Cheltenham Chatter – Day 4

We have reached the final day, of this year’s Cheltenham Festival. Which tongues have been wagging?

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Mullins Muzzles The Doubters

Willie Mullins was understandably overjoyed, after an incredible Day 3 not only saw him break his 2017 Cheltenham duck but put himself back in contention to finish the Festival as leading trainer. The Walsh/Mullins partnership was successful in 4 of the 7 races.

“The first win was relief, the second was grand but the third was pure joy because I didn’t expect it. I wouldn’t like to tell you what was going through my mind last night.” he said after the last of the 4 victories. “But, to be honest with you, when we analysed it and went through all the runners, Douvan was very disappointing but we didn’t have any other runner in the last two days that should have won. Maybe the Mares’ Hurdle would have been different if we’d used different tactics, but that’s all.

“Everything else got beaten on merit. And when you’re beaten by Apple’s Jade [the Mares’ Hurdle winner], there’s nothing wrong with that either. So we said to ourselves that there can’t be anything wrong with the horses. They’re actually running well, they’re finishing second, third and fourth.

“The last two days show you that it’s a tough, tough place to win and we respect the place, we respect the opposition. We don’t have a God-given right to win all the races and we’re delighted when we do. To get on the board was great and it’s been a huge bonus since then.”

Cue Card Is The Case Ace

Colin Tizzard says Cue Card, who along with Native River will carry his hopes in today’s Gold Cup, is unlike any other horse he’s ever trained.

“When Joe [Tizzard’s son] rode him here in the Champion Bumper, I’ve never had anything in the back of the neck like when he went to the front and bolted up. I’ve never experienced that type of emotion before or since, and he’s kept on doing it for seven seasons.”

Tizzard understands that Paddy Brennan feels somewhat responsible for last season’s defeat. “The Cheltenham Gold Cup is a very big strain on an owner, a trainer, a horse and a jockey. I’m sure if Paddy had his time again, he wouldn’t have been where he was at that time.

“But if you look back in the race, four fences before, Cue Card was off the bridle and not going anywhere. Then a gap opened and the horse took off. None of us would ever think that Cue Card would fall because he’s always been a very neat jumper and at the time I was just glad that he got up, because it was a horrible fall.

“Paddy took it that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and there’s nothing wrong with saying that, is there? I don’t want to wind Paddy up, he’s wound up enough, but if this race doesn’t wind you up, nothing’s going to. If he goes there like he can, there’s no one better, but it will be a test for Paddy.”

Elliott’s Mad About Outlander

Gordon Elliott reckons that Outlander has genuine Gold Cup claims. The Irish trainer is flying high at this year’s Festival and won the race last term with Don Cossack.

“Outlander is our sole representative after we had to rule out our other chance, Don Poli, last week with injury.  Outlander will head into the race off the back of a win in the Lexus at Leopardstown.”. Elliott told the London Evening Standard.

“Cue Card, Native River and Djakadam are the favourites but for me Djakadam is the one to beat. We’re really hoping that Outlander can run the race of his life to give us consecutive Gold Cups.”

Defi Du Seuil Is Ripe For The Triumph, Says Berry

Frank Berry, Racing Manager for JP McManus, says that Defi Du Seuil has a great chance of winning the Triumph Hurdle.

“You couldn’t have asked for a better run with him. He’s done everything asked for him and we couldn’t be happier with him,” said McManus’ racing manager Frank Berry.

“He’s very consistent and Philip is delighted with him. The Triumph is hard to win, but he goes there in good nick.We just hope he gets a clear run and that all goes well.”

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