Cheltenham Festival 2017: Five things we learnt on day three

Sports Staff
Ruby Walsh pulled off a fabulous four-timer on the third day of racing: Getty

1. Mullins and Walsh back in business with fab four-timer

After two desperately disappointing days, trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh made their presence felt at the 2017 Festival in some style with a fabulous 179-1 four-timer. Yorkhill set the ball rolling in the JLT Novices' Chase, followed by Un De Sceaux in the Ryanair, Nichols Canyon in the Stayers' Hurdle and Let's Dance in the Mares' Novices' Hurdle, as Mullins motored past 50 Festival winners.

2. Scenes of joy as Sceaux flies home in Ryanair

There were scenes of unbridled joy in the winner's enclosure as connections of Un De Sceaux greeted the brilliant winner of the Ryanair Chase, sporting scarves in the horse's colours. There was no-one happier than Colm O'Connell, son of owner Edward, who was receiving the best birthday present he could have wished for with a big winner at the Cheltenham Festival.

3. Shades of Inglis Drever as Canyon collects

Inglis Drever gave owner Graham Wylie cherished memories when winning the Stayers' Hurdle three times in 2005, 2007 and 2008 and Nichols Canyon followed in those famous hoofprints when storming up the hill to take this year's prize. Wylie recalled trainer Willie Mullins told him he had bought a horse that would give him further Stayers' success and that horse was Nichols Canyon.

4. Handicapper forgiven?

The Pertemps Final is supposed to be one of the most competitive races of the week, but Presenting Percy ran out such a facile winner. While punters will know the jockey Davy Russell, very few will be acquainted with County Galway trainer Pat Kelly, unless they noted he win the same race 12 months earlier with Mall Dini. Connections had felt the British handicapper had treated Presenting Percy particularly harshly, but the better ground eked out plenty of improvement and perhaps Phil Smith was right after all.

5. Super six has the Irish smiling

St Patrick's Thursday belonged to the Irish as their trainers scooped the first six races to virtually seal victory over England in the BetBright Cup with a day to spare. Though England had started the meeting long odds-on to win, Ireland had their noses in front with an 8-6 lead after two days and put the competition to bed with one win after another to end the third afternoon 14-7 up, after the hosts took the last with 40-1 shot Domesday Book.

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