Cheltenham: Irish pair Allaho and Flooring Porter repeat victories to the delight of sell-out Festival crowd

Both feature races on day three of the Cheltenham Festival were won by the same horses as 12 months ago as Allaho and Flooring Porter repeated victories, but there was one big difference.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 6:43 pm
Double up: Allaho and Paul Townend on their way to winning the Ryanair Chase during day three of the Cheltenham Festival. Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire.
Double up: Allaho and Paul Townend on their way to winning the Ryanair Chase during day three of the Cheltenham Festival. Picture: Tim Goode/PA Wire.

Last year, they walked in to deserted grandstands, but this time round, there were 70,000 on track to roar, cheer and applaud the two well-backed Irish-trained winners.

In Allaho, sent off the 4-7 favourite for a second win in the Ryanair Chase, those who took the short odds never had a moment of worry.

Having won by 12 lengths last year, the winning margin was extended to 14 this time, with his Willie Mullins-trained stablemate Janidil picking up the pieces in second, just in front of Eldorado Allen, who stuck to his task gamely.

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Syndicate joy: Trainer Gavin Cromwell, jockey Danny Mullins and the connections celebrate with the trophy after Flooring Porter won the Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle. Picture: Steven Paston/PA Wire

“It would make you wonder why I didn’t pick him (Allaho) last year wouldn’t it? He’s an animal to gallop and jump. He’s just really good. I got into a lovely rhythm on him again, it was straightforward,” said jockey Paul Townend who chose Min last year leaving Rachael Blackmore to cash in.

The scenes which greeted Flooring Porter’s second win in the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle 40 minutes later will live long in the memory.

Running in the colours of a syndicate which includes the owners of a pub and a flooring shop owner, hence the name, Danny Mullins was greeted like a champion on his return to the packed enclosure.

Mullins deserved the praise, he had given Gavin Cromwell’s seven-year-old, sent off at 4-1, the perfect waiting ride from the front.

Turning into the straight he looked a sitting duck as his major market rivals like Champ, Thyme Hill, Paisley Park and chiefly Klassical Dream all appeared big dangers.

But just as he had all the way round, Flooring Porter flew the final flight, survived a minor scare when he jinked on landing, and powered away to win by two and three-quarter lengths from Thyme Hill.

Third Wind gave Tom O’Brien further reason to celebrate when narrowly coming out on top in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Just days after his wife gave birth to their second child, O’Brien was back to business to add a Festival winner to his list of achievements.

Third Wind (25-1), trained by Hughie Morrison, and Fergal O’Brien’s Alaphilippe battled out the finish after jumping the last.

Coole Cody registered a fourth success at Cheltenham when rallying in tremendous style to lift the Craft Irish Whiskey Co. Plate Handicap Chase.

Chambard won the closing Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase for Lucy Turner and Venetia Williams.

A 40-1 shot for the three-mile-two-furlong affair, the gelding picked up momentum turning for home after jumping well throughout and outstayed Nicky Henderson’s well-backed joint-favourite Mister Coffey and stablemate Didero Vallis to prevail by two and a half lengths up the hill.