his mount to hold his position down the hill and came wide for a run, but he never went for him until 50 yards from the line.
They duly foiled Arctic Fire, on which David Casey had posted a similarly nuanced ride. He too delayed his run until after the last only to be foiled by Jacob's even more daring turn by half a length. Montbazon played the hare, and ran admirably in third with Diakali fourth.
There was an array of horses in with chances turning in, so the handicapper got this pretty right. Cheltenian sat on the heels of the pace-setting Master Of The Game, but was spent when pulled up before the last. Flaxen Flare was a one-paced fifth.
2.40 Grade 1 Albert Bartlett
Novices' Hurdle 3m
Port Mellon was withdrawn at the start after crashing through a rail and hurling Jacob to the floor. There was no hurry on the leaders once the race finally got underway nearly 15 minutes late. Kings Palace cut out a lot of the running and took a tired fall at the last.
Paul Carberry was at his sublime best on Very Wood. He settled him in and got him jumping, and then pounced on Deputy Dan after the last before drawing away up the hill. It was a good performance from the horse as well, with three miles on good ground obviously the key.
Deputy Dan looked as if he would have kept going when he hit the front, but lacked a gear on this ground. Apache Jack travelled nicely en route to a one-paced fourth, while Briar Hill and Rydon Pines crashed out down the back the last time, before the race had begun in earnest.
3.20 GRADE 1 CHELTENHAM
GOLD CUP CHASE 3M 2F
The stewards had a difficult job to do with so much going on in the straight. In edging to his right under pressure up the hill,
Lord Windermere impeded On His Own, which consequently impeded The Giant Bolster. There was only a short-head in it at the line and On His Own was gaining again, so the stewards' decision would have been contentious either way.
They gave the winner the benefit of the doubt. By the letter of the law, that may have been harsh on the runner-up, but Lord Windermere had got to the front on merit and would still likely have won if he had run straight. It was probably the correct decision by the stewards.
Davy Russell had his whip in the correct hand, and was brilliant from the start. He sat stone-last off a strong pace to the point that he was nearly detached. Lord Windermere was in a position to challenge after the third-last, and launched a sustained burst up the hill.
On His Own had swapped the lead from the start with Teaforthree and Last Instalment. It was a messy race in that sense, and Last Instalment struggled on the ground once the pace cranked up, unseating six-out when going backwards.
Teaforthree also got outclassed, but On His Own refused to yield. He kept coming back but just couldn't get past Lord Windermere. The Giant Bolster again ran a blinder to be third.
He had also come through from the rear, and Cheltenham clearly brings out the best in him, as it usually does Bobs Worth. Racing on the far side away from the first three, he nearly dropped Barry Geraghty when he lunged bizarrely to his left halfway up the run-in. He didn't find as much as he usually does, eventually finishing a couple of lengths behind the fourth, Silviniaco Conti. Having led from four-out and pinged the last in front, Noel Fehily's mount ran a brilliant race. He just wasn't good enough, nor Lyreen Legend.
Dessie Hughes' charge came there travelling ominously well on the turn for home, but a mistake two-out knocked the wind out of his sails. Triolo D'Alene got a bump two-out when he was just in behind, but it didn't make a material difference. He was outclassed in 10th.
4.0 CGA FOXHUNTER CHASE
CHALLENGE CUP 3M 2F
James Smyth did a fantastic job here, coaxing Tammys Hill home without asking him to do any more than was absolutely necessary. He had covered his mount up early on, and brought him through to lead five out, when he touched down alongside Made In Time.
Nina Carberry took her time on On The Fringe. She came there with every chance and did everything right, but for the second time in a row On The Fringe didn't see his race out.
He even got caught by the pace-setting Carsonstown Boy for second, as Tammys Hill prevailed by a couple of lengths with a bit to spare. He was by far the best horse in the race.
Carsonstown Boy ran his heart out from the front, while Oscar Delta struggled all the way on the ground. Made In Time pulled his way to the front and was tiring when he fell at the last.
4.40 MARTIN PIPE CONDITIONAL
JOCKEYS' H'CAP HURDLE 2M 5F
Mikey Fogarty brought Don Poli through to challenge on the home turn. He had dropped right out and looked for a time as though he was struggling to get into a position to challenge.
However, Don Poli found his feet, and came there with a telling run between Thomas Crapper and Local Hero. He won going away in the manner of a really smart horse.
Thomas Crapper was an honest second, with Caid Du Berlais failing to sustain his run in third. Local Hero also wilted, while Urbain De Sivola stayed for fourth from the rear.
5.15 GRADE 3 JOHNNY
HENDERSON GRAND ANNUAL
HANDICAP CHASE 2M 1F
Next Sensation set a searching gallop clear of the field, with Raya Star an early casualty and Competitive Edge then departing four-out. The pack closed in at the bottom of the hill, and Russell again timed his run beautifully on Savello.
They led 50 yards from the line to just hold off Ned Buntline, which also came through from the rear. Claret Cloak blundered badly two-out but kept on for third, with Next Sensation fourth.
Given the early fractions that he set, it was some effort from him, as he was still in front when they crossed two-out. Oiseau De Nuit fell there when beaten.