Gold Cup Day!
Rain fell on the final day of The Festival changing the ground to soft/good to soft and most likely changing the outcome for many of the competitors.
Ruby Walsh took an early lead in the JCB Hurdle with Dicosimo by five or six lengths, but Peace And Co and Top Notch stepped up as they approached the last, with favourite Peace and Co taking the win at the very end.
The Vince O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle was taken by outsider Wicklow Brave, who came from nowhere at the end to romp home at 25/1. Noel Fehily took a fall on Roman Flight, but both horse and rider were ok.
Mortello Tower just managed to hold on to his lead in the Albert Bartlett, with the team at Dan Skelton Racing (a favourite of Duralock) coming in 5th with the hotly tipped Value At Risk.
The hugely anticipated Gold Cup did not disappoint. Coneygree was first out and managed to fend off some serious competition throughout. Ending in an exciting three way sprint and becoming the first novice to win The Gold Cup since 1974!
The Foxhunters, had a false start, an aborted second start and a messy standing start before they finally got underway. On The Fringe, ridden by female jockey Nina Carberry, opened up a massive lead before winning by a street from Following Dreams.
The Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle was no less dramatic, starting smoothly, Bulgarry took a crashing fall at the second flight and the race ended with Killutagh Vic pronounced winner in a photo finish with Noble Endeavour.
The final race of the festival and Tony McCoy’s last at Cheltenham was The Grand Annual Chase. After a well fought battle, hampered by a fall from Dresden, he handed the trophy to the winner to a rapturous applause from the crowd. Maybe not the fairytale ending most people had hoped for, but he can certainly look back on the week with pride.
Two men who definitely can, are Champion Trainer Willie Mullins, who trained a record eight winners and Champion Jockey Ruby Walsh who rode four winners over the four day festival.
Festival over, we can all relax a little bit over the weekend and catch up on who’s in and out of pocket… until the Grand National!