JOCKEY Noel Fehily landed a second big-race win at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival on Special Tiara (11-1), who held on by a head to win the Gr1 Queen Mother Champion Chase over 3199m on Wednesday afternoon.
The winner, who was third in the last two runnings of the race, beat Fox Norton (7-1) into into second with Sir Valentino (33-1) third. “Special Tiara is running on instinct!” enthused the race caller in the driving finish as Fehily kept his mount going.
“He felt great and never missed a beat,” a thrilled Fehily told BBC Radio 5 live.
The 2-9 favourite Douvan (Ruby Walsh) jumped disappointingly and was never in contention.
Douvan, who had won 14 races in a row, never looked himself, and afterwards his trainer Willie Mullins suggested the seven-year-old may have pulled something during the race.
“We are all a bit gobsmacked I think, he didn’t jump as well as we had hoped with his usual fluency,” Mullins said. “Usually you find something wrong when that happens.
“He probably pulled something, a muscle, a ligament, hopefully something that will come right straight away.
Photo courtesy of Irish Times.