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Albertas flies home in Ryanair

Albertas Run recorded back-to-back victories in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham under a powerful ride from Tony McCoy.

Jonjo O'Neill's charge, sent off a 6-1 chance, bounded up the run-in to hold the strong late challenge of Kalahari King, with Rubi Light third.

Many were in with chances at the top of the hill but favourite Poquelin was surprisingly one of the first beaten, and McCoy had the race in control as he took the last with a handy lead and kept on to score by a length.

The jockey said: "I'm beginning to feel like Ruby Walsh, having ridden two winners here.!

"Jonjo has been really sweet on him in the last week or so but Trevor (Hemmings, owner) was really keen on running him in the Gold Cup. Thankfully Jonjo twisted his arm. This was the right race for him, he won it last year and has now won four Grade Ones."

An intruder encroached on the course towards the finish and McCoy added: "I only saw the man on the track when I was going past him. I thought I must have gone the wrong way or something. He's lucky I didn't knock him down."

O'Neill said: "That was special, he absolutely loves this ground and he's a much better horse on it.

"He's had a few problems along the way this season but he just started to come right in the last few weeks. He just comes alive this time of year, the sun is shining and the gods are shining on us.

"It's great for Trevor - he's a great owner and a great man. He's in the Gold Cup but I think we might give him a rest."

Ferdy Murphy said of Kalahari King: "He has been second, third and fourth here now. It's very difficult in championship races, but you pick up a lot of money, which is even more important at the moment. He'll go for the two-and-a-half-miler (Melling Chase) at Aintree now."


From Belfast Telegraph