Galopin Des Champs crowned at Cheltenham
Tony Calvin with a 50/1 winner on Day 4
Alan Dudman rounds up all of the day's drama and news on Gold Cup Day
Champs gallops all over them for Gold
A meeting that provided the "golden hour" on Tuesday, and all that glistens was indeed gold on Friday for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend - as Galopin Des Champs fended off a stoic and well-named Bravesmansgame in a stamina-sapping but vintage renewal of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. A day of gold, and indeed green.
Paul Nicholls can be mighty proud of the run from his young chaser, but Galopin was just too good, too classy and hopefully a pair of fencers to lock horns again in the future. The best of the Irish against the best of the British, at Cleeve Hill, it's what we all want.
For those that like to think long term - Galopin Des Champs is 11/8 (from 7/2) to win the race in 2024, with Bravemansgame 10/1 on the Sportsbook.
It was also a day of redemption, as the Gold Cup winner was done at 1.011/100 12 months ago in the Turners. Today, £2.9million was matched on the winner, hitting a brief high of 4.77/2.
Only one man has ridden more Gold Cup winners than Paul Townend, and that's Pat Taffe. His ride today was described as one of the best ever by AP McCoy today, and it's a brave one to argue with AP.
The ride, and the race will leave us all wanting that bit more in 2024.
Lossie got one back for the short price banker fans
Yesterday was a poor day for the bankers with three short priced favourites well beaten, but Lossiemouth produced a classy performance in the opening JCB Triumph and she's a mare who has the world at her feet. Mullins had the first four, the Irish had the first 10!
UK trainers must be thinking how to plan for next year. The Supreme Novices' Hurdle saw the Irish with the first eight home, the first four in the Ballymore and 10 of the first 11 in the Champion Bumper.
Lossiemouth record the fastest final 3f of the week and has options aplenty for 2024.
She's 4/1 from 8/1 for next year's Mares' Hurdle, and 16s from 33s for the Champion Hurdle. She's good, I am not sure many will be opposing old Constitution though at 4/6.
Two for Dan, and a 50/1 Tony Calvin winner!
Dan Skelton struck again in a big handicap with Faivoir's win in the McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle, and Tony Calvin, our resident big-price tipster struck again for the team to go with Daryl Carter's 100/1 winner yesterday.
Tony has already penned his thoughts for Saturday's racing. There's no let up for our man, click here for five Saturday bets.
TC chinned Kevin Blake's tip in the County - so tune into the Racing Only Bettor pod on Monday. That will be worth a listen.
Fay kept the Irish at bay
Stay Away Fay recorded another Grade 1 success for the Champion trainer Paul Nicholls in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle, and Nicholls along with Nicky Henderson tried to match the Irish stride for stride in the big races, and both he and Harry Cobden can go home to Ditcheat tonight satisfied they have very much competed and won.
The winner of the Albert Bartlett hit a high of 42.041/1 today, but the drama involving Corbetts Cross meant a 1.75/7 in-running defeat at the end for the backers.
Stay Away Fay is 10/1 for next year's Brown Advisory Novices Chase.
Well done to Nicholls, who goes straight into Saturday and has previews his weekend runners and big chances.
Hunter magic for one lucky EW punter
Premier Magic produced a huge shock in the Foxhunters, a BSP winner at [110.0.] Well done if you found that one. Someone did - and one lucky Betfair punter won nearly £26,000 with a £25 each-way double on Premier Magic and Faivoir.
The winner for Bradley Gibbs - who trains and rides, hit a high of 800/1 in-play.
JP the Cheltenham great
Few would begrudge the great JP McManus success at the Cheltenham Festival, and the green and gold silks carried out the final two races on the card with the super-tough and stoic Impervious winning the Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Chase, and Iroko in the Martin Pipe to snatch a win from defeat.
Iroko was also a first Cheltenham winner for the training alliance of Oliver Greenall & Josh Guerriero, a pair who have fired in plenty of winners this season - and what a boost to have the great man in the yard.
Iroko under Aidan Kelly hit around 400.0399/1 in-play, with No Ordinary Joe chinned at 1.121/8. Kelly yet another youngster who displayed a super cool temperament both in and out of the saddle. Their interviews this week have all been excellent.
McManus loves Cheltenham as we all do, so hopefully you all made profit on the week with his runners. JP is tremendously loyal to trainers, jockeys and staff and with the sheer numbers he keeps in training, and some moderate ones too, he deserves the moniker of "the great man".
Roll on 2024 and thanks for memories
While the Irish have displayed their strong hand, indeed a vice-like grip on most races this week, it wasn't all doom and gloom for the home team. Dan Skelton showed he knows what it takes to land of the big handicap pots, while two Grade 1 successes for Paul Nicholls sees him very much in the Championship race game for next term.
And some news that filtered out of Cheltenham this week, and that was former top owner Graham Wylie was seen at the Sales.
I'd love to see the Wylie silks back, I miss some of his fine and also quirky horses. Maybe John Ferguson fancies another crack with all the Godolphin runners that don't make the cut in Newmarket. Well, we've got to think outside the box somehow.
Well done to our top tipsters TC and DC this week - finding any winner was a challenge for me, finding such big prices deserves a huge congratulations.
Thank you for reading and we all look forward to 2024 with Wylie and Ferguson and the old band getting back together?
Until then.....or tomorrow for me.