Cheltenham: Missed approach makes no mistake in Kim Muir

Cheltenham: Missed approach makes no mistake in Kim Muir
Missed Approach and jockey Mr N McParlan jcelebrate winning The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase during St Patrick's Thursday of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival

5.30pm: Ireland missed out on a clean sweep on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival when Missed Approach made virtually all the running in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase.

The 8-1 shot, trained in Upper Lambourn by Warren Greatrex, pulled out all the stops for Noel McParlan to see off two Irish raiders and land the spoils.

Missed Approach went one better than last year when he finished second in the National Hunt Chase.

Pat Kelly's Mall Dini, the 4-1 favourite, put in a strong challenge but Missed Approach held on doggedly by half a length.

Gordon Elliott's Squouateur (5-1) was five lengths away in third and Double Ross (40-1) fourth for Nigel Twiston-Davies.

McParlan, who was claiming a first Festival winner, said: "This is very special. I never thought this day would come.

"He stuck his head out and galloped all the way to the line - very simple.

"All my lad does is stay and stay."

Missed Approach was having a first start since he underwent a wind operation in February.

Greatrex said: "He's given him a peach (of a ride).

"This horse this year has annoyed me because he's a good horse - he just hadn't got it together.

"He stays, he jumps and he's brave.

"The owner wanted to go to Uttoxeter on Saturday for the Midlands National but I persuaded him to come here. He might go for the Scottish National."

4.50pm: Laurina looked different class as she toyed with the opposition to run out an impressive winner of the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Willie Mullins has now won all three runnings of this race and the 4-7 favourite lived up to her reputation as she pulled away from the rest of the field from between the last two flights.

Ridden by Paul Townend, who like Mullins was completing a double after the victory of Penhill in the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle, Laurina crossed the line 18 lengths clear of Cap Soleil.

Jockey Paul Townend celebrates after winning the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle with horse Laurina during St Patrick's Thursday of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.
Jockey Paul Townend celebrates after winning the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle with horse Laurina during St Patrick's Thursday of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.

Champayne Lady was a short head away in third and the pacesetting Maria's Benefit fourth.

Mullins, becoming the winning-most trainer in Festival history with 61 victories, said: "She's a fine, big mare. If there was ever going to be a mares' chase in Cheltenham, she's the type of horse you'd want for it.

"Her two runs at home have been very good, but to do that against the best in the British Isles is unbelievable.

"There's a Grade One in Fairyhouse at Easter. If she recovers we might go for that."

4.10pm: The Storyteller continued an incredible day for Davy Russell and Gordon Elliott when coming with a late run to snatch victory in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase at Cheltenham.

It was a third winner of the afternoon for both jockey and trainer - but it was only in the last few strides the well-backed 5-1 favourite broke the heart of the brave Splash Of Ginge.

Jockey Davy Russell celebrates winning the Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable Plate with horse The Stroyteller during St Patrick's Thursday of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.
Jockey Davy Russell celebrates winning the Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable Plate with horse The Stroyteller during St Patrick's Thursday of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.

Nigel Twiston-Davies' admirable 10-year-old was always to the fore and landed in front over the last, but The Storyteller was relentless and despite taking a wayward course, was straightened up by Russell to score by a length and three-quarters.

Elliott said: "Davy gave the horse a peach. He was my nap of the meeting last year in the Martin Pipe, but he went wrong so it's brilliant.

"The horse was great. I'm absolutely thrilled."

He went on: "Winning the Gold Cup (with Don Cossack in 2016) was something else, but just to be the position I'm in with the owners I have and the staff I have is unbelievable - this is brilliant.

"We're lucky to have Davy riding for us - it's been a brilliant week for the Irish."

When asked about the secret of his success, the County Meath handler said: "Good horses, good owners, good staff - keep it simple."

Russell was quick to praise Elliott's role in an unforgettable day for the rider.

The jockey said: "He's the man. He's changed my career around completely. He's a pleasure to ride for.

"I'm just in such a lovely position to be riding for Gordon."

3.30pm: Penhill plunders Stayers' Hurdle prize

Penhill struck for the second year running at the Cheltenham Festival when springing a 12-1 surprise for trainer Willie Mullins in the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle.

Successful in the Albert Bartlett in 2017, Penhill had been absent for 323 days but shrugged off his race-rustiness to give Mullins his sixth winner of the week.

Ridden by Paul Townend, Penhill carried the colours of Brighton chairman Tony Bloom home by two lengths from Supasundae, following a scrap up the hill.

Jockey Paul Townend celebrates after winning the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle on Penhillon on Day Three of the Cheltenham Racing Festival at Prestbury Park in Cheltenham, England. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile.
Jockey Paul Townend celebrates after winning the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle on Penhillon on Day Three of the Cheltenham Racing Festival at Prestbury Park in Cheltenham, England. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile.

Wholestone stayed on strongly for third.

Townend said: "He's got a massive engine.

"It was some training performance. I got there too soon and luckily he kept going

"He jumped rusty enough early on but when I needed him at the last he produced."

Mullins said: "It's fantastic for connections. I want to put him away now for Cheltenham next year.

"He's not suited to training to the Flat and he's able to do this job so well."

2.50pm: Michael O'Leary wins Ryanair Chase for first time with Balko Des Flos

Balko Des Flos gave Michael O'Leary's Gigginstown House Stud a first win the race he sponsors by storming home in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham.

Davy Russell, completing a quick double after winning the Pertemps Final on Delta Work in the Gigginstown colours, was always travelling well on the Henry de Bromhead-trained seven-year-old.

Owner Michael O'Leary celebrates with wife Anita Farrell after wining the Ryanair Steeple Chase with horse Balko des Flos during St Patrick's Thursday of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.
Owner Michael O'Leary celebrates with wife Anita Farrell after wining the Ryanair Steeple Chase with horse Balko des Flos during St Patrick's Thursday of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.

He ranged menacingly alongside last year's winner Un De Sceaux and cruised into the lead three out.

After that the result was not in doubt, as the 8-1 chance asserted in great style to strike by four and a half lengths from the Willie Mullins-trained 8-11 favourite. Cloudy Dream was third for Ruth Jefferson.

Davy Russell on Balko Des Flos wins the third race of the day. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie.
Davy Russell on Balko Des Flos wins the third race of the day. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie.

Colin Tizzard's Festival stalwart Cue Card was pulled up by Paddy Brennan before the 12th obstacle after losing his place.

Russell said: "I thought his chance had lessened with the more rain that fell, but Henry de Bromhead is a master at this."

De Bromhead said: "Fantastic, delighted - a brilliant ride.

"You had to give him a chance, obviously, but I got a bit worried when the ground went soft.

"I thought his run at Christmas was very good and the lads (Gigginstown House Stud) said to put him away and go for this.

"Davy gave him a brilliant ride and he was super."

2.10pm: Delta delivers Pertemps Final success for Elliott and Russell

Delta Work just held Glenloe after a nail-biting duel on the climb to the line in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham.

The 6-1 shot, giving trainer Gordon Elliott and owners Gigginstown House Stud a quickfire double after the victory of Shattered Love in the opening JLT Novices' Chase, was all out to hold his stablemate, who was sent off the 9-2 favourite.

Davy Russell on Delta Work celebrates winning the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle with Michael O'Leary and his wife Anita. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie
Davy Russell on Delta Work celebrates winning the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle with Michael O'Leary and his wife Anita. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie

Davy Russell showed he was none the worse after being stood down for the last two races on the second day, after a fall from Bless The Wings, when just getting the better of Barry Geraghty by a nose.

The always-prominent Connetable was two and three-quarter lengths away in third, with a further two and a half lengths back to Taj Badalandabad in fourth.

Elliott said: "It's a great day - the horses are flying.

To have a first and second in a race like this is unbelievable.

Gigginstown boss Michael O'Leary admitted: "I thought we'd lost it on the bob of heads.

"He's improved, he had a light weight - he had a chance.

"It was a great finish. Two master jockeys, Barry and Davy, going hammer and tongs.

"Davy is worth a couple of pounds around here, particularly in these handicaps."

1.30pm: Good start for the Irish as Gordon Elliott's Shattered Love wins first race

Shattered Love gave trainer Gordon Elliott his fourth winner of the week at the Cheltenham Festival in the JLT Novices' Chase.

The seven-year-old mare was driven to lead between the last two fences by Jack Kennedy, after favourite Terrefort had set sail for home.

JLT Novices' Chase Jack Kennedy on Shattered Love wins the first race of the day.
JLT Novices' Chase Jack Kennedy on Shattered Love wins the first race of the day.

Shattered Love (4-1) jumped the last well and powered up the hill to give teenager Kennedy his third winner at the meeting, with Benatar third.

Kennedy said: "She's a super mare and she's only been improving. She does everything so easily.

She jumped and travelled great. She's done it very well in the end.

Elliott said: "She's a good, big, tough mare - she looks like she's a gelding

It's brilliant. I can't believe it. We knew she'd stay. She's won two Grade Ones now, so it's brilliant.

Gigginstown House Stud chief Michael O'Leary said: "She's a huge, great mare. The mares' allowance, which I don't always agree with, was very helpful there.

"She's always been a very good jumper - she beat Presenting Percy (RSA winner) at Punchestown earlier in the season. She's just a very good mare. She's built like a gelding, she's really come into her own over fences.

"It's another great training performance from Gordon."

Earlier: Day three at Cheltenham gets underway with the first race at 1.30pm.

Here are some of today's top tips from racing correspondent Tommy Lyons.

    Tommy's Best Bets
  • 1.30pm: Terrefort. (Next best - Invitation Only)
  • 2.10pm: Glenloe. (Next best - Delta Work)
  • 2.50pm: Un De Sceaux. (Next best - Cloudy Dreams)
  • 3.30pm: Sam Spinner. (Next best - L'Ami serge)
  • 4.10pm: Movewiththetimes. (Next best - King's Socks)
  • 4.50pm: Laurina (NB). (Next best - Maria's Benefit)
  • 5.30pm: Squouateur. (Next best - Missed Approach)

Tommy believes Terrefort can get punters off to the perfect start by taking the JLT Novices’ Chase for trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Daryl Jacob in the first.

Cheltenham: Missed approach makes no mistake in Kim Muir

- Digital Desk

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