YORKHILL on top of pile

Stephen Mullen looks back on Day Two

Racing Ahead - - CHELTENHAM WEDNESDAY REPORT -

Yorkhill gave trainer Wil­lie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh their fourth win­ner of the Fes­ti­val when pro­duc­ing a dev­as­tat­ing turn of foot to land the Nep­tune In­vest­ment Man­age­ment Novices’ Hur­dle.

Mullins is now the most suc­cess­ful trainer in this race, hav­ing won it four times.

The six-year-old didn’t have the eas­i­est pas­sage through­out the race but Walsh was de­ter­mined to hug the in­side rail and, when the field turned for home, the gap ap­peared at the right time for the pair to cap­i­talise.

The 3/1 se­cond favourite got first run on the 11/10 mar­ket lead­erYan­worth,who was taken wide by Barry Ger­aghty through­out, and this proved to be de­ci­sive as the win­ner skipped clear on the run to the fi­nal flight.A bold jump at the last sealed the race as Yorkhill bounded up the hill to record a one and three quar­ter lengths vic­tory.

Mullins re­vealed he would be tempted to go down the Stan James Cham­pion Hur­dle route with the horse next sea­son.

“He could go novice chas­ing but I’d be minded now to go down the Cham­pion Hur­dle route with him. This fel­low looks smart. He won the Tol­worth (at Sandown) well and then looked sharp com­ing round the bend here.I did have chas­ing in mind for him but I’m not so sure now. He’s a re­ally smart hur­dler.”

RE­SULT

1) Yorkhill (An­drea & Gra­ham Wylie) Wil­lie Mullins IRE 6-11-07 RubyWalsh 3/1 2) Yan­worth (J P McManus) Alan King 611-07 Barry Ger­aghty 11/10 Fav 3) It’safree­bee (Rebel Rac­ing) Dan Skel­ton 6-11-07 Ian Popham 33/1

BLAK­LION ROARS TO VIC­TORY

Blak­lion pro­duced a gutsy per­for­mance to land the RSA Chase by half a length from 16/1 shot Shaneshill.

The 8/1 chance,trained lo­cally by Nigel Twis­ton-Davies, jumped and trav­elled well for jockey Ryan Hatch and hit the front with a mag­nif­i­cent leap at the last with sev­eral of the field still in with a chance.

The seven-year-old bat­tled tena­ciously to fend off a chal­lenge from the run­nerup and his trainer was un­der­stand­ably de­lighted af­ter the race.

“That was un­be­liev­able,” said Twis­tonDavies. “He’s done all his win­ning on heavy ground but I had a nag­ging feel­ing that, be­cause he’s small, bet­ter ground might suit him and I think it has.

“Fun­nily enough, he hasn’t put a foot wrong since he fell here back in Novem­ber (at the Open meet­ing). It’s hor­ri­ble. We don’t like falls, none of us do, but it’s been the mak­ing of him.

“Ryan rode him beau­ti­fully. He should have been claim­ing three pounds but he wasn’t.

“Blak­lion is not as big asYoung Hus­tler (who won this race for Twis­ton-Davies in 1993) or Im­pe­rial Com­man­der (won the Chel­tenham Gold Cup in 2010) but you can’t ar­gue with what he’s done to­day. I hope he makes up into a Gold Cup horse”

RE­SULT

1) Blak­lion (S Such & CG Paletta) Nigel Twis­ton-Davies 7-11-04 Ryan Hatch 8/1 2) Shaneshill (An­drea & Gra­ham Wylie) Wil­lie Mullins IRE 7-11-04 Paul Tow­nend 16/1 3) More Of That (J P McManus) Jonjo O’Neill 8-11-04 Barry Ger­aghty 6/4 Fav

EL­LIOTT PROVES THE KING IN CO­RAL CUP

Di­a­mond King, who joined Gor­don El­liott’s yard in the au­tumn, tri­umphed at the Home of Jump Rac­ing when land­ing the Co­ral Cup.

The eight-year-old, who was for­merly trained by Don­ald McCain, is owned by Diana and Gra­hame Whate­ley and was rid­den by Davy Rus­sell. A 12/1 shot, he won by one and a quar­ter lengths and a neck from Long House Hall and Ubak, with Blazer half a length back in fourth.

El­liott said: “He’s a chaser in the mak­ing. Hope­fully he will be back here next year.

“Ev­ery horse is an in­di­vid­ual, but we got to know him when he joined the yard, and he cer­tainly likes this bet­ter ground. This is his trip.We’ll talk to the own­ers,but Ain­tree and Punchestown will be looked at.”

Davy Rus­sell’s vic­tory on the Gor­don El­liott-trained Di­a­mond King was the jockey’s 16th Fes­ti­val win­ner.

Rus­sell said: “I al­ways had enough horse. He flew the last and was spot on a long way out. He’s trained by a very shrewd man;he’s one of the top train­ers in Ire­land.”

RE­SULT

1) Di­a­mond King (Diana Whate­ley) Gor­don El­liott IRE 8-11-03 Davy Rus­sell 12/1

2) Long House Hall (J D Dug­gan) Dan Skel­ton 8-10-08 Harry Skel­ton 16/1

3) Ubak (Nick Pea­cock) Gary Moore 810-12 Joshua Moore 28/1

4) Blazer (J P McManus) Wil­lie Mullins IRE 5-10-09 Barry Ger­aghty 8/1

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