Cheltenham 2017 Day Three Review – The Willie & Ruby Show
What a difference a day makes. On Wednesday evening Ruby Walsh was 10/1 to be Leading Jockey for the Festival and by Thursday evening it was as good as done and dusted.
A Willie Mullins four-timer at the Cheltenham Festival wasn’t a first but Ruby’s four-timer was, for a jockey, the first time it was ever achieved and…
it was fitting that it was the greatest jockey of all time that managed it.
Doubters of the Willie Mullins team were quickly silenced as Yorkhill showed his brilliance in the JLT, quickly followed by Un De Sceaux and Nichols Canyon in the two feature races and the highly regarded Let’s Dance brought up the four-timer and had Mullins stalking Elliott with just one behind.
Un De Sceaux came to the Cheltenham Festival and saved his best ever performance for the Ryanair Chase, while Nichols Canyon’s eventual step up to three-miles proved the right one as he oozed class and got every yard of the three-mile trip to nail down 33/1 shot Lil Rockerfeller, whose career best just fell short of being good enough on this occasion. There could be no excuses for the odds on favourite Unowhatimeanharry who just wasn’t good enough on the day.
A trip to America in search of a lucrative bonus is on the agenda for Nichols Canyon…
as Mullins cut a very relieved figure after one of his finest days with a trainer’s licence.
“Today I would have accepted just one winner. Yorkhill was in my mind, but people expect us to have winners here – we hope to have winners here. If it was that easy there would be no pressure and no fun in it. The last two days show you that. It’s a tough place to win and we respect the place and the opposition here. We don’t have a God-given right to win races, so to get a winner and get on the board was great, and it’s been a huge bonus since.”
Present From Percy
Galway trainer Pat Kelly could never be accused of using two words where one would do but the shrewd operator landed the Pertemps Hurdle with Presenting Percy at a massive price of 11/1 and he is a horse that could well be a leading player in something like the RSA Chase back at this meeting next year so watch that space.
“I can’t wait to see this horse jumping fences, whenever that might be,” Kelly said. “I’ve got a lovely horse, a great owner and a free hand. I give all my horses time to improve and I don’t kill them to win. If I get a clear round I’m happy, because they’ll keep improving.”