Delta Work defended their title from the Glenfarclas Chase when Gordon Elliott won the Cheltenham Festival cross country feature for the fifth time in seven years.
Last year, Delta Work had to play the part of the pantomime villain when he crashed Tiger Roll’s retirement party by out-performing the double Grand National winner in a thriller. But this time he was the crowd’s favourite, with the 10-year-old ousted from the heavily backed 11-10 market leader.
Keith Donoghue kept him in the perfect spot and worked his way up to the lead shortly after jumping the Aintree fence for the last time.
Delta Work was soon joined at the head of the proceedings by his stablemate and 11-4 second favorite Galvin and it soon became apparent that Elliott’s stylish duo were the only ones with a real chance of taking home the top prize.
Coinciding with the paces approaching last, Donoghue always seemed to be holding on to that little bit longer than Davy Russell aboard Galvin and he showed that in the closing stages when Delta Work came home with a two and a half length lead.
Elliott said, “I love cross country. It was great to have the one-two and to see Galvin run a great race because he’s going to come for it.”
“I’m happy for Keith, who is having the best season ever, but Jack (Kennedy, injured stable jockey) is a team player and is here to support him. Jack will be back on these horses when he’s ready to come back.” .
“Both horses will now go for the Grand National.”
Dan meets in Copa Coral
Langer Dan struck luck for the third time at the Cheltenham Festival when he held on to a gutsy Coral Cup success.
The big reunion has been a cruel lover for the Dan Skelton-trained seven-year-old over the past two seasons, clashing with Gold Cup favorite Galopin Des Champs in the 2021 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle before being thrown down in the second stretch. when he was ousted as favorite for the same race 12 months ago.
This year, stable jockey Harry Skelton got his break aboard the 9-1 winner and despite having plenty to do when he was short on space two, he drew inspiration in the saddle from the homecoming turn. .
Hitting the front halfway through the race, he drove his mount home with vigor to hold off An Epic Song (2nd) and Camprond (3rd) in a three-way fight at the finish.
Dream result for Kiely and Gleeson
A dream to share gave John Kiely and John Gleeson a fairy tale victory in the Champion Bumper in the colors of JP McManus.
In a difficult race, Gleeson gave the winner a cool ride around the outside and sailed past the eventual second Fact To File, also in 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 in the week after Honeysuckle’s victory yesterday.
Many imagined riders made mistakes at the end, including favorite Dinoblue, who could only manage second place, with last year’s winner Global Citizen in third.