Cheltenham Day Three Review: Flooring Porter shocks his rivals and Allaho makes a huge statement
TwinSpires writer Josh Powell will be on site every day for the 2021 Cheltenham Festival in Great Britain. Josh will provide daily assessments and analysis of racing trends, track play and bias, and other key track-side information punters desire.
The third day of the Cheltenham Festival continued as the previous two days had done with a whole host of Irish winners and huge front-running performances. Former Stayers’ Hurdle champ Paisley Park couldn’t keep tabs on the awesome Flooring Porter, while the irresistible Allaho under Rachael Blackmore put in arguably one of the best performances of the week.
March Novices’ Chase
The day began with a surprise as the unbeaten Envoi Allen made a crashing mistake and hit the turf midway through the race. A previous two-time Festival winner, he had gone off a red-hot favourite. Shan Blue jumped enthusiastically from the front and upped the tempo as they turned for home, but he soon weakened as Chantry House and Fusil Raffles took over. It was Chantry House for Nicky Henderson who took the lead after the second-last and at the final fence he was two lengths clear and not stopping. Fusil Raffles was second and Asterion Forlonge was another couple of lengths back in third.
Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle
Former Gold Cup-winning jockey Bryan Cooper had a few barren years, but he was back in the Cheltenham winners’ enclosure with Mrs Milner in this handicap hurdle. Despite interference from a loose horse, Cooper guided Mrs Milner through the field and heading up the hill she had a clear advantage and wasn’t for catching. The chasing pack finished very tightly grouped but they were all five lengths behind the winner. Favourite The Bosses Oscar just edged out Come On Teddy, Milliner, and Champagne Platinum.
The performance of the day came in the Ryanair Chase from the in-form Rachael Blackmore on Allaho. She led from the front and put pressure on the rest of the field as soon as the tape went up. They went incredibly fast, and Min was the only one to try and stay with Allaho, but the challenge ended three fences from home as Min started going backwards. To show how much pressure Allaho had these under, six of the 11 in the field were pulled up! Fakir D’oudairies was a very distant second 12 lengths behind the winner, with Tornado Flyer picking up the pieces in third.
After Allaho led from the start, Flooring Porter did the same in the Stayers’ Hurdle and nobody got past him. Favourite Paisley Park was under pressure in the middle part of the race and although he always does his best work late it wasn’t enough, and he could only stay on for third. Flooring Porter was still going easily two hurdles from home and although he drifted to his right up the hill, he still had plenty in hand to give jockey Danny Mullins his first Cheltenham Festival winner after five second places in his career. Sire Du Berlais was second.
PP Handicap Chase
There were 100,000 reasons for The Shunter and his connections to be smiling in the big handicap chase of the day, as his win meant that the team won a £100k bonus after he was victorious in a race in Kelso two weeks ago. The Shunter was a popular favourite and jumped like a stag, with jockey Jordan Gainford on board taking an all-important 7lb claimer off his back. Farclas for Denise Foster got up for second ahead of Top Notch who just held off the challenges of Coole Cody and Assemble for third.
Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
Another sublime ride from Blackmore who weaved her way through the pack to notch yet another win at the Festival. She dropped Telmesomethinggirl into a lovely position and picked the right gaps at the right times to cut through the field and charge up the hill. Not only was this yet another Irish winner but put Blackmore in pole position to end the week as Cheltenham’s leading jockey. Magic Daze was a distant second with Mighty Blue coming home in third.
Kim Muir Handicap Chase
Mount Ida was out the back of the field and pretty much tailed off after the second fence but swooped around the field and jumped the final obstacle two lengths clear before riding up the hill with Jack Kennedy celebrating before the line. She looked like she might not complete the race, let alone win it, but it was an incredible ride and another win for the Irish.
Going for Gold…
Al Boum Photo is looking to etch his name into the racing world’s book of greats by winning his third successive Cheltenham Gold Cup, but he is vying for favouritism for A Plus Tard. The mount of leading jockey Blackmore, A Plus Tard is a dual Grade 1 winner, but all the talk will be about the lady on board if she was to become the first lady rider to win racing’s most prestigious race.
Elsewhere Champ will lead the challenge for the British horses and Minella Indo and Kemboy will both be aiming to outrun their odds.
In the opening race of the day Jack Kennedy rides another hotly fancied Irish runner for Denise Foster in Zanahiyr who has been supported all week, while Willie Mullins has the hot favourite for the new mares’ race in Elimay and Billaway who is getting backed in the Hunters Chase.