Elliott can barely speak after race of the festival 4 weeks ago

Elliott can barely speak after race of the festival

Samcro, by a snot.

For the fourth time in his eventful life, Melon has finished a bridesmaid at Cheltenham but there's no shame in that and this, in the newly named Marsh Novice's chase, was one hell of a competition.

With all falling to ground around them, those of the equine game appear disinterested and unbothered with business going ahead as usual in Pretsbury Park. Races like this one appear to be making it some sort of irresistible drug for the racing faithful.

The corona-virus is one thing they're going to worry about later.

To get the 2m 4f contest going, Melon led the way and under an astute Patrick Mullins ride, the Joseph Donnelly owned horse jumped like a stag and settled into a joyous rhythm. Something about Cheltenham gets this fella going.

In behind, they were bowling along nicely too. Faugheen was on his stablemate's coat-tails, going well under Townend while Russell's mount Samcro was gaining ground with each jump.

Everyone knows the danger he poses when on form.

But the downhill merged to the bend and Melon was still clear and cruising. Then Davy got to work, then Townend followed and we were treated to some finish up Cleeve Hill.

Initially, when Samcro dawdled over the second last, it looked as if Melon was the favourite but then Melon took a slow one at the last.

Faugheen was coming back. Samcro, Melon, Samcro.

Madness. And it was literally the stride he was on that won it for Samcro, and lost it for Melon.

"My lad has the heart a lion," said victorious jockey Davy Russell after.

"It's one of my favourites in the yard brilliant," added a hoarse and breathless Elliott.

"It was a great feeling for him to win

Faugheen is still a champion.

And breathe.