Riverside Theatre: jumps the last before powering up the Cheltenham hillPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Theatre denies Albertas in Ryanair Chase thriller
Report: Cheltenham, Thursday
Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) 2m5f, 5yo+
RIVERSIDE THEATRE maintained trainer Nicky Henderson's blistering form at this year's Cheltenham Festival as he got the better of Albertas Run and Medermit in a pulsating drive to the line.
The success provided Henderson with his sixth win at this year's meeting, which is a new record.
Albertas Run was game in defeat and was only overhauled inside the final furlong while Medermit kept on doggedly for Robert Thornton, but neither could master Riverside Theatre, who stayed on in tremendous fashion under an animated Barry Geraghty.
Albertas Run, bidding for his third success in the race,was always at the head of affairs and disputed the lead down the back with Rubi Light.
Somersby, Riverside Theatre and Captain Chris were all settled in midfield but Noble Prince and Blazing Tempo were never travelling and were both pulled-up.
Tony McCoy got a mighty leap out of Albertas Run as he took the field to the third-last fence but he was challenged on either side by Medermit and Riverside Theatre as they approached two out.
Nicky Henderson: sixth winner at this year's Cheltenham FestivalPICTURE: Mark Cranham
Riverside Theatre, owned by the Jimmy Nesbitt partnership, never travelled but he was kept in the race by Geraghty, who forced him on the outside of Albertas Run as they charged down to the last.
Medermit was also storming home up the inside under Robert Thornton and in a thrilling finish, Riverside Theatre found more close home to deny the runner-upby half a length to score as the 7-2 favourite.
Geraghty, who was notching his fifth victory at this year's meeting, said: "It was hard work as he was never travelling and he missed a good few but he's game. I threw him at the last four and he was beaten everywhere but he just rallied after the last.
"I couldn't get a run but every time I dug in he kept finding. It's an unbelievable training performance.
Henderson added: "That was some great ride - you won't see better than that. It didn't look likely the whole way around as they were always travelling in a gear higher than they could get in."
Poquelin was withdrawn at the start as he blood coming from his mouth.