richard forristal's race reads: day 4
1.30 JCB Triumph
Hurdle 2m 1f
Unaccompanied travelled nicely into the race having settled in early. She looked to be coming with a threatening run when she got squeezed for room before the last.
It is unlikely she would have won either way, as Zarkandar kept on up the hill. The winner had also dropped in, with Daryl Jacob weaving his way through, to take it up on the run to the last.
There were a lot of horses in with chances turning in, one of which wasn't Sam Winner. That one struggled early, and flashed home late for fourth.
Grandouet raced handily, keeping on to be third. Sailors Warn ran keenly, took up the running three-out and stayed on for sixth.
2.05 Vincent O'Brien
County Hurdle 2m 1f
Ruby Walsh brought Final Approach to collar Get Me Out Of Here on the line. The runner-up was due a big run and was backed accordingly, but just got pipped.
Walsh had been hard at work, a blunder at the first not helping his cause. There were five practically in a line jumping the last, and Final Approach wasn't one of them.
He kept finding for his rider, though, and it was a remarkable performance to get up by a nose. Nearby and Cockney Trucker filled the minor places.
Alaivan had travelled like a potential winner down the hill, but ran about when his rider asked him to quicken.
Salden Licht beat him to fifth by another nose, with Blackstairmountain and Dirar just behind.
2.40 Albert Bartlett
Novices' Hurdle 3m
At no point did Bobs Worth look like being beaten. Barry Geraghty kept him wide out of trouble, and he hurdled fluently before easing into the lead on the run to the last.
He picked up well from there to hold off Mossley, which had raced behind the main group.
That one never stopped trying, but Bobs Worth always had the legs on him.
Champion Court travelled as well as the winner, but simply didn't find as much before taking third. Jetnova was just starting to back peddle when crashing out at the second-last, while Kilcrea Kim wilted up the hill having raced prominently.
None of the Irish runners threatened, mistakes not helping Gagewell Flyer. He was in a good position turning down the hill, but was flat out as soon as they quickened.
Gold Cup 3m 2f
What an incredible race. As Kauto Star and Denman eyed each other up coming down the hill, it looked as though the two old bruisers would fight it out once again.
In the end, reality won over romance, as neither had the legs to answer the challenge of Long Run, just a baby at six years of age, in comparison to the old stagers. The winner is a hugely-talented horse, and a worthy successor.
He made mistakes, but his amateur rider never panicked, and he was foot-perfect in the latter stages. It was a wonderful performance, though it needed to be, to see off two of the finest chasers of all time.
Denman and Kauto Star, which took it up under Ruby Walsh with a circuit to go, lost nothing in defeat, and are a tribute to their trainer, who also had the fourth home, What A Friend. Imperial Commander also showed up well for a long way, but was the first to crack down the hill, and was reported to have burst a blood vessel. Midnight Chase made the early running, before staying on for an honourable fifth.
Pandorama could never get into it on the ground and eventually pulled up, while Kempes just wasn't good enough to land a blow.
Chase 3m 2f
Baby Run set out to make all here under his young rider, and would have been second at worst when he blundered and unseated two-out. He had run and jumped with great enthusiasm until then, so it was galling for his effort to finish the way it did.
Very few were able to deal with the pace the 2010 winner set. Derek O'Connor got a great tune out of Zemsky, which he gradually brought through from the middle to be in the leader's slipstream when that one exited. The fall left him clear of the rest.
Oscar Delta just couldn't get close enough to challenge, but kept going to be third. It was similar story with On The Fringe, which lacked the gears to get into the race.
4.40 Martin Pipe
Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f
This race was marred by a horrible incident in the straight that saw Shalone fall on the Flat after rounding the final bend. The stricken horse and jockey were run over by a number of the following pack.
Sir Des Champs' performance was exceptional, especially for a horse with just two previous runs over hurdles.
He was dropped right out by Emmet Mullins, and didn't look like winning until he began making ground hand- over-fist turning in.
He even gave the last hurdle plenty air and landed slowly, before accelerating up the straight to win going away.
He's clearly very talented, not to mention well handicapped.
5.15 Grand Annual
(Handicap) Chase 2m
Askthemaster ran his heart out under Philip Enright, but he had no answer when Oiseau De Nuit ranged up at the second-last. Both horses sat handy, and it was a fair performance from them to sustain their runs the way they did.
Leo's Lucky Star and De Boitron fared best of those that came from the pack. Leo's Lucky Star didn't get the clearest of runs before the second-last, but it made little difference. Third was the best he could have hoped for.