Another cracking day's racing at The November Meeting, held in lovely early-winter temperatures under a blue sky, completed a happy day at Cheltenham.
Clerk of the Course and Head of Racing, Simon Claisse, said: "We've had two fantastic days of racing, with plenty of runners both yesterday and today, and some exciting finishes.
"I was delighted to see Josies Orders win yesterday's Glenfarclas Cross-Country Handicap Chase, proving he is such a specialist over that course, and it was great to see Tiger Roll running so well when fourth. Today, Coneygree was just wonderful [third in the BetVictor.com Handicap Chase under top-weight], and the reception he received when he walked into the winner's enclosure was quite unbelievable.
"It has been eventful today, and I don't remember quite so many non-finishers in a BetVictor Gold Cup, but well done to the Moore team for winning with Baron Alco.
"We've been blessed with lovely weather, and we welcomed a crowd of more than 32,000 people today - roll on tomorrow."
Asked about his thoughts on the going ahead of tomorrow's last-day card, Claisse said: "I will have a look around this evening, and there's a possibility we might just take the 'good to soft in places' out of the description, and make it just 'good'. We'll see once we have had a look at whether it has dried out, but I believe it has ridden in a similar way today as it did yesterday.
"We will be moving the hurdle rail out by about two yards, pushing the runners onto fresher ground for tomorrow. We introduced fresh ground onto the chase course yesterday, ground that we didn't race on in October, so we will leave the chase course rails alone because the ground is still in really good nick."
Today's attendance on the second day of The November Meeting at Cheltenham came to 32,721.
This is a significant increase of 1,795 (5.8%) on last year's crowd of 30,926 on The November Meeting Saturday.
Ian Renton, Regional Director of The Jockey Club, Cheltenham & the South West, remarked: "This is another excellent attendance after a record crowd yesterday on Countryside Day.
"The November Meeting finishes tomorrow with The November Meeting Sunday when we are set to have more terrific racing as well as remembering the centenary of the Armistice which ended the First World War."
There was good news at the end of yesterday's Countryside Day, the first day of The November Meeting 2018, with a record crowd of 22,491 announced.
Last year's attendance on Countryside Day came to 21,612, while the previous best total for the day was 22,071 in 2015.
Race 1 - 12:40pm G2 JCB TRIUMPH TRIAL JUVENILE HURDLE
NEVER ADAPT (FR) went very freely to post and Barry Geraghty jumped off the filly at the start. The Veterinary Surgeon checked NEVER ADAPT (FR) and deemed her fit to run.
Following the race the Veterinary Officer reported that NEEDS TO BE SEEN, placed fifth, lost its left hind shoe and Barry Geraghty reported that NEVER ADAPT (FR), placed third, ran too freely.
The performance of MONTESTREL (FR), which finished last of the six runners, was considered. Lizzie Kelly reported that the gelding was never travelling. Jane Williams could offer no explanation for the gelding's performance. MONTESTREL (FR) was routine tested.
Race 3 - 1:50pm G3 BetVictor.com HANDICAP CHASE
Permission was given for ROCK THE KASBAH (IRE) to wear a hood in the parade ring only and for CALETT MAD (FR) to go early to post. CALETT MAD (FR) wore earplugs.
Following the race Harry Cobden reported that VICENTE (FR), which was pulled up, was never travelling. VICENTE (FR) was routine tested.
The performance of VIRGILIO (FR), which was pulled up was considered. Dan Skelton could offer no explanation for the gelding's performance.
Race 4 - 2:25pm G3 BetVictor GOLD CUP HANDICAP CHASE
BALLYANDY wore earplugs.
SHANTOU VILLAGE (IRE), trained by Neil Mulholland, did not have his declared cheek pieces fitted. In order not to delay the race the gelding was given permission not to parade, once he had the cheekpieces fitted, and to go straight to the start. The trainer was interviewed and fined £280, this being his second such offence within the last 12 months.
Jamie Moore, the rider of the winner, BARON ALCO (FR), was suspended for 2 days for using his whip above the permitted level from the last fence.
Following the race Richard Johnson reported that WEST APPROACH, which was pulled up, was never travelling. WEST APPROACH was routine tested.
Race 5 - 3:00pm Listed REGULATORY FINANCE SOLUTIONS HANDICAP HURDLE
The Starter reported that BUCKLE STREET, trained by Martin Keighley, refused to race. Martin Keighley and the Starter were interviewed and shown recordings of the start. Keighley was informed that any future similar behaviour from the gelding may result in the horse being reported to the Head Office of the British Horseracing Authority.
Having reviewed the start the Stewards were satisfied that BUCKLE STREET had refused to race and was deemed to be a runner.
Race 6 - 3:30pm BetVictor INTERMEDIATE HANDICAP HURDLE
EQUUS MILLAR (IRE) wore earplugs.
WESTEND STORY (IRE), trained by Philip Hobbs, and SPEEDO BOY (FR), trained by Ian Williams, were late in the Parade Ring, due to the jockeys both riding in the previous race.
Having reviewed recordings of the false start, the Starters were satisfied that no riders should be reported for contravening the starting procedures.
Following concerns raised by the Inspector of Courses regarding the low sun obscuring the jockeys' vision at both the hurdles in the home straight, the Stewards consulted with the Clerk of the Course and ordered that these obstacles should be by-passed for this race.
Race 7 - 4:00pm KARNDEAN MARES' STANDARD OPEN NATIONAL HUNT FLAT RACE
Danny Mullins, the rider of ROYAL ILLUSION, placed third, was suspended for 4 days for using his whip above the permitted level from one and a half furlongs out.