Banbridge completes clean sweep for Irish on Gold Cup day
The Joseph O'Brien-trained Banbridge made it a magnificent seven out of seven for Ireland on Gold Cup day as he stayed on strongly to deny Lanzarote Hurdle winner Cobbler's Dream, who traded at 1.341/3 in-play, on the run-in.
Martin Pipe Winner: Banbridge
In-Play High: 23.022/1
Antepost High: 29.028/1
Mullins again as Elimay takes the Mares
Elimay won a closely-fought Mares' Chase, just getting up on the line to deny Scarlet And Dove (hit a low of 1.162/13) and Pink Legend (low of 1.814/5 to give Willie Mullins a remarkable fifth winner on the day and his 10th of the meeting.
Mares' Chase Winner: Elimay
In-Play High: 14.013/1
Antepost High: 11.521/2
Billaway another winner for Mullins in Hunters' Chase
The fantastic run of Willie Mullins continued in the Hunters' Chase when favourite Billaway pulled off an unlikely victory to get the better of Winged Leader in the final strides.
Billaway, although always in contention, was pushed along for much of the final circuit and traded at a high of 21.020/1 when Winged Leader, who hit a low of 1.162/13, jumped the last at least five lengths clear. But there's no keeping the Mullins horses down, and ridden by son Patrick Mullins, Billaway found his stride up the hill to nab the long time leader on the line.
Hunters' Chase Winner: Billaway
In-Play High: 21.020/1
Antepost High: 5.04/1
Redemption for Blackmore as A Plus Tard wins Gold Cup
Despite a magnificent 2021 Rachael Blackmore's biggest regret was choosing the wrong horse in the Gold Cup, but she gained ultimate redemption this year as she steered A Plus Tard to a stunning wide margin victory over the horse she deserted last season, Minella Indo.
Minella Indo himself ran a great race and looked the likely winner turning for home - traded at 1.51/2 in-play - as he held a few lengths advantage over the field, with the majority of them being pushed along. But Blackmore and A Plus Tard had more to give, and the pair stormed to the front before going clear to give trainer Henry De Bromhead a 1-2 in the race.
In winning the race, Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, completing a stunning 12 months after being the leading rider at last year's festival before becoming the first female rider to win the Grand National.
Cheltenham Gold Cup Winner: A Plus Tard
In-Play High: 6.611/2
Antepost High: 19.5
Nice guy makes it a great day for Mullins
Gold Cup day is being dominated by Willie Mullins who saddled his third winner from as many races when The Nice Guy won the Albert Bartlett ahead of his stablemate Minella Cocooner who traded at 1.51/2 in-play before having to settle for second.
The story of the race centred around the underperformance of race favourite Hillcrest, while his main market rival Ginto looked to suffer an injury as he cantered into contention around the home bend (traded at 2.01/1 in-play).
Albert Bartlett Winner: The Nice Guy
In-Play High: 34.033/1
Antepost High: 50.049/1
Mullins bandwagon keeps rolling with State Man
It looked a competitive handicap beforehand but the County Hurdle was won in impressive fashion by the Willie Mullins-trained State Man, who clearly now looks as if he was a handicap blot who will go onto much better things.
Smothered up in the mid division throughout the race, Paul Townend brought the favourite through the field and wide into the straight, bagging the near side rail and cruising into the lead approaching the last. A good jump sealed the deal, bringing up a first and second race double for Mullins, Townend and the favourites.
County Hurdle Winner: State Man
In-Play High: 6.86/1
Antepost High: 15.014/1
Vauban storms to Triumph success
Cheltenham Gold Cup day got favourite backers off to the perfect start with the Willie Mullins-trained Vauban storming up the hill to win the Triumph Hurdle in effortless fashion.
Always travelling strongly just behind the pacesetters, Vauban took up the running entering the home straight and he never looked like being beat, despite a slight mistake at the last. Market rivals Fil D'or and Pied Piper filled the places, making it a 1-2-3 for the Irish.
Triumph Hurdle Winner: Vauban
In-Play High: 3.39/4
Antepost High: 36.035/1
One man who was particularly pleased with the result was our very own, and Racing Only Bettor host, Hugh Cahill...