Cheltenham Festival 2009
Date: 10-13 March Racing starts: 1330 GMT each day
Coverage: Daily coverage on BBC Radio Five Live from 1300-1600, BBC Radio Gloucestershire, Channel Four and live updates on the BBC Sport website
LATEST ACTION (ALL TIMES GMT)
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1726: You never get a bad day's racing at the Festival, and today's been another memorable one. There are still 13 races left, and Ireland need to win just three of them to secure their best ever Cheltenham performance. Thank you for your input, and I suspect many of you have enjoyed bashing the bookies - well, frankly, who doesn't?
1724: We'll hear more from the bookies overnight, but many will have surely endured one of their worst Cheltenham days in recent years. Even this horse, though he wasn't favourite, was heavily supported in the last 10 minutes before the off, going off at almost half his projected starting price.
1723: This horse is one to watch in the future. Dunguib is the easiest winner of the day, with his rivals trailing in his wake - and frankly he looked the winner from a very long way out as well.
1715 Weatherbys Champion Bumper NH Flat Race (2m)
1. Dunguib (Brian O'Connell) 9-2
2. Some Present (Davy Russell) 25-1
3. Rite of Passage (Patrick Smullen) 5-2 favourite
1716: The final race on day two at Cheltenham is under way.
1706: Dunguib, from the Philip Fenton yard, is another to be strongly backed for this bumper coming up in 10 minutes or so. Sicilian Secret and Quel Esprit are the two leading Willie Mullins fancies.
1702: Racing UK have picked up the winning jockey from the last, Tom O'Brien: "Really delighted because I've been riding her since last season. She ran green at the start of the season and I was wondering as I was going along 'Is this the one who could get me a first Cheltenham Festival win?' But she's been building and building and she's a good filly."
1659: Just the bumper to come. Willie Mullins, a regular winner of this, trains eight of the 24 runners, but Rite of Passage - sent over by rival Irish handler Dermot Weld - could spoil his party. Either way it looks almost certain that the Irish will finish with a tidy 8-5 lead going into day three.
1652: A really good riding performance by Tom O'Brien for trainer Mick Quinlan, perhaps better known as a flat trainer from his Newmarket base. The favourite looked in fine shape approaching the final stages, Andrew McNamara keeping Alexander Severus on the bridle for almost too long, before struggling to get anything out of him up the hill.
1646: A lovely performance from a progressive filly, Silk Affair, who helps the bookies win back some of their cash, and reduces Ireland's overall lead a little bit.
1640 Fred Winter Juvenile Novices' Handicap Hurdle (2m)
1. Silk Affair (Tom O'Brien) 11-1
2. Ski Sunday (Seamus Durack) 20-1
3. Saticon (Wayne Hutchinson) 20-1
4. Alexander Severus (Andrew McNamara) 5-2 favourite
1641: They're under way in the Fred Winter.
1638: Paddy Flood has a reasonable chance of following up his Coral Cup success with Flag of Honour, who's 16-1 - gambled down from 25s! Miss Sarenne and Amore Mio are the ones to look out for if you are seeking an English winner.
1635: Jamie Moore is a jockey change - on Woolfall Treasure, replacing Andrew Glassonbury. Alexander Severus has been backed down to 3-1 and is a very clear favourite.
1618: Well there are still two races to come today, you know. Most of the fancies in the Fred Winter, off at 1640, are English-trained. However, and it's a big however, Alexander Severus is the "talking horse" in this race, and looks likely to start favourite. Oh and he's very much trained in Ireland.
1612: This is what Paddy Flood has to say about it all: "People say it's the best feeling ever but you don't understand that 'till it happens. It's powerful."
1610: Tom Taaffe, another name synonymous with Irish racing, trains the winner of the Coral Cup, Ninetienth Minute,with his jockey Paddy Flood, who recovered brilliantly from an error at the second last, staying on well up the hill.
1608: Another win for Ireland, approaching their Cheltenham record haul of 10. They are pummelling England 7-4 and are bound to secure the last today.
1600 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (2m 5f)
1. Ninetienth Minute (Paddy Flood) 14-1
2. Mirage Dore (Rose Dobbin) 14-1
3. Pause and Clause (Jack Doyle) 9-1
4. Star of Angels (Hadden Frost) 40-1
1556: I've been a bit slow to bring you quotes from Master Minded's trainer, Paul Nicholls. Here is what he said: "If we mind him and look after him he can keep on coming back. Last year we were probably a little bit harder on him than before today.
"You only get him ready to perform at a level you think. We just wanted him to win the race today, which he has done. He's got a little lazy now because he does everything so easily.
"It's the big races you concentrate on. It's just great and good for everyone involved in the team."
1553: "What a great performance by Master Minded. What's Ruby riding in the next one?!"
steveo77 on 606
Discuss the day's racing on 606
[The answer is: Pierrot Lunaire, also for Paul Nicholls, in the 1600 Coral Cup]
1544: News from the BBC 5 Live team. Clare Balding has not managed to tie down Liz Hurley for an interview, because she's not here! Apparently Hugh Grant's ex-girlfriend backed Punjabi yesterday.
1541: Now here's a thing... Master Minded is already just 4-7 to emulate Badsworth Boy with a third success in 12 months' time.
"On different days he's been better but that shows he's so good because he can still win when he's not at his best. He's a very special horse."
Ruby Walsh, completing a treble today
"It's just unbelievable. Pleased as punch, can't say any more."
Clive Smith, Master Minded's owner
1532: And so, after all that nonsense at the start, Ruby Walsh and Master Minded provided another, well... master class. He simply does not put a foot wrong. Briareus travelled well under AP McCoy until finding little in the tank, Petit Robin laid down a decent enough challenge and Well Chief delivered a fine training performance to finish between the winner and Petit Robin.
1520 Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase (2m)
1. Master Minded (Ruby Walsh) 4-11 favourite
2. Well Chief (Timmy Murphy) 12-1
3. Petit Robin (Barry Geraghty) 12-1
1524: And finally, they're off in the Queen Mother.
1523: What on earth is going on out there? We've got a chaotic situation developing. Marodima could not be held at the start this time, and inevitably the other horses followed him. They almost jumped the first before getting their horses under control. This is going to take a while to sort out.
"Could really do with Master Minded slipping up here and Well Chief taking the glory if I'm to stand a chance winning the Cheltenham selector league at work!"
Tommy in Darlo, text message
1520: The first attempt to start the race is boshed. A lot of very keen horses out there, Marodima is one of them - Nick Scholfield is trying to get him under control.
1519: Master Minded is about 4-11 as the horses come down to have a look at the first fence. A bit of each-way money for Petit Robin...
1517: A bad moment for Sam Thomas and his mount Twist Magic, the horse throwing the jockey off just after the parade.
"People are always saying good luck and well done. People have fallen in love with Kauto but they are rapidly falling in love with this one as well. You just can't believe how in love with the game people are. [Master Minded] is improving all the time."
Clive Smith, owner of Kauto Star and Master Minded
1512: Simon Bazalgette of the Jockey Club is being grilled on BBC Radio 5 Live about the perceived failure of racing to sell itself: "We are quite good at speaking to our initiated audience but are really, really bad at talking to our uninitiated audience. We have all the carrots but we need people with more marketing expertise and a bit of pzazz to put it altogether."
1510: So on to the Champion Chase, which is my favourite race of the year. Its intensity is unbeatable, a tight two miles in which the smallest jumping error can end a horse's challenge - and all conducted at a furious gallop. Think of the past winners, Moscow Flyer, One Man, Viking Flagship.
1458: Ireland 6-3 England. Not a rugby score, but an indication of the thumping the English trainers are getting from the raiders from across the water.
"Ruby Walsh to be top jock at 6/4 was BUYING money!"
wellbeaten-the-owl1977 on 606
Discuss the day's racing on 606
[Well you won't get anything like that now. Because assuming he wins the next, Walsh will be on four winners already with some decent rides to come!]
1451: A massive gamble has been landed by the Irish, though you have to feel for Carruthers, who was travelling as well as anything until blundering two fences out when looking strong enough to keep Cooldine at bay.
1450: Another immaculate riding job from Ruby Walsh, who can do no wrong at the moment, and he says: "He's a heart as big as a lion and he jumped like a stag. He's a hell of a good horse."
1440 RSA Chase (3m)
1. Cooldine (Ruby Walsh) 9-4 favourite
2. Horners Wood (Robbie Power) 66-1
3. Massinis Maguire (Richard Johnson) 10-1
1442: They're off in the RSA Chase.
1440:Cooldine's current price on the course is 5-2. Ballyfitz, looking to give Nigel Twiston-Davies his second winner of the day, looks pretty good going to post.
1431:What A Friend is on the drift for the RSA Chase, that's Sir Alex Ferguson's horse remember. Carruthers is going the same way.
1427: Blimey, you lot are hard task masters aren't you? A whole string of comments on 606 saying Tony McCoy gave the second horse, Karabak, a lousy ride. I think the more considered view is that McCoy performed wonders to get him into the frame.
1425: If Mullins wins the next race on Cooldine, which would set up Ruby Walsh for a possible three-timer today, the house will come down at Cheltenham, and the bookies will be badly bruised, with little to save them until tomorrow. Cooldine is the subject of another old-fashioned gamble right now.
1421: Another interview from Willie Mullins, for BBC Radio 5 Live, and he's really bigging up Mikael d'Haguenet's Gold Cup credentials: "He's a huge horse, about 17 hands, a big long angular horse. He looks like a Gold Cup horse, he's probably my best for a Gold Cup horse at the moment. We're very happy with him."
1418: All those comments about the Irish having one of their weakest contingents in many a season seem a bit foolish now. They are burning the home-trained horses 5-3 at the minute and Mullins and co have plenty more good horses to come.
1415: Another fascinating denouement at Cheltenham. Of the fancied horses, Diamond Harry was the first to make his bid, but jumped poorly over the last two, while Mad Max got back into his running after looking tired at the bottom of the hill to claim second. Neither was good enough to beat the winner - and Ruby Walsh has his second winner of the Festival. It should be three after the Champion Chase.
"I think he adjusted his stride we watched him all winter on really heavy ground, on better ground today he's managed to adjust his stride. This could be a Gold Cup horse."
Winning trainer Willie Mullins
"The ground won't bother Master Minded, a little drier than yesterday but still plenty of give."
Winning jockey Ruby Walsh
1405 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (2m 5f)
1. Mikael d'Haguenet (Ruby Walsh) 5-2 favourite
2. Karabak (Tony McCoy) 4-1
3. Diamond Harry (Timmy Murphy) 4-1
1405: They're off bang on time.
1404: Diamond Harry looks very good going to post, despite the market negatives. Mad Max, a really big animal, also looks the business.
1403: Nigel Twiston-Davies has collected his plaque from the sponsors of the first race, and says of his winner: "Anthony Bromley [bloodstock agent] tells me he's for sale so, please, somebody buy him and send him back to me!"
1359: Comedian Kevin Day is with ex-QPR boss Ian Holloway, who says on BBC Radio 5 Live: "It's my first time here and it's fantastic. I've just put some money on the favourite and it's the first time I've bet so I won't be doing that again!"
1354: If Diamond Harry can't win, the options appear to be Karabak - ante-post favourite, AP McCoy on board; Mikael d'Haguenet - Willie Mullins' Irish raide and the new favourite; and Mad Max - trained by Nicky Henderson.
1351: Nick Williams trains Diamond Harry in the next race, and he says: "I'm pleased with him going into today's race. He was a bit light [when winning Newbury's Challow Hurdle] but he's bigger and stronger now." The horse is drifting in the market, though, despite a good second place for the stable yesterday.
1346: So local trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies reduces the English deficit, Ireland still leading the "hosts" 4-3, and well done to jockey Sam Waley-Cohen and owners The Million in Mind Partnership - one of the largest syndicates around.
1345: The favourite, Can't Buy Time, stayed on to take fourth place, and there were a few fallers, including Parson's Pistol and Coe.
1343: That was a great race to watch, Tricky Trickster travelling well throughout, and prevailing up the hill. It looked like he might tire in the closing stages, but the second and third horses knocked the stuffing out of each other when clashing over the final fence.
1330 NH Chase Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Novices' Chase (4m)
1. Tricky Trickster (Sam Waley-Cohen) 11-1
2. Drumconvis (Derek O'Connor) 22-1
3. Nine De Sivola (Rose Dobbin) 16-1
1330: Tricky Trickster, Coe, Parsons Pistol and Kornati Kid are all positives in the market. And they're off on time!
1326: While the horses parade for the first, here's a couple of your texts: "Had a mare yesterday but am hoping Gone To Lunch (1440) and Well Chief each way (1520) come in today!"
Chris, stuck at work
"I'm a student in Cheltenham, loving it so far. My money is on Mikael d'Haguenet in the 1405 and Alexander Severus in the 1640... hoping to pay off some of my student debt!"
1316: Now here's something different. Have you got any questions you want to ask Liz Hurley? Or, that is, questions for Clare Balding to put to her? Then please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
1313: "If Well Chief was at his best he could possibly give him a race. But those betting against Master Minded are betting against him getting round in one piece"
Peter Scudamore on BBC Radio 5 Live
1311: A quick shout to remind you that our BBC Radio 5 Live coverage has been cranked up for the afternoon - you can click on it at the top of this page.
On which... John Inverdale reveals a chat he had with eminent former jockey and sportswriter Brough Scott about Master Minded's hopes in the big race: "There is never anything certain about the possibility of a certainty getting beaten," Brough revealed. Sobering thoughts.
1309: But first up is an interesting amateur riders' novices' chase over four miles. I wouldn't want to put much money on anything, but I have a soft spot for the yard of Sue and Harvey Smith, and their runner, Coe, is not without a chance.
1306: So, who are the big market movers of the day? Well, Willie Mullins' Mikael d'Haguenet - as I rather suspected might happen - is having bundles of £20 notes thrust in his direction for the 1405. Cooldine, another Mullins horse, The Polomoche, Larkwing and Rite of Passage are others to attract support.
1258: As ever, please get involved with 606 and some text messages. Here's a 606 entry from brizyboy and Katchit - Friends For Life: "Cousin Vinny was given a shocking ride, the jockey lacked confidence. Massinis would be a nice one for me today."
Well, I've backed Massinis Maguire (1440) each-way too, brizyboy. Also had a flutter on Diamond Harry (1405) and a rather larger flutter, more a big thumping heartbeat of a bet on Master Minded (1520).
1245: A stunningly gifted two-mile chaser, and still just six years old, Master Minded is poised to become the first horse since Viking Flagship in the mid-1990s to win two Queen Mother Champion Chases in a row. The feature race is off at 1520. Scroll down for details of that and the other six races on a busy day two at Cheltenham.
Hope you had some winners on Tuesday on what appeared to be a mixed day for the bookies. The saviour for the layers was of course Punjabi, a 22-1 winner of the Champion Hurdle. Two favourites, Wichita Lineman and Quevega, damaged their margins.
Totesport spokesman George Primarolo says: "There's all to play for as the punters and bookies head into the second day."
A few non-runners to let you know about: Wichita Lineman (surprise, surprise) in our first race, off at 1330; Altilhar in the 1600 and two horses - Simarian and Love and Glory - in the 1640.