Richard Forristal's race reads: Day 2
1.30 Diamond Jubilee
(Amateur riders) 4m
JT McNamara and Nina Carberry set out to make this a thorough test.
In the end, it was Carberry's mount Four Commanders that paid the price. When Mouse Morris' charge soared over the second-last, he looked sure to sail home, but lost a hind leg on landing over the final obstacle and wilted in the straight to finish third.
Teaforthree excelled under McNamara's decisive handling, digging deep to eventually prevail by a couple of lengths. The runner-up Harry The Viking had raced just off the pace on the inside and looked a real danger coming down the hill, but just couldn't get to the winner.
Allee Garde crashed out at the last fence down the back with a circuit to run, bringing down his stable-mate Soll. Daffern Seal, which had been nibbled at in the market, never got in a position to challenge under Robbie McNamara, while Our Victoria (fourth) failed to stay.
2.05 Grade One Neptune
Novices' Hurdle 2m 5f
Barry Geraghty settled Simonsig right in to begin with, but wasted little time in taking the race to the others when the pace slackened. The imposing grey travelled beautifully throughout, with one blunder at the sixth the only setback of any note.
When the early leader Fiulin began to tire at the top of the hill the last time, Cotton Mill was the one that assumed the lead, closely followed at that stage by Simonsig. When Cotton Mill hesitated badly and unshipped Denis O'Regan two-out, Monksland was one of the worst affected by the loose horse, leaving Geraghty with a free run home.
He proceeded to allow Simonsig cruise away, stretching seven lengths clear at the death to record an utterly emphatic victory. Felix Yonger came from a long way back to finish a clear second ahead of Monksland, which probably would have done better but for the incident two-out. After early mistakes, Sous Les Cieux was a never dangerous fifth.
2.40 Grade One RSA
A thrilling spectacle that finally set the Festival alight. Grands Crus, First Lieutenant and Bobs Worth eyeballed each other after landing over three-out, with hot favourite Grands Crus the first to crack, possibly not letting himself down on ground that was good enough for him.
Last year's Neptune hero First Lieutenant led out on the final circuit, after Join Together ran out of puff. He was in a commanding position, but Barry Geraghty excelled on Bobs Worth.
Having sat just off the early pace on the 2011 Albert Bartlett victor, he joined issue with First Lieutenant as they exited the back straight. Grands Crus had come through from the rear to snap at their heels by then, but it was First Lieutenant that edged ahead two-out.
Unlike last year though, when he had Rock On Ruby to aim at up the hill, this time he played the hare, and Bobs Worth collared him over the last to win decisively.
Walkon briefly threatened to play a part coming down the hill before proving one-paced, while Call The Police took third from the weakening Grands Crus on the climb home.
3.20 Grade One
This was a championship event that you couldn't take your eyes off for a moment, and it was marred a little by the fact that Sizing Europe seemed to suffer more by the omission of the last fence.
When Wishfull Thinking crashed out at that obstacle the first time round in spectacular fashion, it left Sizing Europe in front.
That in itself was no big deal, but when Andrew Lynch realised quite late on in the heat of battle that the fence was being bypassed, his momentum took more of a check than Finian's Rainbow's. Barry Geraghty had charted a wider course on the eventual winner, and thus was able to take a more direct line.
What difference the incident made to the result is difficult to say, but Sizing Europe had pinged the preceding fence and seemed full of running.
As it was, Finian's Rainbow was left with the initiative, which he seized to win by a length and a quarter.
The drama apart, both horses played their part in a real ding-dong from the third-last. Prior to Wishfull Thinking's exit, Kauto Stone fell at the first with Ruby Walsh.
Big Zeb never had the legs to keep with the first two. Still, he plugged on in his own time to finish clear of Gauvain and Realt Dubh in third.
4.00 Grade Three
Coral Cup (Handicap
Hurdle) 2m 5f
Despite his best efforts, Balgarry could never slip the field, and was swallowed up by a bundle of horses rounding the home bend.
The frustrating Get Me Out Of Here, taken down the inner and ridden patiently by AP McCoy, had travelled quite well throughout, but still ended up finishing second here for the third year in-a-row.
Jason Maguire had raced just in front of Get Me Out Of Here on the well-backed Son Of Flicka, and got a clear run to lead off the final turn. It was a decisive move that was the winning of the race.
At the top of the hill, Barry Geraghty travelled ominously well on Spirit River, but the horse was a spent force by the time he fell at the final hurdle.
Silverhand fared best of the raiders. He came through to finish quite strongly in fourth, though Carlito Brigante failed to make any impression before pulling up.
4.40 Grade Three
Fred Winter Juvenile
Handicap Hurdle 2m
One Cool Shabra led early on, but Kazlian took it up exiting the back straight and Tom Scudamore tried to stretch the field down the hill. However, they gave best after landing over the last, with Une Artist coming through to score.
While Arnaud had been bang there jumping the last, his legs gave out too, and it was the other Gigginstown Stud runner, Edeymi, that stayed on best under Davy Russell.
Both horses were settled at the rear early on, with Edeymi simply slower to get going when it mattered most.
He finished second and the length and three quarters that he was beaten was as close as he ever got to the front.
Vendor was one-paced in third, while Sportsmaster struggled to hold a decent early position en route to trailing home at the rear.
5.15 Grade One
Champagne Fever led from the start and fought off all-comers to cling on at the death.
It was a remarkable performance, as both Pique Sous and New Year's Eve laid down the gauntlet to him once they straightened for home.
Pique Sous initially looked as though he would be the one to pass his stable-mate, but faded as New Year's Eve picked up the baton on the inner.
Champagne Fever simply refused to yield. By the time the line came, he had broken New Year's Eve's heart, with Pique Sous very nearly grabbing second back off the English runner.
Moscow Mannon was a few lengths further back in fourth, while Jezki also ran well enough to finish eighth.