It was a nail-biting finish in the RSA Chase, not least for Alan King, whose brave chaser Smad Place was battling it out up the hill with O’Faolains Boy.
King’s grey had jumped brilliantly for Choc Thornton, and has been consistently placed at the Festival in recent years, but was unable to clinch victory as he was beaten by a neck.
King said of the close race, and the result: “I’d have loved to have won but ours ran a blinder and I’ve no excuses, we were beaten by a better one.
“We always thought he’d be as good a chaser as hurdler and he proves he has.
“Choc’s gutted – of course you want to ride a winner – but Smad Place was beaten by a better horse. I am thrilled with him.”
From the first two days, King’s squad is looking in good form, and he can now look ahead to what the rest of the Festival could bring.
The feature race today is the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, where favourites Big Bucks and Annie Power are set to battle it out. However, King’s Medinas is an outsider worthy of consideration.
King will also saddle Uxizandre in the JLT Novices’ Chase, Medermit in the Ryanair Chase, and Bless the Wings in the Byrne Group Plate.
Henderson’s hopes lie with Oscar Whisky in the JLT Novices’ Chase, Mister Dillon and Utopie Des Bordes in the Pertemps, Hunt Ball and Rajdhani Express in the Ryanair Chase, Nadiya De La Vega and Giorgio Quercus in the Byrne Group Plate, and finally Roberto Goldback in the Kim Muir Challenge Cup.