FOR PUNTERS, THIS was a mixed day.
For Barry Geraghty and Nicky Henderson, it was nothing short of spectacular.
After an opening day full of bookie-pleasing shock wins, the perfect tonic was offered up with the favourite claiming first in both of the opening two races.
Teaforthree was first out and led the field from the off. After that, “he never missed a beat” according to jockey, JT McNamara, on the day of a clean sweep for Irishmen in the saddle.
None had a better day than Geraghty. His first win came in race two on another heavily backed favourite; Simonsig.
Where others have failed to live up to the hype and over-thought the big race process, Geraghty kept to the formbook. Just as he did with Sprinter Sacre on Tuesday, he romped home with half a dozen lengths to spare.
With one of the week’s ‘dead certs’ coming up in the RSA hurdle, the bookies were shaking at the sight of Grand Crus ambling towards the start.
Fortunately for them, he also ambled to the finish. He ran well for most of the race, never led, but coming up to the last you would have fancied him to kick on. It never happened and Geraghty, atop Bobs Worth, saw off the well backed First Lieutenant in a thrilling finish.
All the rueful glances, howver will return to the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Two horses went down early; Ruby Walsh on Kauto Stone fell at the first, but they got off lightly. The second jump (which would double as the last) was refused by Wishful Thinking, he slammed on the brakes barrelled through the jump and fell through the side railings.
The stewards reacted painfully slowly and so, when the race neared it’s pulsating finish, Sizing Europe and Finians rainbow came down the hill not sure whether to jump or not.
Richard Johnson and Wishful Thinking collide with a Photographer. / ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
In a dramatic finale to the racecard’s main attraction, Sizing was forced to pull out hard to the right and bumped into Geraghty on Finians Rainbow. Henry De Bromhead’s gelding was the most hampered after the collision leaving Henderson’s 9/2 shot to find another gear to win by a head.
Wednesday’s big winner
Without a shadow of a doubt, it’s the Henderson-Geraghty combination who won three in row, the three big races too.
Wednesday’s big loser
Grands Crus was the big disappointment for punters. Hotly tipped as a Gold Cup contender, he entered the RSA chase at 5/4, the favourite by a long way, but was beaten back into fourth coming into the final turn.
Quote of the day
“Grand Crus walking with all the urgency of an overweight labrador.”
Channel four presenter, Derek Thompson, was none-too-impressed by the languid attitude from the favourite for the RSA Chase.
Tweet of the day?
Day three will see the aforementioned Ryanair sponsoring one of the big races of the day.
The 2.40 will see Geraghty mount the favourite, Riverside Theatre, but there will be plenty of competition in the form of Noble Prince, Medermit possibly even the old favourite, Forpaddytheplasterer.
Following immediately after that will be the World Hurdle with Ruby Walsh on Big Bucks, the odds on favourite.