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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 March 2005, 21:48 GMT
Loud roars greet Moscow success
Cornelius Lysaght
By Cornelius Lysaght
BBC racing correspondent at Cheltenham


One thing racing doesn't get very often is the sort of roar you get at Old Trafford when Wayne Rooney puts an important goal in the back of the net.

On Wednesday, the Noise Abatement Society would have been annoyed by the din created at Cheltenham.

It was fantastic as the place erupted over the victory of Irish hero Moscow Flyer in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Of course, it was a pity poor old Azertyuiop wasn't there in contention at the last so the much-hyped showdown didn't happen quite the way that had been expected.

Barry Geraghty after his success on Moscow Flyer
Barry Geraghty jumps for joy after his win on Moscow Flyer

But we saw a brilliant race, and a brilliant performance from Moscow Flyer. With perhaps one exception, his jumping was flawless.

Those who had backed him, and there were plenty, were never in any real doubt. He was just imperious.

Horse and jockey Barry Geraghty have not always looked a complete team, but on this occasion they were poetry in motion.

They were like a well-oiled engine roaring up the hill. It was perfect.

Although Well Chief ran the race of his life, they weren't going to get to Moscow Flyer.

Azertyuiop made a horrible mistake at the water jump, but his jockey Ruby Walsh said he was beaten at that stage. He just wasn't happy with him.

Moscow Flyer's reception in the winner's enclosure spoke volumes.

"Ole, ole, ole, ole, Moscow," the crowd roared as Geraghty staged a flying dismount to even bigger cheers.

Irish tricolours were unfurled, including one which had the horse's head taking centre stage on the flag.

For the future, Well Chief is very interesting.

Trabolgan is a handsome, handsome horse and definitely a potential Gold Cup prospect

You can't help thinking that with another year, his canny trainer Martin Pipe will make sure he is a tough nut for Moscow Flyer, who will then be aged 12, to crack.

For the Festival, it was like welcoming back an old friend as Nicky Henderson had two winners - Trabolgan in the SunAlliance Chase and Juveigneur in the Kim Muir.

He hadn't had a winner for a couple of years, and it felt so right as Trabolgan notched Henderson's 26th Festival success.

Trabolgan is a handsome, handsome horse and definitely a potential Gold Cup prospect.

The leap at the last was the leap of a future champion, and he was jumping into the reckoning for all sorts of big races next season.

Meanwhile, for those Kicking King supporters looking for good signals ahead of the Gold Cup on Friday, the fine run of Tumbling Dice (third in the Coral Cup) will have been a big boost.

People who have backed Kicking King, who is also trained by Tom Taaffe, will sleep a little easier.

It will be less easy for Philip Hobbs and his Somerset stable after the death of his Gold Cup contender Farmer Jack on the gallops on Wednesday morning.

On a day of huge celebrations for many, topped by another Irish winner for Bumper king Willie Mullins, the news was a sharp reminder of the fragility of racing.

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