Cheltenham Festival: Energumene earns Tony Bloom £830k windfall on day two

It proved another memorable afternoon at Cheltenham, with Energumene cruising to victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase to steal the show on Ladies Day. 

There were also big victories for Impaire Et Passe, The Real Whacker, Langer Dan, Delta Work, Maskada and A Dream To Share on day two of the festival.

Here, Sportsmail takes a closer look at everything happening on and off the track in its latest serving of Cheltenham Breakfast.

The Real Whacker does it for… Britain 

The bookies have been taking a battering so far this week but relief came in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase when The Real Whacker just held on from well-backed Gerri Colombe.

But while the result was a heartbreaker for favourite backers, it did at least – albeit slightly fortuitously – add an air of respectability to the Prestbury Cup score, where Ireland have been dominant.

The Real Whacker’s win in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase was a victory for Britain

Trainer Patrick Neville is as Irish as they come, having trained horses for 17 years in his homeland. However, he’s recently relocated from Ireland to the UK and thus The Real Whacker’s victory meant a point went up on the board for the UK.

With Ireland comfortably leading 10-4, we’ll take anything we can get…

Is the Gold Cup next?

After his triumph on Wednesday, Paddy Power have slashed their odds on The Real Whacker winning next year’s Gold Cup in half.

The Brown Advisory winner, who was also in consideration for this year’s Gold Cup, has shortened from 40-1 to 20-1 for the 2024 renewal.

‘We had him in the Gold Cup and the decision was Paddy’s,’ part-owner Davey Mann said. ‘He kept it open for a while, but we always thought it would be the Brown Advisory and I think it was the right call.’

Maybe the wait will pay off…


Blooming brilliant 

Ladies Day was a special one for Energumene and his owner Tony Bloom, who took home a whopping £1.4million after his triumph in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

Bloom confirmed he was the lucky punter who had £600,000 on his 6-5 winning favourite, earning the Brighton and Hove Albion chairman a profit of £830,000. Of course he gets his share of the £225,080 prize money as well! 

And to top off a glorious day, his beloved Brighton went on to beat arch-rivals Crystal Palace later in the evening. Celebrations all round…

Brighton chairman Tony Bloom (centre) earned £830,000 after his horse Energumene won

Irish dominance

In what might be an ominous trend for England’s rugby players this coming weekend, Ireland moved six points clear in the Prestbury Cup on day two.

There were another five Irish-trained winners on Ladies Day, with A Dream To Share capping a superb afternoon for the country with a closing victory in the Champion Bumper. 

The UK now has it all to do heading into the final two days of the festival, which could set the tone for Saturday’s Six Nations clash between England and Ireland.  

Skipping school pays off for Gleeson 

A Dream To Share’s triumph proved a great result for 18-year-old jockey John Gleeson, who took time out of school to guide him to victory on Ladies Day.

On his debut festival ride, Gleeson earned John Kiely, 85, his very first win at Cheltenham after almost half a century of training – and the youngster was understandably overjoyed.

‘Did that just happen? I can’t believe it!’ he beamed after the race.

‘I knew the horse was tip-top but I was worried about the ground so I’m delighted with the way it worked out.’

John Gleeson, 18, took time out of school to guide A Dream To Share to victory on Ladies Day

On his debut festival ride, Gleeson earned John Kiely, 85, his very first win at Cheltenham

Testing Thursday

Weather forecasts suggest there could be 7mm of rain overnight ahead of St Patrick’s Thursday.

Yet Cheltenham course clerk Jon Pullin believes even this would be unlikely to change the going from soft on the New Course, which is used for the final two days of the meeting.

One thing is certain… the third day of the festival will be pouring Guinness. 

Ruby Walsh’s faith in Impaire Et Passe paid off in the Ballymore

Impaire Et Passe proves Walsh right  

With hundreds of Cheltenham preview nights in both the UK and Ireland, Paddy Power this year vowed to put on the ‘ultimate’ one to stand out from the field.

As it was, more than 200,000 people tuned in to see racing heavyweights Lydia Hislop, Tony Mullins, David Jennings and Ruby Walsh chew the fat – and the more observant of them were rewarded on Wednesday.

Walsh, who has been the standout pundit in ITV’s excellent coverage this week, had a glint in his eye and a sly grin on his face as he waxed lyrical about Impaire Et Passe when he previewed the Ballymore.

Cheltenham’s greatest ever jockey, who still works for training super-genius Willie Mullins, is never one to get too carried away but he had clearly liked what he had seen at close quarters in the run-up to the festival.

As it was, Walsh was proven right so no wonder he had a wry smile on his face as he beamed ‘I told you so!’ on ITV when the five-year-old stormed to victory in Wednesday’s opener.

Walsh couldn’t help but boast ‘I told you so’ after watching Impaire Et Passe prove him right

Beat the Bookies on day two – The CHEAT SHEET!

Mick Fitzgerald, Ruby Walsh and Jane Mangan have made their selections for day three.

In Paddy Power’s daily cheat sheet, the three experts have picked out their tips for Thursday’s seven races.

Mick Fitzgerald’s selections also include a 1-2-3 and his nap for the Kim Muir Handicap Chase.


• 13:30 Turners Novices’ Chase, 2m 4f

Joseph O’Brien’s BANBRIDGE is two from two at Cheltenham. He won the Martin Pipe Conditionals’ Handicap Hurdle last year and that form is very solid.


The term NAP is used by tipsters to indicate the selection they feel has the best chance of winning on any given day of racing.

The term is short for Napoleon, derived from the card game of the same name when a player cries out ‘Napoleon’ when they think they have won.  

• 14:10 Pertemps Network Hurdle, 3m

The faster they go the better he looks and CAPTAIN MORGS has winning form at the track. He looks a good each-way play.

• 14:50 Ryanair Chase, 2m 4f

I’m a huge SHISKIN fan. There’s a concern about the ‘bounce’ factor but I think he can underperform and still win the Ryanair Chase.

  • 15:30 Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle, 3m

HOME BY THE LEE certainly looks the safest option in the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle in what is a trappy race. He’s improved in leaps and bounds this season.

1. Home By The Lee

2. Gold Tweet

3. Flooring Porter

• 16:10 The Plate Handicap Chase, 2m 4f

This looks the perfect opportunity for FRERO BANBOU (each-way) to do just as well as last year when placed in the Grand Annual. Stepping up to 2m 4f shouldn’t be an issue. So Scottish is the big danger.

• 16:50 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, 2m

This is a very good mare. Nico de Boinville was very keen on this one running in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle that tells you how good they believe she is. I think LUCCIA (NAP) will win here, especially on this track as it puts less pressure on her jumping which is a slight weakness.

• 17:30 Kim Muir Handicap Chase, 3m 2f

Patrick Mullins rides the top weight MR INCREDIBLE who has some really good back-form. This 3m 2f trip looks tailor-made for him.

Mick Fitzgerald expects Home By The Lee (pictured) to prevail in Thursday’s Stayers’ Hurdle


  •  13:30 Turners Novices’ Chase, 2m 4f

MIGHTY POTTER is probably the best horse but I won’t be surprised if Appreciate It (each-way) turns up and gives him a big fright. It looks a match and I’ll even go for the forecast of Mighty Potter to beat Appreciate It.

  • 14:10 Pertemps Network Hurdle, 3m

I have no opinion here and I’m not going to give you a horse for the sake of giving you a horse. Let’s move on.

  • 14:50 Ryanair Chase, 2m 4f

It looks like it’s SHISHKIN’s race to lose.

  • 15:30 Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle, 3m

A huge day for Davy Russell and the softer the ground the better his chance on TEAHUPOO. I can’t see the ground drying up enough for Home By The Lee.

  • 16:10 The Plate Handicap Chase, 2m 4f

The step up in trip is going to suit Irish raider So Scottish but should also suit FRERO BANBOU (each-way) who will appreciate the softer ground.

Walsh’s tip for the Plate Handicap Chase on Thursday afternoon is Frero Banbou (pictured)

  • 16:50 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, 2m

LOT OF JOY is the win option at the prices but don’t discount HALKA DU TARBERT each-way.

  • 17:30 Kim Muir Handicap Chase, 3m 2f

STUMPTOWN was really good at Sandown and he’ll be hard to beat. He’s my nap of the day.


  • 13:30 Turners Novices’ Chase, 2m 4f

I believe this year’s crop of novice chasers to be a strong group, with Gordon Elliott’s MIGHTY POTTER to be the top of that group. I cannot look past him to get us off to a flyer.

  • 14:10 Pertemps Network Hurdle, 3m

My idea of the winner is MAXXUM who has progressed into a proper stayer this season. He might have 11st 12lbs to carry but the fact that connections have decided not to claim off him suggests they have confidence in his ability.

  • 14:50 Ryanair Chase, 2m 4f

SHISHKIN let us down last year in the Champion Chase but he had valid excuses. He looked back to near his best at Ascot last time and the step up in distance will suit.

Jane Mangan believes Mighty Potter is the best of this year’s crop of novice chasers

  • 15:30 Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle, 3m

My vote goes to TEAHUPOO. His Hatton’s Grace performance was top drawer and he proved that the 3 mile trip wasn’t an issue at Gowran Park last time. A perfect partner for Day Russell.

  • 16:10 The Plate Handicap Chase, 2m 4f

SO SCOTTISH was just denied by Boothill at Ascot on his latest run but remains open to further progression for the team that produced The Shunter to win this in 2021.

  • 16:50 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, 2m

Nicky Henderson and LUCCIA might stop the might of Mullins on this occasion. This mare was considered for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle against the geldings but reverts to her own sex.

  • 17:30 Kim Muir Handicap Chase, 3m 2f

With the benefit of Barry O’Neill and a workable mark of 135 STUMPTOWN has been my fancy for this race ever since he destroyed a good field at Sandown last month.


  • 13:30 Turners Novices’ Chase, 2m 4f

It’s difficult to get away from MIGHTY POTTER with the only negative being his run at the festival last year. A reproduction of his Drinmore or Dublin Racing Festival wins will be enough here.

  • 14:10 Pertemps Network Hurdle, 3m

SALVARDOR ZIGGY may have top weight but he has a decent 7lb claimer easing the burden. He is completely unexposed at three miles and has been turned inside out since joining Gordon Elliott and looks to have solid each-way claims.

  •  14:50 Ryanair Chase, 2m 4f

SHISHKIN bounced back to his best last time and will win if repeating that level here. I wouldn’t be surprised if FRENCH DYNAMITE hit the frame at rewarding odds.

  •  15:30 Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle, 3m

If BLAZING KHAL is 100 per cent here I fully expect him to take all the beating.

Paddy Power says Blazing Khal will be hard to beat in the Stayers’ Hurdle on Thursday

  • 16:10 The Plate Handicap Chase, 2m 4f

FUGITIF has improved with every start this season and despite a 6lb rise for his close 2nd here on trials day, I think he still has scope off his mark and is an each-way price.

  • 16:50 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, 2m

LOT OF JOY has huge ability on the flat and she bumped into two good horses on her first two starts over hurdles. Back in against mares, she could take plenty of stopping.

  • 17:30 Kim Muir Handicap Chase, 3m 2f

BEAUPORT looks very well handicapped here off a mark of 143 and has decent each-way claims.