CORK pulled off an impressive double at Cheltenham today with Youghal jockey Davy Russell guiding Presenting Percy to the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle, before Un De Sceaux, owned by Eddie O’Connell from Glanmire, won the Ryanair Chase.
O’Connell’s brilliant chaser Un De Sceaux is unbeaten this season and put up a tremendous performance for trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh on the third day of the Festival.
Walsh made a brave call to take the 7-4 favourite to the front as early as the fifth fence as the horse was keen to get on with things. From then on Un De Sceaux proceeded to put the opposition to the sword with a series of spectacular leaps.
Walsh said: “I was a passenger. I got him back at the first fence down the back, but he attacked and jumped and he stayed.
“The jump at the last was special. He's a cracking little horse and he's so consistent, he must be a joy to own, he's a little tiger.
“He wants soft ground at two miles which is why we went two and a half miles on better ground.” Youghal’s Davy Russell was pipped on Wednesday by Might Bite aboard Whisper, but turned the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle into a procession on Presenting Percy.
Russell brought the six-year-old through the pack to lead before the final flight and storm up the hill to win from Barney Dawn, Jury Duty and The Tourard Man.
Russell said of the three-and-three-quarter-length winner: "To be honest the credit has to go to Pat Kelly, he's a master and he improved for the better ground and I'd like to apologise to Phil Smith (BHA handicapper), maybe he was right (to give him more weight that his official Irish rating).
“Probably 99 times out of 100 the handicapper does a good job, but I thought he'd been a bit harsh on him. Pat has obviously found improvement in him.
“I rode my luck a bit and jumped him off at the back, but he settled lovely and it all went well.
“I've been to a lot of sporting occasions, but this is the ultimate.”