Cheltenham Day 3: Sire Du Berlais and Envoi Allen star on day of shocks

Not a single favourite won on Thursday at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, as 33/1 shot Sire Du Berlais captured a first ever Stayers’ Hurdle victory for Gordon Elliott, becoming the oldest winner for 37 years. 

The rain played its’ part in a day of shocks at Prestbury Park, which saw odds-on favourites Mighty Potter and Shishkin overturned. 

In the feature race, the 11-year-old Sire Du Berlais recorded a third Festival success against the odds, having won the Pertemps Final twice earlier in his career. Sire Du Berlais stayed strongly up the hill to see off Dashel Drasher and Teahupoo, to lead home an Elliott 1-2 following a steward’s inquiry. 


“He just loves it”, said winning rider Mark Walsh. “They went a right gallop. He travelled great the whole way. Just down to the second last, they were just creeping and I had to work at him. He needs a bit of encouragement, but once he got to the hill, he stuck his head down and galloped.”


"Of course it's a surprise, but Sire Du Berlais can do that”, said a delighted Elliott. 

“He's either first or last, but he's well able anyway. In fairness to him, he's very tough.  Mark gave him a brilliant ride. It's great to win the race - obviously we were short-headed in a Grade 1 yesterday, so it's great to win. It's a great game here."

Envoi Excels

In the Ryanair Chase, there was further Waterford success courtesy of Envoi Allen at odds of 13/2.  

The former Bumper and Ballymore winner adds an eighth Grade One success to his CV, and jumped excellently throughout having disappointed earlier this season in the King George Chase. 

Odds-on favourite Shishkin looked in difficulty throughout, and was no match for the Henry De Bromhead-trained runner who makes it three wins so far at the Festival for the Knockeen handler. 

“He’s an incredible horse. He really is”, said Blackmore. “We are always hoping he could do something like this for us someday and fair play to Henry, Davy Roche and all the team who got us there today. He was electric. It’s lovely when you’re able to take back a little bit, he jumped really well and just seemed a much happier horse. It’s phenomenal. This is a magical place and I feel so happy to be able to walk into the winners’ enclosure again.”

“It’s very very emotional”, said Patricia Thompson of Cheveley Park Stud. “We knew if Envoi turned up, he would be hard to beat. Rachael was fantastic and for Jack, for Henry, for Heather - everyone, it’s amazing.”

“Unbelievable, what a ride from Rachael. She was so confident. He winged fences but was brilliant. We really appreciate the support. It’s just amazing”, said de Bromhead. “It’s another great day.”

Wearing It Wonderfully

The Jack De Bromhead Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle went the way of the Jamie Snowden-trained You Wear It Well, who bolted home ahead of the Knockeen-trained Magical Zoe to score in the hands of Gavin Sheehan at 16/1. 

The Challow Hurdle runner-up had two and three quarter lengths in hand at the finish. 

“The rain has helped her”, said winning trainer Snowden. “She’s a lovely mare, she’s jumped great. Gavin has given her a great ride and I’m so delighted that owner Chips Keswick is here. It’s so hard to win here. We were very lucky to have a winner here so early in our careers, and you just realise how hard it really is to win a race at the festival.”

Nicholls Notches

Stage Star gave Paul Nicholls his first Cheltenham Festival winner since 2020, when capturing the opening Turners Novices’ Chase as odds-on favourite Mighty Potter never picked up for Davy Russell. 

Harry Cobden gave Stage Star a tremendous front running ride and the 15/2 chance finished three and a quarter lengths ahead of Laura Morgan’s Notlongtillmay, who ran a cracker in second. 

"It had been a tough week so far and a tough couple of years," said Nicholls.

"It's fantastic to be back here. It's a tough place to win and we haven't quite got the numbers of horses of the Irish battalions, and that's always going to make it hard, but there are some brilliant English trainers who do really well and always will.”

McKenna Magic

Liam McKenna took Good Time Jonny from last to first in the Pertemps Network Final as he led home a cavalry charge at odds of 9/1 to give Tony Martin his first Festival success since 2015. 

With a host of rivals in with a squeak coming over the last, Good Time Jonny picked up to perfection to win with a degree of comfort, three lengths ahead of Salvador Ziggy and Mill Green. 

“I had a willing partner from turning in and the long run really suited him," McKenna said. "I never got into a position that I was comfortable with and we were always a little bit further back than we wanted. The start was the first problem, then not too far along a horse fell in front of him and he was very lucky to have the room to step to the side and get by him. It all worked out at the very end."

“He was last at the top of the hill but Liam had the patience to sit and wait and it turned out well," said Tony Martin. "It’s been a few years now since we had a winner here, but it is worth the agony and the hardship. It’s absolutely brilliant. A bit of a gap makes it better.”

Seddon Stars

John McConnell grabbed his first ever Cheltenham Festival winner as did talented young jockey Ben Harvey with Seddon’s success in the Magners Cheltenham Plate. 

The 25/1 outsider stayed on excellently having been placed at the front throughout, pinging his fences before seeing off Fugitif by two lengths. 

“I had a box seat the whole way and was just able to enjoy it,” said Harvey. “He picked up between the second last and the last and hit the line very well, I couldn’t believe how well he travelled. It’s not quite sunk in but it’s very special – a dream come true."

“He’s the horse of a lifetime and a top rider”, exclaimed an ecstatic John McConnell. “He’s got a top work rider who rides him every day, all the lads at home – it’s all down to them. I don’t do anything – I’m just a chancer! He’s the most beautiful, kindest horse you could ever imagine. I don’t know how he’s improved, we haven’t done anything, he’s just a happy horse, he loves being a racehorse. He would lay down for you. He’s just amazing, and with Ben on board it’s like robbing five pounds."

Angel Ace

In the closing Kim Muir Handicap Chase, the favourites were again undone as 10/1 shot Angel’s Dawn saw off Stumptown to strike for Sam Curling and jockey Patrick King. 

Henry De Bromhead’s Royal Thief was in the mix late on, before the favourite Stumptown hit the front and suddenly Angel’s Dawn matched his every stride. The winner was headed in the run-in, but battled back gallantly to secure victory by the narrowest of margins. 

Cashel trainer Sam Curling, who sold the Supreme winner Marine Nationale, was delighted to secure a big winner of his own. 

“I don’t know what to say, it’s just brilliant. We’re only a small team with about six or seven horses on the track - the rest are point-to-pointers. It’s brilliant. She was unlucky the last day but she’s always had the class. Patrick gave her a great ride. We’re delighted. She’s very tough and always has been.”

The Prestbury Cup standings currently read Ireland 15-6 Britain, ahead of the final day of the festival tomorrow.