Weblog: Straight from the sofa
Cheltenham SoFastival - Day Four, Part Two
5.37pm The Inaugural Cheltenham SoFastival Virtual Montage
I'm sure I won't be the only one who has images of this week's racing stamped in my brain forever. So, to finish the blog for the week, here's the Cheltenham SoFastival Virtual Montage. Click on the adjacent link to access the required soundtrack and read the following. Or pick your own soundtrack and moments of the Festival, and close your eyes. Sometimes you don't need a replay.
Slow motion footage of the last in the Supreme Novices' as Darlan and winner Cinders And Ashes make a hash of it, cut to them crossing the line. Al Ferof's mistake four out in the Arkle then Sprinter Sacre cruising to victory. Fruity O'Rooney's exquisite round of jumping before getting caught by Alfie Spinner. Noel Fehily's release of emotion after he wins the Champion Hurdle on Rock On Ruby.
Pause. A still picture of cross country legend Garde Champetre, who lost his life on the course on Tuesday. Then remember why we love the game as Quevega exudes brilliance before owner Anthony Knott exudes pretty much every emotion going in celebrating Hunt Ball's easy win in the last on Tuesday.
The beaming, attractive face of Rebecca Curtis after her first Festival win with Teaforthree, becoming the only trainer of the week to trend on Twitter. Cotton Mill and Denis O'Regan crash out at the second last when having every chance in the Neptune, leaving Simonsig to coast home on the bridle. Show O'Regan's okay with him winning Thursday's Pertemps on Cape Tribulation.
Grands Crus cantering in the RSA Chase before finding nothing, leaving Bobs Worth and First Lieutenant to fight out the finish. The carnage caused by Wishfull Thinking falling in the Champion Chase, and a newspaper print of the reaction of Camilla and Zara. Show the muppetry of the decision made at the last fence in a fast-forward scene, Benny Hill style, as the dolls are moved to various positions. Slow it down again to see the confusion on Barry Geraghty and Andrew Lynch's faces as they veer round the last, and despite this they fight out an amazing finish.
The Henderson celebrations as Une Artiste provides him with an unprecedented fourth winner of the day. A slow-motion close-up of the fantastic finish of the bumper.
Thursday. Sir Des Champs overpowering Champion Court in the Jewson and then the slow-motion finish of the week, Riverside Theatre, Albertas Run and Medermit spread across the track in the Ryanair. The two Henderson employees giving each other bear hugs and a fireman's lift as they go to greet the winner. Big Buck's seeing off challenger after challenger after challenger in the fourth World Hurdle. Walsh/Nicholls/Stewart holding up four fingers to celebrate his fourth World Hurdle win.
Salut Flo scoring comfortably and Tom Scudamore getting emotional. Malcolm Jefferson doing likewise after Cape Tribulation's win. Sunnyhillboy storming to victory and the sheer delight of the late Josh Gifford's daughter Tina Cook on the walk-in after winning the charity race on Pascha Bere, and the celebrations in the winner's enclosure of Nick Gifford. Before and after photos of Niall Hannity.
The slow motion unfortunate fall of Pearl Swan at the last in the Triumph, then the delight of Countrywide Flame's jockey Dougie Costello. Alderwood getting hampered before being galvanised by Tony McCoy. Campbell Gillies standing up and roaring for Scotland after a sublime ride on Brindisi Breeze. Sam Waley-Cohen hitting the deck in the Foxhunter after getting beat on Long Run.
A shot of Picaroon being miles clear in the Foxhunter. Empire Levant and Harry Derham hurdling a faller in the Martin Pipe, won by Attaglance and Harry Haynes, with a head-on shot of him using his hand as a whip. Paul Carberry motionless as he brings Bellvano from miles back to scupper stablemate Tanks For That close home.
Kauto Star being applauded wherever he went both before and after the Gold Cup. Ruby hacking his way back in after pulling Kauto Star up. McCoy at his relentless best on Synchronised. And finally, a lingering scene, @eachwayemily's least favourite part of the Gold Cup: AP's slow-motion flem shot.
5.25pm Keitthpunter Cup - Final Standings
Paul Carberry has just given Bellvano the ride of the Festival. To get that big softie up the hill in front is some accomplishment and earns him ten points. It's Nicky Henderson's record seventh Festival win and he gets another ten points.
He remains in second in the Keitthpunter Cup though, and no matter what a human achieves in this great game, it's not difficult to argue that the horses are the superstars, and Big Buck's is the deserving winner of the Keitthpunter Cup for the 2012 SoFastival Superstar of Cheltenham.
50 - Big Buck's
36 - Nicky Henderson
13 - Tony McCoy
10 - Quevega, Willie Mullins, Keiran Burke, Barry Geraghty, Ruby Walsh, JP McManus, Jonjo O'Neill, Malcolm Jefferson, Paul Carberry
9 - Empire Levant
8 - Noel Fehily, Alastair Down, Campbell Gillies
7 - Tina Cook
6 - Nick Gifford
5 - Donald McCain, Sprinter Sacre, Paul Nicholls, Anthony Knott, Nick Scholfield, Rebecca Curtis, Davy Russell, Paul Nicholls, Lucinda Russell
4 - Richie McLernon, Jimmy Nesbitt, Dougie Costello, John Quinn, Harry Haynes
3 - Tommo, @claimsfive, Jeremiah McGrath, @Lynne_Lyons
2 - JT McNamara, Ted Walsh, Denis O'Regan, Ger Lyons, Simon Holt
1 - Lesley Graham, Marten Julian
0 - Jamie Moore
-3 - Eric Lanlard
-5 - Channel 4 producers
-10 - Cheltenham officials
5.07pm Hutton Chops - The Grand Annual
Could do with a winner here.
£100 win at 40 and £75 place at 10 on Renard, who is up 9lb for winning last time but beat some solid yardsticks very easily and is clearly on the up.
Idarah came back to form over hurdles last time and if he's as good as he was last spring he has a good chance off what is basically a mark of 136. £50 win at 27, £50 place pending.
£20 win at 23 on French Opera on account of him having no chance against Sprinter Sacre last time.
After the last we'll have the Keitthpunter Cup final standings and one final, special feature for all you SoFastival fans.
5.00pm Official SoFastival trainers' battle heating up
Nicky Henderson is currently tied for the lead with all Northern Trainers on six, with the Irish on five, alongside Southern Trainers (Without Jonjo And Henderson). Jonjo is on three and Wales is on one. All to play for in the Grand Annual in this newly invented competition. Up the north!
4.51pm You wait 17 years for a winner and then...
...two come along at once. Dato Star won the bumper for Malcolm Jefferson in 1995 and then Attaglance has followed up Cape Tribulation's win yesterday.
Excellent ride by Harry Haynes, who should have an excellent future ahead of him, and he gets four points in the SoFastival Superstar of Cheltenham award, with Jefferson getting another eight.
Empire Levant gets nine points for somehow managed to hurdle the faller Street Entertainer two out. Jimmy Derham would get some points for this manouevre but I don't think he knew very much about it!
Three of the horses I backed finished in the first five. The third was win only, the fourth was win only and the fifth was each way. To four places.
4.25pm Hutton Chops - The Martin Pipe
Bocciani ran into a huge improver in Big Easy last time and despite the hike he's massively overpriced. £75 each way at 65.
Make A Track looks leniently handicapped based on his Irish mark. £50 win at 14-1.
Art Professor loves it here, £20 each way at 60. Oscar Nominee's form looks rock solid. £20 win at 14-1.
4.16pm Montage Music Analysis
Another trendy pick by the Channel 4 team, Feel To Follow by the Maccabees.
"How will I ever, get a breather, when it's over?"
Too right, I'm knackered.
4.01pm Montage Music Guessing Game
Jump by Girls Aloud
Heavyweight Champion of the World - Reverend and the Makers
A Real Hero by College
Superstar by someone I can't remember
Written In the Stars - Tinie Tempah/Westlife
3.51pm Hutton Chops - The Foxhunter
Picaroon has won three of his last four points very easily, will relish the ground and stay the trip and has lots of potential as a hunter chaser. £20 each way at 85.
Not Before Eight should relish the soft of stamina test that Cheltenham offers and wasn't behind one of the favourites Salsify last time. £10 each way at 60.
Blackstaff is another who should appreciate the step back up in trip and was a staying-on second to a good horse in Gwanako over shorter last time. £5 each way at 190.
3.45pm Kauto/Synchronised updates
Paul Nicholls has just tweeted: "KAUTO STAR FINE"
@claimsfive has tweeted a quote from Ruby Walsh, saying: "If they were human and they could tell you 'I'm feeling alright or I'm not feeling alright, it would be easier'"
Have just remembered I backed Synchronised for last year's Gold Cup at 220.
3.40pm McCoy in Synch
Outstanding ride from Tony McCoy to keep getting after Synchronised to land the Gold Cup.
Kauto Star was up there early but swiftly came under pressure and was pulled up by Ruby Walsh to the applause of the crowd, reminiscent of Istabraq in 2002.
As John Francome is saying, "we might not see him on a racecourse again". I'm sure we will, and hopefully for years to come, as does what all the old favourites such as Dessie did and parade at tracks. He'll get some reception wherever he goes.
I've just had a look into buying the Kauto Star book, not knowing if there is one, and have found out it's available for pre-order on April 13. There's a lot to do between now and then.
SoFastival Superstar points: Ten to Tony McCoy, ten to JP McManus for his first Gold Cup win, and ten to Jonjo O'Neill for his third winner of the week. Two also to commentator Simon Holt, who told everyone that Synchronised was going to win after they jumped the last as he is such a strong stayer!