A happy note to end on there. Hope to see you back here tomorrow for the Gold Cup, goodbye for now.
And Lorna Fowler
is equally pleased with her outing: " I am a very lucky girl. I think a few people had a bit of money on Plato. I was really nervous but I am so happy.
"She has done very well and there has been a lot of money raised for charity. I would have been happy if he just run respectfully, I didn't expect him to win," says Henry Cecil.
RESULT - 1715 St Patrick's Day Derby (Charity Race) 1m 5f
1. Plato (Lorna Fowler) 6-4 Fav
2. Nemo Spirit (Rodger Sargent) 14-1
3. Super Collider (Frostie Kelly) 6-1
4. Devil To Pay (Alice Plunkett) 4-1
Lorna Fowler brings Plato
through for Henry Cecil for the win as she overhauls Fool's Wildcat.
Final three-quarters of a mile and it is Nemo Spirit and Fool's Wildcat leading the way.
The field come together and Sounds of Jupiter makes the pace over the early stages.
Other riders to look out for are Ruby Walsh's brother-in-law Killian McCarthy and William Kennedy's nephew James Insole.
Apparently the combined efforts of the 12 riders are likely to take the final total raised past six figures. Tremendous stuff and plenty of fans still in the stands to support the race.
Legendary trainer Henry Cecil is the guest of honour and has the favourite Plato (6-4 at the moment) in his stable.
The St Patricks Day Derby
is the final race of the day. Racing celebs, including Channel Four's Alice Plunkett, Racing UK's Lorna Fowler and Sky Sports' Rachel Wyse, on board and the money being raised is destined for Cancer Research UK.
That one-two takes David Pipe to the top of the Festival's trainers' championship as well so a very satisfying conclusion to his afternoon. Gordon Elliot and Philip Hobbs are leading the chasing pack.
Jockey Jamie Codd
is full of praise for a "very tough, very neat" Junior. "I didn't think I was that far in front. When I heard the crowd roaring, I wasn't sure if something was closing on me! I didn't look back. I was under instruction just to keep him going," he adds. Pipe also saddled the second-placed Faasel who finished in the same place last year.
Trainer David Pipe suggests that Junior is setting his sights on the Grand National after that massively impressive showing.
RESULT - 1640 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase 3m 1½
1. Junior (J Codd) 10-3
2. Faasel (R Mahon) 20-1
3. Deal Done (R P McNamara) 20-1
4. Galaxy Rock (J T McNamara) 18-1
takes it by a street. And the bookies are made to suffer once more.
Junior comes through like a train through and cranks open a sizeable lead heading into the second from last.
Deal Done opens up a six-length lead and the rest will need to reel him fairly soon.
Junior comes through to share the lead as the field complete their first of two circuits.
Still Deal Done out at the front, but Galant Nuit still has plenty to do as they swing into the home straight.
Deal Done leads the way with Can't Buy Time out the back at the moment.
The 24 runners for this race are called together and they are off.
Pomme Tiepy might be the biggest Irish hope, but leading the way in the betting is the Martin Pipe-trained Junior and Ferdy Murphy's Galant Nuit. The latter of those beat last year's Grand National winner Don't Push It at last season's Open meeting and will be one to watch.
There has been something of a fightback from the British-based trainers this St Patricks Day after
the Irish success yesterday.
There might not be much in this one to turn the tide either with no Irish-trained winner in 28 years.
Afternoon everyone, two more races to go this afternoon. First up is the Kim Muir Challenge Cup in quarter of an hour's time.
It's time for me to hand on the reins to Mike Henson who will wrap up today's action. Thanks for your feedback today, and hope you had a few winners. Please refresh your page to bring everything up to date.
Holmwood Legend was carrying a 5lb penalty for a success at Sandown on Saturday, but came through to lead two out and go on to win by three and a half lengths. Now that's impressive.
E-mail from Gary Bell:
"Well my treble is still going strong... Noble Prince 4/1, Albertas Run 6/1, just need Galant Nuit in the 1640, although Junior looks to have it wrapped if the betting is to go by.
Patrick Rodford is not a familiar name with me, so that's a fine win for his small Somerset yard. Keiran Burke, his jockey, says: "It's absolutely brilliant. We've got 10 horses in the yard, two were good enough to come to Cheltenham this year, maybe we'll bring all 10 next year."
RESULT - 1600 Byrne Group Plate Handicap Chase 2m 5f
1. Holmwood Legend (Keiran Burke) 25-1
2. Aimigayle (Colin Bolger) 25-1
3. Beautiful Sound (Jason Maguire) 9-2 Fav
4. Consigliere (Tom Scudamore) 20-1
Beautiful Sound is coming now, but Holmwood Legend is the winner
with Aimigayle staying on stoutly for second.
Holmwood Legend leads the way now over the second last.
Gansey has joined the leaders as they jump four out. Couple of fallers.
Piraya hasn't travelled at all, while at the front Bible Lord from Andy Turnell's yard is going nicely.
Aimigayle leads going towards the home straight on the first circuit. She's jumping well.
They're off in the Byrne Group Plate, 20 runners in this one.
E-mail from Little Ed:
"Shortest-price winner of the 1600 since 2000 is 12-1. The Pipes have always fared very well in this and look to Matuhi for some value."
It would be rude not to start turning our attention to the 1600, a nice little handicap chase over 2m 5f, known as the Byrne Group Plate. Aigle d'Or, bidding to give Tony McCoy a treble today, is among the fancies while Beautiful Sound, trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Davy Russell - both enjoyed two winners yesterday - is a lively chance from Ireland.
Winning trainer Paul Nicholls:
"We knew pretty well what Grands Crus was going to do. We just improvised a little bit. I was nervous as he hasn't run on that ground. He wins by staying, and class is what he's got. David (Pipe, beaten trainer) was the first to shake my hand. He's a great fellow. The best horse won on the day but it was an awesome performance by both horses. I think that's arguably Big Buck's career best."
Grand Crus jockey Tom Scudamore:
"It was a great advert for racing. We've beaten by a great horse. The best compliment we can pay Big Buck's tonight is he knows he's been in a good race and will sleep well tonight. We'll try chasing next year."
"I made a bad mistake as I dropped my stick halfway to the last hurdle. It was my own fault as I was trying to see where the others were behind me so I was only half-watching what I was doing!"
So all those last-minute nerves from the Nicholls camp were simply that, last-minute nerves. The market told the whole story, the first three horses in the betting finished 1-2-3 in that order. Fiveforthree also briefly looked dangerous but it was Grands Crus who emerged as his biggest danger - only for Big Buck's to find more up the hill to retain his crown by a length and three-quarters. Mourad took the minor honours in third, another two and three-quarter lengths away from the undisputed champion.
Have you noticed that the last three winners were all defending their crowns from last year? That must be some sort of record.
RESULT - 1520 Ladbrokes World Hurdle 3m
1. Big Buck's (R Walsh) 10-11 Fav
2. Grands Crus (T Scudamore) 7-2
3. Mourad (P Townend) 8-1
Ruby and Big Buck's are able to hold off Grand Crus up the hill - brilliant stuff and a brilliant hat-trick for the Paul Nicholls-trained horse. Ruby says: "He's an aeroplane, you can't fault him. I knew it would be tactical but this horse no longer needs to be kept behind, he can stretch in front."
Here comes Big Buck's and the crowd roars, but Grand Crus will fight out a big finish.
Ruby has been keeping Big Buck's handy throughout, and now here comes Grand Crus.
Tom Scudamore remains very happy to be at the back of the field on Grand Crus.
One more circuit to go, and they are very tightly bunched in front of the stands. Could be a stonking finish.
Big Buck's went off at 11-10 on, and he's travelling very well.
Cross Kennon is the one making the running. The two greys, Any Given Day and Grand Crus, are rooted to the back of the field.
They're off in the World Hurdle. It's almost summer-like out there, let alone spring.
Three minutes until the start. Finally a few bets are coming for Grand Crus...
Channel 4 are confident Big Buck's will start odds-on, as he did yesterday. Remember no horse has won this race in three successive years, though Inglis Drever did win three times not so very long ago.
Bug Buck's trainer Paul Nicholls on Radio 5 Live:
"It's the fastest ground he's run in. It's lightning quick today. Stamina is Big Buck's forte and if they don't go a great gallop it's going to be difficult. I'm a little bit nervous. He is the outstanding horse out there, I'm probably worrying unnecessarily."
Racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght on BBC Radio 5 live:
"Big Buck's would only be the second horse to achieve a hat-trick in this race for Ruby Walsh who had such a marvellous first day, but no success on day two. Grand Crus has improved and improved and improved. At Haydock he was particular impressive. Two big names for Ireland include Mourad who is currently a 9-1 shot. Listen out too for Zaynar. Trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Barry Geraghty, they badly need a bit of luck."
In a 13-runner race, it's interesting that the third horse in the betting, Mourad, could go off at a price of about 10-1 or bigger. Grands Crus, trying to give David Pipe a second winner today, is about 4-1 or bigger.
With 25 minutes to go until today's feature, the Irish lead has been trimmed a touch, from 10-5 at one point to 10-7. It's like this weekend's rugby international's being played in slow-motion. The money continues to come in for Big Buck's for the World Hurdle. He could start odds-on, like Ruby Walsh's mount on Tuesday, Quevega. She certainly did not disappoint.
Winning trainer Jonjo O'Neill on BBC Radio 5 live:
"He's won early in the season, he was a bit unlucky when he fell at Ascot behind Master Minded but with great help from all the staff at home and the vets he gave us a great day. We work all year for Cheltenham, it's a magical week. Everyone's having a great time and it's great to be part of it." Meanwhile, McCoy's been deliberating further about the actions of the course invader, calling his actions "an incredibly brain-dead thing to do".
RESULT - 1440 Ryanair Chase 2m 5f
1. Albertas Run (A P McCoy) 6-1
2. Kalahari King (Graham Lee) 7-1
3. Rubi Light (Andrew Lynch) 16-1
SP coming in a minute, but I should add that there was some crazy bloke running onto the track at the finish, and McCoy, despite landing his second winner of the day, looked very irritated by his presence. He says: "I only saw him when I was going past him. He's lucky I didn't knock him down, I would have knocked him out."
It's almost impossible to catch McCoy up that big Cheltenham hill, especially on decent ground, and Albertas Run wins the Ryanair Chase.
This time there's an error from Rubi Light and J'y Vole is challenging but Albertas Run is the leader.
Rubi Light continues to make the running and Albertas Run made a bit of an error on his most recent jump.
The old boy Voy Por Ustedes is producing a big run now, but plenty of racing to go.
Poquelin is travelling nicely, tight on the rail.
Albertas Run is prominent on the outside with Rubi Light and Gauvain taking the shorter route round.
The Ryanair Chase is under way at a packed Cheltenham.
Kalahari King is drifting like a barge.
It's so warm down at the start that Ruby Walsh, Poquelin's jockey, is topping up on his hydration levels with some bottled water.
BBC Sport's Frank Keogh
on Twitter: "1-2-3-4-5 for Pertemps Final: Buena Vista, Son Amix, Sivota, Knockara Beau, Queiros Bleu (some firms pay e/w on 5th)"
Just six minutes to go until the big Ryanair Chase, and Poquelin looks likely to start at about 2-1 to give Paul Nicholls his second winner of the meeting. Ferdy Murphy-trained hope Kalahari King and Albertas Run, the defending champion, could be joint second-favourites to judge by recent market moves. Best of the Irish is definitely the mare J'y Vole.
Winning trainer David Pipe:
"He's been fantastic for his owners and the late Jean Broadhurst, for my dad and myself. He's not been bad for the young jockeys, either. Hadden Frost claiming 3lb won on him last year and Conor O'Farrell this time was claiming 5lb. Conor's given him a superb ride. We went through the video of last year's race and we talked him through it this morning and he's gone out and done it. I just wondered if he could keep going. I thought he might get caught but he kept on going well."
Andy Stewart, owner of Ryanair Chase favourite Poquelin, on BBC Radio 5 live (on air now):
"In France, when you go out for lunch you write a Poquelin, a little slip or a piece of paper to tell your friends you're going out. Whether you're coming back is another matter."
E-mail from Birdie, Stratford-upon-Avon:
"0 from 2 so far including places! Need to pull this around and fast! Kalahari King can pile more misery on the Irish on St Patrick's Day and win me some money!" Not too sure there's much misery among the Irish fans, Birdie, especially among those who backed the winner in the first!
Winning jockey Conor O'Farrell:
"I'm speechless. I just can't thank Mr Pipe and the owners enough to give me the chance. I was just a passenger on him. He knows his way round here better than anyone."
This horse, in his seventh Festival appearance, had won this race at 16-1 last year. Now aged 10, he had been virtually ignored by punters who had instead made the other Pipe runner favourite. Great ride from Conor O'Farrell, while the horses that came second and third were delivered late but had no chance of catching the winner.
RESULT - 1405 Pertemps Final (Handicap Hurdle) 3m
1. Buena Vista (Conor O'Farrell) 20-1
2. Son Amix (Paul Carberry) 16-1
3. Sivota (Ruby Walsh) 9-1
4. Knockara Beau (Jan Faltejsek) 33-1
Buena Vista wins at 20-1 under a terrific ride from five-pound claimer Conor O'Farrell!
Buena Vista, the David Pipe second string, leads over the final flight.
This race is still all about Buena Vista and Knockara Beau it seems and the leaders is putting the others to task now.
On the outside, Kayf Aramis is doing little wrong while Knockara Beau is giving the leader, Buena Vista, a run for his money.
Buena Vista is the leader as they go up the hill. Few without a chance in the early stages.
They're off in the Pertemps Final.
Chartreux looks like starting at about 13-2 favourite. There are 23 runners in all.
E-mail from Andy:
"Am I the only one backing Alfie Spinner in the 1405?" I'm sure you're not. The Racing Post calls him a "gradually progressive second-season hurdler" and he should like the ground, though there are some doubts as to just how good it is. I wish they wouldn't water the course. What's wrong with good ground?
From Craig Hutton, Great Sutton:
Don't Push It sentimental money? McManus gamble more like.... chaaaaarge! Still shortening...
Swiftly on to the 1405, the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle, which looks a wide-open betting heat. Plenty of interest in the bottom weight, Chartreux, from David Pipe's yard. Tom Scudamore has the ride. It's the sort of race Pipe's dad Martin would have targeted time and time again and Chartreux could start as favourite.
Winning jockey McCoy:
"It's much easier riding horses that are going well than those that are not. I haven't ridden many horses for the Nolans, but my agent Dave Roberts got me this. His form was pretty good behind Realt Dubh in the (Irish) Arkle and the better ground helped him today, being by Montjeu. I'd forgotten I only needed one more for my 200th winner of the season."
A quick review of the 1330: Noble Prince gave McCoy his first winner at this year's Festival, and 200th of the season, by carefully tracking Wishfull Thinking, who made nearly all the running. Noble Prince then jumped the last better than his main rival and pulled away on the run-in to score by four lengths, with Loosen My Load another five lengths away in third.
We're barely halfway through the meeting, and Ireland have already matched their Festival record of 10 winners. GB languishing on 5...
BBC Sport's Frank Keogh
on Twitter: "Two hours before his win at Cheltenham, AP McCoy had just come out of the sauna, sweating off weight and munching on an energy bar" ...and it's worth adding that after the race, when speaking to TV, McCoy did not sound like he had just been in an extremely competitive race. Still so cool and composed, must be one of the fittest sportsmen around.
Winning trainer Paul Nolan:
"Just one of the best days of my life, just great. Delighted for the owner (Des Sharkey) and that he brought the horse to me. The horse was on and off a little bit but when Tony asked him for a big jump at the last he brought one out for him which was just as well otherwise he would have ended up in the canteen."
RESULT - 1330 Jewson Novices' Handicap Chase 2m 5f
1. Noble Prince (Tony McCoy) 4-1
2. Wishfull Thinking (Richard Johnson) 7-2 Fav
3. Loosen My Load (Andrew Lynch) 11-2
Tony McCoy produces a lovely, patient ride on the Paul Nolan-trained Noble Prince to win it and that's a good one for the punters, and a terrific result of course for the Irish.
Mr Gardner is pulled up and Robinson Collonges and Bouggler will also be pulled up quite possibly. Wishfull Thinking continues to stamp his authority on proceedings but Loosen My Load looks very dangerous.
They turn into the back straight for the final time with Loosen My Load making nice progress. Wishfull Thinking has a handy lead.
They're separated by about 12 lengths with Mr Gardner at the front and Robinson Collonges in rear.
And they're off and racing in the Jewson in beautiful sunny weather!
Felix de Giles had a crashing fall yesterday and spent much of the day in hospital nursing an ankle injury. He's back and racing today though and partners the Nicky Henderson-trained Radium
in the opener. Lots of cash coming now for Loosen My Load,
bidding to take Henry de Bromhead top of the leading trainer table for the meeting.
From CahalAltman on Twitter:
"Had a tip for Fiveforthree a few weeks ago and got 20-1 so am happy the price has come down. The horse doesn't know that though!" Fiveforthree goes for Ireland in the 1520 World Hurdle
They're starting to parade for the 1330, our first race today. And Noble Prince,
the Tony McCoy-ridden hope trained by Paul Nolan, is all the rage in the market. You might have seen that wonderful documentary about life at Nolan's County Wexford yard last year?
From Chris Jenkins, Teesside:
Was at Cheltenham for the first two days but only watching on TV and following your live text feed online today. Can honestly say it was the best two days racing I've ever been to. Quevega was worth the journey alone. Looking forward to Big Buck's today. Couldn't agree more, Quevega's success in the mares' hurdle was rather lost as it came after the main excitement on Tuesday, but it was an astounding success for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh.
Text from Dom in Leamington Spa:
"I've just drawn Cross Kennon in a pub sweepstake. And to be honest I'm quite optimistic. Now wouldn't that be a shock? Here's hoping." He's around 50-1 for the World Hurdle so if you're that optimistic it wouldn't hurt to have a couple of quid each-way on the Jennie Candlish-trained outsider, Dom.
With barely half an hour to go until our first race, here's a guide to what's hot at Cheltenham today. Big Buck's
could start odds-on if people keep coming for the long-distance hurdling champion. Don't Push It,
the Grand National winner last year, is attracting some sentimental money in the 1405, while Junior
(1640) is proving a tasty prospect for punters looking at the amateur riders handicap later in the day.
E-mail from James
(already turning his attention to tomorrow's big feature): "Gold Cup... Always, always gone for Denman, love him to bits but never won a dime on him! Do the old horses ever really come back and win big again? Had a nice little return on Long Run in his last outing and he had plenty in the tank one thinks, how much of the weekly house keeping do I place is the question I need answered. HELP!"
BBC Sport's Cornelius Lysaght
on Twitter: "Overnight rain tonight key to Ireland's Pandorama taking place in Gold Cup tomorrow; trainer Noel Meade doesn't want too firm."
Text from Birdie in Stratford-on-Avon:
My first two days have turned a profit of over £58 from a level £1 stake. First up today Mr Gardner. Geraghty is due a winner! Indeed. Remarkably, the hugely powerful Nicky Henderson, who trains Mr Gardner, is winless thus far along with Geraghty, his principal stable jockey who also grabs an odd ride for other trainers.
E-mail from Chris B, Cheltenham:
"After a big loss on So Young and Time for Rupert I am hoping Ruby does the Biz today on Big Buck's and Poquelin." Some people just love backing a particular jockey, and after Ruby's three-timer on Tuesday he was due a quiet one yesterday. I'm sure he'll be back in the winner's enclosure before long.
From BBC Sport's Frank Keogh at Cheltenham:
"Former Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning jockey Mick Fitzgerald has been in good form with his selections this week, and I asked him for his thoughts on day three. Irishman Fitzgerald, at the Festival for BBC Radio 5 live, is sporting a broad smile, a big sprig of shamrock on his coat for St Patrick's Day, and likes the chances of three horses on Thursday. 'People think I'm mad but I'm going for Duke of Lucca in the 1405. He has some really good form. I think Big Buck's will win a third World Hurdle, and I like Saddlers Storm in the 1640.' "
Although the World Hurdle is billed as today's feature, the prize money on offer for the race which precedes it, the Ryanair Chase, is actually greater. Off at 1440, the Ryanair is our third race and I'm struggling to see past Poquelin
from the same Stewart family-Paul Nicholls-Ruby Walsh team who 40 minutes later will be trying to send Big Buck's to glory.
Don't be frightened of sending me the odd tweet, text or e-mail. I don't bite, promise.
Our first race, the Jewson Novices' Chase, is 45 minutes away. Among 11 runners, three rather oddly begin their names with "Mr..." Philip Hobbs, the trainer who stopped the Irish going through the card yesterday when taking the Bumper late in the day, saddles Wishfull Thinking,
a possible favourite and certainly a horse that's on the up. One of his big rivals will be the Paul Nicholls-trained Robinson Collonges.
Meanwhile, Noble Prince
is a very lively contender sent over from Ireland, and will be partnered by a certain Tony McCoy, who is still looking for his first winner of the week.
Regular followers will know I've been producing a value each-way daily selection and today I'm going for Kayf Aramis
in the 1405. Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and ridden by his son Sam, this horse has been around for a while but he's still only nine and won this race two years ago. He likes good ground and has finally been dropped a few pounds by the handicapper.
There's a stack of non-runners to make you aware of: Working Title (1405), Somersby, Captain Cee Bee and Rare Bob (1440), Celestial Halo (1520) and Crescent Island (1600).
BBC Sport's Cornelius Lysaght
on Twitter: "Big Buck's being heavily backed to complete hat-trick in World Hurdle. Tom Scudamore, jockey of Grands Crus, tells BBC Radio 5 live the horse 'has done nothing but improve & improve... we haven't got to the bottom of him.' "
The main event today is the World Hurdle
at 1520. Two-time champion Big Buck's,
from the Paul Nicholls, yard
is tipped by BBC Sport's Elizabeth Hudson to make it a hat-trick.
The hugely progressive six-year-old Grands Crus,
again trained in Somerset but from the rival David Pipe team, is billed as the main danger but with the Irish in such hot form who's to say the Willie Mullins pair of Mourad
can't push for top honours?
BBC Sport's Frank Keogh
on Twitter: "Action at Cheltenham on Thursday switches to the New Course. Going is Good, Good to Soft in places. Sunny. Rain forecast Friday morning."
"The Irish still love a banker - just not the type that wears a suit". So says Paul Hayward in today's Guardian. Fourteen races into the Festival, and with six races today and seven tomorrow, the lead stands at 9-5 to the horses trained in Ireland. Where will it stand tonight after the last St Patrick's Day shamrocks and tricolor ribbons are swept up with the plastic pint glasses?