Recap the final day of the Cheltenham Festival where Al Boum Photo won back-to-back renewals of the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.
1750: Cheltenham Festival 2020. Done. What a week that started with a thrilling renewal of the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle, quickly followed by Epatante's brilliance in the Champion Hurdle. Wednesday was all about Envoi Allen and Politologue while Min, Samcro and Lisnagar Oscar starred on a thrilling Thursday. Friday was kicked off with a dramatic finish to the Triumph Hurdle, followed by another in the Albert Bartlett, before Al Boum Photo became the first horse since Best Mate to win back-to-back Gold Cups. Willie Mullins edged out Gordon Elliott for the leading trainer award while Paul Townend finished the week as top jockey. JP McMaus filled his pockets in the betting ring and in the handicaps while the packed stands defied the coronavirus outbreak to enjoy another memorable four days at Prestbury Park. Thanks for joining me this week, I do hope you've enjoyed Sporting Life's coverage of the Festival across all of our channels. Goodbye for now!
1745: RESULT: Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle
1. Indefatigable 25/1
2. Pileon 9/1
3. Great White Shark 40/1
4. Happygolucky 25/1
5. The Bosses Oscar 11/1
6. Mill Green 66/1
*Sky Bet paid six places on the 1730 at Cheltenham
1740: More drama. I can't take any more. Column Of Fire was surely coming there to win until crashing out at the last, leaving Pileon with a seemingly unassailable lead. However, he began to idle with only the hill for company and Indefatigable fairly flew up the near-side rail, eventually prevailing by the narrowest of the margins. Heartache for Philip Hobbs to end a frustrating week for him but Paul Webber will be thrilled with his mare who really is going from strength to strength now.
1710: And with that the final race of the week is upon is. My final throw of the dice in the lucky last is Escaria Ten, another from the Gordon Elliott stable. I had him down as an Albert Bartlett horse a few months back but he wouldn't have been ready for that, nor am I sure he will be ready for this. This horse is all about the future and fences but a mark of 136 is certainly appealing and I'm not going to jump ship now. Good luck to anyone still standing!
1700: RESULT: Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase
1. Chosen Mate 7/2 fav
2. Eclair De Beaufeu 13/2
3. Us And Them 10/1
4. Greaneteen 5/1
5. Theinval 50/1
*Sky Bet paid five places on the 1650 at Cheltenham
1700: A seventh winner of the week for Elliott. A genius trainer, no doubt, but I suspect the Brits will be on the phone to the handicapper next week. Us And Them finished third by the way. He's trained in Ireland, too.
1655: Another for Ireland, another for Davy Russell and another handicap victory for Gordon Elliott. Chosen Mate wins the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup decisively despite a mistake at the last that had given Eclair De Beaufeu, another from the Elliott stable, a sniff of victory.
1643: The Grand Annual is fast approaching now and Michael has been in touch to suggest a few quid each-way on Croco Bay at 33/1. Good luck Micheal.
1640: Some more Gold Cup reaction now from Santini's trainer Nicky Henderson: "You have got to be very proud of him and pleased for everybody, it was a great run. You couldn't have done anything else. He never touched a fence, he was in the perfect position the whole way. He fought like a lion. There was nothing else you could do. The winner was better by a neck on the day. To be fair this is only his sixth steeplechase and he has only got to improve a neck and (another 100 yards) and he was nearly going to get there."
1625: RESULT: St. James's Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase
1. It Came To Pass 66/1
2. Billaway 11/4 fav
3. Shantou Flyer 3/1
4. Staker Wallace 15/2
5. Minella Rocco 5/1
*Sky Bet paid five places on the 1610 at Cheltenham
1617: It Came To Pass gives the bookies some respite with a shock victory in the Foxhunters at 66/1. Billaway was given plenty to do but finished well for second. The Mullins stranglehold broken by trainer Eugene O'Sullivan and a fine ride from Maxine O'Sullivan.
1604: The Foxhunters coming up and Billaway is 5/2 to give Willie Mullins a fifth winner on the day. Good luck to anyone holding a live multiple on the Mullins' horses.
1600: Here's some reaction from Paul Townend now: "It's amazing. I tell you, I'd want some boot in the rear end if I was in front that early and got beat by Santini though. I thought I'd never feel anything like the feeling I had here last year, I think this is even better. It's all about this, it's all about this lad. Unreal, it's a credit to Willie. To come here with one run, the man's a genius."
1555: A magical day for Paul Townend who was having his credentials questioned after a testing day on Tuesday but has ridden three winners today, all Grade Ones, and will look back on his ride an Al Boum Photo with real pride. A word on Lostintranslation, too, who left behind his King George flop with a monster effort in third. He just didn't see out the trip quite as well at the first two home but still leaves Cheltenham with his reputation enhanced.
1546: RESULT: Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase
1. Al Boum Photo 10/3 fav
2. Santini 5/1
3. Lostintranslation 10/1
4. Monalee 20/1
5. Delta Work 5/1
*Sky Bet paid five places on the 1530 at Cheltenham
1537: Al Boum Photo goes back-to-back in the Gold Cup! Santini flashes home for second but the line comes in time for the defending champion. Santini was rallying coming the last but Robbie Power, aboard Lostintranslation, shut the door on him and having been forced to switch, he just couldn't get rolling in time. A brilliant ride from Paul Townend on the winner who had Al Boum Photo in the right place at the right time. Monalee ran a blinder in fourth while Reel Steel ran a huge race, too, travelling powerfully into the race before only tiring late on.
1530: They're off in the Gold Cup!
1525: Paul Nicholls visibly nervous when talking to Racing TV just now. I think he might be smiling in 15 minutes time if Clan Des Obeaux's stamina reserves hold out. I've always been a big Santini fan and would love for him to win but it's hard to argue with the Nicholls charge who has already won the King George twice. He ran well to a point last year but is a year stronger now and comes here fresh this time around.
1517: What a dramatic day we've had so far day. A final-flight faller in the Triumph, a monster gamble landed in the County Hurdle and a three-way photo in the Albert Bartlett. And we haven't even had the Gold Cup yet. My word. Just over ten minutes until the big one now and the runners are already parading. I can't take much more.
1515: Monkfish owner Rich Ricci said: "It was unbelievable, and I thought he was quite keen going round. Wow. He kept finding, I thought we were definitely beat in the last 100 yards. He has got a bit of class about him.
"He made a howler, but that was magic. He is definitely a chaser. We bought him as a Gold Cup horse. Hopefully fingers crossed he stays healthy and he can grow into one."
1506: RESULT: Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
1. Monkfish 5/1
2. Latest Exhibition 12/1
3. Fury Road 5/1
4. Thyme Hill 4/1 fav
*Sky Bet paid four places on the 1450 at Cheltenham
1456: Monkfish prevails in another thriller! A terrific finish to the Albert Bartlett and Willie Mullins is smiling again. Rich Ricci is all smiles, too. Keen through the early stages at the head of affairs, and then set back by a bad blunder when the race began to hot up, Paul Townend gave his mount chance to recover before he gamely and grimly got back up in the final strides. A pulsating race with Latest Exhibition and Fury Road going down on their swords in second and third, a photo needed to separate all three at the finish. Spare a thought, too, for Thyme Hill backers who had to watch their horse travel strongly into contention before getting squeezed out by Monkfish approaching the final flight. He eventually finished fourth but with a clear run, it's not stretching it to say he might have won with a clear run. A great run and they are four exciting horses going forward. For what it's worth, I think the winner will be a serious RSA contender next season and a Gold Cup hopeful the year after. He did an awful lot wrong there but it's testament to his class and courage that he was still able to win. I can't wait see him over fences.
1450: They're off and running in the Albert Bartlett...
1445: Really competitive, this. It would be great to see Latest Exhibition win for Paul Nolan while Monkfish rates a serious contender for the Mullins camp.
1435: The Albert Bartlett coming up with Latest Exhibition and Thyme Hill currently battling it out for favouritism. Thyme Hill has been my idea of the winner of this for some time now but Philip Hobbs has had a couple of high-profile disappointments already this week - Sporting John and Defi Du Seuil most specifically - and that has to be a concern. As stated earlier, Harry Senior looks a big price for a stable with a good record in this race.
1429: Nothing more to say about these Irish handicappers who continue to make a mockery of their English counterparts. Five of the first six home in the County Hurdle were Irish trained.
1420: RESULT: Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle
1. Saint Roi 11/2 fav
2. Aramon 8/1
3. Embittered 14/1
4. Buildmeupbuttercup 16/1
5. Elusive Belle 20/1
6. Moon Over Germany 25/1
*Sky Bet paid six places on the 1410 at Cheltenham
1416: Always well placed, always travelling, Saint Roi is chucked in makes no mistake as Barry Geraghty keeps out of trouble and pushes the button to devastating effect. Aramon runs a blinder for second to hand Mullins a 1-2 with Embittered finishing third.
1414: Gamble landed. Willie Mullins, Barry Geraghty and JP McManus again as Saint Roi bolts up in the County Hurdle.
1409: Breaking news that defending champion Hazel Hill will not run in the Foxhunters. More when we have it.
1400: The County Hurdle has soon come around. I'm siding with the attractively-handicapped Mohaayed but Ceil De Neige ran a blinder in the Betfair Hurdle last time and looks sure to win a big pot before long.
1400: Reaction from winning jockey Paul Townend here: "It's not the nicest way to win a race - but I've been on the other end of that, so I know what it feels like. We take any bit of luck we get. I jumped the first two well - she didn't jump at all on her first run. She's improved so much from that. She fell out through a couple round the back, and I couldn't rush her then - I had to just let her find her feet again. I got her out down the hill, and she started to pick up for me. I was lucky enough that I had a horse in a position to pick up the pieces."
1347: Absolute carnage on the exchanges there with £14,821 traded on Goshen at 1.04 (1/25) and Burning Victory matched at a high of 110. Goshen is 10/1 for next year's Champion Hurdle with Sky Bet for those willing to give him another chance. He remains a serious prospect if connections opt for another hurdling campaign next season.
1342: RESULT JCB Triumph Hurdle
1. Burning Victory 12/1
2. Aspire Tower 5/1
3. Allmankind 7/2
1338: What drama. You have to feel for the Moore family and connections of Goshen. Their horse was almost there, in the process of blitzing one of the most competitive Triumph Hurdle fields in recent years. He'd jumped well until that point, breezing past Allmankind turning for home and readily drawing clear in the manner of a very, very good horse. In the end, he got the final hurdle wrong and Jamie Moore, try as he did, just couldn't defy gravity. Credit to Burning Victory who has brushed aside her inexperience to come out on top but make no mistake, she was second best today. Allmankind ran his heart out from the front but was simply blown away by Goshen turning for home.
1334: Incredible scenes. Goshen had the race sewn up, 10 lengths clear at the last, when taking it all wrong and sending jockey Jamie Moore out of the side door. In the end, Burning Victory was left to pick up the pieces and give Willie Mullins another winner.
1330: Goshen and Allmankind both lining up prominently. And they're off...
1320: The runners are making their way down to the start now. Goshen still solid enough at 11-4 with Solo at 7/2 and Allmankind next in at 4/1. I'm not ruling out Burning Victory either. Willie Mullins' filly won on her only start since arriving from France when hurdling moderately at Fairyhouse but Mullins clearly feels she is worth a crack at this. 14/1 might be enough to tempt some.
1305: Derek is still smarting from yesterday's losses but I'm hoping The Cashel Man can ensure his week ends on a high. I did give him a second thought myself this morning. A smart Flat horse who stays all day, he could really be suited by the demands of this race. 33/1. Good luck, Derek.
1300: Andy has been back in touch, raring to go despite enduring a tough day yesterday. Like Andy, I thought Min might be better on a flat track but this game never fails to surprise us and he was a brilliant and game in the Ryanair. Andy is going for Delta Work in big one today, Thatsy in the County Hurdle and Shantou Flyer in the Foxhunters. Andy is now in the pub, just where I would like to be, but wants to wish all of our readers good luck on Gold Cup day. Very well said, sir.
1255: Just over 30 minutes until a fascinating renewal of the Triumph Hurdle. I've no doubt that Goshen could be in a different league to these but his penchant for jumping right concerns me, while his current price frustrates me, so I'm currently leaning towards Allmankind at 9/2. He already has course form in the bank, was brilliant at Chepstow over Christmas, and comes here a fresh horse, something I always like with Dan Skelton runners. Solo could be anything and has to be respected along with Irish contenders Aspire Tower and Burning Victory.
1250: A small lull in proceedings from myself. I must apologise but if I can't indulge in a lunchtime pint on Gold Cup day then self isolate me now and throw away the key. Meanwhile, Dave Ord and Ben Linfoot bring you the final Lunchtime Bulletin of the week...
1200: Ben Linfoot has just warned me against writing off last year's Gold Cup hero Al Boum Photo on the basis that this race rarely throws up back-to-back winners. I'm still unsure so have decided to have another watch of his brilliant win 12 months ago...
Don't forget you can access the full replay of last year's race, along with all other replays of UK and Irish races, via our Full Results page.
1155: Last chance to win the ITV7 at Cheltenham this week. Usual rules, pick seven winners from the seven selected races and start counting your money. Easy, ey? A bumper roll over of £250,000 today, too!
Here are my seven darts...
1330 Cheltenham - Allmankind. 1410 Cheltenham - Mohaayed. 1435 Fakenham - Onefortheroadtom. 1450 Cheltenham - Latest Exhibition. 1515 Fakenham - Eros. 1530 Cheltenham - Clan Des Obeaux. 1610 Cheltenham - Staker Wallace.
1140: Given we started the week with heavy in the going description, it's quite remarkable that Gold Cup day is set to be run on just about perfect jumps grounds. Cheltenham Clerk of the Course, Simon Claisse, confirms that the Chase Course is now Good to Soft, Soft in places while the Hurdle Course is Soft, Good to Soft in places.
1125: Confirmation now that the Premier League and Sky Bet EFL football programmes have been postponed until April 2.
1120: Don't forget you can get in touch on twitter or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org but please be kind and send me winners. Chris from Carlisle has been at Cheltenham all week and thinks Solo will prove a class apart in the opening JCB Triumph Hurdle while he is also backing Al Boum Photo to go back-to-back in the Gold Cup. Good luck Chris and go steady on that Guinness.
1100: Given everything that is going in the world, it is clear that we have been very lucky the Cheltenham Festival has been able to go ahead this year. We've enjoyed a thrilling week at Prestbury Park and Michael Shinners and Cornelius Lysaght preview the final day action and also consider how the coronavirus outbreak could effect the upcoming Grand National...
1050: Shifting gears for a moment, news is breaking that England's cricket tour of Sri Lanka has been called off following earlier confirmation that golf's PLAYERS Championship has been cancelled after the first round. We are still waiting for news from the Premier League and EFL but it is widely expected that there will be a suspension of action for some time. If you want all the latest on the coronavirus outbreak and how it is effecting sport, click on the link.
1030: Once again, the Sky Bet trading room has been a hive of activity this morning with the JP McManus-owned Saint Roi 5/1 from 14/1 for the County Hurdle following sustained market support. As mentioned earlier, punters have been keen to side with Goshen in the Triumph Hurdle while Thyme Hill is also proving very popular and is now vying for favouritism for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.
For all of the details of today's market movers, click on the image below...
1030: With the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle completing the triad of Grade One action, we really should be in for a final day to saviour and I'm not sure Harry Senior should be as big as 18/1 for that one having dotted up in the Ballymore trial here back in January. We have the County Hurdle and the Martin Pipe to get stuck into, too, so we still have plenty of opportunities to end the week on a high.
1030: The opening JCB Triumph Hurdle has lots of star of quality to it this year with unbeaten hurdler Goshen attracting strong support this morning as he bids to take down impressive Adonis winner Solo and Dan Skelton's Allmankind. This one should be run at a frantic pace, ensuring there is no hiding place, and it will take a mix of class and guts to prevail.
1030: Hello and welcome to Sporting Life's live blog of the fourth and final day from this year's Cheltenham Festival. It's Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup day and the big question is whether Al Boum Photo can become only the eighth multiple winner of this famous race since its inception in 1924. Can he he do it? History suggests not - even the mighty Kauto Star couldn't win back-to-back Gold Cups - but Al Boum Photo has enjoyed such a light campaign this year that he should be cherry ripe today. With the likes of Santini and Delta Work in opposition, along with dual King George hero Clan Des Obeaux, this year's renewal looks a particularly competitive one and we should be in for a cracker of a race.
Our team of tipsters, including Oli Bell, Simon Holt and Ben Linfoot have come up with their selections for Friday's action...
Every day of the Cheltenham Festival we will have our best bets in podcast form with our experts Matt Brocklebank and Ben Linfoot. Look out for it on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Google and Spreaker. A new episode will be available every evening from 1800 GMT.
Here is Friday's preview...
Value Bet tipster Ben Linfoot has four selections on Friday, including a strong fancy in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup. Click on the image to read his preview...
ITV presenter Oli Bell has six selections at Cheltenham on Friday. Read his full preview by clicking on the image...
Leading commentator Simon Holt is siding with Al Boum Photo in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday. Click on the image to read his full preview...
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