Today's Excellent Crowd
The attendance on the first day of The Festival 2018 today came to 66,610, up on the crowd of 66,019 for Champion Day last year.
In 2016, there was a record attendance for the first day of 67,700, while 63,249 racegoers attended on the opening day in 2015.
Ian Renton, Regional Director of Jockey Club Racecourse South West, commented this evening: "We are delighted that we have had the second biggest crowd ever on Champion Day.
"Racegoers were greeted by much better weather, which was pleasing, and the going was not as bad as some thought it might be, with Simon Claisse able to change the description to Soft, Heavy in places after the fifth race.
"There was tremendously exciting racing throughout the day and the Unibet Champion Hurdle finish was a cracker.
"We look forward to the rest of the week, with tickets available on the day both tomorrow and on Thursday, while Friday, Gold Cup Day, is sold out."
After Race 5, the going was changed to Soft, Heavy in places (from Heavy, Soft in places)
Race 1 - 1:30pm SKY BET SUPREME NOVICES' HURDLE (Grade 1)
GETABIRD (IRE), MENGLI KHAN (IRE), and SHARJAH wore earplugs. KALASHNIKOV (IRE), PALOMA BLUE (IRE) and SIMPLY THE BETTS (IRE) wore earplugs, which were removed at the start.
Following the race David Bass reported that FIRST FLOW (IRE), which was pulled up, hung right-handed from half way. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of FIRST FLOW (IRE) failed to reveal any abnormalities. Ruby Walsh reported that GETABIRD (IRE), unplaced, ran too freely.
Race 2 - 2:10pm RACING POST ARKLE NOVICES' CHASE (Grade 1)
BRAIN POWER (IRE) and PETIT MOUCHOIR (FR) wore earplugs, which were removed at the start.
Race 3 - 2:50pm ULTIMA HANDICAP CHASE (Grade 3)
Following the race, the Veterinary Officer reported that GOLD PRESENT (IRE), which was pulled up, had bled from the nose, BEWARE THE BEAR (IRE), placed fourth, lost its right fore shoe and WAKANDA (IRE), which was pulled up, lost its right fore shoe.
Race 4 - 3:30pm UNIBET CHAMPION HURDLE (Grade 1)
BUVEUR D'AIR (FR), MELON and YORKHILL (IRE) wore earplugs.
After jumping the third last flight FAUGHEEN (IRE), placed sixth, shifted left-handed interfering with MELON, placed second, but after viewing a recording of the incident it was found that no riding offence was involved.
Following the race Willie Mullins reported that FAUGHEEN, placed sixth, now appears to need further than two miles. The Veterinary Officer reported that CH'TIBELLO (FR), unplaced, was sore behind.
Race 5 - 4:10pm OLBG MARES' HURDLE RACE (Grade 1)
BENIE DES DIEUX (FR) and KAYF GRACE wore earplugs.
Ruby Walsh, the rider of the winner, BENIE DES DIEUX (FR), was suspended for 2 days for using his whip above the permitted level from approaching the last flight. Following the race the Veterinary Officer reported that MIDNIGHT JAZZ, placed sixth, lost its left hind shoe.
Race 6 - 4:50pm NATIONAL HUNT AMATEUR RIDERS' NOVICES' STEEPLE CHASE (Grade 2)
Permission was given for MS PARFOIS (IRE) to go early to post.
Due to veterinary advice the winner, RATHVINDEN, did not come into the winner's enclosure.
Mr P.W. Mullins, the rider of the winner, RATHVINDEN (IRE), was suspended for 6 days for using his whip above the permitted level and without giving his horse time to respond from the last fence.
The Veterinary Officer reported that the winner, RATHVINDEN (IRE) and NO COMMENT, placed sixth, had post-race heat stress and that SIZING TENNESSEE (IRE), placed third, and PYLONTHEPRESSURE (IRE), placed fifth, lost their right hind shoes.
Race 7 - 5:30pm CLOSE BROTHERS NOVICES' HANDICAP CHASE (Listed Race)
DEMI SANG (FR), LIVELOVELAUGH (IRE) and BALLYHILL (FR) wore earplugs.
On the run to the line RATHER BE (IRE), placed second, lugged right-handed taking the winner, MISTER WHITAKER (IRE), off its intended line, but after viewing a recording of the incident, it was found that no riding offence was involved.
The performance of DE PLOTTING SHED (IRE), which was pulled up, was considered. Gordon Elliott could offer no explanation for the gelding's performance. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination, during routine testing, found that the gelding had lost its left fore shoe.
Following the race Daryl Jacob reported that MARKOV (IRE), which was pulled up, jumped poorly throughout. The Veterinary Officer reported that WESTERN MILLER, unplaced, lost its left hind shoe.
Mossback & Report To Base
Mossbank, who fell at the 18th in the National Hunt Chase, sustained a shoulder injury and was humanely put down.
Report To Base, who fell at the ninth in the Close Brothers Novices' Chase, was fatally injured.