DAVY RUSSELL BLOG: Cheltenham Festival Thursday

That’s a bit more like it ! After two seconds on Tuesday I was thrilled to win the opening Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle on Wednesday on Envoi Allen and for the blog have put my post-race thoughts on the link below ….

Whilst he was my only winner of the day I also had some really good rides on Wednesday …

Battleoverdoyen ran well to finish fourth in the RSA. We were in a good position all the way round and it was a big step up from him in what I thought was a very good race and a worthy winner in Champ.

Black Tears ran a cracker in the Coral Cup. I thought I had everyones measure turning in as she was going so well for me. We got a good jump at last but were just picked off by Dame De Compagnie close home.

Recent Revelations ran well in fourth in the Boodles – I would just love to have got one big jump at the last but he just didn’t have it for me and missed it a little. I couldn’t say it cost me the race but with a better jump maybe we could have been third.

In the Champion Bumper Eskylane ran well in fifth. I was planning on riding him up with the pace but the standing start wasn’t ideal as he just stood for a fraction. He’s one to look forward to.

Finally a word on Tiger Roll’s defeat in the Glenfarclas Cross Country. The ground is the one nemesis with Tiger Roll. We all expected him to win but he’s just not as effective on the holding ground. Even if it was loose he might have had more of a chance but that looked really gluey holding ground. I’d hate to be making excuses and I think the winner is a very good horse. Tiger Roll has still run a solid brave race.

Now for the third day.



SAMCRO (1.30pm Marsh Novices’ Chase)

What a race to start the day and I was thrilled to be asked to ride Samcro for Gordon (Elliott) and Gigginstown. He’s not been seen since finishing second to Faugheen at Limerick on St Stephen’s Day but has had a wind operation since then so hopefully that may help him. I suppose he could do with the ground drying out a little to be seen at his best, but we will give it a go. It looks a hell of a race and there are dangers everywhere. I suppose Itchy Feet has done nothing wrong all season and looks to be getting better and better. As for Faugheen, he was brilliant the last day and it is extraordinary to think that he is 12-years-old. If he wins, they will take the roof off the place.

THE STORYTELLER (2.10pm Pertemps Final)

Former Festival winner The Storyteller (pictured) takes his chance in the Pertemps and I’m looking forward to riding him. We know he handles the track and I’m hoping he can run well. I suppose my only worry is that he’s only a little fella and he has to lump some weight around. That said, he’s classy on his day and I hope he can go well. It’s hard to single out one particular danger but if I had to, I suppose it would be the mare Relegate. If she retains her old ability, she is well handicapped.

2.50pm Ryanair Chase

No ride for me in this but I reckon A Plus Tard is the one they have to beat. He was hugely impressive when winning the Novices’ Handicap at this meeting last year and has stepped up on that this season. I’m not too worried about the ground for him and think he will beat Min.

3.30pm Stayers Hurdle

Again, I will be watching from the weighing room and I imagine I will be watching Paisley Park get the job done again. He was impressive last year and showed this season that he retains all that ability. Looking at the others and its hard to find one that could cause him a problem. I guess Penhill, a former winner himself, looks a likely contender but the truth is surely they will all struggle to beat Paisley Park.

BEN DUNDEE (4.10pm Festival Plate)

I ride Ben Dundee for Gordon in the Plate and he’s not without a chance. The step back in trip will help him and he was a good third, albeit beaten a long way, behind A Plus Tard in last season’s novices’ handicap. Whether he is quite up to winning a race like this remains to be seen, but we’ll give it a go. I can see Gordon’s other runner Death Duty going well and it wouldn’t surprise me if the mare La Bague Au Roi was competitive too. She’s classy on her day winning at Grade One level and a mark of 149 may underestimate her.

ARD ABHAINN (4.50pm Mares’ Novices Hurdle)

A race that through up a huge surprise last season and I wouldn’t be shocked if the same happened again with these young mares. I ride Ard Abhainn who I won on at Thurles the last day, but there isn’t much between her and Gordon’s other runner Mount Ida. Whether either are good enough to beat Henry De Bromhead’s Minella Melody remains to be seen.

5.30pm Kim Muir

The last is for amateur pilots and the eye is immediately drawn to Champagne Platinum who is the mount of Derek O’Connor. He is bound to go close with Milan Native and Deise Aba likely to give him most to think about.

Good Luck

If you have a question for Davy drop us a line at content@starsportsbet.co.uk and we’ll try and include in the next blog…