Cheltenham Day 3 Review: More Festival joy for Sire Du Berlais
There was more fantastic racing action on the penultimate day of the Cheltenham Festival and it proved to be a memorable one for Sire Du Berlais, who claimed the spoils in the Stayers' Hurdle.
Elliott's charge strikes again
Ahead of Thursday's Stayers' Hurdle, Sire Du Berlais was aiming for his third victory at the Festival after claiming the honours in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle in both 2019 and 2020.
Gordon Elliott's charge narrowly missed out on the Stayers' Hurdle prize in 2021 when ending up second, but the 11-year-old managed to power to the finish line this time around and cause a huge upset at odds of 33/1.
Not only was this a big victory for the bay gelding, but it was a memorable one for jockey Mark Walsh, who was a major doubt to even ride at Cheltenham this year after only just coming back from injury — this proved to be his eighth Festival winner.
Dashel Drasher, at 40/1, produced a brilliant effort to take second, ahead of 9/4 favourite Teahupoo, but those positions were reversed after a stewards' inquiry found the latter was impeded on the run-in.
Shishkin fails to shine
In the third race of the day, the Ryanair Chase, Shishkin was fancied to make amends for his Cheltenham disappointment of 2021 but he was unable to get the better of Envoi Allen, who chalked up a third Festival win.
Ridden by Rachael Blackmore, the Henry de Bromhead-trained charge was not foot-perfect throughout the race but had enough in the tank to win by nearly three lengths from the fast-finishing favourite, Shishkin.
Although ending up second, it was a second straight failure at Prestbury Park for Shishkin and trainer Nicky Henderson, when speaking to BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra, gave an early insight into future plans.
He said: "Let us see what Nico [de Boinville] says. He made a very bad mistake coming down the hill. He finished really strong.
"He probably wants to go further and we will probably try him at Aintree over three."
Delight for Nicholls and Martin
In Thursday's opener — the Turners Novices' Chase — trainer Paul Nicholls landed his first Festival winner since Politologue took the 2020 Champion Chase, with Stage Star producing a mighty performance.
The seven-year-old made all under jockey Harry Cobden, who also ended his four-year drought at the prestigious meeting, holding off 40/1 Notlongtillmay in second and the 4/6 favourite, Mighty Potter, in third.
There was also cause to celebrate for Tony Martin in the second race — the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle — as Good Time Jonny handed the trainer his seventh Festival winner.
Liam McKenna produced a patient ride to cut through a packed field down the stretch and score at odds of 9/1 on a day that proved to be tough for favourite-backers, with Thanksforthehelp down in 12th in this one.
Thrilling finish to day three
You Wear It Well impressed in the Jack De Bromhead Mares' Novices' Hurdle with a superb performance, having never been headed after being sent to the front from the off by Gavin Sheehan.
Jamie Snowden's six-year-old needed to respond at the death when the pressure came but did so brilliantly to finish almost three lengths clear at 16/1, with 6/4 favourite Luccia only able to finish fourth.
Henry De Bromhead, whose late son this race is named in memory of, claimed second with Magical Zoe, with Gordon Elliott's Halka Du Tabert finishing third.
And in the final race of the day, Angels Dawn also sprang something of a surprise at 10/1 when outlasting 7/2 favourite Stumptown in a thrilling duel to the line to claim the Kim Muir spoils for Sam Curling.
Cheltenham Festival 2023 Day 3 results:
- 13:30 Turners Novices' Chase won by Stage Star (17/2)
- 14:10 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle won by Good Time Jonny (9/1)
- 14:50 Ryanair Chase won by Envoi Allen (13/2)
- 15:30 Stayers' Hurdle won by Sire Du Berlais (33/1)
- 16:10 Magners Plate Handicap Chase won by Seddon (20/1)
- 16:50 Jack De Bromhead Mares' Novices' Hurdle won by You Wear It Well (16/1)
- 17:30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys' Handicap Chase won by Angels Dawn (10/1)
- Cheltenham Festival 2023 Day 4 Tips
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