Gordon Elliott moved into a clear lead in the Irish Independent Trainers' Trophy when Sire Du Berlais (10/1, Barry Geraghty) repeated his 2019 win in the £100,000 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle.
The eight-year-old, who was off a 7lb higher mark this time and had to overcome top weight, was Elliott's fifth winner of The Festival™ presented by Magners 2020 and for good measure he also saddled half-length runner-up The Storyteller, his sixth second of the meeting. Sire Du Berais was the first dual winner of the race since Buena Vista in 2010 and 2011.
Elliott, who opted for a change of headgear on the winner, just as he had done 12 months ago, said: "The horses are running out of their skin.Davy said he and Barry were riding the race together the whole way and it was either going to be him or Barry. I was just happy with a 1-2.
"I was worried about the ground for the winner and he was 7lb higher than last year but Barry pulled all the stops out again."
He added: "The blinkers were there to sharpen Sire Du Berlais up so we were very happy with that. It was always the plan to put them on today."
Elliott seemed equally pleased with The Storyteller, another previous Festival winner - over fences in the 2018 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Plate - and said: "The Storyteller ran a blinder too. He did everything right bar win. Unfortunately, he had to bump into one, but at least it was one of mine."
He has no immediate plan for the winner and said he would have to speak to owner JP McManus - enjoying a sixth win at the meeting - and his team. He suggested that The Storyteller could head to Punchestown next.
2.10pm Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
1 Sire du Berlais (J P McManus) Gordon Elliott IRE 8-11-12 Barry Geraghty 10/1
2 The Storyteller (Pat Sloan) Gordon Elliott IRE 9-11-09 Davy Russell 11/2 jt fav
3 Tout Est Permis (Gigginstown House Stud) Noel Meade IRE 7-10-10 Eoin Walsh (7) 12/1
4 Third Wind (Mouse Hamilton-Fairley) Hughie Morrison 6-11-01 Tom O'Brien 12/1
Distances: ½, 6½, 1¾ 11/2 jt fav Relegate (5th)
Tote Win: £12.10 Place: £2.90, £2.00, £3.10, £3.30 Exacta: £51.80
Gordon Elliott - 30th winner at The Festival
Barry Geraghty - 42nd winner at The Festival
'Nothing easier' for Geraghty than a fourth winner
Sire Du Berlais's victory in the G3 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle - a race he also won last year - was a fourth at The Festival 2020 for jockey Barry Geraghty, and means he extends his lead in the Holland Cooper Leading Jockey Award for the Ruby Walsh Trophy.
Trained by Gordon Elliott, eight-year-old Sire Du Berlais beat the 11/2 joint-favourite The Storyteller - also trained by Elliott - by half a length at odds of 10/1.
Geraghty said: "I thought, although he won off 11st 9lb last year and had 11st 12lb this year, that he had a chance. The Storyteller was the horse I was afraid of, and he the blinkers on today - while I had to push the ears off him most of the race last year, he travelled great this year. From the word go, he was on the money and pinging hurdles. I could ride a race and was able to deliver him. He found loads after the last, and there is nothing better than riding winners at Cheltenham.
"Davy [Russell, riding The Storyteller] and me were sitting side by side the whole way through the race. He switched wide as we turned in and I got a lovely run through. We went a good gallop; going through the form there didn't seem to be too much pace, but we went quicker than expected. When it unfolds like that, life is easy.
"He had cheekpieces for the first time last year, but he found it easier this time, for whatever reason - he must be in better shape.
"I got beaten on Glenloe a couple of years ago in this race, when I got to the front on the run to the last and missed it. You often learn more in defeat and I learned from that.
"When you are riding winners there is nothing easier, it's lovely, but I can't say I've done anything different to I would if I had had no winner. It's a weight off your shoulders and you can enjoy it."
McManus in dream land after sixth winner of The Festival 2020
JP McManus is enjoying a dream week in the Cotswolds as the owner enjoyed seeing his iconic green and gold silks worn to glory for a sixth time in three days following Sire Du Berlais' (10/1) win in the £100,000 Pertemps Network Final.
Trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Barry Geraghty, Sire Du Berlais is the first horse to win successive runnings of the three-mile event since Buena Vista for David Pipe in 2010 and 2011 and recorded a half-length victory over stable companion The Storyteller (11/2 joint-favourite)
McManus looks booked to land the Bentley Leading Owner Award following victories already this week for Epatante (G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle), Champ (G1 RSA Insurance Novices' Chase), Dame De Compagnie (G3 Coral Cup), Easysland (Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase) and Aramax (G3 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle) along with Sire Du Berlais' win.
The leading owner of all time at The Festival™ presented by Magners, this was McManus' 65th winner overall at the meeting.
He said: "Barry gave Sire Du Berlais a great ride and produced him at just the right time.
"Out of my runners, I thought that he might be the best of them.
"I thought we had a few of them making up the numbers but Gordon said that he worked quite well at Leopardstown last week."
The Noel Meade-trained Tout Est Permis (12/1) finished third, seven lengths behind the winner Sire Du Berlais and his jockey Eoin Walsh said: "Tout Est Permis has run a great race and is going to make a good chaser.
"He travelled great and I am delighted with him. That was my first ride at the Cheltenham Festival and it was a real thrill."
Copper Gone West
No. 19 Copper Gone West was humanely put down after sustaining a leg injury in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle.