The Cheltenham Festival 2022 will soon be upon us! Enjoy highlights from the previous Festival and the big names for 2022!
Cheltenham Racecourse Event News
The jewel in the crown of the Cheltenham Festival has finally arrived! Day number four, Gold Cup Day is the day where the action of the Festival truly reaches its peak, as racing fans everywhere wait to see who will claim the much-coveted Gold Cup title.
The JCB Triumph Hurdle– 13.20
Gold Cup Day kicked off with yet another incredible win for the unstoppable Rachael Blackmore with Quilixios, who bagged the title of ‘top jockey’ of the week. The duo established momentum from the outset and was followed by Adagio and jockey Tom Scudamore in second. The victory marks Blackmore’s sixth Cheltenham win of the week and a second feat for Quilixios this year, who also took the crown in the Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown last month.
Henry de Bromhead, who recently took over as trainer from Gordon Elliott, credited Elliott and his team for their hard work, admitting that he himself had done little work with Quilixios so far. De Bromhead stated “we knew he jumped really well and had been really impressive before today and he’s a lovely looking horse. He’ll be a nice chaser in time.”
The McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle Race– 13.55
A surprise victory from Belfast Banter and a first Cheltenham win for jockey, Kevin Sexton. Whilst the likes of Global Citizen, Mengli Khan and Gowel Road all took early leads, Belfast Banter managed to gain serious momentum within the last 100 yards. Sexton admitted that the victory came as a shock, “I was second here a couple of years ago and I never thought I’d get the chance again,” he said.
The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Race– 14.30
A second Grade one win for Gavin Cromwell as Vanillier took the crown in the Novices’ Hurdle Race, securing an 11-length lead with Mark Walsh as Jockey. The performance follows yesterday’s win for Flooring Porter in the Stayers’ Hurdle, as Cromwell noted Vanillier’s enthusiasm and revealing a gear which has never been shown before. Colin Tizzard trained Oscar Elite came in at a surprise second place, with Streets of Doyen following behind in third.
The WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase (Grade 1) – 15.05
The race we had all been waiting for and the question on everyone’s minds, could Al Boum Photo manage another win to make it a Gold Cup hat trick, a feat only secured once before by Arkle in 1966. The crown instead went to Minella Indo and jockey, Jack Kennedy, creating another victory for Henry de Bromhead. Rachael Blackmore narrowly missed out on securing her second Gold Cup Day victory, coming in second with A Plus Tard as Al Boum Photo fell behind in third with Paul Townend. De Bromhead, delighted with the victory, stated that winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup is “something you dream about.”
The St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Steeple Chase– 15.40
In what was perhaps the tightest win at this years’ Cheltenham Festival, Porlock Bay ever so slightly took the lead ahead of favourite Billaway, securing victory in the Hunters’ Chase. The winning jockey, Lorcan Williams, labelled the 16-1 shot victory as ‘very lucky’.
The Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Steeple Chase – 16.15
The penultimate race of the Cheltenham Festival saw Willie Mullins trained Colreevy claim victory, following the disappointment of missing out on the Gold Cup title with Al Boum Photo. Jockey, Paul Townend commented, “she’s very tough and only a novice, but you wouldn’t think that from the way she jumps.”
Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle– 16.50
Willie Mullins strikes again as Galopin Des Champs manages to take the crown on the final race of the Festival, marking a sixth Irish win for the day. Langer Dan came in second and put up a strong performance for the majority of the race, Galopin Des Champs found a final burst of energy with jockey Sean O’Keeffe, securing a two and quarter length lead.
And just like that, the Cheltenham Festival is over for another year! Whilst the Festival is not the same without the crowds, accompanied by the famous ‘Cheltenham roar’, there was certainly an abundance of glorious moments to keep us on our toes!
Don’t miss out on experiencing the thrill of Gold Cup Day for yourself in 2022 as crowds return to sporting events! Take a look at our Cheltenham hospitality page to view our fantastic hospitality packages for the Cheltenham Festival 2022 – hope to see you there!
St Patrick’s Day Thursday followed the actual St Patrick’s Day at this years’ Cheltenham Festival and, if Thursday was to give as many winners to the Irish as the actual St Patrick’s Day, then the Prestbury Cup would be all but over going into the final day of the Festival.
Marsh Novices Chase – 13.20
The most talked-about horse in training. This was due to be a procession for Envoi Allen and another race that we would all eulogise over. However, at the 4th flight, the superstar guessed at his fence and came tumbling down, to the shock of the racing world. This gave an opportunity to the others in the field to step up and win a Festival Grade 1 and Harry Skelton tried to gallop his rivals into submission sending Shan Blue on. Eventmasters’ racing Ambassador Nico De Boinville, sat patiently on Chantry House and pounced 2 from home to take up the running. Chantry House finished strongly to give Nicky Henderson a 1, 2 in the race with Fusil Raffles 3 lengths back in second.
Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle – 13.55
This is always a hotly contested handicap which the Irish have dominated in recent years and it wasn’t about to change this year. Mrs Milner trained by Paul Nolan gave Bryan Cooper a first Cheltenham Festival success for 4 years. Mrs Milner finished second over course & distance in November and hacked up here by 5 lengths to the favourite The Bosses Oscar who finished in second.
Ryanair Chase – 14.30
Wow! This was one for the Festival history books, Allaho was electric in the Ryanair galloping his rivals to the ground winning by 12 lengths with Joseph O’Brien’s Fakir D’oudairies in second. In a race that was run at an electrifying pace, the field just couldn’t cope with Allaho’s galloping speed, where only 6 of 11 runners finished. Trainer Willie Mullins who also saddled the third home Tornado Flyer said after the race “I was as gobsmacked as anyone” when talking about Allaho’s performance. A strong form boost for Champ ahead of his bid for the Gold Cup tomorrow.
The Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle – 15.05
A spectacular day for Danny Mullins as he finally celebrated his first Cheltenham Festival winner when making the most of picking up a spare ride on Flooring Porter in the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle.
Danny Mullins had gone so close many times at the Olympics of National Hunt Racing, and picked up the late ride on Flooring Porter after Jonathan Moore, who led the horse up, had to miss the ride through injury. Trained by Gavin Cromwell, Flooring Porter was a handicapper earlier in the season – but showed he was much better than that when winning the Grade One Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown. He had been kept fresh for Cheltenham since then and Mullins sent his horse off from the front and never looked back. None of his rivals could get close and Flooring Porter ran out a 3 ¼ Length winner with the 2019 champion Paisley Park back in third.
Paddy Power Plate Handicap Chase – 15.40
Another race for Ireland. The Emmet Mullins trained, The Shunter had been perfectly placed by connections. After winning over hurdles at Kelso just two weeks ago, The Shunter qualified for a £100,000 bonus should he win any race at the Festival this week. The Shunter had 6 entries at the start of the week and Emmet Mullins and owner Paul Byrne decided to revert back to Fences and were dually rewarded with a 3-length victory to the fast-finishing Farclas. Using the services of 7lb claimer Jordan Gainford, the Shunter was always prominent and never looked in danger at any point.
Parnell Properties Mares Novices Hurdle – 16.15
The Rachael Blackmore show continued as she notched up her fifth victory of the week in three days. Tellmesomethinggirl travelled beautifully into the race after being held up in the rear and coming from almost last to first. Blackmore said “when you are riding for two powerful stables it makes a jockey’s job a lot easier, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be in this position and getting these types of chances. How would I describe this week? Out of this world.”
Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup – 16.50
Mount Ida put up an amazing performance to come from the other side of Cleeve Hill to win the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup. Taking up the running from two out, Jack Kennedy, went clear to give Denise Foster a second Festival winner after taking over the licence at Gordon Elliott’s Cullentra House Stables. Mount Ida drifted out 999-1 in-running on the exchanges when almost detached from the field in the early stages of the three-and-a-quarter-mile chase. Jack Kennedy kept his cool and continued to make progress and was double-handed when turning for home. Mount Ida went onto win by six and a half lengths from Cloudy Glen with Shantou Flyer back in third.
3 days down and 1 to go, the blue riband awaits…
After a spectacular first day of the Cheltenham Festival, with stories of record breakers and national hunt heroes, Ladies Day had plenty to live up to. With equine hero, Tiger Roll running in the cross country and a Willie Mullins team to be feared with two exciting favourites in Monkfish & Chacun Pour Soi heading his battalion, the English had their work cut out to try and get on the scoreboard on St Patrick’s Day.
Cheltenham has always been a venue where you should always follow the rule of horses for courses. So, from 2 mile chasers to the new Bumper stars of the future, take a look as we break down the best moments across all seven races from day two of this years’ Cheltenham Festival.
The Ballymore Novices Hurdle – 13.20
This small but select field may have been lacking in numbers, but certainly wasn’t lacking in quality. The unbeaten favourite, Bob Ollinger, came into this race having followed the same route as Envoi Allen last year. English Champion trainer, Paul Nicholls, saddled Bravemansgame, who he has labelled the “next Denman” and Willie Mullin’s sent his Grade 1 Dublin Racing Festival winner Galliard Du Mesnil.
Bravemansgame set the tone going off in front, with Bob Ollinger and Galliard Du Mesnil sat in behind. A seven-runner race is all about tactical race riding and two hurdles from home, Rachael Blackmore on Bob Ollinger appeared alongside Bravemansgame motionless. With Galliard Du Mesnil sat right behind Nicholls’ horse, Rachael made sure that she tucked into the rail, forcing Cobden to shut the door on any route down the rail Townend was trying to find on Galliard and, with this move, Rachael was able to kick off the home turn and open up a lead that could not be overturned.
Bob Ollinger proved to be 7 ¼ lengths too good for Galliard Du Mesnil in second with Bravemansgame effort back in third. Bob Ollinger was a mightily impressive winner and Henry De Bromhead looks to have another star for the future.
Brown Advisory Novices Chase – 13.55
The second race of the day was all about one horse. Monkfish is touted as the next coming of Jesus in the horse racing world and was ¼ favourite to continue his unbeaten run over fences. Monkfish went out from the gates with the Big Breakaway but the race was ran at a crawl and the odds on favourite was finding it hard to hit his rhythm, standing of some fences and getting in short to others.
Eklat De Rire, the second favourite, unseated Rachael Blackmore at the 12th and the loose horse then galloped alongside Monkfish. Monkfish came off the home turn cantering away from his rivals but nearly went at the last, when the horse went straight through the fence. He managed to get the job done and preserve his uneaten record, but Willie Mullins said “it’s the most nervous I have been watching a race”.
Coral Cup Hurdle – 14.30
This was a story for the dreamers and believers. Heaven Help Us at 33/1 made all from the front to win by 9 lengths at 33/1. Paul Hennessy the trainer, bred the horse himself and only trains two horses with his main trade in training being a greyhound trainer. Richard Condon, the jockey, also rode his first Cheltenham Festival winner and received rapturous applause from all the jockeys on his return to the parade ring.
The Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (feature race) – 15.05
Horses for courses! This was another day where the mares shone on the grade 1 stage. Put The Kettle On rolled back 12 months and stormed up the Cheltenham Hill to win the Champion Chase a year after he won the Arkle over the same course and distance.
Aidan Coleman gave a stellar front running ride but when they jumped the last, the unbeaten hot favourite Chacun Pour Soi took up the running and looked to be home and hosed, the gutsy mare gave her all for Coleman in the saddle and got her nose back in front eventually winning by ½ length to the fast-finishing Nube Negra in second and Chacun Pour Soi in third. Aidan Coleman said after the race “if I could bottle what she has, I wouldn’t have to ride again, I would sell it and be a rich man”.
Glenfarclas Chase (A Cross Country Race) Race – 15.40
The wonderful horse of a lifetime, TIGER ROLL. The tiger roared back to his spiritual home and made it five Cheltenham Festival wins in his career, joining the greats in Cheltenham Festival history. Setting out from the front with his ears pricked and jumping like a stag all the way round, leaving his rivals to just see the maroon silks in the distance. Tiger Roll showed he was as game as ever, his owner Michael O’Leary said “you couldn’t put into words what that means, what a legend, what a bloody legend”.
The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup – 16.15
Finally one for the English in the Prestbury Cup. Sky Pirate who has been a revelation after dropping to 2 miles, took a prominent position on the inside and looked well placed all journey round and was travelling the best when they turned for home. He and Entoucas had a great fight up the run in but Sky Pirate prevailed by a short head. Another winner with previous course and distance form, showing the rule of thumb is definitely a trend to stick by.
The Weatherbys Champion Bumper Chase – 16.50
Is there a better jockey on the planet at the minute than Rachael Blackmore?! This lady is riding out of her skin and picked up her third winner of the Cheltenham Festival on Sir Gerhard dictating the pace of the race from the front and tactically outwitting the field. On the home turn Blackmore opened up a 4 length lead which proved too much for the favourite Kilcruit to reign in as he gallantly chased Sir Gerhard up the hill. The Cheveley Park Stud owned horse held on by ½ length giving them their third consecutive winner of the race.
Ladies Day was fantastic and now it’s over to St Patricks Day Thursday.
After great anticipation, the Cheltenham Festival is finally upon us but not as we know it. This year, the mighty ‘Cheltenham roar’ will not echo through Cheltenham Racecourse as the Festival remains behind closed doors due to continued COVID-19 concerns.
Whilst watching ‘the greatest show on turf’ via a screen is never the same as feasting on the racing action in person, Champion Day still contained some glorious moments for horseracing fans across the country.
From surprise victories to close calls, take a look as we break down the best moments across all seven races from day one of this years’ Cheltenham Festival.
The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Race – 13.20
A fantastic opener to this years’ Cheltenham Festival, as the Willie Mullins trained Appreciate It confirmed his superiority with an impressive 24 length win. Ridden by jockey Paul Townend and timing his charge to perfection, the odds on shot never looked in doubt. Although For Pleasure set a frantic pace from the outset, Appreciate it stalked him the whole way around Prestbury Park and always looked to have his rival covered. Ballyadam finished in second after nearly unseating 2 from home, with For Pleasure eventually coming in at third. Blue Lord, also trained by Willie Mullins was destined to finish as the bridesmaid until falling at the last but is certainly one to keep an eye on for next time.
The Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase – 13.55
The second race of Champion Day saw the hot favourite & one of the most exciting horses in training, Shishkin take the crown, ridden by jockey Nico de Boinville and trained by Nicky Henderson. The race began with Allmankind & Captain Guinness setting an unattainable pace, Shishkin showed all his class and never panicked, eventually taking a 10-length lead approaching the final fence, with Eldorado Allen coming in at second place. Henderson noted that the Festival was strange without the roaring crowds but that the win remained special regardless.
The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase – 14.30
One for the North! Vintage Clouds, returning for his fifth attempt in the race, finally got his nose in front. Trained by Sue Smith and ridden by Ryan Mania, Vintage Cloud’s took the lead from the outset, with Pym and Alnadam following close behind. Mania stated that he never thought he would become a Cheltenham Festival winner in his ‘wildest dreams’ especially after returning from retirement but that he couldn’t be happier.
The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (feature race) – 15.05
A fantastic victory from Honeysuckle, as Rachael Blackmore becomes the first female jockey to win the Unibet Champion Hurdle, the feature race of Champion Day. The wonder mare Honeysuckle stormed to victory by 11-lengths and clocking in 3 seconds quicker than the Supreme earlier in the day. The gallant Sharjah followed behind to finish second for the second year running, with the former champion Epatante in third. Blackmore stated she was ‘speechless’ after the victory, hailing Honeysuckle as an ‘incredible’ horse.
The Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle Race – 15.40
It was an incredibly tight victory for Black Tears in the fifth race of Champion Day. Black Tears, ridden by jockey Jack Kennedy, provided trainer Denise Foster with her first-ever Cheltenham winner. Taking over from Gordon Elliott, Foster was not present to see the victory firsthand, unable to complete the necessary Covid checks in time. The Willie Mullins trained Concertista, ridden by Paul Townend and was the hot favourite. After three favourites had won earlier in the day, the bookmakers were on the run and were potentially the only watchers happy with the outcome of this race. The Dan Skelton trained Roksana finished third.
The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Race – 16.15
Perhaps the biggest shock win at the Cheltenham Festival for some time, as Jeff Kidder claimed victory in the Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Race. The win was not a surprise to trainer, Noel Meade, noting his impressive performance at Leopardstown last December and believing he had a ‘fighting chance’. Jeff Kidder, ridden by Sean Flanagan, managed to beat favourite Saint Sam by two lengths, who came in at second place, whilst Elham Valley finished third. The win marked Flanagan’s first ever Cheltenham Festival victory, stating it is ‘a feeling you can’t explain’ and that the victory was brilliant despite the lack of crowds.
The Sam Vestey National Hunt Novices’ Chase – 16.50
The final race of day one of the Cheltenham Festival saw Galvin claim victory after a five-month absence, ridden by Jack Kennedy and trained by Ian Ferguson, who took over from Gordon Elliott proved that his course and distance win in October was rock solid. The favourite, Escaria Ten, finished in third place whilst Next Destination, who was switched to this race from Wednesday’s Novice Chase on Sunday, finished in second.
What a sensational start to The Cheltenham Festival, which is sure to be followed by some equally gripping moments on day two, Ladies Day.
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