Review – Day 3 – Cheltenham 2015
Going into St. Patrick’s Thursday, it was marginally advantage punters, with the majority of winners coming from the first three in the betting, and that theme continued in the opener.
Mullins Makes it Six
Indeed, it wasn’t the start that bookies were hoping for, as the man of the meeting, Willie Mullins, struck a blow for punters in the JLT Novices’ Chase via Vautour, who came home impressively under Ruby Walsh.
It was a victory that not only put punters on the front foot, but took Mullins’ festival haul to a whopping six winners, while long-term investors were taking the 8/1, and then 7/1 available about Vautour winning the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Henderson Hits Back
With Ireland going 9-6 clear in the Prestbury Cup, following the opener, it was down to Nicky Henderson shortening the deficit in the following Pertemps Final, where Call The Cops put his trainer on the scoreboard for the meeting. It was also another winner from the first three in the betting, although that was about to change.
McCoy Makes All
Indeed, the Ryanair Chase was a friend to the bookies with Alan King’s, Uxizandre, being set alight from the front to make all under an inspiring Tony McCoy ride. Although 16/1, on-course punters gave McCoy a cheer he’ll never forget in his final festival, while bookies also applauded McCoy as he prevented the gamble on Willie Mullins’ third-placed, Don Cossack,. 9-8 to the Irish.
It wasn’t to be a quick-fire double for McCoy, though, as he managed fourth in the World Hurdle, which got the bookies smiling following Warren Greatrex’s 14/1 shock winner, Cole Harden, who saw off the Paul Nicholls pair – and first two in the betting – Saphir Du Rheu and Zarkandar. However, Boylesports favourite backers still got their money back as a Free Bet, as their selection finished 2nd to the SP favourite (applies for any Channel 4 or RTE race).
Friday Greatrex Gamble?
Interestingly, Greatrex has the red-hot 4/1 favourite for tomorrow’s Foxhunter Chase, which could be one of the big Friday gambles now punters have confidence in the form of Greatrex stable.
The World Hurdle result also sent out a sign that not only were the bookies back in the game, but the Brits had pegged back the Irish to 9-9.
Things got even better for the on-course layers when 33/1 shot, Darna, won the Plate Handicap Chase for trainer, Kim Bailey, getting the better of the well backed 11/2 favourite, Monetaire. Once again, Boylesports favourite backers got their money back as a Free Bet, but even better for the Brits, as they hit the front for the first time at the meeting: 10-9.
The Brits actually came 11-9 clear in the Kim Muir Chase when The Package recorded a second victory of the meeting for David Pipe, who has also sent out three runners-up at the meeting so far.
And so, into the final day of Cheltenham 2015 where the bookies have got back their losses from the opening day, while the Irish now have to play catch up with the Brits. Throw in a Gold Cup, and Tony McCoy’s last-ever day at Cheltenham, and Friday promises to be another belter – enjoy it, as it only comes around once a year!
6 wins – Willie Mullins
3 wins – Paul Nicholls
2 wins – David Pipe
4 wins – Ruby Walsh
2 wins – Paul Townend
2 wins – Davy Russell