Weekend review: Stars shine in both Britain and Ireland

With Friday’s racing abandoned at Cheltenham fans could have been forgiven for thinking that prospects for the weekend action looked less than spectacular. But the fears of many were allayed when England’s premier Jumps course confirmed that racing would go ahead for the final two days at their prestigious November meeting.

A huge debt of gratitude is owed to the ground staff at Cheltenham for working so tirelessly to ensure that the meeting went ahead. The waterlogged scenes shown below give you an idea of the miracles they performed.

Saturday

Saturday saw the promising Juvenile Thyme Hill front the form of last year’s Champion bumper with an impressive victory In the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. The Philip Hobbs-trained youngster looked the part throughout going away at the line.

Beaten earlier in the year in the Stayers Hurdle, Nigel Twiston-Davies’s course specialist Wholestone wasn’t to be denied in his second start over fences as he landed his fifth victory at the track.

The story of the day unravelled in the BetVictor Gold Cup as Kerry Lee and young jockey Richard Patrick took the spoils on mare Happy Diva. Trainer Kerry Lee’s last graded success came back in 2016 and the wait for such a victory was certainly worth it as Kerry enthused “it means so much to come and win on the big day”. Similarly, it was Richard Patrick’s first Graded victory and one that will certainly live long in the memory!

Over in Ireland there was also Grade 1 action to whet the appetite. Perennial Champion trainer Willie Mullins saddled a four-timer at Punchestown, with a maiden win over fences coming for former Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen and Grade 1 honours scooped in the same silks as Saldier won the Morgiana Hurdle.

 

Sunday

Day two had plenty of exciting angles, most notably the seasonal return of Cheltenham Festival champion Defi Du Seuil in the Shloer Chase. However, the feature race was preceded by a steaming performance from Henry De Bromhead’s young Hurdler Put The Kettle On in the Arkle Trophy Trial…

Up next came the aformentiioned feature race which pitted Defi De Seuil against Politologue and Saint Calvados in the Schloer Chase. In the end it was the familiar JP McManus colours that came home in front as Barry Geraghty steered Defi De Seuil to victory on his return despite a battling performance from Harry Cobden and Politologue.

Hang In There rounded off the day with a brilliant performance in the Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle. Trained by Emma Lavelle and owned in part by Andrew Gemmell its a familiar success story. Connections will be hoping that the youngster can go onto bigger and better things like superstar stablemate Paisley Park.

Check out a few of the other highlights from across social media below!

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