An Irish jockey who is no stranger to saddling winning horses headlined today’s penultimate day of the Cheltenham Festival.
The reigning BBC Sports Personality of the Year, AP McCoy, saddled two winners on St Patrick’s Day as he reaffirmed his position as one of the greatest jockeys to ever live.
His first winner of the day was also his 200th winner of the season and Noble Prince was another notch up there for the Irish. It was a Novices’ Chase that Wishfull Thinking had led from start to finish but didn’t have the legs to hold off the challenge from McCoy.
McCoy’s second win was aboard Alberta’s Run in the third race of the day as he managed to hold off late challenges to win the Ryan Air Chase for trainer Jonjo O’Neill.
The marquee race of the day was the Ladbrokes World Hurdle where the winning formula of trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Ruby Walsh saw Big Buck’s win for the third year on the trot and give the bookies quite the beating.
Betfred boss Fred Done said, “This Paddy’s Day I’ll be having half a Guinness while the punters have Big Buck’s to buy the champagne. I was bashed up and I’ve paid out over 600 grand. As always I pay out with a smile, especially when you’ve just witnessed class and it was an outstanding race.”
StanJames spokesperson Garry McGibbon added, “That was the result we were dreading. Big Buck’s was our worst ante-post loser of the entire meeting, partly as a consequence of the enhanced double we offered a few weeks ago on Quevega to win the Mares’ Hurdle and Big Buck’s to win this race.
“We’re gutted,” as tissues quickly sold out in the town.
It was also a good day for trainer David Pipe who trained two winners as Buena Vista prevailed in the Pertemps Final and the horse he admitted was his best chance of the week, Junior, won the Kim Muir Challenge Cup.