The Festival 2019: Dodgeball parody launched ahead of Prestbury Cup

Cheltenham Tricast Pays Incredible £73,711.25

Presenting Percy had not run over fences since winning the RSA Chase 12 months earlier but Reynolds, the son of former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, said: "I said before the race I wasn't going to give his preparation as an excuse".

"Not winning the Gold Cup used to bug me". I was then thinking, "Nicky Henderson, I'm not sure it is a good idea", but then the rest was good. The front three in the market were all beaten in the Champion Hurdle as Espoir D'Allen came through to claim a shock win in the big contest of the day in a result which left those bookies on and off course punching the air with delight.

"I wasn't well for a while and I thought it was time to let the young lads get on with it".

He said: "I'm more than surprised". His run at Tramore was not the usual sort of prep run for a Gold Cup but that was it because of the ground.

"Two weeks before Cheltenham, my mother starts getting ready and comes into top form over here - she really enjoys it". She just got into a little bit of trouble before the last and I was hoping he might come.

Mullins was full of praise for jockey Townend, who hails from Midleton, Co Cork. "I'm delighted for them".

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"Paul started off with us when he was 17". He was riding as a claimer for me and won the Galway Hurdle for John Kiely.

"It was a fantastic performance by her jockey Noel Fehily".

"From an early stage, Paul had him in a rhythm jumping, with the reins relaxed and the horse doing it all". We had a lot less bankers this year, but it is testament to owners who are committed to our yard and the staff.

An emotional Townend added: "I can't believe it". I'm so grateful to Willie and all the owners. From the time I was an apprentice he has supported me. He jumped every fence, he's a real warrior and galloped right to the line. It is just an unbelievable feeling. "He's a much better jumper than he showed today".

The Cheltenham Festival's most successful trainer of all-time doesn't usually saddle 50/1 shots, but at Cheltenham on Thursday one such horse led home a 66/1 stablemate.

O'Farrell won two valuable handicaps for Willie Mullins previous year and Calie Du Mensil shouldn't be underestimated either following her near miss at Leopardstown last month.

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