Cheltenham Festival 2020: Ladies Day Recap & Highlights
Cheltenham Festival Ladies Day 2020 heralded another day of glorious racing! It’s a stand out day at The Festival as the quality of racing on track matches the prestige off track, with the ladies (and gents) flocking to Cheltenham Racecourse in spectacular attire.
There were plenty of shocks and surprises from runners and riders throughout the day in 2020, giving racegoers plenty to ‘roar’ about. Fuel your excitement for St Patrick’s Thursday and the illustrious Gold Cup Day with our must-have highlights.
Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
The bookmaker favourite, Envoi Allen did not disappoint in the 2020 Ladies Day opener at Cheltenham Festival! He stalked his rivals in the early stages before notching it up a gear coming down the home straight. Under Davy Russell, he breezed to an easy victory, hacking down the field to claim the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle title.
Rising hurdle queen, Rachael Blackmore and her mount Easywork challenged Envoi Allen coming up against the final hurdles but the Gordon Elliott-trained horse refused to submit and romped ahead before the last, pulling clear by 100 yards. The Ballymore seemed to be made for Envoi Allen and none of his rivals could have reached him once on the home straight.
He easily justified his pricing on Ladies Day, thrilling the crowds and emptying the bookies. Envoi Allen remains unbeaten in eight career starts and he definitely gave punters one of the most impressive performances at The Festival this far – a special horse.
The RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase
What a fantastic showdown the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase was! Between Minella Indo, Allaho and Champ it was oh, so very close but Barry Geraghty ignited a spark in Champ who delivered a magnificent Cheltenham Festival victory out of nowhere.
Coming down to the final three hurdles, there were still nine runners and riders in for a chance but turning to the home straight, rivals Allaho and Minella Indo were battling it out in front. Minella Indo gave up the advantage, making a mistake at the final furlong to hand the lead over to Allaho and all the while, Geraghty was still asking Champ for more and he certainly responded. The duo came flying down the straight, powering past the two Irish raiders to steal the title by a length ahead of Minella Indo who was just too tired to match pace.
Racegoers were in disbelief! Champ had come in at 9/2 odds and had a few poor jumps during the race – trainer, Nicky Henderson even admitted he thought that he’d come a “respectable third” but his horse was determined and showed heart.
The Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle
Twenty-five runners were down at the start for the two mile and five-furlong trip in the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle on Ladies Day. It’s a race where there are no certainties but favourite, Dame De Compagnie, sent off at 5-1 quickly justified her pricing and bossed the Coral Cup.
She was very relaxed, staying in midfield for the majority of the race but gave a good fight to Davy Russell’s Black Tears up the hill. Under Barry Geraghty, she stomped to a two-length victory to land the jockey his third win at Cheltenham Racecourse this year.
The Queen Mother Champion Chase
Jockey Harry Skelton led him out in front at the start and the duo stayed in the lead, cruising to the finish unchallenged and bringing home the title for trainer, Paul Nicholls. Stablemate, Dynamite Dollars finished second, Bun Doran in third and hot favourite, Defi Du Seuil trailed behind in fourth – prompting a few unlucky punters to throw down their hats in frustration.
Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase
After a false start, the Cross Country Chase got underway and all eyes were on Tiger Roll – the dual Grand National hero and favourite for the three-timer next month.
The Glenfarclas Chase, which Gordon Elliott uses as a test ahead of the illustrious Grand National is the ultimate test for chasers and Tiger Roll is facing mounting pressure as a third victory would make him one of only two horses to ever achieve three wins in the race.
He was sent off as the favourite in the Glenfarclas Chase at Cheltenham Festival, which would have marked a third successive win had Easysland, ridden by Jonathan Plouganou not denied him.
Tiger Roll was given every chance by Keith Donoghue and it was great to see him run given the interruptions he has had this season. Coming up to the finish you could see the race had worn him as he began dropping back, allowing Easysland to storm to victory by 17 lengths.
Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
The penultimate race on Ladies Day and another race which saw one favourite win and another cause upset. Palladium, who was the hot favourite for the Boodle Juvenile Handicap Hurdle looked strong at the early stages, leading the field alongside Zoffee but lost ground and was pulled up with just two to jump!
Gasps echoed through the Racecourse as all tried to pinpoint who would reign victorious. It quickly came down to Aramax and Night Edition. The latter provided a hard challenge but Aramax held on and remained tough at the finish to pip Night Edition to the title and give JP McManus another Festival win in 2020.
The Irish businessman completely dominated on Day Two of Cheltenham Festival 2020, sealing his fourth win of the day and fifth of the week with Aramax.
Weatherbys Champion Bumper
Israel Champ led a pretty crowded field but it didn’t last and Willie Mullins found his first win in the Champion Bumper with an impressive performance from Ferny Hollow.
Under Paul Townend, the 11/1 shot challenged Appreciate It before taking the lead and clearing at the finishing stages of the race on Ladies Day.
Willie Mullins was delighted to be able to step into the Winners’ Enclosure following harsh news that he had been unseated by Nicky Henderson as the most successful jockey at Cheltenham Racecourse.
Will St. Patrick’s Thursday be as unpredictable as Ladies Day at Cheltenham Festival? Let’s hope that the luck of the Irish is with you on your bets!