Horse Racing - Scintillating Sprinter Sacre lands Queen Mother Champion Chase

Wonderhorse Sprinter Sacre romped to victory in the feature race on the second day of the Festival - the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

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Horse Racing - Scintillating Sprinter Sacre lands Queen Mother Champion Chase
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Wonderhorse Sprinter Sacre romped to victory in the feature race on the second day of the Festival - the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

National Hunt Chase

Willie Mullins continued his superb run at the Cheltenham Festival by saddling his fourth winner as Back In Focus stormed home to catch Tofino Bay in the John Oaksey National Hunt Chase 

The bookies took another hammering as the 9/4 favourite landed the four mile marathon for novice chasers and amateur riders by half a length.

It was an Irish 1-2 as Tofino Bay (8/1), under Nina Carberry, made all before being caught in the final furlong as Patrick Mullins earned his Dad another success.

Rival D'estruval ran a fantastic race but fell at the last with Godsmejudge (7/1) rounding out the places, 19 lengths back.

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Neptune Investment Novices Hurdle

The New One produced a potent turn of foot to defeat heavily backed favourite Pont Alexandre to win the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.

With Willie Mullins having already saddled four winners at the Festival and describing his five-year-old as potentially the best novice hurdler he has trained apart from double Champion Hurdle victor Hurricane Flyer, Pont Alexandre was backed down to 6/4.

But having led for most of the first Grade 1 event of the afternoon, 7/2 chance The New One went to the front just before the last, under Sam Twiston-Davies, and roared up the hill to win by four lengths from Rule The World (5/1). 

The victory gave Nigel Twiston-Davies his third Neptune and earned his charge a 14/1 quote for the 2014 Champion Hurdle.

There was disappointment for Mullins and Ruby Walsh as Pont Alexandre faded to finish a distant third.

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RSA Chase

Lord Windermere held off Lyreen Legend to win a dramatic RSA Chase.

It was a first Cheltenham Festival success as a trainer for Jim Culloty and came after Willie Mullins’ leader Boston Bob fell at the last.

That allowed jockey Davy Russell to steer the 8/1 shot to a one and three quarter length victory from fellow Irish raider Lyreen Legend (10/1).

The favourite had won this race for three of the last five years but Unioniste did not get the trip and failed to break Paul Nicholls' duck for the week.

Hadrian's Approach (7/1) completed the places, six lengths back.

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Queen Mother Champion Chase

Sprinter Sacre romped to victory in the feature race on the second day of the Festival - the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Nicky Henderson's wonderhorse defeated former champion Sizing Europe by 19 lengths to land the leading minimum-distance chase in the National Hunt calendar.

Having swept all before him over fences over the past 18 months, Barry Geraghty's mount went off as the 1/4 favourite and justified the hype with an awe-inspiring display.

Mail De Bievre made the early running but a jolting mistake three from home ended his chances and the race turned into a straight head-to-head between Sizing Europe and Sprinter Sacre.

The 2011 Champion Chaser produced a gallant performance at the age of 11 but Henry De Bromhead's charge simply had no answer to the blistering turn of pace from the winner who is now unbeaten in eight starts over fences.

It was a 49th Festival winner for Henderson and Geraghty's fifth Champion Chase victory and none have been more impressive.

Sprinter Sacre was also providing Henderson with back-to-back Queen Mother triumphs after Finian's Rainbow struck in 2012.

Henderson said: "He's just very special. (I'm relieved) It's over. He just has that way of doing it. He finds it ridiculously easy - he just loves doing it.

"He loves to attack his fences. We are very lucky to have him. I hope people have enjoyed watching him."

Geraghty added: "He's a beautiful horse to ride. I've never ridden one as natural to jump. Things would have to go very wrong to go wrong.

"Once he's healthy and well, you get him relaxed and into a nice rhythm. He does the rest and he's a pleasure to ride.

"I've ridden some brilliant horses over the years, but the ease and the grace that he does it with sets him apart."

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Coral Cup

There was a 1-2 for Alan King in the big handicap, the Coral Cup with Medinas beating Meister Eckhart.

The 33/1 shot in the hands of Wayne Hutchinson, replacing the injured Robert Thornton, saw off 27 rivals in the Grade 3 contest.

Only one winner of this in the last eight years has been returned shorter than 10/1 and that trend continued as Medinas beat his stablemate, who went off at 14/1, by two lengths.

Medinas, who landed the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las last month, jumped the last in fourth place and had a real turn of foot to take the victory.

Fiveforthree (20/1) and Master Of The Sea (10/1) completed the places as well backed favourite Pendra failed to stay.

Fred Winter Juvenile

Flaxen Flare was an impressive winner of the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices' Handicap Hurdle.

The 25/1 shot, under Davy Condon, was wearing blinkers for the first time and swung to the front going around the turn and romped away after clearing the last in front.

Gordon Elliott entered the winners' enclosure for the first time at the Festival this year after a four and half length victory from Caid Du Berlais (20/1) with Ptit Zig (22/1) and Milord (16/1) following them home.

Champion Bumper

Briar Hill gave Willie Mullins his eighth victory in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

It was an eighth Irish winner of the opening two days, a fifth for Mullins and a fourth for jockey Ruby Walsh.

The 25/1 shot scurried away up the hill to win by seven lengths from Regal Encore (14/1) with Golantilla next home.

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