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Other SportsCheltenham Festival 2024: Ferguson and Redknapp steal the headlines while Teahupoo wins...

Cheltenham Festival 2024: Ferguson and Redknapp steal the headlines while Teahupoo wins the feature race

Sir Alex Ferguson claimed his first two Cheltenham victories on day three of the Festival with Gordon Elliott also having reason to cheer after winning the feature race, the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle.

Trainer Elliott landed his first win at this year’s meeting when Teahupoo justified his status as the 5/4 favourite by cruising home to win by three and three quarter lengths under Jack Kennedy from Flooring Peter (9/1) and Home By The Lee (16/1).

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Elliott told 5 Sports Extra: “This was the plan. He runs well fresh. It’s great to get a winner. We have hit the crossbar a few times this week but to win this is unbelievable. I am delighted for the whole team.

“It has been a long couple of days but the horses have been running well. This is a great place to have a winner.

“This was one of our strongest days. We have plenty of chances coming up.”

A footnote from the race was the retirement afterwards of six-time participant and 2019 champion Paisley Park.

His owner Andrew Gemmell told ITV Sport: “He had a great race, a great career, but it is time to bid farewell.

“He’s been marvellous.”

If Elliott stole the limelight in the main event, the first half of the day was dominated by former Manchester United boss Ferguson.

The Scot has enjoyed success globally but never at Cheltenham. That was until his part-owned horse Monmiral came home first in the Pertemps Hurdle Final.

The 25/1 shot, ridden by Harry Cobden, saw off the challenges of Kyntara (16/1), Cuthbert Dibble (11/2 fav) and Bold Endeavour (50/1).

Ferguson’s delight doubled in the next as Protektorat won the Ryanair Chase.

He told ITV: “I’ve been waiting 20 years for a winner and now I’ve had two in about 40 minutes.

“It’s incredible. It’s the FA Cup final, Derby then it’s Cheltenham. Is winning the Champions League or Cheltenham a better feeling? This is much better – now.”

Brothers Harry and Dan Skelton’s excellent Festival continued as they combined to land their fourth winner with Protektorat coming in at 17/2 ahead of 9/4 favourite Envoi Allen and Conflated (11/1).

Jockey Harry said: “It’s fantastic and I can’t believe it, but he really deserved this.

“Izzy [Algieri], who looks after him, is an absolute saint because she puts up with him every day and he’s as mad as a wasp. You’d have to have the patience of a saint. 

“He’s so difficult at home and in a race, but today they went really quick up front and it was the first time for a long time that he’s settled; normally he’s always pulling my arms out.”

The Skeltons’ third win came earlier when Grey Dawning won the Turners Novices’ Chase as the 5/2 favourite. Ginny’s Destiny was second at 11/2 with Djelo third at 25/1.

The football/horse racing crossover continued in the fifth race of the day as Shakem Up’arry won the TrustATrader Plate for owner Harry Redknapp, the former manager of West Ham.

“Oh my God, get in there! How good was that? He jumped for fun. What a performance,” Redknapp said.

“My nan got me into racing, she was a bookie’s runner back in the day. She’d get locked up in Poplar Police Station in the East End of London, because it was illegal in those days.

“I love the horses, I love the Festival, I love the people. It means so much.”

Golden Ace was a surprise 10/1 winner of the Ryanair Mares Novices’ Hurdle, a race that was expected to be a battle between Jade de Grugy and Brighterdaysahead while Inothewayurthinkin romped to victory in the final race of the day – the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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