Cheltenham Festival 201714.03.17-17.03.17
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HISTORY OF THE CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL

Do you know where the greatest ‘convention’ for horse race fanatics is held each year? If you don’t know, well, here is a tip: Cheltenham, United Kingdom. Yes, that is where the Cheltenham Festival is held each year, and it is where professional horse jockeys and trainers come to compete in the world of horse racing.

The festival traces its history back in the 1860s under the title Grand National Hunt Meeting that took place at the Market Harborough. The event has been held at several locations, including the Warwich Racecourse. It was after the refurbishment of the Prestbury Park in 1911, that the event was marked to take place at Cheltenham permanently.

Cheltenham festival history
A brief history of the Cheltenham Festival

The first horse racing contest recorded in Cheltenham occurred in Nottingham Hill in 1815. The first Cheltenham Gold Cup took place in 1819, though it was a pretty short 3-mile flat race with no hurdles. Till date, it is the most popular race that takes place in the festival and is always scheduled on the last day of the event. Back then, the races were not complicated. Instead of the regular huddles and fences for horse jumps, the contest was a flat race.

The current version of the gold cup event was first held in 1924 with a payout of £685. The event is now scheduled for March and it coincides with St Patrick ’s Day celebration, and perhaps this is why it attracts many participants totalling over 200, 000. The gold cup is the most prestigious non-handicap race in the UK, and it covers about 3miles with 22 fences.

WINNERS
Year Best jokey Best trainer
2016  Ruby Walsh (7) Willie Mullins (7)
2015  Ruby Walsh (4) Willie Mullins (8)
2014  Ruby Walsh (3) Willie Mullins (4)
2013  Ruby Walsh (4) Willie Mullins (5)
2012  Barry Geraghty (5) Nicky Henderson (7)
2011  Ruby Walsh (5) Willie Mullins (4)
2010  Ruby Walsh (3) Nicky Henderson (3)
2009  Ruby Walsh (7) Paul Nicholls (5)
2008  Ruby Walsh (3) Paul Nicholls (3)
2007  Robert Thornton (4)  Paul Nicholls (4)
2006  Ruby Walsh (3) Paul Nicholls (3)
Winners of last year’s Cheltenham Festival

In last year’s events, there were many winners and losers who participated in the Cheltenham horse racing events. Here are the Cheltenham Festival results for last year:

For the first day, the Champion Day, the favourite runner was Annie Power with Ruby Walsh at the helm. The event was held on 16th March, and it was the highlight of the open day races. For the Ladies’ Day, which was held on 16th March last year, Sprinter Sacre retained the title by winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Sacre defeated De Sceaux to win the coveted title. On 17th March, Thistle Crack won the World Hurdle contest scheduled for St. Patrick’s Day events. The Gold Cup was won by runner Don Cossak and jockey Cooper Bryan.

Even though there have been concerns raised regarding the overall safety of the festival, especially since many horses have been injured in the recent past, the event has continued to appeal to many participants from all corners of the country. A decade ago, more than 10 horses succumbed to injuries, which prompted the racecourse to reduce the number of competitors in certain races. However, the organisers have assured participants of their safety, and measures have been taken to reduce cases of horse injuries.

It seems the public has a lot of confidence in the event’s organisers because, according to statistics, over 200,000 people are set to participate in the next Cheltenham festivals. This event promises action-packed contests between experienced jockeys, and therefore, if you a horse race fanatic, you cannot afford to miss out on the next Cheltenham Festival.

Cheltenham Festival 201714.03.17-17.03.17
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WINNERS
13:30 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
1st 1 Altior 4/1 Nico de Boinville N J Henderson
2nd 6 Min 15/8 R Walsh W P Mullins
3rd 3 Buveur D’air 10/1 N D Fehily N J Henderson
14:10 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase (Novices’ Grade 1)
1st 3 Douvan 1/4 R Walsh W P Mullins
2nd 5 Sizing John 9/1 J J Burke H de Bromhead
3rd 4 Fox Norton 33/1 R Johnson N P Mulholland
14:50 Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
1st 10 Un Temps Pour Tout 11/1 T Scudamore D Pipe
2nd 2 Holywell 8/1 R P McLernon Jonjo O’Neill
3rd 8 The Young Master 14/1 Mr S Waley-Cohen N P Mulholland
15:30 Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1)
1st 13 Annie Power 5/2 R Walsh W P Mullins
2nd 5 My Tent Or Yours 10/1 B J Geraghty N J Henderson
3rd 6 Nichols Canyon 15/2 P Townend W P Mullins
16:10 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As The David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle)
1st 20 Vroum Vroum Mag 4/6 R Walsh W P Mullins
2nd 15 Rock On The Moor 66/1 R M Power Mrs J Harrington
3rd 9 Legacy Gold 40/1 A E Lynch S R B Crawford
16:50 146th Year Of The National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup (Listed Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase)
1st 7 Minella Rocco 8/1 Mr Derek O’Connor Jonjo O’Neill
2nd 8 Native River 7/1 Mr M Legg C L Tizzard
3rd 6 Measureofmydreams 9/1 Ms K Walsh W P Mullins
17:30 Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed)
1st 1 Ballyalton 12/1 B Hughes an Williams
2nd 15 Bouvreui 14/1 Sam Twiston-Davies P F Nicholls
3rd 14 Double Shuffle 8/1 P J Brennan T R George
13:30 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As The Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle)
1st 11 Yorkhill 3/1 R Walsh W P Mullins
2nd 10 Yanworth 11/10 B J Geraghty A King
3rd 4 Its’afreebee 33/1 Ian Popham D Skelton
14:10 RSA Chase (Grade 1 Novices’ Chase)
1st 1 Blaklion 8/1 Ryan Hatch N A Twiston-Davies
2nd 7 Shaneshill 16/1 P Townend W P Mullins
3rd 3 More Of That 6/4 B J Geraghty Jonjo O’Neill
14:50 Coral Cup (Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle)
1st 8 Diamond King 12/1 D N Russell G Elliott
2nd 22 Long House Hall 16/1 Harry Skelton D Skelton
3rd 10 Ubak 28/1 Joshua Moore G L Moore
15:30 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1)
1st 9 Sprinter Sacre 5/1 Nico de Boinville N J Henderson
2nd 10 Un De Sceaux 4/6 R Walsh W P Mullins
3rd 8 Special Tiara 16/1 N D Fehily H de Bromhead
16:10 Glenfarclas Chase (Cross Country Chase)
1st 1 Any Currency 11/1 Aidan Coleman M Keighley
2nd 7 Josies Orders 15/8 Ms N Carberry E Bolger
3rd 4 Bless The Wings 33/1 Mr J J Codd G Elliott
16:50 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
1st 14 Diego Du Charmil 13/2 Sam Twiston-Davies P F Nicholls
2nd 8 Romain De Senam 20/1 Nick Scholfield P F Nicholls
3rd 16 Coo Star Sivola 16/1 Lizzie Kelly Nick Williams
17:30 Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1 Standard Open NH Flat Race)
1st 3 Ballyandy 5/1 Sam Twiston-Davies N A Twiston-Davies
2nd 5 Battleford 25/1 Mr M P Fogarty W P Mullins
3rd 2 Bacardys 16/1 R Walsh W P Mullins
13:30 JLT Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Golden Miller Novices’ Chase)
1st 2 Black Hercules 4/1 R Walsh W P Mullins
2nd 3 Bristol De Mai 4/1 D A Jacob N A Twiston-Davies
3rd 6 L’Ami Serge 8/1 Nico de Boinville N J Henderson
14:10 Pertemps Network Final (Listed Handicap Hurdle)
1st 13 Mall Dini 14/1 D N Russell P G Kelly
2nd 5 Arpege D’alene 14/1 Sean Bowen P F Nicholls
3rd 4 If In Doubt 10/1 R Johnson P J Hobbs
14:50 Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Festival Trophy Chase)
1st 13 Vautour 1/1 R Walsh W P Mullins
2nd 12 Valseur Lido 11/1 D J Mullins W P Mullins
3rd 9 Road To Riches 7/1 B J Cooper N Meade
15:30 Ryanair World Hurdle (Grade 1)
1st 11 Thistlecrack 1/1 T Scudamore C L Tizzard
2nd 1 Alpha Des Obeaux 8/1 B J Cooper M F Morris
3rd 4 Bobs Worth 33/1 D Bass N J Henderson
16:10 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (Grade 3 Handicap Chase)
1st 14 Empire Of Dirt 16/1 B J Cooper C A Murphy
2nd 5 Tango De Juilley 33/1 J W Kennedy Miss V Williams
3rd 4 Kings Palace 11/1 T Scudamore D Pipe
16:50 Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (Registered As The Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle)
1st 2 Limini 8/11 R Walsh W P Mullins
2nd 10 Dusky Legend 50/1 Wayne Hutchinson A King
3rd 1 Bloody Mary 7/1 B J Geraghty N J Henderson
17:30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Amateur Riders)
1st 5 Cause Of Causes 9/2 Mr J J Codd G Elliott
2nd 13 A Good Skin 14/1 Mr M Legg T R George
3rd 15 Silvergrove 16/1 Mr Tom David B Pauling
13:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1)
1st 8 Ivanovich Gorbatov 9/2 B J Geraghty A P O’Brien
2nd 14 Apple’s Jade 12/1 B J Cooper W P Mullins
3rd 5 Footpad 5/1 R Walsh W P Mullins
14:10 Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
1st 25 Superb Story 8/1 Harry Skelton D Skelton
2nd 9 Fethard Player 33/1 D J Mullins W F Treacy
3rd 15 Sternrubin 33/1 T J O’Brien P J Hobbs
14:50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Registered As The Spa Novices’ Hurdle) (Grade 1)
1st 18 Unowhatimeanharry 11/1 N D Fehily H Fry
2nd 10 Fagan 33/1 D N Russell G Elliott
3rd 8 Champers On Ice 20/1 T Scudamore D Pipe
15:30 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1)
1st 4 Don Cossack 9/4 B J Cooper G Elliott
2nd 3 Djakadam 9/2 R Walsh W P Mullins
3rd 5 Don Poli 9/2 D N Russell W P Mullins
16:10 St. James’s Place Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup
1st 18 On The Fringe 13/8 Ms N Carberry E Bolger
2nd 14 Marito 14/1 Mr N McParlan C A McBratney
3rd 20 Paint The Clouds 9/2 Mr S Waley-Cohen W Greatrex
16:50 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
1st 11 Ibis Du Rheu 14/1 Jack Sherwood P F Nicholls
2nd 16 Flying Angel 8/1 Ryan Hatch N A Twiston-Davies
3rd 21 Sky Khan 50/1 D R Fox Miss Lucinda V Russell
17:30 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup (Grade 3 Handicap)
1st 17 Solar Impulse 28/1 Sam Twiston-Davies P F Nicholls
2nd 24 Dandridge 8/1 D N Russell A L T Moore
3rd 8 Rock The World 9/2 R M Power Mrs J Harrington
FEW LEGENDS
Legendary Horses
Kicking King
Kicking King

Kicking King was trained by Tom Taaffe. The horse’s talent as a potential hurdler was noticed from a young age, considering that he possessed above average racing abilities even while young.

Kicking King proved to dominate Grade 2 hurdle races and went on to compete at the Cheltenham Arkle Trophy as a novice campaigner in 2003. He also proved his worth in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Cheltenham race when he took second place after Back in Front.  Even though he failed to beat Beef Or Salmon at the Down Royal’s James Nicholson Chase in 2004, he improved his performance to race home in the John Durkan Chase held at Punchetown.

Perhaps his most notable achievement was winning the King George Race when he beat Kingscliff. His winning streak did not stop there, though. 3 months later, Kicking King cemented his dominance in the racing tracks when he beat Take The Stand and Sir Rembrandt in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He went on to showcase a commanding performance under jockey Barry Geraghty in the Gold cup and won the race by a massive five lengths.

For a race horse to boast of 2 King George wins and a 2005 Gold Cup win, Kicking Kings was a marvellous runner and jumper. He was skilled at jumping hurdles with high speed and class. He is one of the most popular legendary horses in the history of Cheltenham festivals.

Florida Pearl
Florida Pearl
Among the Cheltenham legends is Florida Pearl, a great Irish chaser. Florida Pearl’s brilliant jumps won the hearts of horse race fanatics in many racing festivals.

Florida Pearl’s potential as a runner was spotted at a young age, and he was picked by Tom Costello for training. He underwent an intensive training at the Tom Costello academy and his talent developed into a rugged chaser. He graduated as a brilliant jumper and chaser in the race tracks and made an explosive debut at Lismore where he won a 4YO Maiden race. He went on to build an awesome track record in horse racing, holding the top position in 8 seasons and had 4 Irish wins, including 3 consecutive wins from 1999 to 2001.

His achievements interested Archie O’Leary who acquired him at a staggering IR£50, 000. He trained under Willie Mullins and made an impressive debut in Leopardstown bumper in 1996. Riding under Richard Dunwoody, Florida Pearl went on to win at the Cheltenham festivals by slightly over 5 lengths. Pearl maintained his impressive record by defeating Escartefigue in the Sun Alliance Chase contest. He returned to compete at the racecourse aged 12 years, but still managed to trump Le Coudray in the Hennessy cup. Florida Pearl’s Hennessy Gold Cup record stands at 4 wins.

Florida Pearl’s top-quality company during his career, including professional trainers such as Tom Costello and Willie Mullins, contributed significantly to his exemplary performance at the horse races.

Moscow Flyer
Moscow Flyer

Moscow Flyer is perhaps the most notable 2-mile Irish chaser to hit the race tracks since the era of Klairon Davis and Buck House. He dominated most of his races, although the distance was limited to 2miles. He never competed in races longer than this, which is perhaps where his strength was, and that is where he proved his worth in horse racing.

Moscow Flyer made his debut as a novice runner in October 2001 but failed to clinch the title in that bumper. However, this mishap did not stop him from proving his worth as a hurdler. He trained under Jessica Harrington and won 2 grade 1 contests at Punchestown and Fairyhouse during his novice campaign in 1999-2000.

Moscow Flyer met his challenge in the next season when he raced with Istabraq and almost won the race. Moscow Flyer proved to be a champion because, even though he had some challenges with jumping, and this problem persisted throughout his racing career, he always dominated his racing campaign in style and with spectacular races. For instance, he won 3 grade 1 races and was only defeated by Seebald in the Cheltenham Arkle Chase contest.

Moscow Flyer had a positive attitude towards racing and was ranked among the best racing hurdlers in Ireland and the UK.

Legendary Jockeys
Mick Fitzgerald
Legendary Jockeys: Mick Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald is a retired Irish National Hunt jockey. He is currently involved in television presenting. His stunning career lasted for over fifteen years. Fitzgerald started his first adventures at the age of 16 when he began riding out for Lister Richard, a trained in County Wexford.

His first National Hunt took place in South West England with Richard Tucker and John Jenkins. Even though Fitzgerald managed to win at Ludlow for the first time in 1998, getting his two first major victories, it wasn’t until 1992 when he obtained regular rides and winners at the National Hunt. He admitted once that the period between 1988 and 1991 was so tough that he wanted to give up and move to Australia.

First big winners included the Cheltenham Gold Cup on runner See more Business (1999) and the Grand National on runner Rough Quest (1996). He was leading jockey at Cheltenham in 1999 and 2000. He was forced into retirement on 7 August 2008 due to a bad injury. He’s one of the most successful jump jockeys in this sports’ history, with over 1310 winners.

Barry Geraghty
Legendary Jockeys: Barry Geraghty

Barry Geraghty is a leading Irish jockey. He led the Cheltenham Festival and the 2011 Grand National Meeting. Geraghty won his first race in 1997 and he became the Irish Champion jump jockey for the first time. His first victory at Cheltenham took place in 2002 and his first victory in England was at Uttoxeter at the 1998 Midlands Grand National.

He continued with a stunning career, winning the 2003 Grand National on runner Monty’s Pass. In the same year, he won five races at the Cheltenham Festival. Fast forward to 2009, he won the Champion Hurdle on runner Punjabi, the Triumph Hurdle (on runner Zaynar) and the Arkle Challenge Trophy on runner Forpadydeplasterer. At the same time, he became the first jockey in the world to have won The English Grand National and all of the big four races at Cheltenham (Gold Cup, Stayers Hurdle, Champion Chase, and Champion Hurdle). In 2012, he managed to win for the 1,000th time at Cork.

Ruby Walsh
Legendary Jockeys: Ruby Walsh

Ruby Walsh is an Irish jockey who’s renowned for gaining massive success in the world of horse racing. He started riding horses at an early age and even won a couple of titles before going professional. He has won the Irish Amateur title twice, which is evidence of his prowess in riding runners. He turned professional jockey and went on to succeed by winning the English Grand National in his first attempt in 2000. In this championship, he competed while riding Papillon, a horse trained by his biological father.

Ruby Walsh has had a massive record of wins in his career. His success includes winning at the Cheltenham festivals over 52 times. This includes the Queen Mother Chase in 2004, the 2007 & 2009 Cheltenham Gold Cup, and two subsequent wins in the Queen Mother Champion cup in 2008 and 2009.

The jockey’s current record stands at being 10 times Irish Jump Jockey Champion. He has partnered with 2 stables located on each side of the Irish Sea. Ruby Walsh has made a name for himself riding horses trained by Willie Mullins in Ireland, and this has contributed to his massive winnings.

Ruby Walsh is the Cheltenham Festival’s most successful jockey with 52 wins. Additionally, he has won the leading jockey’s award over 10 times in the past 13 years. He is by far the most decorated jockey in the history of Cheltenham festivals.