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Fantastic Four: Mullins and Walsh back to their best on Day 3

RacingBy Sunday World
Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins had a day they'll never forget
Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins had a day they'll never forget

Trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh recorded an incredible four-timer at Cheltenham to bounce back from a winless opening two days of the Festival in style

The first race of the day saw the pair partner up with favourite Yorkhill for the JLT Novices' Chase.

Walsh had Graham Wylie's seven-year-old switched off at the back of the field as Balko Des Flos made the running.

Baily Cloud fell six out and badly hampered Flying Angel, and the complexion of the race changed even more when Balko Des Flos came down at the fourth-last with Yorkhill doing well to avoid him.

His exit saw Disko go on but Top Notch, Kilcrea Vale and Yorkhill were also bang there and it was the latter who showed his class.

Leading before the final fence, the 6-4 favourite had to be driven out to hold Top Notch by a length, with Disko three lengths away in third.

After that win Mullins said: "To get on the board is huge. To get on the board in a Grade One is better. It's good for Ruby and the whole team.

"We've had a hard few days, but that's the way it is and we take what we can get."

Little did the champion trainer know what was on the way.

Un De Sceaux put up a tremendous performance to win the Ryanair Chase and a second Grade 1.

Walsh made a brave call to take Un De Sceaux to the front as early as the fifth fence as the horse was keen to get on with things.

From then on Un De Sceaux proceeded to put the opposition to the sword with a series of spectacular leaps.

Though Sub Lieutenant made inroads into the deficit on the run to the line, Un De Sceaux (7-4 favourite) was not for stopping and passed the post a length and a half clear.

Aso was six lengths away in third.

Walsh said: "I was a passenger. I got him back at the first fence down the back, but he attacked and jumped and he stayed.

"The jump at the last was special. He's a cracking little horse and he's so consistent, he must be a joy to own, he's a little tiger.

The feature of the day was the Stayers' Hurdle, and that completed a hat-trick of Grade 1s for Mullins and Walsh.

The 10-1 winner was produced with a strong run towards the rail to land the spoils for owner Graham Wylie, already a three-time race victor with the great Inglis Drever.

It was only his second attempt at three miles, but the seven-year-old showed he had no problem getting the trip.

He was held up in the early stages as 2015 winner Cole Harden set a strong pace that had the field well strung out.

When he faded out of contention Lil Rockerfeller set sail for home, but Nichols Canyon was produced to lead on the run-in and score by three-quarters of a length.

Unowhatimeanharry, the 5-6 favourite, was three and a half lengths away in third without ever looking like continuing his winning run.

And then Let's Dance gave the duo a remarkable four-timer on day three of the Cheltenham Festival when taking her winning run to five in the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle.

Walsh oozed confidence on the 11-8 favourite as he kept the Rich Ricci-owned five-year-old towards the back of the field for most of the race.

Verdana Blue led into the straight from Barra but a big leap took Let's Dance to the front and she galloped on strongly up the hill to score by two and three-quarter lengths from Barra. Dusky Legend was a neck away in third.

Mullins said: "We thought this might be the weakest race she was in, even though the trip was short of her best.

"She could go back over a longer trip, she will in time, but when we saw the ratings, this was the race for her."

 Walsh said: "What a day, the horses ran well the first two days, they just weren't winning.

"In previous years we were front-loaded and this year we were back-loaded, we knew we had great chances today and we think we have a couple tomorrow

"We had a standing start and she dwelt a bit, I just couldn't lay up with them.

"In fairness her jumping was brilliant and got me into a nice position.

"She was always going to stay, our only worry was coming back in trip, she was always going to stay on.

"She's a very good filly with a nice future.

"It's been a super day for the Irish."

It was, with Irish-trained winners picking up six of the seven races, taking the overall Festival tally to 14 for Ireland.

The four-timer was priced by Paddy Power at 180-1. We wonder was anyone on it?