Delta Work defended his Glenfarclas Chase title as Gordon Elliott won the Cheltenham Festival cross-country feature for the fifth time in seven years.
Last year Delta Work had to play the role of pantomime villain as he spoiled the retirement party of Tiger Roll by edging out the dual Grand National winner in a thriller. But this time around he was the people’s favourite, with the 10-year-old sent off the heavily-backed 11-10 market leader.
Kept in the perfect place throughout by Keith Donoghue, he edged his way to the lead shortly after jumping the Aintree fence for the final time.
Delta Work was soon joined at the head of proceedings by stablemate and 11-4 second-favourite Galvin and it was soon obvious the classy Elliott duo were the only ones with a real chance of taking home the first prize.
Matching strides approaching the last, Donoghue always looked to be holding on to that little bit more than Davy Russell aboard Galvin and so it proved in the closing stages as Delta Work came home with a two-and-a-half-length advantage.
Elliott said: “I love the cross-country race. It was great to have the one-two and see Galvin run a great race because he will come on for it.
“I’m pleased for Keith who is having his best ever season, but Jack (Kennedy, injured stable jockey) is a team player and he’s here lending his support. Jack will be back on these horses when he’s passed fit to return.
“Both horses will now go for the Grand National.”
Dan delivers in Coral Cup
Langer Dan made it third time lucky at the Cheltenham Festival when holding on for a brave success in the Coral Cup.
The big meeting has been a cruel mistress for the Dan Skelton-trained seven-year-old in the last two seasons, bumping into Gold Cup favourite Galopin Des Champs in the 2021 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle before being brought down at the second flight when sent off favourite for the same race 12 months ago.
This year stable jockey Harry Skelton was given his chance aboard the 9-1 winner and despite having plenty to do when short of room two out, he was inspired in the saddle from the home turn.
Hitting the front halfway up the run-in, he drove his mount home with vigour to hold off An Epic Song (second) and Camprond (third) in three-way tussle at the finish.
Dream result for Kiely and Gleeson
A Dream To Share gave John Kiely and John Gleeson a fairytale victory in the Champion Bumper in the JP McManus colours.
In a rough race, Gleeson gave the winner a cool ride down the outer and sailed past eventual second Fact To File, also in the McManus colours, with Captain Teague back in third for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden.
And in the Grand Annual, Maskada and Darragh O’Keeffe gave Henry De Bromhead a second winner on the week after Honeysuckle’s victory yesterday.
Plenty of fancied runners made mistakes late on, including favourite Dinoblue who could only manage second, with last year’s winner Global Citizen back in third.