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Cheltenham Day Three: Penhill wins Stayers' Hurdle

 

By Michael Verney

Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power combined to take the Gold Cup with Sizing John 12 months ago and today the pair bid to complete the missing piece of a Festival jigsaw for the 71-year-old trainer with Supasundae in the Stayers' Hurdle.

The Moone handler added the blue riband to her Champion Chase (Moscow Flyer in 2003 and '05) and Champion Hurdle (Jezki in 2014) wins but she now bids to go one better by taking the three-mile hurdle crown to become the first Irish trainer to win the 'Big Four' Championship races.

It would be an astonishing feat but last year's Coral Cup winner is a leading player having taken the Irish Champion Hurdle when "sharpening up" for this test over a shorter trip.

Despite Supasundae's leading claims, history will not be easily made in one of the most competitive races.

That is in stark contrast to two of my bankers of the Festival with Willie Mullins' Laurina looking like a good thing in an average Mares' Novices' Hurdle while stablemate Un De Sceaux looks a cut above the rest in the Ryanair Chase.

1.30 Grade One JLT Novices' Chase 2m 3f 198yds

*RESULT: 1. Shattered Love 4/1 2. Terrefort 3/1 f 3. Benatar 10/1*

2.10 Grade Three Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle 2m 7f 213yds

*RESULT: 1. Delta Work 6/1 2. Glenloe 9/2 f 3. Connetable 33/1*

2.50 Grade One Ryanair Chase 2m 4f 166yds

*RESULT: 1. Balko Des Flos 8/1 2. Un De Sceaux 8/11 f 3. Cloudy Dream 10/1*

3.30 Grade One Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle 2m 7f 213yds

*RESULT: 1. Penhill 12/1 2. Supasundae 6/1 3.Wholestone 14/1*

4.10 Grade Three Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase 2m 4f 166yds

THERE has been only one single-priced winner and only one favourite to prevail since the turn of the Millennium and, similarly, the last two victors, Road To Respect and Empire Of Dirt, are the only Irish winners in that time.

Tully East is respected while Elliott's The Storyteller is off an attractive mark should his jumping stand up to the test, but the selection is Guitar Pete at a big price.

He is a major player for Scottish trainer Nicky Richards with Ryan Day taking three pounds off.

Verdict: Day can get a tune out of Guitar Pete.

4.50 Grade Two Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle 2m 179yds

MULLINS has been sweet on Laurina since joining him from France.

She is the one to beat but if she were to be turned over, the most likely candidate is Maria's Benefit.

Verdict: Laurina.

5.30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase 3m 2f

IT'S fair to say Mall Dini didn't have the run of the race when fifth 12 months ago but off the same mark, Pat Kelly's eight-year-old holds leading claims under Patrick Mullins.

Squouateur, the mount of Jamie Codd, will be a big player if steering clear of trouble.

Verdict: Mall Dini can score again for Philip Reynolds.

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