Finian's Rainbow lands Champion Chase

Wed, 14 Mar 17:25:00 2012

Finian's Rainbow got up in the final furlong to dethrone Sizing Europe and win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

2012 Cheltenham Finian's Rainbow - 0

It completed a 82/1 treble for trainer Nicky Henderson and jockey Barry Geraghty on day two of the Festival.

The two horses were neck and neck down the home straight at the end of the two-mile trip but Finian's Rainbow had the stamina to win by a length and a quarter.

There was some controversy as the two leaders were belatedly waved around the final fence as Richard Johnson was still receiving treatment for an earlier fall on Wishfull Thinking.

Sizing Europe went off as the 4/5 favourite, having previously also won an Arkle and beating Big Zeb last time out by 15 lengths on heavy ground at Punchestown, but became the 11th odds-on favourite to fail to win the race.

Colm Murphy's Big Zeb (13/2) was 15 lengths back in third.

Geraghty said: "He's had a good few disappointments this season, but he's had patience with this fellow and I really am delighted for him.

"I thought he had it to do to be honest, but he has turned the corner since Ascot. His work has been much better.

"We were hoping he was closing the gap but you couldn't say for certain that he was there. We know now he was."

Finian's Rainbow got up in the final furlong to dethrone Sizing Europe and win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham. - 2

1.30 National Hunt Chase:

The heavily backed favourite Teaforthree gives the bookies an early bashing with victory in the opener, the National Hunt Chase.

Teaforthree, who went off at 5/1 under amateur JT McNamara, led the field for most of the four-mile distance and found stamina up the hill to win by two lengths from Harry The Viking (7/1).

An Irish winner in the opener and they also took a place with Four Commanders (10/1) a neck back in third.

Rebecca Curtis' charge was the 20th favourite to win in 88 runnings of this race.

"It's very special," said Curtis after her first Festival victory as a trainer. "It wasn't the plan to go out and make the running, but he settled well and we know he jumps and stays.

"It doesn't happen too often (winning at the Festival) and I'm going to enjoy it. It's great just to have runners, let alone a winner. He is probably better with cut in the ground, but going four miles you can get away with it. He's a brilliant jumper."

Finian's Rainbow got up in the final furlong to dethrone Sizing Europe and win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham. - 3

2.05 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle:

Simonsig made it two winning favourites from two races on day two of the Festival with an emphatic victory in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.

Henderson became the leading trainer in Festival history with his 41st success as Geraghty guided his mount to a seven length victory.

Leader Cotton Mill refused at the second last and unshipped Denis O'Regan spectacularly with Irish charges Felix Yonger (16/1) and Monksland (11/2) taking the places.

Geraghty said: "He's a serious horse. I was hoping it was going to be as it was. He's a class act, but he's more of a chaser of the making."

Finian's Rainbow got up in the final furlong to dethrone Sizing Europe and win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham. - 4

2.40 RSA Chase:

Henderson recorded another victory as Bobs Worth edged out First Lieutenant in the RSA Chase.

The first two both went off at 9/2 with Call The Police (20/1) completing the places.

Grands Crus was pulled out of the Gold Cup to contest this easier option but David Pipe's decision to opt for the novice route failed to pay off as the heavily backed seven-year-old. who went off as 6/5 favourite, faded badly up the hill after challenging for the lead at the second last.

Bobs Worth is now unbeaten in four starts over hurdles on this course.

Henderson commented: "What a tough horse. Barry gave him a wonderful ride but he's got to do that because he sold the thing to me!

"We have had our problems with the horse through the winter and we never thought he would get here. Everybody has worked incredibly hard and it's been a long battle to get him back."

Finian's Rainbow got up in the final furlong to dethrone Sizing Europe and win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham. - 5

4.00 Coral Cup:

Donald McCain's Son of Flicka took the Coral Cup as the bookies took another hit with the winner backed in from prices as big as 66/1 over the last 24 hours.

It was a second win for McCain and jockey Jason Maguire at the 2012 Festival, the 16/1 shot being the biggest priced winner so far in a traditional betting minefield.

The eight-year-old, second at the festival 12 months ago, followed stablemate Cinders And Ashes into the winners enclosure in the 28-runner handicap.

Son of Flicka roared into the lead heading to the last and finished three and a half lengths clear of 6/1 joint favourite Get Me Out Of Here.

25/1 shots Veiled and Silverhand completed the places as Balgarry, a subject of a big gamble to 6/1 joint favouritism, failed to stay the trip after making the early running.

Finian's Rainbow got up in the final furlong to dethrone Sizing Europe and win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham. - 6

4.40 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle:

Henderson saddled his fourth winner of the day as Une Artiste landed a 40/1 shocker in the Fred Winter.

Kazilian looked to have the race sewn up with two to go but Jeremiah McGrath's mount charged through on the inside to win by a length and three quarters from Edeymi (11/1).

Favourite Vendor, who eventually went off at 3/1, came with a late run but was half a length further back in third ahead of the fading Kazilian under Tom Scudamore.

Three of the first four were ex-French performers.

5.15 Champion Bumper:

Champagne Fever made every yard to win the Weatherbys Champion Bumper for Willie Mullins.

A brave front-running performance from Champagne Fever, under Patrick Mullins, saw him take the final race of the day at 16/1.

The 9/2 favourite New Year's Eve was a length and a quarter back in third with another Mullins runner Pique Sous a head further back in third.

Ireland had five of the first eight home.

Lee Walker / Follow on Twitter @Lee_Eurosport / Eurosport

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