Cheltenham Festival 2023 LIVE: Results and reaction as Energumene and Delta Work deliver on Ladies’ Day

Cheltenham Festival LIVE!

It was another enjoyable at Prestbury Park, even if the Greatest Show on Turf didn’t quite reach Tuesday’s heights, when Constitution Hill made sure his hype was justified with a nine-length win in the feature race before Honeysuckle signed off her stunning career with an emotional Mares Hurdle victory under jockey Rachael Blackmore.

Day two was headlined by the Champion Chase at 3.30pm as Energumene defended his crown for Willie Mullins. Edwardstone, last year's Arkle winner, was never in the race. Before that, in the Novices' Hurdle, Impaire Et Passe roared to victory as Hermes Allen, part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, disappointed.

Elsewhere, The Real Whacker took the Brown Advisory, while Langer Dan won the Coral Cup. Delta Work defended his Cross Country Chase crown and Maskada gave Henry de Bromhead victory in the Grand Annual Chase, before 18-year-old John Gleeson rode A Dream To Share to victory in the Champion Bumper. Follow all the action from Prestbury Park with our dedicated blog below!

Cheltenham Festival latest news

  • Day 2 results in full

  • Back-to-back for Energumene in Champion Chase

  • Delta Work takes Cross Country Chase again

  • Langer Dan wins Coral Cup

  • The Real Whacker edges out Gerri Colombe

  • Impaire Et Passe wins the Ballymore

Preview: Grand Annual Chase

16:38 , Matt Verri

Coeur Sublime is not one to trust, but may just have the class in the Grand Annual (4.50) under Ben Harvey.

Dinoblue and Dads Lad are tasked with trying to end Willie Mullins’ barren run in Cheltenham handicap chases.

Thanks for following!

18:08 , Matt Verri

That’s all for our coverage of Day 2 of the Festival, we’re already at the halfway stage!

Here’s a reminder of today’s winners - would have been handy to have this list this morning.

13:30 - Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle: Impaire Et Passe 5/2

14:10 - Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase: The Real Whacker 8/1

14:50 - Coral Cup Hurdle (Handicap Hurdle Race): Langer Dan 9/1

15:30 - Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase: Energumene 6/5

16:10 - Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase: Delta Work 11/10

16:50 - Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase: Maskada 22/1

17:30 - Weatherbys Champion Bumper: A Dream To Share 7/2


No change for final race...

18:03 , Matt Verri

Irish domination again!

17:56 , Matt Verri

Delta Work too strong again on Day 2

17:48 , Matt Verri

Been another fun day at Cheltenham! Energumene and Delta Work the stars, as they went back-to-back.

Conditions slightly better this time, but a very familiar type of race for Delta Work...

17:39 , Matt Verri

1 A Dream To Share 7/2

2 Fact To File 16/5

3 Captain Teague 40/1

17:38 , Matt Verri

What a moment for 18-year-old John Gleeson, a Cheltenham winner.

It was absolute chaos behind him. Lecky Watson got pretty much wiped out, will be a few questions to answer.

A Dream To Share wins the Champion Bumper!

17:36 , Matt Verri

That was a really messy finish, five or six side-by-side heading to the last and a couple were badly impeded.

It’s A Dream To Share who gets the win in the final race of Day 2.

17:33 , Matt Verri

Townend hanging back on It’s For Me, right at the back of the field.

It’s Chosen Witness setting the pace, with Captain Cody alongside.

They’re off!

17:31 , Matt Verri

Away in the Champion Bumper!

17:24 , Matt Verri

Every chance Willie Mullins has 93 Cheltenham winners to his name very shortly.

He’s won this race 12 times, and has three of the top four in the market. Fact To File the favourite for him.

Underway in the final race of the day in about five minutes’ time.

He’s on the board!

17:18 , Matt Verri

Preview: Champion Bumper

17:15 , Matt Verri

The final race of the day, the Weatherbys Champion Bumper (5.30) sees Willie Mullins declare a staggering 10 runners.

However, it’s Gordon Elliott’s Better Days Ahead that looks really promising and gets the nod.

5:30pm: Champion Bumper odds

17:07 , Matt Verri

One more race to go on Day Two! It’s the Champion Bumper.

Fact To File 3/1

A Dream To Share 5/1

Fun Fun Fun 11/2

It’s For Me 13/2

Encanto Bruno 14/1

Western Diego 14/1

Queens Gamble 20/1

Chapeau De Soleil 22/1

25/1 bar

17:03 , Matt Verri

Thyme White was third heading to the penultimate fence, was travelling nicely too.

Who knows what might have been, with a fall ending Paul Nicholls’ hopes. Poor Harry Cobden...

16:57 , Matt Verri

1. Maskada 22/1

2. Dinoblue 7/2

3. Global Citizen 12/1

4. Third Time Lucki 8/1

Maskada wins the Grand Annual!

16:55 , Matt Verri

Or not!

Awful jump at the last from Dinoblue, and Maskada charged away up the hill to win incredibly comfortably.

Another winner for Henry de Bromhead.

16:55 , Matt Verri

Three to jump, have to say Dinoblue looks the winner from here. Travelling really well.

Global Citizen still just about leading the way...

16:53 , Matt Verri

Global Citizen the front-runner early on, a few lengths clear of the rest of the field.

Dinoblue following behind in second, pretty decent pace being set.

They’re off!

16:51 , Matt Verri

Away in the Grand Annual Handicap Chase!

16:48 , Matt Verri

They’re on their way up to the start for the Grand Annual.

Looks to be a very open race, Mullins and Elliott both with very decent chances here.

“Great to get a winner here"

16:43 , Matt Verri

4:50pm - Grand Annual Chase

16:33 , Matt Verri

ITV now turn their focus to Tipping Point, but thankfully you’ve still got us. Two more races to come this evening.

First up it’s the Grand Annual Chase - here are some odds:

Dinoblue 4/1

Andy Dufresne 5/1

Final Orders 8/1

Third Time Lucki 10/1

Global Citizen 12/1

Epson Du Houx 14/1

Coeur Sublime 14/1

Elixir De Nutz 16/1

18/1 bar

16:30 , Matt Verri

Gordon Elliott confirms both Delta Work and Galvin will now for the Grand National.

A brilliant 1-2 for the trainer, those two were in a class of their own in the race, a race that Elliott loves.

He’ll be hoping for more success at Aintree.

16:25 , Matt Verri

1 - Delta Work 11/10

2 - Galvin 11/4

3 - Franco De Port 9/2

Keith Donoghue the winning jockey

16:22 , Matt Verri

“He’s very tough, knew the ground would suit me and he’d stay well.

“This lad is tough, he battles well. He’s brilliant, Gordon’s an unbelievable trainer.”

Delta Work wins the Cross Country Chase!

16:20 , Matt Verri

Brave run up the hill!

Took the last with Galvin, who moved just ahead on the run home but Delta Work responded and moved away. Too strong.

16:18 , Matt Verri

Snow Leopardess falling away after setting the pace for so long.

Francky Du Berlais has moved to the front, just ahead of Delta Work. Galvin lurking behind.

Two to jump!

16:17 , Matt Verri

Foxy Jacks does unseat Ricky Doyle this time, another one out.

Galvin and Delta Work still going well, Franco De Port moving up the field too.

16:15 , Matt Verri

Easysland has been pulled up.

Snow Leopardess leading the way by about four lengths as they approach the halfway point.

Back On The Lash at the back of the field has also now been pulled up, along with Deise Aba.

16:13 , Matt Verri

Rachael Blackmore off very early, Gim On Line out already. Just the 32 fences in this race...

Gim On Line flies straight across the field, just about avoids a collision. Delta Work travelling well in fourth.

Foxy Jacks... just about still in it! Not sure how Ricky Doyle kept himself upright there.

They’re off!

16:10 , Matt Verri

Away in the Cross Country Chase!

Century isn’t far away for Mullins...

16:07 , Matt Verri

16:03 , Matt Verri

Back On The Lash in part-owned by Harry Redknapp, but the former Tottenham boss isn’t full of confidence. He’s a bit worried about the soft ground.

We saw 12 months ago that Delta Work has no problem with that - rain surely suits.

Preview: Glenfarclas Chase

15:59 , Matt Verri

Tiger Roll was denied by Delta Work in the Glenfarclas Chase (4.10) last year, and the latter looked the new kid on the block.

He faces an up-and-comer from his own yard, Galvin, and the betting will be fascinating. Delta Work is currently a comfortable favourite.

4:10pm: Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase

15:53 , Matt Verri

Four down, three to go!

Delta Work goes in the Cross Country Chase - here are your latest odds for that:

Delta Work 5/4

Galvin 3/1

Franco De Port 4/1

Back On The Lash 11/1

Snow Leopardess 12/1

Gin On Lime 14/1

Deise Aba 40/1

Foxy Jacks 40/1

Easysland 50/1

66/1 bar.

Odds via Betfair.


Bloom: Energumene has done me proud

15:48 , Matt Verri

Brighton chairman and Energumene owner Tony Bloom can’t keep the smile off his face after that win!

He tells BBC: “He has done me proud. He ran a magnificent race and totally deserved to win. We are so fortunate to have such an amazing horse. He didn’t run at his best last time out but has shown his class today.

“We have a huge game against Crystal Palace tonight so I will focus on that now ahead of Grimsby in the FA Cup this weekend.”

Too easy!

15:40 , Matt Verri

Paul Townend with another Cheltenham winner

15:38 , Matt Verri

“Perfect everywhere. Jumped brilliant, got so far up the straight.

“You don’t win championship races like that normally. I was able to take it all in - a pleasure to ride.”

Energumene wins the Champion Chase!

15:35 , Matt Verri

Easy as you like. That was absolutely ruthless, never in doubt as Energumene goes back-to-back.

Captain Guinness second, Edwardstone was not really in the race at any point.

15:34 , Matt Verri

Energumene travelling really well, Edwardstone being pushed to keep up.

Captain Guiness still right there, Editeur Du Gite second. Edwardstone has been dropped by the front three.

15:33 , Matt Verri

Funambule Sivola is down, rider and horse quickly back up which is good to see.

Field down to six then. Editeur Du Gite leading them round for now, though Energumene has moved up alongside him. Edwardstone not jumping hugely well, dropped a length back of the field.

They’re off!

15:31 , Matt Verri

Away in the Champion Chase!

15:27 , Matt Verri

Time for the parade, only getting colder and wetter at Cheltenham.

That will suit Energumene, softer the better for him in this. Champion Chase coming up in a few minutes.

Reigning champion

15:20 , Matt Verri

Latest odds for today’s feature race...

15:16 , Matt Verri

Energumene and Edwardstone lead the way at the top of the market, will it turn into a straight head-to-head?

Just under 15 minutes to go until the Champion Chase.

Energumene 11/8

Edwardstone 2/1

Editeur Du Gite 13/2

Captain Guinness 16/1

Nube Negra 22/1

Greaneteen 28/1

Funambule Sivola 50/1

Preview: Champion Chase

15:09 , Matt Verri

The Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (3.30) will divide opinion. With Shishkin having left the two-mile division, Energumene picked up the pieces and, having been so impressive in this race last year, he remains the horse to beat.

The concern is how laboured he was here in January behind Editeur Du Gite, and it is a concern for backers of Edwardstone that Alan King’s charge still failed to win, so an alternative is possible and, perhaps, Nube Negra is the one.

Much better fresh, he has thus been saved all year by Dan Skelton, and he has an excellent record at Cheltenham. Moreover, he is a backable price in a tricky renewal.

15:03 , Matt Verri

1 - Langer Dan 9/1

2 - An Epic Song 16/1

3 - Camprond - 20/1

4 - Scaramanga - 50/1

5 - Bold Endeavour - 22/1

Harry Skelton the winning jockey...

15:01 , Matt Verri

“He loves a race like this. Big field.

“Dan has trained him to perfection. Thankfully we’re in the right race, he loves it. A proper little horse. This means the world to the guys.

“The little horse deserves it.”

Langer Dan wins the Coral Cup!

14:59 , Matt Verri

Brilliant finish!

Three of them charged up the hill, it’s Langer Dan who gets there ahead of An Epic Song and Camprond.

14:56 , Matt Verri

Big roar as the loose horse moves to the front of the field, out of the way though, which is a relief for all those in the field.

HMS Seahorse travelling well in midfield, but so are about 15 of them.

14:54 , Matt Verri

Elvis Mail unseated Bruce Lynn at the first, frustrating for him.

Otherwise everyone else is away fine, in this big field. Watch House Cross setting the early pace.

They’re off!

14:53 , Matt Verri

Away in the Coral Cup!

14:52 , Matt Verri

Some starting walking back, others stayed at the tape. Nobody seems to have any idea what’s going on.

HMS Seahorse facing the wrong way, which isn’t particularly ideal.

The wait goes on...

14:50 , Matt Verri

Big field and we’re going to need a second take at the start.

Was a bit of a mess really.

14:48 , Matt Verri

Rain continues to fall at Cheltenham, that sunshine we had yesterday is nowhere to be seen.

HMS Seahorse trainer Paul Nolan says: “He needs to improve, hopefully he will. A very competitive handicap, we’re just hoping for a good run.”

14:44 , Matt Verri

Almost time for the third race of the day.

HMS Seahorse looks set to go off favourite, shortened to 6/1 having been 11/1 early this morning. Historically, it hasn’t been a race for the favourites.

Langer Dan has also been backed in.

Preview: Coral Cup

14:38 , Matt Verri

Gordon Elliott runs five in the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (2.50), and it would be no surprise if Fil Dor was up to defying top weight, despite being only a five-year-old.

A chance is taken on An Epic Song though, who will very much welcome the rain and was quite eye-catching at Leopardstown.

Start the celebrations!

14:34 , Matt Verri

2:50pm: Coral Cup

14:30 , Matt Verri

Next up, it’s the Coral Cup. 26 runners in this, can get up to eight places for this. Tough one to pick a winner!

HMS Seahorse 8/1

Captain Conby 17/2

San Salvador 9/1

Run For Oscar 11/1

Langer Dan 11/1

San Fureur 11/1

Benson 12/1

An Epic Song 12/1

Fil Dor 14/1

Beacon Edge 14/1

Good Risk At All 14/1

16/1 bar

One very relieved jockey!

14:27 , Matt Verri

Brilliant race!

14:21 , Matt Verri

1 The Real Whacker 8-1

2 Gerri Colombe 5-4

3 Bronn 50-1

Sam Twiston-Davies the winning jockey...

14:20 , Matt Verri

“He races in a great manner. With his jumping, he’s always filling himself up. That felt like a long way up the run!

“Fantastic race, always a privilege to be able to ride in these races. Great support.

“All the lads were saying well done, I said I’d rather know for definite. You never know until it’s done. Delighted.”

The Real Whacker wins the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase!

14:17 , Matt Verri


The Real Whacker just about holds on. Gerri Colombe had four lengths to make up after taking the last, and very nearly did. A few more yards and he’d have won.

Result confirmed, The Real Whacker wins by a nose.

14:15 , Matt Verri

Sir Gerhard is warming to this, starting to move through the field now. Travelling well.

It’s as you were at the front, but they’re bunching up now. Sir Gerhard almost alongside Gerri Colombe with three to jump.

14:14 , Matt Verri

Rain starting to fall bit more now. Sir Gerhard still right at the back, jumping has improved slightly though.

Still it’s The Real Whacker and Bronn at the front. Followed by Gerri Colombe and Galia Des Liteaux, few lengths to the rest of the field.

Seven to jump.

14:12 , Matt Verri

Bit of a poor jump from Sir Gerhard right at the back of field, not looking particularly confident. Gerri Colombe travelling better in the midfield.

The Real Whacker is leading them round in the early stages, ahead of Bronn. Sir Gerhard is struggling with his jumping.

They’re off!

14:10 , Matt Verri

Away in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase!

14:07 , Matt Verri

Ruby Walsh questioning Sir Gerhard’s jumping ahead of the race, he’s giving the edge to Gerri Colombe.

Sir Gerhard was 6/1 yesterday, he’s shortened to 3/1 now. We’re about to get all the answers!

14:02 , Matt Verri

A 1-2-3 for Willie Mullins in the opening race. Decent start.

Sir Gerhard his big hope in this race, though he’s got four other runners too. Just one for Gordon Elliott, but there’s every chance Gerri Colombe proves enough.

They’ll be making their way up to the start very shortly.

Contrasting emotions...

13:57 , Matt Verri


Preview: Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase

13:54 , Matt Verri

The Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase (2.10) sees one of the bankers of the week for the Irish in the shape of Gerri Colombe, trained by Gordon Elliott.

Jockey Jordan Gainford spoke favourably of his chance yesterday, and Elliott has never hidden his regard for this horse, who has won every race he has contested.

The recent rain will help his chances and he always seems to do what is merely enough on the day. At huge odds, I Am Maximus could reward each-way players, for all that he has become a little disappointing.

1:50pm - Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase

13:48 , Matt Verri

On we go. Next up, the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase. Here’s some latest odds for you...

Gerri Colombe 11/8

Sir Gerhard 11/4

The Real Whacker 6/1

Thyme Hill 15/2

Galia Des Liteaux 14/1

Adamantly Chosen 20/1

Thunder Rock 22/1

I Am Maximus 33/1

Ramillies 33/1

Bronn 50/1

Odds via MyBettingSites.

Paul Townend: A dream ride

13:45 , Matt Verri

“It was a dream ride. I was hoping coming here that he would be that - it worked out brilliantly.

“I supposed from the first day at home, he shows a lot on track but not much at home. He’s turned the corner though and he’s being doing nice work.

“I was hoping that I’d get that response when I gave him a slap. I was delighted.”

13:41 , Matt Verri

“He was very impressive. He stays as well, I’m happy that I’ve run him in the race.”

Willie Mullins as understated as ever. Fair to say it was very much the right decision to run Impaire Et Passe in this! Bolted up.

13:38 , Matt Verri

1 - Impaire Et Passe

2 - Gaelic Warrior

3 - Champ Kiely

4 - Good Lane

There was plenty of love for Hermes Allen pre-race, but he fell away badly.

Impaire Et Passe wins the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle!

13:36 , Matt Verri

That was never really in doubt from three out.

Cruised round on the inside, Hermes Allen was being pushed but couldn’t stick with Impaire Et Passe.

Three lengths clear at least taking the last, cleared that comfortably and a dream run home.

13:34 , Matt Verri

Impaire Et Passe starting to move up a bit, as Hermes Allen moves into the lead with four to jump. Starting to push the pace.

A couple of lengths between the front two and the rest of the field, led by Impaire Et Passe.

13:33 , Matt Verri

Champ Kiely out at the front, ahead of Hermes Allen. Impaire Et Passe in fourth after the first couple of hurdles.

Nobody making any sort of move yet, pretty much exactly as they started. Still Impaire Et Passe goes round in fourth, with Hermes Allen following the leader Champ Kiely.

They’re off!

13:30 , Matt Verri

Away in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle! Hermes Allen has gone off favourite.

13:27 , Matt Verri

Cold, windy, drizzly conditions at Cheltenham today. Lovely.

They’re on their way up to the start line for the Ballymore. Hermes Allen has been well-backed this morning, looking very calm. Gaelic Warrior... is not.

Sir Alex Ferguson on Hermes Allen’s chances

13:23 , Matt Verri

“We’ve very excited about it. A really good horse. We’ve got the Irish to beat, but we’re confident.

“Honeysuckle - I don’t think anyone left without a tear. Everyone felt the emotion. The jockey, the trainer, absolutely fantastic day.”

McCoy and Walsh reflect on emotional opening day...

13:21 , Matt Verri

Constitution Hill off to Aintree!

13:18 , Matt Verri

Nicky Henderson has confirmed that the Aintree Hurdle is likely to be Constitution Hill’s next race, after his sensational run in the Champion Hurdle yesterday.

“Tuesday was a special day that meant a lot, and he’s fine this morning,” Henderson said.” I’d like to think going to the Grand National meeting with him for the Aintree Hurdle next month would be the plan.

“He got out of bed this morning, but we’ve put the do-not-disturb sign on his door until Aintree!”


Impaire Et Passe drifting...

13:15 , Matt Verri

Impaire Et Passe has been drifting throughout the morning, 9/4 now having been 15/8.

Hermes Allen, part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, has been backed into 11/4. It’s been a race dominated by the Irish - can Hermes Allen change that?

We’ll find out in 15 minutes!

13:09 , Matt Verri

ITV’s coverage starting on ITV4 this afternoon, due to the Budget taking priority. What has the world come to?

Weather already not as good as it was yesterday, very cloudy and we’re expecting rain later in the afternoon. Umbrellas are already up, but nothing too heavy yet.

Preview: Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

13:01 , Matt Verri

Willie Mullins should get punters off to a successful start in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (1.30) with Impaire Et Passe. With two wins from two outings, it is hard to know how good he is, but he seems certain to improve now up in distance.

Paul Nicholls has become a peripheral figure at Cheltenham in recent years, and he will rarely enjoy a win as much if Hermes Allen scores. Ultra-impressive in his three races so far, he is dangerous to discount, with Barry Connell also bullish about Good Land.

Reminder of our Day 2 tips...

12:46 , Matt Verri

1.30pm: Impaire Et Passe

2.10pm: Gerri Colombe

2.50pm: An Epic Song

3.30pm: Nube Negra

4.10pm: Delta Work

4.50pm: Coeur Sublime

5.30pm: Better Days Ahead

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

1:30pm: Ballymore Novices Hurdle

12:39 , Matt Verri

Here are some latest odds for you, for the opening race this afternoon. Impaire Et Passe favourite to get the Mullins and Townend partnership off to a winning start on day two.

Impaire Et Passe 15/8

Hermes Allen 3/1

Good Land 9/2

Gaelic Warrior 11/2

Champ Kiely 15/2

Ho My Lord 25/1

American Mike 33/1

Marble Sands 100/1

Persian Time 100/1

Master Chewy 125/1

Odds via Betfair.

Montage time!

12:32 , Matt Verri

Irish dominance at Cheltenham

12:24 , Matt Verri

Ireland are 5-2 up in the Prestbury Cup after the opening day of the Festival. The first eight runners home in yesterday’s opening race were Irish, so it’s been a pretty ominous start.

Safe bet to say we can expect more of the same over the next three days.

Football royalty... and actual royalty

12:17 , Matt Verri


Can Energumene be stopped?

12:09 , Matt Verri

This time last year, the Champion Chase was billed as a head-to-head between Energumene and Shishkin.

That certainly did not prove to be the case, with Shishkin pulled up after struggling throughout and Energumene cruising to victory.

Double up is certainly on the cards...

Certainly a good name...

12:01 , Matt Verri

Energumene or Edwardstone in the Champion Chase?

Rachael Blackmore and Henry de Bromhead will be hoping it’s neither, with Captain Guinness their 18/1 shot in the big one today.

“Captain Guinness has been running solidly all year,” Blackmore told Betfair.

“He was impressive in winning the Fortria Chase at Navan in November on his seasonal debut, and he finished second behind Blue Lord in the Grade 1 Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, when he had good horses behind him.

“He is going to have to improve again on that if he is going to be involved in the Champion Chase, he has a little bit to find on ratings, but he’s in great order at home, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ran above his rating and his odds. He’s a classy horse, and he deserves to take his chance in a race like this.”

Double up for Corach Rambler

11:53 , Matt Verri

Corach Rambler won the Ultima once again yesterday, a special achievement even if it got slightly overshadowed by what came later in the day.

Here’s a view from Harry Cobden’s perspective on Oscar’s Elite as Corach Rambler charged up the hill.

McCoy hits out at whip rules

11:43 , Matt Verri

Retirement has not always come easily for AP McCoy. At his first few Cheltenham Festivals, he struggled with the idea of not being in the saddle for horses he once rode to famous victories.

As those horses have all made their way into their own retirement, life after racing has become easier to bear, to the extent that, were he still riding, he is not sure he would even take part at this week’s Festival.

McCoy is angry and embarrassed, his vitriol aimed at the British Horseracing Authority for its new whip rules, ones he worries will become the headline of this week’s racing.

“I feel so lucky that I’m not a jockey any more,” he said. “Maybe I live on a different planet now I’ve retired, I probably do, I’m just a chippy f***ing ex-jockey.

“I have to be careful sounding like someone all jockeys should listen to, but why would you turn up? If none of them go, it’s not great is it?”

Read our exclusive interview with McCoy here

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Blackmore: A dream ending for Honeysuckle

11:33 , Matt Verri

Rachael Blackmore has been reflecting on Honeysuckle’s heroics yesterday, admitting that win has ensured she can enjoy the next three days a bit more.

“She’s great - what a day we had yesterday,” Blackmore told Betfair. “It’s just brilliant, a fairytale way for her to end.

“To come back into that reception was incredible. She has given me such incredible days throughout my whole career, but yesterday was so, so special.

“It’s hard to explain. To get to ride something like her for the last few years, to come to Cheltenham and have Honeysuckle to ride, that is what everybody dreams of. Every jockey dreams of that, being teamed up with something like her.

“She is definitely getting a lot of attention, she always does to be fair. It is just a fairytale that she gets to finish now on that note. It definitely just relaxes you a bit ahead of the rest of the week.”


Constitution Hill shines on opening day

11:25 , Matt Verri

Constitution Hill delivered and then some with a dominant run to win the Champion Hurdle yesterday in imperious fashion.

Going off at 4/11 on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, he became the shortest-priced winner of the race, taking victory by nine lengths to the delight of a raucous crowd.

State Man in second was unable to stay close with Constitution Hill, with the only danger the final hurdle and when that was just about cleared, trainer Nicky Henderson could breathe a huge sight of relief.

“That would bring tears to most eyes,” Henderson told BBC. “He is pretty unique.

“There is a brilliant team behind it all. You get a horse like this in a lifetime and we are lucky. That is only the sixth race of his life but this horse is going to extraordinary levels and we are lucky to be the custodians of it. He is so unflappable.”

Power backing Gerri Colombe

11:16 , Matt Verri

Gerri Colombe is currently an 11/8 favourite for Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, the second race of this afternoon’s card.

Grand National and Gold Cup-winning jockey Robbie Power is confident that a big performance in store, one that will prove too good for Willie Mullins’ Sir Gerhard.

“I think Gerri Colombe is one of the Irish bankers of the week,” Power told Cheltenham.

“I think stepping up to three miles will bring more improvement, the ground should be ideal for him so I’m very sweet on Gerri Colombe.

“I think the big danger could be from Sir Gerhard. Stepping up in trip to three miles could improve his jumping, he is a very classy horse. I just think Gerri Colombe could be a horse en route to a Gold Cup in 12 months time.”

Fairytale ending for Honeysuckle

11:07 , Matt Verri

Honeysuckle bowed out in the style as she won the Mares’ Hurdle on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.

The two-time Champion Hurdle winner teamed up with Rachael Blackmore for one last ride, looking to make it four from four at Prestbury Park, and did just that after a final push up the hill to get past Love Envoi.

It was a fairytale ending to a remarkable career, and an emotional Blackmore paid tribute to Jack de Bromhead in her post-race interview. The 13-year-old, son of Honeysuckle trainer Henry, died after a fall in a race last year.

“We all wish a very special kid could be here today but he’s looking down on her,” Blackmore said.

De Bromhead told BBC: “It’s the fairytale ending that doesn’t normally happen. I am so happy for everyone. You dream of it but this is what she deserves. She is an unbelievable mare. She is so special.

“I think we have had a terrible year with Jack but the support everyone has given us we are really grateful for that.”

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