Cheltenham Festival 2020: Results from Day 3

Cheltenham Festival 2020: Results – Day 3 of The Festival at Cheltenham saw some of the biggest upsets yet!

Marsh Novices’ Chase

Samcro (4/1) has long been regarded as a top-class operator by his connections and rediscovered the winning thread with a gutsy performance in the £150,000 G1 Marsh Novices’ Chase.
 
Trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Davy Russell, the eight-year-old son of Germany had undergone wind surgery since his last start in December and built a new stable at Elliott’s yard in Cullentra, County Meath, Ireland.
 
This performance was a culmination of months of hard work by Elliott and his team as he gamely saw off the gallant Melon (14/1) by a nose in a thrilling finish to the opener. Dual Cheltenham Festival hero Faugheen (3/1 favourite), who like the runner-up is also trained by Willie Mullins, was a length back in third.
 
This was Elliott’s fourth victory of The Festival™ presented by Magners 2020 (Ravenhill, G2 National Hunt Chase; Envoi Allen, G1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and Aramax, G3 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle) and his 29th success in total at the meeting. He now leads the Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award (based on his five second-placed finishes).
 
Reflecting on a second success at The Festival for Samcro following his win in the 2018 G1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, Elliott said: “Samcro is the forgotten horse. He is one the favourites in the yard and we love him.
 
“Samcro was in the doldrums for a while and had lost his way, so it means a lot to get him back to win another G1 at Cheltenham.
 
“You can see how much it means to everyone in the yard. All the girls and Jack Madden who looks after him everyday, have done all the hard work with this horse. They have spent day and night trying to get this horse right. He hasn’t been scoping clean and it has been hard to get him to scope right – thankfully it has paid off today.
 
“It is great. Everyone was knocking him when he was in the doldrums – I probably lost a bit of faith in him myself. The horses are flying and all running well, I just can’t believe it.
 
“As you know, we’ve built a new stable for Samcro and he lives outside.
 
“I thought he had just got there on the line. Davy said that he missed the second-last and he was on the back-foot, so it was great to see him win. It was a great race to watch with Melon, Faugheen and Samcro battling it out, it is what we are all here for.
 
“It was a great feeling for him to win. Just to have him back is brilliant.”
 
Davy Russell, for whom it was a second win at The Festival 2020 after his victory in the G1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle on Envoi Allen, said: “He missed the second-last, winged the last and was going to go ahead and win. Patrick’s horse battled very gamely and I thought he just chinned me – he actually headed me and, to be fair to my horse, he is so game. He is as brave as a lion and he got back up with the last stride.
 
“Credit has to go to Gordon and everybody involved. As much as everyone in the yard put in huge effort with this horse, Gigginstown let it happen, so they take huge credit for it. They are fabulous owners and they have been so good to me through my career.”
 
1.30pm Marsh Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
1 Samcro (Gigginstown House Stud) Gordon Elliott IRE 8-11-04 Davy Russell 4/1
2 Melon (Marie Donnelly) Willie Mullins IRE 8-11-04 Mr Patrick Mullins 3/1f
3 Faugheen (Susannah Ricci) Willie Mullins IRE 12-11-04 Paul Townend 14/1
12 ran
Distances: nse, 1
Tote Win: £4.60   Place: £2.00, £3.80, £1.90       Exacta: £68.80
Gordon Elliott – 29th winner at The Festival
Davy Russell – 24th winner at The Festival

Cheltenham Festival 2020: Results – Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle

Gordon Elliott moved into a clear lead in the Irish Independent Trainers’ Trophy when Sire Du Berlais (10/1, Barry Geraghty) repeated his 2019 win in the £100,000 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle.
 
The eight-year-old, who was off a 7lb higher mark this time and had to overcome top weight, was Elliott’s fifth winner of The Festival 2020 and for good measure he also saddled half-length runner-up The Storyteller, his sixth second of the meeting. Sire Du Berais was the first dual winner of the race since Buena Vista in 2010 and 2011.
 
Elliott, who opted for a change of headgear on the winner, just as he had done 12 months ago, said: “The horses are running out of their skin. Davy said he and Barry were riding the race together the whole way and it was either going to be him or Barry. I was just happy with a 1–2.
 
“I was worried about the ground for the winner and he was 7lb higher than last year but Barry pulled all the stops out again.” 
 
Elliott seemed equally pleased with The Storyteller, another previous Festival winner – over fences in the 2018 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Plate – and said: “The Storyteller ran a blinder too. He did everything right bar win. Unfortunately, he had to bump into one, but at least it was one of mine.”
 
 
Sire Du Berlais’s victory in the G3 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle – a race he also won last year – was a fourth at The Festival 2020 for jockey Barry Geraghty, and means he extends his lead in the Holland Cooper Leading Jockey Award for the Ruby Walsh Trophy.
 
Geraghty said: “I thought, although he won off 11st 9lb last year and had 11st 12lb this year, that he had a chance. The Storyteller was the horse I was afraid of, and he the blinkers on today – while I had to push the ears off him most of the race last year, he travelled great this year. From the word go, he was on the money and pinging hurdles. I could ride a race and was able to deliver him. He found loads after the last, and there is nothing better than riding winners at Cheltenham.
 
“When you are riding winners there is nothing easier, it’s lovely, but I can’t say I’ve done anything different to I would if I had had no winner. It’s a weight off your shoulders and you can enjoy it.”
 
2.10pm Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
1 Sire du Berlais (J P McManus) Gordon Elliott IRE 8-11-12 Barry Geraghty 10/1
2 The Storyteller (Pat Sloan) Gordon Elliott IRE 9-11-09 Davy Russell 11/2 jt fav
3 Tout Est Permis (Gigginstown House Stud) Noel Meade IRE 7-10-10 Eoin Walsh (7) 12/1
4 Third Wind (Mouse Hamilton-Fairley) Hughie Morrison 6-11-01 Tom O’Brien 12/1
24 ran
Distances: ½, 6½, 1¾      11/2 jt fav Relegate (5th)
Tote Win: £12.10         Place: £2.90, £2.00, £3.10, £3.30         Exacta: £51.80
Gordon Elliott – 30th winner at The Festival
Barry Geraghty – 42nd winner at The Festival

Cheltenham Festival 2020: Results – Ryanair Chase

The ultra-consistent Min (2/1) enjoyed a deserved day in the sun at The Festival with victory in the G1 Ryanair Chase. Trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Paul Townend, the nine-year-old was all-out to secure a neck success in the £350,000 event, seeing off the gallant Saint Calvados (16/1). The 7/4 favourite A Plus Tard was a length and a half behind in third.
 
On his fourth appearance at The Festival, this was Min’s first success at the meeting with his other efforts including second-placed finishes in both the G1 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2016) and G1 Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase (2017). In a remarkable career, Min is now a six-time G1 winner and has also finished runner-up in six G1 contests.
 
Closutton maestro Mullins was recording his second victory of the week and 67th winner in total at The Festival. He said: “It was a good performance from Min and he likes to race from the front.
 
“We got the tactics wrong on him last year [finished fifth, Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase] and it didn’t work out. We changed things up this year and learnt our lesson – here he is now back at the top table.
 
“Min threw a wonderful leap in at the last and it was a great effort. Watching him jump today, he was just fantastic through the air and, when he needed a jump, he got them. He put the others under pressure.
 
“It was probably wobbly knee time after the last when Saint Calvados came up the inside but he still had a little bit left in the tank. I am pleased for him, Paul, Rich, Susannah and everyone.”
 
In a great finish to the G1 Ryanair Chase, Min (2/1) prevailed by a neck from Saint Calvados in the colours of Susannah Ricci. Her husband Rich Ricci said: “I watched most of it, which is unusual for me. He’s been a bridesmaid so many times and coming up the hill I thought he might be the nearly horse again. On his day, when he’s good, he’s good as he showed at Aintree last year. He was on form today and jumped brilliantly all the way around. I’m delighted for Willie and all the team.”

Winning rider Paul Townend added: “We went pretty hard early on and, when we got back to the stands, I steadied down and got into a lovely rhythm of jumping on him. There was a stiff finish and I thought it was a true-run race. I knew Saint Calvados was there!
 
“Min has been a bit unlucky at Cheltenham so he deserved it. He’s an incredible horse and it’s brilliant that he got his day. They are all very special.”
 
2.50pm Ryanair Chase (Grade 1)
1 Min (Susannah Ricci) Willie Mullins IRE 9-11-10 Paul Townend 2/1
2 Saint Calvados (Kate & Andrew Brooks) Harry Whittington 7-11-10 Gavin Sheehan 16/1
3 A Plus Tard (Cheveley Park Stud) Henry de Bromhead IRE 6-11-10 Rachael Blackmore 7/4f
8 ran
Distances: nk, 1½
Tote Win: £2.70 Place: £1.30, £3.70, £1.20    Exacta: £30.50
Willie Mullins – 67th winner at The Festival
Paul Townend – 12th winner at The Festival

Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle

Fourteen weeks after giving birth to a daughter, Rebecca Curtis scored her first Festival success since 2015 when the 50/1 chance Lisnagar Oscar stormed home in the G1 Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle. It was her fifth win at The Festival in total.
 
Ridden by Adam Wedge, for whom it was a first Festival win, seven-year-old Lisnagar Oscar beat 20/1 shot Ronald Pump by two lengths, with 33/1 Bacardys in third.
 
Curtis said: “He ran a blinder on his last run and I am not sure whatever happened to him at the beginning of the season. We did find a few ulcers and things, so we treated him for that and he was so well at home. I thought 50/1 was a massive price.

“Adam is what I call such a solid, solid jockey. I am delighted for him to get his first Festival winner. He has given the horse a brilliant ride.
 
“I’m absolutely delighted. I thought he had a big chance today; I didn’t think he would beat [2019 winner] Paisley Park, but I thought he’d get placed. To see him improve that much – I’m just delighted. I was thinking, ‘don’t get caught, don’t get caught.’ He took a nice pull all the way and I thought they went a good gallop.
 
“It’s a time when I need it; I’m trying to rebuild the yard. I’ve had four winners here before, but it’s been five years, so it’s just great to win another one.”
 
It was a career-first win at The Festival for one of the weighing room’s hardest workers, and Adam Wedge’s delight was obvious as he posed for endless photos with the hugely enthusiastic owners who have consolidated their various interests as Racing For Fun and describe themselves as “the poor relations” in Cheltenham’s owners’ ranks, yet some members of whom have tasted success at the meeting before, including with O’Faolain’s Boy, who was also trained by Rebecca Curtis.
 
Wedge, who enjoyed a first G1 success earlier this season with Esprit Du Large in Sandown’s Henry VIII Novices’ Chase, said: “I thought we’d have very good each-way chance, but I never expected that. I’m having a brilliant season and this is the cherry on top. To come here and get that is unbelievable. I’ll never forget it.”
 
He added: “I’ve just got very good people supporting me in Evan (Williams, trainer of Esprit Du Large), Emma (Lavelle, who saddled the disappointing favourite Paisley Park) and of course Becky (Curtis), who has a small team but does very, very well. They are just great people.”
 
Reflecting on how the race had gone for him he said: “Apple’s Jade went off very hard and for the first circuit I was a bit cold, but Becky had done a fantastic job and when he came alive I was able to fill all the way down the hill. After the last I just had to hope he’d keep galloping, and he did.
 
“He’s worn his heart on his sleeve and tried his heart out. He was all out, but he’s done very well. He’s not very big, but he was fantastic.”
 
3.30pm Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
1 Lisnagar Oscar (Racing For Fun) Rebecca Curtis 7-11-10 Adam Wedge 50/1
2 Ronald Pump (Laois Limerick Syndicate) Matthew Smith IRE 7-11-10 Bryan Cooper 20/1
3 Bacardys (Shanakiel Racing Syndicate) Willie Mullins IRE 9-11-10 Mr Patrick Mullins 33/1
15 ran          4/6 fav Paisley Park (7th)
Distances: 2, 3
Tote Win: £85.70        Place: £10.70, £4.50, £7.40         Exacta: £1,464.00
 
Rebecca Curtis – 5th winner at The Festival
Adam Wedge – 1st winner at The Festival

Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate

Harry Whittington registered his first ever winner at The Festival™ presented by Magners following the victory of the well-supported 100/30 favourite Simply The Betts in the £110,000 G3 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate.
 
Ridden by Gavin Sheehan, the seven-year-old son of Arcadio made a mistake at the final fence, but rallied gamely under pressure to forge clear in the closing stages to record a length and a quarter success over the Kerry Lee-trained Happy Diva (20/1).
 
Whittington, along with owners Kate and Andrew Brooks, had narrowly been denied in the £350,000 G1 Ryanair Chase earlier on the card with Saint Calvados suffering a neck reversal to Min and connections were delighted to record a winner at The Festival.
 
The winning trainer said: “It’s about everyone else. Andrew, Kate and George Brooks love the game and put so much into it. I am so thrilled for them. We have had five goes this week and inched closer, closer and closer and got there, so it’s fantastic for all of his team as well.
 
“All my team have given everything this winter and Laura Collett has done an amazing job with this horse’s jumping. It’s a great team effort, with so many people involved, and I am so proud of everyone.”
 
Jockey Gavin Sheehan was delighted to gain his second Festival success and said: “”He was class and was actually waiting for a bit of company all the way. He jumped unbelievably and pulled it out of the bag after the last. I was praying for the line and I know my grandfather was looking down on me as well.
 
“The fear from jumping the last upsides and then you get a head in front – it’s that fear that you have of something coming and nailing you. That’s the fear you have but, as soon as you pass the line, it’s just what dreams are made of.”
 
4.10pm Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
1 Simply The Betts (Kate & Andrew Brooks) Harry Whittington 7-11-04 Gavin Sheehan 100/30f
2 Happy Diva (Will Roseff) Kerry Lee 9-11-04 Richard Patrick (3) 20/1
3 Mister Whitaker (Tim Radford) Mick Channon 8-11-07 Adrian Heskin 22/1
4 Oldgrangewood (Chris Giles & Sandra Giles) Dan Skelton 9-11-02 Harry Skelton 11/1
23 ran
Distances: 1¼, 1¾, ½
Tote Win: £3.60 Place: £1.70, £5.60, £4.30, £2.80 Exacta: £86.60
Harry Whittington – 1st winner at The Festival
Gavin Sheehan – 2nd winner at The Festival

Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

Willie Mullins has won all five runnings of the £90,000 G2 Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle and he continued that streak with 9/2 shot Concertista’s emphatic win in the contest.
 
Ridden by Daryl Jacob, Concertista cruised into contention in the home straight and sauntered to an emphatic 12-length success over stable companion Dolcita (9/1).
 
Mullins was recording a 15.5/1 double on the day following Min’s victory in the G1 Ryanair Chase and a third winner of the week.
 
The Closutton maestro now draws back level with Nicky Henderson as the all-time leading trainer at The Festival™ presented by Magners with 68 winners. Mullins’ past winners in the race were Limini (2016), Let’s Dance (2017), Laurina (2018) and Eglantine Du Seuil (2019).
 
Discussing the victory, Mullins said: “That was a good performance by Concertista. It’s remarkable that was her actually her first victory for us… what has the trainer been doing!
 
“She ran on very strongly and coming into the race, I wasn’t sure the ground would suit, so I’m delighted with that performance.
 
“She is turning into the mare I thought we had bought at Deauville.
 
“Concertista was a very immature sort when we bought. I never dreamt she would grow into the big mare she is now. She is very strong and today’s test of stamina brought out the best in her.”
 
Daryl Jacob’s victory aboard Concertista was his third career win at The Festival, and his first since 2014, when Lac Fontana took the County Hurdle.
 
Jacob said: “She was impressive, and she had a real turn of foot. That was a rough race and I never had the position I wanted to have the whole way round. I got bumped at the top of the hill, and then coming down there was a lot of scrimmaging round the bottom of the hill. To be fair to her, I suppose that’s why the Irish horses have such an advantage when they come over for these handicaps here; they are very shrewd, and she went through a gap I didn’t think it was possible to get through but she’s seen the gap. Then she came back on the bridle down to the last, and I knew then, with the turn of foot she showed last year, I thought she’d take me the whole way to the line. I actually got there sooner than I wanted and she was sort of star-gazing around once she got to the front.
 
“All credit to Willie and his team, and to Simon [Munir] and Isaac [Souede, owners of Concertista and for whom Jacob is retained jockey]. From this day last year they planned this race for her, and they mapped their season around it. She came up trumps today.
 
“Getting my first Festival winner for Simon and Isaac is brilliant. I’m over the moon.”
 
4.50pm Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2)
1 Concertista (Simon Munir & Isaac Souede) Willie Mullins IRE 6-11-02 Daryl Jacob 9/2
2 Dolcita (Sullivan Bloodstock Ltd) Willie Mullins IRE 5-11-02 Robbie Power 9/1
3 Rayna’s World (Ace Bloodstock & Rayna Fitzgerald) Phil Kirby 5-11-02 Thomas Dowson 100/1
22 ran 11/4 fav Minella Melody (18th)
Distances: 12, 2¾
Tote Win: £5.50 Place: £2.10, £3.30, £40.50 Exacta: £50.90
Willie Mullins – 68th winner at The Festival
Daryl Jacob – 3rd winner at The Festival

Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase

Milan Native (9/1) provided 7lb claiming amateur Rob James with a first success at The Festival with a gutsy victory in the £70,000 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase.

Trained by Gordon Elliott and owned by Giggnstown House Stud, the seven-year-old ran on strongly in the closing stages to repel the sustained challenge of 8/1 chance Kilfilum Cross, recording a length and three-quarter win, which was also the gelding’s first victory over fences.

James has ridden over 200 winners in the Irish point-to-point circuit and said: “I have always dreamed of this and it is unbelievable. The horse took me everywhere and jumped everywhere. Gordon is a genius and I am just grateful to Gigginstown for giving me the ride. I can’t believe it.

“I was jumping and actually getting there a bit too soon, so I held on to him the whole way down the hill until I got going to the second last.

“He has just taken off with one slap down the neck, winged the second last and was gone. He was pricking his ears going to the line and had loads left.

“The further he was going, the better he was going and he had loads left coming up the hill.

“I have ridden over 200 winners in point-to-points and it’s going well. I haven’t really done too much on the track but maybe I might get going now.”

Gordon Elliott was recording a 549/1 treble on day three of The Festival with Milan Native’s 9/1 victory in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup following Samcro’s 4/1 success in the G1 Marsh Novices’ Chase and Sire Du Berlais’ 9/1 win in the G3 Pertemps Network Final.

Elliott was recording his 31st winner at The Festival in total and his sixth winner of the week, making him the clear leader in the Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award.

The Cullentra maestro said: “I am delighted for Rob James, who is a great fella. He is one of the top point-to-point riders and a nice fella too. I thought that the trip would suit and this race has been the plan. It’s a race we like – we didn’t have Jamie Codd today but I told Rob to just go beside him for the first half of the race. He has done it to a peach.”

5.30pm Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase

1 Milan Native (Gigginstown House Stud) Gordon Elliott IRE 7-11-08 Mr Robert James (7) 9/1

2 Kilfilum Cross (Andy Bell & Fergus Lyons) Henry Oliver 9-11-05 Mr Alex Edwards 8/1

3 Bob Mahler (Bolingbroke, Bunch, Howard & Sutton) Warren Greatrex 8-11-07 Mr Noel McParlan 16/1

4 Plan Of Attack (Alan Halsall) Henry de Bromhead IRE 7-11-07 Mr Barry O’Neill 10/1

23 ran      

5/1jfavs Champagne Platinum (7th), Le Breuil (11th)

Distances: 1¾, 1½, 3¼

Tote Win: £8.90 Place: £2.50, £2.30, £3.70, £2.30 Exacta: £85.80

Gordon Elliott – 31st winner at The Festival

Mr Robert James – 1st winner at The Festival

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