Mark Walsh completed his remarkable comeback from injury by winning the Stayers Hurdle on board 33/1 shot Sire Du Berlais. The 11-year-old was out of form coming into the race but shocked two-time champion Flooring Porter and a whole field of fancied runners.
Walsh fractured a vertebrae in his neck in Dublin but has now recovered to win one of the biggest races at the Cheltenham Festival. Sire De Burlais adds the Stayers to the two Pertemps crowns he has won here and a horse on his sixth appearance at the Cheltenham Festival delivered once again.
"I was in a rush to get back, with all the help from the physios and doctors,” Walsh told ITV. “I fractured a vertebrae in my neck. He loves Cheltenham. Once he got up the hill, he stuck his head out and got it."
It was a phenomenal performance from a horse many had written off in an intriguing race on day three. Homebythelee jumped the gun slightly and in turn, forced Forcing Porter to set an incredible place to run from the front. Dashel Drasher at 40/1 settled in second and would run a phenomenal race given the price. Danny Mullins went out to the front on Flooring Porter as expected and the field was rather strung out early on with the French duo sat at the back early on.
With eight to go, Dashel Drasher held onto Flooring Porter with Ashdale Bob going steady in fifth. The front five were well clear of the back five although with seven to go there was a lot of time left for the order to change.
Homebythelee stumbled over a hurdle with six to go but the jockey managed to stay on board and continue running. Flooring Porter pulled clear with four hurdles to go and he set a quick pace at the front although the rest of the pack went to close the gap with two hurdles to go.
Homebythelee came back around on the outside despite that earlier error to try and impact the front two. Flooring Porter sat back on the second last hurdle and Dashel Drasher went to the front as the two-time winner faded slightly.
Sire Du Berlais found himself in third behind the front two and then in the home straight he followed Dashel Drasher through. It looked as if the 40/1 outsider would win it over the final hurdle but the 33/1 shot Sire Du Berlais raced off the final jump to reach the finishing post first.
Dashel Drasher was demoted down to third after blocking the favourite Teahupoo, with the pre-race favourite pushed up into second by the stewards.
Another outsider wins on a day of shocks at Cheltenham!
*18+ | Be Gamble Aware
🏆 2023: Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle
🏆 2020: Pertemps Final
🏆 2019: Pertemps Final