• Racing/
  • Fingal Wins Pertemps Thriller

Pertemps Network Final (Listed Handicap Hurdle) 3m

  • (5yo+, 3m, Class 1, 23 runners)
  • Winner £45,560 2nd £17,096 3rd £8,560 4th £4,264 5th £2,144 6th £1,072
  • Going: Good, Good to Soft in places
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 5m 49.50s
  • Off time: 14:05:07
  • Last Updated: March 13 2014, 16:31 GMT

Favourite Fingal Bay (9/2) produced a really gutsy display under top weight to land the Pertemps Network Final at Cheltenham.

Fingal Bay justified favouritism at Cheltenham
Fingal Bay justified favouritism at Cheltenham

The cream rose to the top in the 3m handicap hurdle, as Richard Johnson got the Philip Hobbs-trained winner home by a nose after a rousing battle with second top-weight Southfield Theatre (20/1).

Cross Kennon grabbed the lead on the second circuit but Fingal Bay had travelled well throughout in fourth or fifth and went for home on the run to the final circuit.

However, Southfield Theatre had cruised up on the outside, after travelling just as easily, and he held a narrow advantage jumping the last.

The Paul Nicholls-trained six-year-old maintained a small lead as the duo battled up the run-in but Fingal Bay dug deep and conjured up a late surge in the shadow of the post, the photo confirming he had prevailed by the narrowest of margins, to the despair of the runner-up's jockey Daryl Jacob.

Pineau De Re charged home to finish just a neck behind the two principals in third, with his fellow 33/1 shot Trustan Times also right on the premises in fourth.

The winner has recently returned to the track after injury and Johnson said: "He's an amazing horse, we have always thought the world of him. He's come back from an injury last year, Philip gave him every chance, and he's been well rewarded today.

  • There was an eerie feel to Thursday morning at Prestbury Park...
  • But who is that emerging from the mist?
  • Could it be this year's World Hurdle winner? Annie Power stretches her legs ahead of the big race.
  • The St Patrick's Day Derby had racegoers in the spirit...
  • Some punters turned their thoughts to an early treble
  • No prizes for guessing where this lady is from...
  • Three in a line at the final fence of the JLT Novices' Chase...
  • ...but it's Taquin De Seuil and Tony McCoy who come out on top
  • A racegoer cheers on his fancy...
  • Fingal Bay (right) just got up to win the Pertemps
  • Richard Johnson is able to celebrate his second winner of the week
  • Nicky Henderson finds a rare moment's peace on a busy day
  • Hidden Cyclone leads Dynaste over the final fence in the Ryanair Chase...
  • ...but the grey has his day in the sun and powers to victory
  • Tom Scudamore celebrates...
  • ...and continues to enjoy himself all the way back to the winners' enclosure
  • These ladies managed to back a winner...
  • Big Buck's parades ahead of the World Hurdle...
  • but while the former champion travelled well for a long way...
  • It was Annie Power and More Of That settled down to fight out the finish...
  • Annie Power battles on determinedly as More Of That swoops....
  • but Ruby Walsh has to accept his fate on Annie Power...
  • as More Of That relishes every yard of the three miles
  • More Of That still looks fresh after his World Hurdle victory
  • Another day...another Grade 1 for Barry Geraghty
  • ...and he literally has the whole world in his hands!
  • Winning owner J P McManus takes the applause at the presentation
  • Jonjo O'Neill enjoys the luck of the Irish
  • ...while it's a tough day at the office for Paul Nicholls
  • Ballyangour thunders away from Colour Squadron in the Byrne Group Plate
  • Tom Scudamore celebrates a double on the card
  • Indian Castle makes a blunder but Derek O'Connor clings on in the Kim Muir Chase
  • as Spring Heeled lands a morning gamble under Robbie McNamara
  • Robbie McNamara treats the crowd to a flying dismount
  • Vicky Laing rode Gifted Leader to victory in the closing charity race
All the best images from World Hurdle day at Cheltenham.

"I didn't want to be in front for too long and he's such a trier - I have good luck on my side at the moment. It's amazing for me but Daryl is devastated."

Trainer Hobbs was also very complimentary about the winner, adding: "He was very good right from the word go. He won his first ever bumper and he's one of the very few horses to have beaten Simonsig.

"He's a very tough horse. After he won at Exeter (on his return) this was the obvious race for him. We said at the start of the week we'd settle for one winner but that's two and we'll settle for that.

"Richard rode a brilliant race. He's a very, very good jockey and a very good bloke."

Nicholls admitted such a narrow defeat was tough to take.

He said: "Philip and I have just been talking about it and it was very close. I would be interested to see the photo as someone told me that he thought it was a dead-heat.

"I thought he had a good chance and he ran a good race, but it's frustrating. Whatever happens, he will go chasing next year."


Open a Sky Bet account through us and claim up to £150 in free bets!