Outsiders reign at Cheltenham

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  • Bookmakers are wreaking their revenge at Cheltenham as only one favourite so far has come home victorious.

    If the opening race had been anything to go by, punters would have been a very happy bunch, but 7-2 favourite Brave Inca’s closely fought victory in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle has proved an exception thus far.

    Yesterday’s biggest upset was caused by 33-1 outsider Hardy Eustace’s defeat of defending champion and hot favourite Rooster Booster in the Smurfit Champion Hurdle.

    The 11-8 favourite spent most of the race at the back of the field, making fast progress towards the end and taking the final flight neck-and-neck with Hardy Eustace, but it was the Irish horse who proved the greater champion.

    In The Arkle Challenge Trophy, the favourite Thisthatandtother was an early faller, opening the way for Well Chief, trained and ridden by champion combination Martin Pipe and Tony McCoy to return home triumphant.

    Yesterday’s final races saw two long shots in the winner’s enclosure. Maximise, at 40-1, defeated the field in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase, while 50-1 outsider Creon surprised crowds with a narrow success in the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle.

    There hasn’t yet been success for any of the ‘Famous Four’. Moscow Flyer, 5-6 favourite, hit the fourth last in the Queen Mother Champion Chase and unseated rider Barry Geraghty. Ruby Walsh on second favourite Azertyuiop, saw his chance and headed for a decisive win over Flagship Uberalle and Tiutchev.

    Earlier in the day, Martin Pipe-trained Our Vic, 7-4 favourite in the Royal & Sun Alliance Chase, was beaten into third place by the Irish horse Rule Supreme and Royal Emperor. This was a popular win among the Irish crowd on St Patrick’s day, but added to punters’ misery as yet another favourite failed to make it first past the post.

    Everyone’s eyes are now on the Totesport Gold Cup tomorrow. If Best Mate is defeated, it really could break the heart of a nation.

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