Sunday 24 March 2019

Tiger's roar gives bookies a battering on windswept day

Anna Pribylova, Charlotte Hamilton and Jennifer Wrynne
Anna Pribylova, Charlotte Hamilton and Jennifer Wrynne
Hats the way to go: Zara Tindall, Queen Elizabeth’s grand-daughter, and Chanelle McCoy, wife of Tony, enjoy their day. PHOTO: PA wire

Ian Begley at Cheltenham

Well-dressed ladies held on to their hats as gale-force winds dominated the second day of Cheltenham.

With an added splash of colour to Prestbury Park, Ladies Day saw Irish jockeys and racing fans come out on top, promptly wiping the smiles off the faces of bookmakers who had given punters a battering on Tuesday.

Arguably, the most memorable part of the day came when Gordon Elliott's Tiger Roll destroyed his rivals in the Glenfarclas Cross County Chase. Owner Michael O'Leary, who had been feeling "nervous and depressed" after his four favourites had been beaten in previous races, said he never felt so happy to win a cross-country.

"I'll absolutely settle for that. Don't mind those graded races," he laughed. "He's a legend around here. Four wins in Cheltenham for a horse that was a Triumph Hurdle horse.

"It's a phenomenal training performance by Gordon. He's transformed him by changing his routine and sending him cross-country. I don't know what he's feeding him, but I'm trying to get some for myself because I could do with it."

The roar that greeted Tiger Roll's victory was only rivalled by the cheer for record-breaker Altior on the same afternoon.

The phenomenal mount gained his fourth successive win at the festival in the G1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, notching up jump racing records in the process.

"He's a phenomenal athlete - he doesn't know how to lose," said jockey Nico de Boinville.

But while the wind remained a notable cause for concern, thousands of women braved the adverse conditions in the name of fashion.

TV presenter Vogue Williams dazzled punters by opting for an all-tartan outfit. She is about to begin five months of intensive training before she rides in a charity race. "I'm so excited to become a jockey," she said. "I know it will be very hard work, but I'm very competitive and willing to put in the training. I've been getting some great tips here from the likes of Ruby Walsh and Robbie Power, so I'm sure I'll do all right."

And former Taoiseach Brian Cowen was in a jubilant mood after he successfully backed City Island in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle.

"I put a bit of money on it, but I didn't bet anything that the inspector of taxes needs to know about," he quipped.

Gillian Gilbourne from Co Cork was enjoying the day. "My husband and 11-year-old son Patrick are also very fashionable and always dress to impress. But having said that, we have a very fond love of horses which takes us back to Cheltenham year after year."

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: Why Irish fans shouldn't lose faith and how Joe Schmidt can turn things around for the World Cup

In association with Aldi

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport