RACHAEL BLACKMORE has emerged as a real superstar at Cheltenham after riding her fifth winner of the week and taking apart a quality field to make virtually all in the Ryanair Chase.
The 3-1 favourite barely faltered up the straight, coasting home 12 lengths clear of Fakir D’oudairies, with Willie Mullins runner Tornado Flyer staying on for third.
She now has five wins over three days while English owners and trainers have four.
The winning trainer had three strong runners in the race with Allaho, Min and Melon, who is owned by Cork's Joe Donnelly.
After finishing runner-up in four consecutive festivals many punters were hoping that Melon would go one better, but he couldn’t match the winner for pace early on.
“That was an awesome performance. I thought Min would go with him every step of the way but his jumping wasn’t up to scratch, while Melon struggled for some reason," Mullins said.
”Allaho did everything right. The first thing I did when Rachael came back was lift the number cloth to see if the lead was still in there as it looked like he was just carrying Rachael!
“He was just awesome, his galloping and jumping, if he puts the two together – I was hoping he could do that over three miles, but if he’s only a two-and-a-half-miler that will do me.
"We might try three miles again, maybe the King George, we’ll see what connections want to do.”
Chantry House won the Marsh Novices’ Chase as hot favourite Envoi Allen crashed out in the opening event on day three much to the horror of punters.
Envoi Allen was sent off the 4-9 favourite to extend his unbeaten record to 12, but he got no further than the fourth fence.
Chatham Street Lad ran a blinder to finish fourth for Mick Winters and Darragh O’Keeffe but just ran out of petrol after making a mistake at the third last.
It was a 70th Cheltenham Festival winner for the brilliant Nicky Henderson.
“He was very good. To be fair, when Shan Blue quickened up down the back, it was a bit like last year. When he ran in the Supreme behind Shishkin he looked to need another half mile and it looked the same again," Henderson said.
“I don’t know why we wouldn’t go over three miles at Aintree or Punchestown, it just depends how quick he recovers. It’s a pity he (Envoi Allen) fell from a lot of points of view, but on the other hand it was nice to take the opportunity.
"He’s looked flawless all year so it was a surprise to see him do that.”
Henry de Bromhead, trainer of Envoi Allen, said: “Jack just said he was a little bit keen. He just launched at the fence, unfortunately, and that was it. I’ve had a look at him through and he looked fine, and Jack’s fine too, so that’s good.”
Mrs Milner continued the Irish domination at the Cheltenham Festival when winning the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle.
Come On Teddy was back in third under Johnny Burke with another length and a half to Milliner in fourth.
Nolan, saddling his first Festival winner since Noble Prince landed the inaugural running of what is now the Marsh Novices’ Chase in 2011, decided against crossing the Irish Sea this year with his solitary runner and watched from the comfort of his own home.
Flooring Porter claimed the Stayers Crown in great style for trainer Gavin Cromwell and Danny Mullins and there was a huge act of sportsmanship when Jonathan Moore deemed himself unfit to ride the horse this morning after taking a crashing fall at Naas on Sunday.
Cromwell praised the selflessness of Moore and said: “It was a huge performance and a smashing ride. It was a big blow for Jonathan, he made the decision himself that he wouldn’t do the horse justice.
"He suggested Danny would be suited to the horse and it was all down to Jonny’s instructions.
”Hats off to Johnny, he’s so unselfish — he thought he wouldn’t do the horse justice, so I’m very grateful.
”He won a Grade B handicap at Navan when it wasn’t the plan to make the running.
"He decided on his tactics so we went along with it. We won the Champion Hurdle a few years ago so to win another championship race is fantastic.”