By Racinguk.com staff
Look out for Gordon Elliott on the town tonight in Cheltenham after he followed a blank Tuesday with a treble on Wednesday.
"Last night I was trying to get a Ryanair flight home, and I was in bed by half past nine," he said. "It won't be the same tonight!
"It's been a brilliant day - I can't believe it.
A new record crowd of 58,932 for the second day of has been announced
This was 1,251 more racegoers than the previous record, 57,681, seen last year.
The 2016 attendance came to 57,093, up 1,734 on the 55,359-strong crowd in 2015.
Yesterday's crowd of 66,109 was the second highest-ever on the opening day of The Festival.
Ian Renton, Regional Director of The Jockey Club South West, said: "Ladies Day has really developed over the last few years and it is very pleasing to have a new record attendance.
"The racing has been superb again, with the Irish dominating except in the in feature Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase in which Altior once again showed his tremendous class at The Festival.
"We look forward to the final two days of The Festival when the action switches to the New Course.
"Those who have not booked tickets for tomorrow can turn up on the day and purchase them at the gates, though Gold Cup Day on Friday is sold out and will be attended by 70,000 racegoers."
Good luck in finding the winner of the Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, which is probably as tricky a betting race as exists during the week.
There seems to be a little late money for Gary Moore's Eragon de Chanay
Quite a treble for Tiger Roll, now a winner of the Triumph Hurdle, National Hunt Chase and now the Cross Country.
Gordon Elliott's 7-1 chance was tired afterwards but is now being walked back in without jockey Keith Donoghue on top.
Owner Michael O'Leary said: "He just loves Cheltenham - hates everywhere else mind you.
"He's a rat of a thing but he's got the heart of a lion."
Paul Nicholls is not sure Cheltenham quite brings out the best in Politilogue, who was fourth behind Altior
"It wasn't a bad run - I thought he could have been third but he just didn't quite seem to finish off the race," he said.
"He never seems to quite be at his best here, so perhaps it's worth trying the two and a half at Aintree.
"That winner is a superstar."
Nicky Henderson was fairly dumbfounded by the incredible performance of Altior in the Champion Chase.
"You think it isn't going to happen," he said. "He's just got gears and Nico was great. He's electric.
"It's 90% relief and 10% pleasure," said Henderson, who was asked on his thoughts of an unprecedented treble in the features in the Gold Cup with Might Bite. "OK," he said.
"It's funny how these champions come along at the same time, they do seem to help each other."
Quite a race in store here, as part of a story for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase over the last week.
Ante-post favourite Altior was lame on Monday morning but was treated at Nicky Henderson's and ready to run.
Douvan was thought to be off to tomorrow's Ryanair, then back in this race. He was supposed to be ridden by Ruby Walsh, who is now injured, and Patrick Mullins is now on board. Bookmakers cannot give him away, he's about 5-1.
Then there is Min, whose jockey Paul Townend missed one winner just now when switching to Max Dynamite from Bleu Berry.
Good luck if you have followed all that, and have made your selection
Rich Ricci, the owner, says Ruby Walsh has suffered a suspected broken leg after his fall two out in the RSA Chase aboard Al Boum Photo.
It will be brutal news for Walsh, 38, if confirmed as he only returned from four months on the sidelines last week after a fall at Punchestown on November 18.
"It doesn't look good, I have to say," said Ricci.
The 11-time top jockey at The Festival had been due to ride Douvan in this afternoon's Champion Chase.
Walsh was stood down for the rest of day two.
The British Horseracing Authority's stewarding team tweeted: "Following examination by doctors, Ruby Walsh has been stood down for the rest of the day. He would need to pass a further medical examination by doctors before taking any further rides at the Festival."
Walsh rode two winners on Tuesday - aboard Footpad in the Arkle Trophy and Benie Des Dieux in the Mares' Hurdle.
“He’s going for X-rays - it looks as if it’s the same injury again,” added trainer Willie Mullins.
“The same place. Obviously things could change in a few hours and the X-rays will be clear but I do know he’s very, very sore.”
It's a bit difficult to take in the Coral Cup being about to be on after the dramatic RSA Chase, with Paul Townend aboard Ruby Walsh's ride Max Dynamite following the top jockey's fall and subsequent visit to hospital.
"He'd probably like the ground to be a bit better but on his Flat form he must be well-handicapped," said owner Rich Ricci of the dual Melbourne Cup runner.
It's a good job Philip Reynolds, the owner of RSA winner Presenting Percy talks as trainer Pat Kelly is a man of few words but great talent.
Even Reynolds, interviewed on Racing UK earlier, admitted to being "in bits".
"I never worry about the horse. Every day he wins, I'm happy," said Kelly.
It was an emotional moment for jockey Davy Russell, who lost his mother recently.
"She was an exceptional woman and she'd be very very happy today," said Russell.
"Pat Kelly is a genius."
The winner would look an obvious contender for next year's Gold Cup, given his achievements at the track so far.
Gordon Elliott admitted that "we can keep dreaming" after Samcro justified the hype in the Ballymore.
Interestingly, he did not say the chestnut will definitely head over fences, althought it looks more likely.
"I know Michael (O'Leary, owner) likes his staying chasers but I'd have no problems staying hurdling with him or dropping him back (in trip)," he said.
O'Leary added: "Let's just enjoy today. Hopefully he'll go on to Punchestown and then come back to Gigginstown for the summer.
"We'll have a chat with Eddie (O'Leary, brother) and Gordon and see."
Samcro no doubt features in plenty of ante-post coupons, some of which might have ended up in the wastepaper basket when Apple’s Jade and Getabird fell by the wayside.
Bookmakers, perhaps with renewed confidence, are not exactly making Gordon Elliott’s horse an unopposable favourite in the Ballymore, which is off in 20 minutes time.
The powerful, handsome-looking chestnut still 8-11 with most firms while Next Destination, whose form can be considered on a par with Samcro’s, is next best at between 7-2 and 4-1.
I’d love to find something against the top two but it takes a creative mind to find one, so good luck if you’re up to it.
What a big day this is for Jack Kennedy, the young jockey sensation who is aboard Samcro in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle in an hour’s time.
He certainly appeared cool, calm and collected in the paddock just now.
“Hopefully it all goes well, anyway,” he said.
“He jumps well, he’s always where you want him to be. He has to improve a bit but I feel he is improving and hopefully he can keep going into next year.
“He’ll be a three-mile chaser in time.”
Kennedy is also aboard Dounikos for Gordon Elliott in the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase
“He ran well at Leopardstown when Monalee beat him. He’ll have to improve but I feel he’s an improving horse. He’ll be doing his best work at the end.” He offered some encouragement for Barra in the Coral Cup: “She ran well here last year but lost her way a bit - but it was a better run the last day.”
Kennedy was not quite so excited about Veneer Of Charm in the Fred Winter, who has “probably got his work cut out”.
Fence four, known as the Aintree fence, is being omitted from the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase due to waterlogging.
The obstacle would be jumped twice during the race but clerk of the course Simon Claisse said: "It seems that the waterlogged part of the landing has got bigger over the last couple of days and that can happen after intense rainfall.
"It's an obstacle we'd need to bypass even if something happened on the first circuit so that shouldn't be a problem."
Claisse added that up to 10mm of rain is expected through this evening.
"It wouldn't surprise me if we ended up soft, good to soft in places before that rain comes tomorrow and we'll just have to see tomorrow what impact it has, but I suspect that soft will remain the predominant ground condition."
Henry de Bromhead was very downbeat yesterday talking about Special Tiara defending his Champion Chase title on the heavy ground - “we’re going to struggle I imagine” - and against some very stiff competition but he did report that the old favourite was “brilliant” in terms of wellbeing.
One would imagine he will go closer with Monalee in the RSA Chase, as he was a Grade 1 winner at Leopardstown last month and a potential alternative to Presenting Percy.
“He seems well,” he said. “We’ll go out and do our best. I think he’s a three-mile horse, a lot of people think he should have gone for the JLT but it was two miles five at Leopardstown and he needed that. There’s hardly been a discussion.”
Not wanting to dwell too long on yesterday's action, espcially with 21 races over the next three days to get stuck in to, but one punter made all his dreams come true yesterday.
A William Hill customer defied the odds after correctly predicting the winner of all seven of the races on day one of the Cheltenham Festival.
Lucky bugger. There are people out there who will be lucky to get seven winners across the week, let alone the whole lot on the day.
The customer in his early fifties placed the 50p sevenfold starting with Summerville Boy in the Supreme and they bookended day one with Mister Whitaker in the Close Brothers. He trousered a cool £11,364.76. Actually he didn't. The thousands went straight into his App account, which is nver as fun as ral, cold, hard cash, is it?
“Tuesday was an okay day for the bookies but there were a couple of smaller fish that slipped through our net including this gentleman who despite only placing a 50p e/w bet on his selections, has managed to defy odds of 33,058/1 - a truly astonishing feat,” said William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams.
The Jackpot was only £10,399.20 to a £1 stake, incidentally. Not the greatst advertisement for the Tote...
Welcome back to the second day of the 2018 Festival, where it was dry overnight and the ground is currently soft, heavy in places on all courses.
There's a bit of a wind whipping around Cheltenham today, which should have more of an effect in drying out the ground a little than the temperature, given it is still a bit on the chilly side
Clerk of the course Simon Claisse said: "It may well be that by 1.30pm when we kick off with the first race that we change the going to soft all round but we will just have to see how things dry ouy over the next few hours."
The British are leading the Irish 4-3 in the BetBright Cup but more importantly us punters took the bookmakers’ trousers down yesterday.
The layers managed to avoid the pain of an opening day four-timer thanks to the defeat of Getabird in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, won by Summerville Boy, and had the bonus of the surprise demise of Apple's Jade in the Mares' Hurdle.
However, two bankers - Footpad in the Arkle Trophy and Buveur D'Air in the Champion Hurdle - helped punters put their foot on the throats of the old enemy. Coo Star Sivola was another winning favourite in the Ultima Handicap Chase, while all the other winners - Benie Des Dieux, Rathvinden and Mister Whitaker - were well-backed.
Footpad was the first big result to go in favour of the punters, with Ladbrokes reporting the 5-6 favourite was the best-backed horse of the day.
The firm's Nicola McGeady,said: "Day one has gone in favour of the punters, but just about. It was swings and roundabouts throughout the afternoon, but victories for Footpad, Coo Star Sivola and Buveur D'Air has given punters the lead.
"Had Apple's Jade won, we would have been looking at one of the worst opening days in Festival history. There was a four-million pound swing on Gordon Elliott's star, so the cheers from the trading floor raised the roof when she was beaten."
Coral also heaved a sigh of relief when Apple's Jade was turned over. "This year's Festival kicked off with a bookie-friendly result in the Supreme, with Getabird well beaten, but three successive winning favourites meant we were facing a multi-million pound hammering if Apple's Jade won her second Mares' Hurdle," said David Stevens.
"However, for once it was the combination of Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh who came to our rescue with Benie Des Dieux, and although Rathvinden was a popular winner of the four-miler, we've no complaints about finishing a close second to the punters on a day that could have been so much more costly."
William Hill, too, were grateful to Walsh for that result as it just turned the tide in their favour.
"We have gone from losing well over a million to just shading the opening day," said spokesman Rupert Adams.
"It is not often that a Ruby Walsh winner saves us a seven-figure payout."
Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield said: "Three favourites, including odds-on Footpad and Buveur D'Air, winning wasn't ideal, especially as we were money back all losers if the SP favourite won in all races.
Select any odd to add a bet
Enter a stake to place a bet