Cheltenham Ladies Day

The Wednesday notes

Kate Middleton and the Queen at Cheltenham

Kate Middleton and the Queen at Cheltenham

There were wins for Windsor Park and Don Poli as the Greatest Show on Turf reached its halfway point on Wednesday.

There was drama aplenty on the second day of the 2015 Cheltenham Festival as Ladies’ Day caught the attention.

After an opening day defined by the fall by Annie Power that cost the punters approximately £40million, there were fewer spills on Wednesday – but no less intriguing action.

There were wins for Windsor Park and Doni Poli in the first races of the day, before Sire de Grugy, the favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase, missed out.

Windsor Park claimed victory in the Neptune Novice’s Hurdle at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival.

Under Davy Russell, the six-year-old handed Dermot Weld his third winner of the festival, as he surged from behind to comprehensively shut out his rivals.

Vyta Du Roc had looked set to challenge for victory, but a blunder at the last fence allowed Windsor Park to surge clear of the field and ensure victory.

Dermot Weld

Dermot Weld

“All credit to Dermot Weld and his team – he’s a master,” said Russell.

“He told me that jumping is his hobby. It’s some hobby, isn’t it? He jumped every hurdle really well and I never had any issue with stamina.”

The well-backed Beast of Burden – in from 16s to 8-1 by the time the race got underway – had set the early pace, but fell by the wayside as Windsor Park made his move.

AP McCoy and Parlour Games came in second, while 7-2 favourite Nichols Canyon, under Ruby Walsh, came in third.

Don Poli claimed victory in the RSA Chase with an impressive, dominating performance at the Cheltenham Festival.

That made it five wins so far at the Festival for Willie Mullins, and was especially sweet for jockey Bryan Cooper, who broke his leg last year.

“To get a winner this early [in the meeting] is great,” he said. “I’ve been supported by great people.

“Willie’s done a serious job with this horse. He could be very special.”

Owner Michael O’Leary added: “He always seemed quite comfortable, if anything Bryan had to wake him up. It’s another outstanding training performance by Willie Mullins – the man’s a genius.

“I have a very good jockey and a great trainer. It’s great not to have to wait until Friday for a winner.”

Don Poli was well placed entering the final fences and could afford a poor jump on the second-last. Southfield Theatre, a 13/2 chance, came in second, with Wounded Warrior third at 12/1.

Sam Twiston-Davies led Aux Ptits Soins to victory by a neck, in the 2:40 Coral Cup.

With 25-1 shot Zabana leading around the final bend and over the last, it looked as though Robbie Colgan could be set for his first winner at the meet, but Aux Ptits Soins ate up the ground to claim the win for trainer Paul Nicholls

Activial, the 17-2 favourite finished in third, while Tagliatelle took fourth.

Paul Nicholls, with his first winner of the Festival, declared: “He’s run a blinder – he’s shown us plenty at home but I was worried he was inexperienced.

“He’s obviously very good but I thought he might be one for next year.

“I wasn’t expecting any on Tuesday, but it’s nice to have a winner.”

It was the horse’s first run in England since leaving France and John Hales, the owner, crowed: “What a horse – first time in England! He’s a machine, this fella!”

Sam Twiston Davies on Dodging Bullers

Sam Twiston-Davies salutes on Dodging Bullets

Dodging Bullets took the crown in the Queen Mother Champion Chase with victory in Wednesday’s feature race at the Cheltenham Festival.

Sam Twiston-Davies made it back-to-back wins for himself with a terrific ride on the 9-2 third favourite, comfortably outstripping both heavily-tipped favourites Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy.

The 33-1 shot Somersby came in second, with 18-1 Special Tiara in third.

Special Tiara had led for much of the race, opening up a four-length lead at one point.

But as Twiston-Davies and Dodging Bullets cleared the last, there was only going to be one winner, and despite a challenge from Somersby, Dodging Bullets surged ahead for victory.

The Paul Nicholls trained horse has now won the Tingle Creek Chase, the Clarence Hous Chase and now the Champion Chase this season.

Rivage D’Or took the crown in the fifth race of Day 2 of the 2015 Cheltenham Festival, winning the 4:00 Cross Country Chase in a thrilling finale.

The 16/1 shot edged out Any Currency over the last two jumps and surged away to victory after a dramatic moment when two horses broke through a barrier near a photographer.

It was a second winner of the day for Irish jockey Davey Russell, who also took the 1:30 on Windsor Park.

Uncle Junior – one for the Sopranos fans out there – did enough to squeeze through in third place, with Dogora finishing in fourth.

The turning point of the race came at the second last, when Toutancarmont and Quantitiveeasing bumped into one another, sending the horses through the rails.

A photographer was very close and was knocked down and was subsequently taken to hospital.

Nick Scholfield on Qualando

Nick Scholfield celebrates on Qualando

Qualando was the winner in the sixth race of Day 2 at Cheltenham.

The 25/1 shot pulled away from a crowded field in the final stages to give Paul Nicholls another winner in what is shaping up to be a fine festival for the trainer.

Nicholls picked up a one-two, with Bouvreuil coming in second.

Third place went to long shot The Saint James, who kicked on well in the closing stages.

Moon Racer was the winner in the seventh and final race of Day 2 at Cheltenham.

The 9/2 shot finished strongly to take the 5.15pm race, with Modus (33/1) in second and Wait for Me (9/1) completing the top three.

Coming in in fourth was the 16/1 Yanworth.

There was frustration for backers of Vigil and Supasundae, both of whom looked well placed at stages in the race. Jetstream Jack also fell off after a surge midway through the race.

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