Review – Day 4 – Cheltenham 2015
The rain arrived for the final day of Cheltenham 2015, but that didn’t prevent a memorable day in which punters put it to on-course bookies from the off, smashing into opening favourite, Peace And Co, who took the Triumph Hurdle.
Not only was it a result that put money in punters’ pockets for the rest of the day, but it also triggered a reaction in the ante-post market for next year’s Champion Hurdle, with Peace An Co quoted at a tempting 10/1. Meanwhile, winning trainer, Nicky Henderson, celebrated a unique 1-2-3 in the race, in the process putting the Brits 12-9 ahead. Having led for so long, could the Irish peg things back?
The Irish did that in no uncertain style by sending out the first five home in the County Hurdle, with that man, Willie Mullins, notching a seventh winner of the meeting via Wicklow Brave (25/1), who had been pulled up six days earlier! This also saw Mullins equal Henderson’s record of seven winners from a few years ago, while triggering Paul Townend’s third winner of the week. 12-10 to the Brits, and the bookies now smiling.
Mullins Strikes Again…Well Sort Of!
The theme continued in the Albert Barltett when Martello Tower showed an abundance of stamina to outstay the field, putting the name Mullins on the board once more – only this time it was trainer, Margaret Mullins. Another one for the Irish: 12-11 to the Brits.
Coneygree 8/1 to Defend Gold Cup
The Gold Cup was a nail-biter in which stamina played a big part in the mud, but it was the 8yo, Coneygree, who became the first novice for 41 years to win jump racing’s blue riband event. His rise to the top has been a speedy one, while at the same time putting trainer, Mark Bradstock, and jockey, Nico de Boinville, in the spotlight.
Considering Coneygree is only a novice, there has to be more to come from this front-running machine who has already been punted to defend the crown next year at 8/1 – not bad odds at all.
The Irish had to play second fiddle on this occasion courtesy of the second, Djakadam, trained by Willie Mullins, while the third, Road To Riches, was another close attempt by Noel Meade. 13-11 to the Brits.
Bookies on Top
Up next, the Foxhunter Chase, and if in doubt in these type of races, then turn to Enda Bolger, who delivered once more with On The Fringe at 6/1. It was to be a fourth straight losing favourite on the day, and the pendulum now well and truly with bookies.
Record Breaking Mullins
Ruby Walsh tried hard for both favourite backers and Willie Mullins in the penultimate race of the meeting, the Martin Pipe Hurdle, but managed only third with Roi Des Francs, as stablemate, Killultagh Vic made it a record breaking eighth win of the meeting for Mullins. It also made sure the Prestbury Cup would go right down to the finale as the score stood at 13-13.
McCoy So Close
All eyes now on Tony McCoy for the Grand Annual Chase, in what was his final ride at a Cheltenham Festival, and punters backed him to pull off the fairytale ending. For a brief moment it looked as though McCoy was going to do it, when looming up on the heels of Tom Scudamore on Next Sensation, but the latter pulled clear to leave McCoy in fourth. Another great result for bookies at 16/1.
Brits Lift The Cup
Riding for Michael Scudamore, it was a victory that ensured the Brits scrambled home to lift the Prestbury Cup 14-13, but the Irish were well worth their underdog odds.
And so the final day brought rain, and with it host of big priced winners for bookies, who left the course on good terms with themselves. No more AP McCoy to be seen at Cheltenham again, but Aintree waits around the corner – is the script waiting to be written there?
Final Trainer Leaderboard
8 wins – Willie Mullins
3 wins – Paul Nicholls
2 wins – David Pipe
2 wins – Nicky Henderson
Final Jockey Leaderboard
4 wins – Ruby Walsh
3 wins – Paul Townend
2 wins – Davy Russell
2 wins – Barry Geraghty
2 wins – Tom Scudamore
2 wins – Sam Twiston-Davies
2 wins – Jamie Codd