JONATHAN Burke rode his first Cheltenham winner when Love Envoi cruised to victory in the Mares Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham.
The horse was running for the Noel Fehily racing syndicate who were also enjoying a maiden victory at the festival. Coppeen's Fehily won six races at the festival between 2012 and 2019 when he was a jockey.
Conna jockey Burke said: “This is a dream come true to ride a winner here. When I came over to England, Noel Fehily was still riding and he was brilliant to help me find my feet. She is a very tough mare and the soft ground really helped her. I’m over the moon.”
Allaho under Lisgoold's Paul Townend ran his rivals into the ground to become only the second horse to claim successive victories in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham.
The eight-year-old, trained by Willie Mullins, made most of the running last year but led all the way this time as he showed his superiority with an imperious performance. Conflated and Davy Russell fell at the second-last fence when holding place chances, leaving Janidil to give Mullins a one-two but he was 14 lengths behind the easy winner.
Earlier Townend took a crashing fall at the last fence aboard Galopin Des Champs.
"Earlier is gone now," said Townend. "I’m fine and the horse is ok, we’ve a good horse and I was lucky in those colours a couple of years ago in the Triumph and I suppose it doesn’t make it any easier but what goes around comes around.
"I got into a lovely rhythm on him again, it was straightforward. Willie is a creature of habit so I’d imagine we might come back and try and win the Ryanair again next year.”
The Cheltenham Gold Cup brings the curtain down on a magnificent week of racing on Friday with Davy Russell and Galvin disputing favouritism with A Plus Tard. The vibes from the Elliot yard have been very good and Galvin is a guaranteed stayer. The same can be said of Al Boum Photo who is already a dual Gold Cup winner. Paul Townend has enjoyed a phenomenal journey with this horse and a third Gold Cup would be the icing on the cake.
Jesse Evans would be a hugely popular winner of the County Hurdle for the Singletons from Cork city. Trainer Noel Meade is more than capable of getting horses right for the big day and Jesse Evans has a big each-way chance.
It Came To Pass will attempt to reclaim the Foxhunters for Maxine and Eugene following their sensational victory in 2020. Connections are very happy with his preparation, and he has a sporting each/way chance at 20/1.
Billaway is a very warm favourite for Mullins' team.