He wasn’t for catching!
— CheltenhamRacecourse (@CheltenhamRaces) March 18, 2021
The Irish domination at the Cheltenham Festival continues as Flooring Porter nabbed a victory from left of field in the day three feature race, the Grade 1 Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle.
Paisley Park, trained by Kim Bailey and ridden by Aidan Coleman, was the favourite at 9/4 for the two-mile, seven-furlong race. However, he was stuck at the back of the field for much of the trip, whilst Flooring Porter was setting the tone at the forefront of the race from start to finish.
The Gavin Cromwell-trained horse, with Danny Mullins in the saddle, was brave to lead from the start and despite late charges from the likes of third favourite in the Cheltenham betting 2021, Sire Du Berlais (5/1) and Paisley Park, there was no stopping Flooring Porter from romping over the line and securing the £135,000 prize pot for its jubilant connections.
It’s been a frantic day for jockey Mullins as he was sworn in to ride Flooring Porter only this morning due to a back injury sustained by the horse’s regular jockey Jonathan Moore.
“He’s a proper good horse, but it was a late spare ride for me, the man down there (Moore) is the man you want to be talking too,” Mullins told ITV Racing. “He lost the ride this morning, but he gave me every bit of information he had about the horse and I had a simple job.
“I knew about it (taking the ride) an hour beforehand, that’s the man that’s done all the work and the team at Cromwell’s were very good beforehand and they left it up to me.”
For Moore, who lost the ride, it was a case of mixed emotions. “I am delighted for the horse,” he added. “I knew the win at Leopardstown was no fluke and I gave Danny as much information as I could. Danny gave him one hell of a ride. I’m just so proud of the horse for showing he was able to do it.”
The day started in favour of the bookies with heavy favourite Envoi Allen falling in the first race, the March Novices’ Chase, which 9/1 shot Chantry House went on to win for trainer Nicky Henderson with Nico De Boinville in the saddle. There was no let-up for the punters in the following Pertemps network final either as 12/1 outsider Mrs Milner nabbed a victory for trainer Paul Nolan and jockey Bryan Cooper in the Grade 3 outing.
It looked like the penultimate day could shift in the punters’ favour as Allaho and Rachael Blackmore, who is never far from the Cheltenham Festival tips, landed an emphatic victory in the Ryanair Chase. It was a fourth victory for Blackmore at the Festival as she added to her earlier successes aboard Honeysuckle, Bob Olinger and Sir Gerhard.
However, the victory for Flooring Porter was yet another setback for the bettors and there’s no doubt that the bookies will be grinning from ear to ear as we head into an historic Gold Cup day.