Cheltenham Festival 2020: St Patrick’s Thursday Review
St Patrick’s Thursday at The Cheltenham Festival is renowned for its liveliness and enthusiasm and yesterday certainly didn’t disappoint! A day to revel in the racing action with friends from the Emerald Isle, there’s never a dull moment on St Patrick’s Thursday. Here we review the action from every race during day 3 of The Cheltenham Festival.
The Marsh Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
St Patrick’s Thursday kicked off with an epic battle, which saw Faugheen, Melon and Samcro fight it out for The Grade 1 Marsh Novices’ Chase. Faugheen began strong, taking the lead and jumping beautifully. The 12-year-old appeared to be on track for his 3rd Cheltenham Festival win but alas there was stiff competition. Melon eventually managed to surpass Faugheen as the two put up a tremendous duel for the crown. It was at the final fence however that Samcro came forth with a final burst of energy and managed to secure victory. Samcro is no stranger to Cheltenham Festival success, having won the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle in 2018. Another fantastic win for him to add to his list of successes.
The Pertemps Network Final (A Handicap Hurdle Race)
It was familiar territory for Pertemps Network Final winner, Sire Du Berlais, having already won the race in 2019. Jockey, Barry Geraghty, experiencing his 4th Cheltenham Festival win, noted how Sire Du Berlais was ‘on the money’ this year, beating leading contender, The Storyteller. Sire Du Berlais, The Storyteller and Tout Est Permis all appeared to all be running in unison but it was Sire Du Berlais who was able to burst forth and retain the title.
The Ryanair Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
The Ryanair Chase marked the first Cheltenham Festival win for Min, ridden by Paul Townend. It was Frodon who initially took the lead with jockey, Bryony Frost but as the race progressed it was Min who led the way with Saint Calvados and A Plus Tard following behind. This is the 4th time that Min has run at Cheltenham so is a significant victory for the Willie Mullins trained 9-year-old. “We used the wrong tactics on him in the Champion Chase last year and it didn’t work out” said Mullins. “He likes to be up there, Paul let him do that and here he is again at the top table.”
The Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
It’s the big race of St Patrick’s Thursday and what a shocker it was! Paisley Park was looking to defend his title in the Stayers’ Hurdle, having won last year and being victorious in the Cleeve Hurdle during Trials Day. For the majority of the race it was Apples Jade who had a clear lead, by as much as 8 lengths at times. It was during the final stretch when things became interesting. Apples Jade lost the lead, with Bacardys, Ronald Pump and Lisnagar Oscar bursting forth. In what has an incredibly gripping home straight it was Lisnagar Oscar who took the crown, with favourites Apples Jade eventually finishing 8th and Paisley Park in 7th. Just goes to show how unpredictable horseracing can be!
The Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (A Handicap Steeple Chase) (Grade 3)
Yet another shocking turn of events! The race began with last year’s winner, Siruh Du Lac taking the lead with favourite Simply The Betts not far behind. Siruh Du Lac continued to put up a strong performance until falling at the penultimate hurdle, with Imperial Presence also taking a tumble. It was Simply The Betts who rose to victory with Happy Diva and Mister Whitaker following behind. Simply The Betts was also successful on Trials Day, having won the Timeform Novices Handicap Chase. A superb win for the 5 year old.
Daylesford Mares Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2)
A truly enigmatic win for Concertista in the Daylesford Mares Novices’ Hurdle. She established a significant lead during the home straight and claimed a triumphant victory. Having come 2nd place in the race last year, this was a big feat for the 6-year-old and is yet another win for Willie Mullins, who has won the last five runnings of the Mares Novices Hurdle. What a fine Cheltenham record!
The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase
A thrilling final race for St Patrick’s Thursday! It was Milan Native who took a remarkable win by three and a quarter lengths. The victory provided trainer Gordon Elliott with a 3rd win for the day. Elliott said “This race has been the plan for the last few weeks for this horse, especially after we decided to run Ravenhill in the National Hunt Chase” and went on to label jockey Rob James as a “top rider and a top man”. What a great way to end St Patrick’s Thursday.