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Cheltenham Wednesday Wrap | Tiger Roll & Rachael steal the headlines again

It is a good thing Paddy Power already paid out on the Prestbury Cup at Cheltenham before racing ...

It is a good thing Paddy Power already paid out on the Prestbury Cup at Cheltenham before racing on Wednesday to spare the blushes of the home team.

As Ireland dominated day two plenty of familiar faces continued to do the business, none more so than the little horse with a giant heart, Tiger Roll.

Tiger Roared Again

Few horses have been written off so often in the last two years. Tiger Roll has been winless since his incredible second Grand National success in 2019. He flopped on unsuitable going at Cheltenham in 2020 and has not run on spring ground since, with the pandemic exacerbating the winless streak.

On Wednesday, Keith Donoghue had his hands full trying to contain the former champion's exuberance. Tiger Roll was clearly back to himself and full of life, in contrast to his previous starts. Keith Donoghue was left 'speechless.'

This was a moment when a crowd at Cheltenham was truly missed, a returning warrior being welcomed back by the adoring masses.

King Henry

Henry de Bromhead has had been making the most of girls beating boys this week, Honeysuckle on Tuesday then Put The Kettle On did the business in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Two Championship races, both won by mares and Bob Olinger took the Ballymore to add a cherry on top.

Put The Kettle On gave de Bromhead a third win in the Queen Mother after Sizing Europe and Special Tiara in the past.

The Waterford handler has plenty more ammunition to come over the week including A Plus Tard in the Gold Cup.

Dogs and Horses

Paul Hennessy is better renowned as a greyhound trainer and has taken many huge accolades in that sphere. Hennessy has won Irish, English, and Scottish greyhound derbies. Hennessy only has two horses in training and one of them Heaven Help Us is now a Cheltenham Festival winner.

"She is my Enable," the trainer said in the immediate aftermath of the race. Hennessy also bred the mare and wasn't able to take to the podium to collect his trophy as he led the horse up himself.

Instead, himself, jockey Richie Condon and the mare were presented with the trophy in the parade ring together rather than on the podium. Fairytale stuff from as small a trainer as will have a horse at the Cheltenham Festival this week.


While Irish horses and short-priced favourites have done well, Monkfish gave backers plenty of moments of concern.

A loose horse came upside going to the last and he breasted the fence leaving jockey Paul Townend to just sit and hope the partnership stayed intact.

Monkfish obliged readily in the end but the stress on Townend's face as he crossed the line was clear. Following the race, he admitted feeling the pressure of riding such high-profile horses. He also felt the horse had been distracted throughout and the pair were occasionally not on the same wavelength.

It was an honest and interesting addendum to a race where the outcome was more in jeopardy than the bare result suggested.


Ups and Downs

Rachael Blackmore made it a double on the day when she guided Sir Gerhard to victory in the Wetherby's Champion Bumper in the last race on Wednesday.

The win leaves Blackmore on top of the jockeys' standings at the end of day two, which will help ease the bruises of a three falls earlier in the day.

If the Tipperary jockey was hoping the limelight might move away from her for a while she is set to be sorely disappointed as she wears the leading jockey's armband going into day three of the Cheltenham Festival.

Catch The Cheltenham Festival Show every morning on OTB Sports at 10.30.

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Read more about

Aintree Cheltenham Festival Paul Townend Rachael Blackmore Tiger Roll Willie Mullins