Cheltenham Racecourse Hospitality & News

Cyrname Unlikely to Run Again This Season After Ascot Fall

After taking a tumble in The Betfair Ascot Chase last Saturday, it is unlikely that Cyrname will run again this season. Cyrname, who was due to run in Ryanair Chase at The Cheltenham Festival next month, has been described by trainer Paul Nicholls as being ‘stiff and tired’ after his shocking fall over the weekend.

Both horses and racegoers battled against the elements last Saturday at Ascot Racecourse as Storm Dennis created wet and blustery conditions.  Cyrname was the favourite to take the crown, having won the Ascot Chase in 2019 and being victorious in two further consecutive Ascot races last year. Starting out strong, Cyrname took the lead by two lengths around fence number five with Riders onthe Storm in second place. As the runners approached fence number nine, it became apparent that something was off with 8-year-old Cyrname, with Riders onthe Storm catching up and eventually taking the lead.

It was at the final fence where we witnessed Cyrname and jockey Harry Cobden take the horrific looking fall. Unfortunately, Traffic Fluide and jockey Joshua Moore also took a shocking tumble soon after as Riders onthe Storm galloped to the finish line with Janika in second place. Despite Riders onthe Storm’s victory, the biggest of all cheers came as Cyrname picked himself up from the turf, much to the relief of spectators.

‘He just got winded but he’s fine now,’ said Nicholls. ‘That ground just gets to them and it takes a while to get their breath back. The vets were brilliant, big result.’ He noted how the crowd’s reaction was bigger and better than that of any winner. ‘We’ll get him back. I’d say we’d leave him to next season now. There’s something missing, I can’t really put my finger on it but he’ll be back and that’s the main thing.’

Since the spectacular win against Altior in the Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot last November, there has been a distinct lack of enthusiasm in Cyrname, having lost to Clan Des Obeaux at Kempton last December in the King George VI Chase. Nicholls admitted that ‘in hindsight, Kempton came a little bit quick after Ascot’ but was confident that Cyrname would have been able to put up a top performance on Saturday.

Sadly, it seems that The Cheltenham Festival is now a no go thanks to Saturday’s events. Cyrname has never previously ran at Cheltenham so would have been interesting to see how he performed. That being said, he has certainly proved himself to be a resilient machine after getting back up on Saturday. As the reaction from racegoers has proved, he is a much-loved horse and as Nicholls said, he will definitely be back.

There is just 22 days left until The Cheltenham Festival! We are down to our final few packages with just a few spaces left in our Silks and The Venue facilities. Act fast to secure your place at The Greatest Show on Turf!

 

Minella Rocco Set For Cheltenham Following Warwick and Wetherby Wins

Many have deemed Minella Rocco as an ‘unlucky horse’, having had a fair share of highs and lows throughout his racing career. However, in a swift change in fortunes, The Cheltenham Festival is now on the cards following two consectutive wins this year.

The 10-year-old Gelding made a comeback last month by securing first place in The Open Hunters Chase at Warwick, his first victory since his 2016 Cheltenham Festival win. Connections were pleased to see Minella Rocco gain his confidence back after multiple seasons of struggle.

The victory did not stop there though. Minella Rocco also went on to win The Open Hunters Chase at Wetherby earlier this month, beating rival and Cheltenham champion Hazel Hill. Trainer, Jonjo O’Neill believes both victories may have been down to a much-needed dose of good luck. ‘For an unlucky horse all his life, he’s hit two lucky strokes this time,’ said O’Neill. ‘At Warwick, David Maxwell got cramp and at Wetherby, something wasn’t right with Hazel Hill.’

Down to luck or not, O’Neill is happy for Minella Rocco to enter next month’s Cheltenham Festival for a fourth time in The Foxhunter Chase. ‘He’s enjoyed going at a slower pace and is entitled to have a crack at the Foxhunter. It seems that both slowing down and a drop in grade have certainly helped in Minella Rocco’s progression, following a series of joint issues. ‘He’s pretty frail – his wind catches him and he’s had problems with his joints – but he’s in grand form at the minute’ said O’Neill.

Minella Rocco has experienced previous success at The Cheltenham Festival, having won the Chase Challenge back in 2016, beating 2018 Gold Cup winner Native River. Other Cheltenham ventures saw him placing 2nd in the 2017 Gold Cup to Sizing John and being pulled up in the Handicap Chase in 2019. Thanks to his recent success, he is now a leading contender for this year’s Foxhunter.

O’Neill has experienced multiple successes recently, particularly with Annie Mc who has won her last three races at Wincanton, Wetherby and Bangor-On-Dee. ‘We’re pleased with the way she’s going and she likes jumping, but we’ll have to see how she gets on when we step her up a gear,’ said O’Neill. Hopefully, Minella Rocco can add to O’Neill’s string of victories.

Having experienced his fair share of setbacks, it would be fantastic to witness Minella Rocco take the win at Cheltenham once again. Will his two recent victories provide enough power to fuel further wins this season? Watch this space!

The Cheltenham Festival is only four weeks away! We are now sold out on each day apart from St Patrick’s Thursday. Availability is limited in both our Venue facility and Silks Restaurant where Nico de Boinville will be our guest speaker! Head on over to our Cheltenham hospitality page now to secure our final remaining packages!

Altior Returns to Form With Newbury Victory

All eyes were on Altior last weekend as he took the crown in the Game Spirit Chase during Newbury’s Betfair Super Saturday. Taking place just five weeks before The Cheltenham Festival, the meeting is a chance for runners to show what they’re made of before the big day and Altior certainly managed to reaffirm his champion status.

Saturday’s Game Spirit Chase was Altior’s first run since his 19-race winning streak was broken by Cyrname in the Grade 2 Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot back in November. Having already been pulled from two races this year due to suffering from an abscess, racegoers were concerned as to whether the great Altior would be able to return to form. Thankfully, he put up a fighting performance at Newbury, beating rival, Sceau Royal, by a respectable 3 and a quarter lengths and connections were delighted with the outcome.

Trainer Nicky Henderson said of Altior that ‘he hasn’t been anywhere. Ascot was just a mistake all round, but he’s had a lovely time back on his ground. I’m not going to say he was a good horse because he is a good horse and always has been.’

The concern from connections was if the 10-year-old would be able to regain his confidence following a 3-month break. Altior’s owner Patricia Pugh said, following his weekend success, that ‘he was back’.  Someone then responded by saying that ‘he’d never been away’. ‘That’s one way of looking at it’ said Pugh ‘but we’re just really happy. He’s enjoyed it and just needed a run to get his confidence.’

Jockey, Nico de Boinville was equally as thrilled with Saturday’s performance; ‘I think we’ve still plenty to work on, but that was a massive confidence booster and he showed a sparkle of his old brilliance. That surge at the end is his trademark and he’s devastating from the last to the line, and he showed what he can do.’

Altior is now on track to become a Cheltenham champion for the fifth year running. More importantly, he will be looking to retain his title in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, a title which he has taken for the past two years. He is now the joint favourite along with Defi Du Seuil and Chacun Pour Soi to take the crown but only time will tell who has what it takes.

Henderson has acknowledged the stiff competition in store for Altior at Cheltenham this year. ‘As it stands, I definitely think this is the best Queen Mother for some years. Altior will have a big fight on his hands in March, and we will be in for a hell of race, so hopefully we can have some nice ground for it’.

It’s promising to see Altior return to his winning ways once again. The victory has given him a strong chance of becoming a Cheltenham champion for a fifth year and we can’t wait to see what the results will be in four weeks’ time.

The countdown has begun for The Cheltenham Festival! Only four weeks away, we are now sold out on each day apart from St Patrick’s Thursday. Availability is limited in both our Venue facility and Silks Restaurant where Nico de Boinville will be our guest speaker! Head on over to our Cheltenham hospitality page now to secure our final remaining packages!

 

Less Than 5 Weeks to Go Until Cheltenham Festival!

The biggest Jumps racing Festival is almost upon us! Take a read of the runners and riders that’ll be turning heads in March.

The Park at Cheltenham Festival

There’s a brand new experience for racegoers to enjoy at the Cheltenham Festival this year called The Park! Discover what it’s all about here.

Will Altior Return to Winning Ways at Newbury This Weekend?

It’s been a bit of a bumpy ride for Altior during the past couple of months. The Cheltenham champion’s 19 race winning streak was shattered at Ascot back in November and he missed out on running in both the Silviniaco Conti and Clarence House Chase in January after recovering from an abscess. After a three-month break, racegoers have been keen to witness a bit of Altior magic on the racecourse once again and it seems that Newbury will be his next chance to make a comeback.

Trainer, Nicky Henderson, confirmed that it is his intention for Altior to run in this year’s Cheltenham Festival in a bid to defend his Queen Mother Champion Chase title, which he has won the past two years running. In preparation for Ladies Day, Henderson has revealed that Altior is all set to run in the Grade 2 Game Spirit Chase at Newbury this Saturday. A race which he has won twice previously, connections are hoping that he will be able to take the crown once again.

This will be a significant race for Altior as it will be his first since the defeat at the hands of Cyrname in the Grade 2 Christy 1965 Chase. Henderson has since revealed that he regrets ever entering the race and under normal circumstances wouldn’t have let him run. ‘You are then leaving the race as a walkover. What would the racing public say about that? You should say the horse comes first, unfortunately we did it the other way round and paid the penalty.’ He recently mentioned that he felt under pressure to try something new with Altior to prevent him from being known as a ‘boring two-mile chaser’. With him already being pulled from two races so far this year, it seems that a lesson may have been learned.

The question now is whether the setback at Ascot has left any lasting impact on 10-year-old Altior. Henderson has stated that he is still working as well as ever. ‘Altior schooled last week and you would seriously wonder why in the world we would want to go further than two miles. No horse in England would keep up with what he was going the other day, not one. Blink and you would have missed it but that’s him.’

Now Altior has experienced defeat, he needs to make sure that he puts himself back on track in order to restore his leading two-miler status. ‘He has got to prove himself again, and I think he can. He has only been beaten once, in a two-mile-five race in a bog when he was only half-ready for it. It doesn’t mean he is old – he got beaten and it was going to happen and that was the day it was going to happen.’

Despite the setback, Henderson has not ruled out the possibility of Altior running further distances in the future. Aintree has been considered as a possibility but seems unlikely this year. It all depends on how quickly Altior is able to recover from Cheltenham.

It will certainly be interesting to see how Altior performs after his time off. Here’s hoping that Saturday will be the day that he puts himself back on the road to victory and gears up for another Cheltenham Festival win!

Did you know that The Cheltenham Festival is only five weeks away? We are now sold out on each day apart from St Patrick’s Thursday. We have limited availability in our Venue facility and Silks Restaurant where Nico de Boinville will be our guest speaker! Head on over to our Cheltenham hospitality page now to secure our final remaining packages!

 

Cheltenham Festival Potential Suprise Return for Seeyouatmidnight

Following a two year break, there’s a chance we could witness a return from Seeyouatmidnight at this year’s Cheltenham Festival! The 12-year-old has been in retirement since April 2018 after entering the Grade 3 Handicap Chase at Aintree, finishing 11th place, with Tiger Roll taking the crown.

Trainer, Sandy Thomson, retired the veteran after he suffered ligament damage following the Grand National. However, he has recently been back in training and Thomson has been very impressed with the progress made. ‘He’s been cantering away since Christmas and has stood up to a bit more work,’ Thomson commented ‘The leg is absolutely fine and if the suspensory goes again it’s not going to be life-threatening. I know the leg well enough to know quickly if something wasn’t right.’

Thomson has his eyes set on entering the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase which takes place on the much anticipated Gold Cup Day. Seeyouatmidnight has previously experienced Cheltenham success, winning first place in the Grade 2 Dipper Novices’ Chase during the New Year’s Day Meeting in 2016. He then entered the Cheltenham Festival that same year in the Grade 1 RSA Chase and finished in 7th place, with Blaklion taking the victory.

To prepare for the big day, Thomson has revealed that Seeyouatmidnight will enter at Kelso on 13th February.  ‘We’ll take it one step at a time but the dream is Cheltenham and there is the possibility of running in a point-to-point to get qualified for the Foxhunter.’

Entries are still to be confirmed for this year’s Foxhunter Chase but Don Poli is set to enter, having recently won his first victory since 2015 at Alnwick. Of course, last year’s winner, Hazel Hill, will be looking to retain his title this year. Last year’s Foxhunter was a truly gripping race. Road to Rome began with a strong start and took the lead for the majority of the race and it was only during the final hurdle when Hazel Hill came in from the outside and galloped his way to victory.

It will be interesting to see how Seeyouatmidnight fairs against his rivals, having had an almost two-year break. The Cheltenham Festival is certainly full of surprises and it will be exciting to see the veteran come out of retirement for the biggest meeting of the National Hunt Season. At the time of Seeyouatmidnight’s retirement, Thomson labelled him as ‘the horse who put them on the map’. Hopefully we get to witness Seeyouatmidnight race with the same level of vigour as he did pre-retirement and make connections proud once again.

There’s still time to book your tickets and hospitality packages for The Cheltenham Festival 2020. Head on over to our Cheltenham hospitality page or give us a call on 0121 233 6500 for your chance to experience that Cheltenham Roar!

Cheltenham Racing Fixtures 2020/21

Discover more about Cheltenham Racing Fixtures for 2020/21

It’s the start of a new year, which means another set of exciting racing fixtures to look forward to at Cheltenham Racecourse. You can enjoy impressive jump racing action throughout the National Hunt Season at Cheltenham Racecourse in Prestbury Park. Whether a racing enthusiast, complete novice or simply going with friends, any occasion at Cheltenham is sure to be a good one. The horse racing season is always a highlight of the sporting calendar with many highly anticipated Cheltenham racing fixtures taking place throughout the year. With so much going on throughout the season it can be difficult to decide on which race day to attend. We are here to help. Let’s delve into a season of racing and discover which Cheltenham fixture is for you.

Cheltenham New Years Day – Friday 1st January 2021

It may be January but the festive spirit continues at Cheltenham Racecourse with their jolly New Years Day fixture. Hosted on New Years Day (as the name suggests), many flock to Prestbury Park for a horse racing experience like no other to beat the January blues. The electric yet festive atmosphere is definitely worth being a part of with live music and plenty of family fun. This event really does cater for everyone, whether you are a regular racegoer, newbie or a family looking for New Years Day activities, the whole family can enjoy a day at Cheltenham Racecourse.

The day consists of seven races which typically start around midday. Races to look out for on the day include the Grade Two Dornan Engineering Relkeel Hurdle and the Grade Three Fairlawne Handicap Chase. This fixture is a great opener for what is to come from Cheltenham in the new year. It is also a great way to get in the mood for the prestigious Cheltenham Festival. The three-month countdown begins and the excitement can be felt throughout Cheltenham.

Kick off the New Year in true style with Cheltenham News Years Day Private Box Hospitality.

Cheltenham Festival Ladies Day 2019

Cheltenham Festival Trials Day – Saturday 30th January 2021

Towards the end of January, the buzz around Cheltenham Festival is well underway and the Festival Trials Day fixture is certain to get everyone in the mood for racing. You can expect to see some of the best horses, jockeys and trainers all in attendance hoping to grab the winning title. The high-class racing action gives you one last opportunity to see who your front runner will be for the main event in March. Bets most definitely are on.

Renowned races from Festival Trials Day include The Cleeve Hurdle, Cotswolds Chase, and Classic Novices Hurdle.  In 2019, there were three horses which won during Trials day that went on to become victorious at the festival. These included Frodon, Paisley Park and Siruh Du Lac.  It just goes to show how telling these results can be! During this year’s fixture, we saw Paisley Park defend his Cleeve Hurdle title once again and is the favourite to win The Stayers Hurdle at The Festival for another year.

Our VIP Private Box Hospitality makes the ideal backdrop for you to host a race day at Cheltenham.

Book now for 2021 and embark on the build up to Cheltenham Festival at Festival Trials Day.

Cheltenham Races Dress Code

Cheltenham Festival Tuesday 10th – Friday 13th March 2020

Here’s the fixture we have all been waiting for, the prestigious Cheltenham Festival. Dubbed as the world’s most popular horse racing fixture, it really is a highlight of the National Hunt racing season. Hundreds of thousands of racegoers flock to Prestbury Park across the four day meeting all in hopes of capturing some of Cheltenham magic. In 2020 the Cheltenham Festival will run from Tuesday 10th -Friday 13th March. The biggest meeting of the season will certainly not disappoint. With four days full of immense racing action, there’s so much to take in. Whether you are an avid racegoer, a Cheltenham Racecourse newbie or simply just here for fun, we are certain you will all enjoy a day worth remembering.

Cheltenham Festival kicks off with Champion Day on Tuesday 10th March 2020. The day features four impressive Grade One races for you and your guests to savour. The feature of the day is undoubtedly the Champion Hurdle. In 2019, we saw Espoir d’Allen win the Champion Hurdle ridden by jockey Mark Walsh. The glory was taken from reigning champion, Buveur D’Air, who suffered a fall. Many consider this to be one of the most shocking moment within recent Cheltenham Festival history! The day is a great opening for all the exhilarating action to come at Cheltenham Racecourse that week.

Day two is Cheltenham Ladies Day  which will be hosted on Wednesday 11th March in 2020. Get glammed up and enjoy inspired by fashion as well as top class racing. The highlight event is, of course, The Queen Mother Champion Chase. In 2019, Altior was victorious for the second year running after an exhilarating race. This day attracts a lot of popularity as well as celebrity guests, as everyone is keen to get dressed up and enjoy a day at the races.

Cheltenham St Patricks Day brings along all the luck of the Irish for an electric day at Prestbury Park on Thursday 12th March 2020. The atmosphere at Cheltenham St Patricks Day is certainly electric. Attracting thousands and thousands of visitors each year it really is the perfect atmosphere for a celebration. The featured race of the day is the Stayers Hurdle which, as we have already acknowledged, was won in 2019 by Paisley Park.

The final, most pinnacle day of not only this fixture but the entire National Hunt season is Cheltenham Gold Cup Day on Friday 13th March 2020. The day we have all been waiting for – a true test of ability, stamina and speed will see only the greatest horses come out victorious. The 2019 Gold Cup winner was the great Don Poli who fought past the previous years’ winner, Native River and former runner up, Might Bite.

Overall, the Cheltenham Festival is definitely a fixture that everyone should experience first hand. Experience all the thrills from Cheltenham Festival 2020 in true style with our luxurious corporate hospitality packages. You can book tickets and hospitality for you and your guests in our renowned Silks restaurant and Venue facility. Both packages include fine dining and complimentary bars as well as live music in The Venue and a visit from Nico de Boinville in Silks!

Tick Cheltenham Festival off the list in 2020 and book unrivalled hospitality today. 

Afternoon Tea

Tea Rooms

Cheltenham April Meeting – Wednesday 15th – Thursday 16th April 2020

Here we have the penultimate fixture of the National Hunt Season at Cheltenham Racecourse. From the April Meeting you can expect two midweek race days full of superb racing and thrills. The perfect way to relish in a last-minute Cheltenham Races experience and reflect upon the successes of The Cheltenham Festival. Highlights from day one include the Grade 2 Handicap Chase. On day two, you can expect much of the same. This fixture is pretty much exclusive to mares in training and four of the seven races are dedicated to mares.

See all your favourite trainers and horses wrap up the jump racing season in style and begin to say your final goodbyes to Cheltenham Racecourse.

Experience all the thrills from midweek racing at the Cheltenham April Meeting in style. The perfect occasion to get together with clients or work colleagues and experience a first-class racing experience.

Book Cheltenham April Meeting Private Box hospitality now. 

Cheltenham Hunter Chase Meeting – Friday 1st May 2020

It’s the final fixture at Cheltenham Racecourse Hunter Chase Meeting marks the end of the National Hunt Season. The final fixture will be held on Friday 1st May 2020 and will once again provide you with an evening full of racing highlights and is the perfect chance for you and your guests to let their hair down and enjoy the weekend. The evening of jump racing action creates an electric buzz that can be felt all around Prestbury Park. A final goodbye to the spectacular Cheltenham Races and a thrilling season.

You can enjoy the Cheltenham Hunter Chase Meeting in true style with unrivalled hospitality in your own Private Grandstand Box. Book early for 2020, to avoid disappointment. 

Cheltenham Showcase Meeting – Friday 23rd – Saturday 24th October 2020

The opening fixture of the Cheltenham Races typically begins on the last Friday of October. The Showcase Meeting lasts for two days and certainly delivers on what many horse racing enthusiasts have been anticipating. The first fixture of the season will see leading jockeys, horses and trainers once again return to the home of racing. This is the first chance that those less familiar with Cheltenham Racecourse will be able to inspect the course and try their hand at battling the twists and turns. The highly anticipated opener is often enjoyed mostly by racing enthusiasts as opposed to novices and celebrity guests.

Both the Friday and Saturday guarantee to provide guests with a day full of exciting racing. With both days hosting a total of seven races each, there really is plenty to look forward to at the Showcase Meeting. This is the first opportunity for punters, avid racegoers, trainers and jockeys alike to suss out the competition and begin to anticipate who to watch that season. Popular races from the weekend include The Maiden Hurdle, The Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase, The Handicap Hurdle (Series Qualifier) and the Novices’ Steeple Chase.

Are you a racing enthusiast that wants to see all the seasons front-runners first in action? If so, then the Cheltenham Showcase Meeting is definitely for you. Prepare for the 2020 event and get booked in for a VIP hospitality experience. Treat your work colleagues, clients or friends to an unforgettable racing experience in your very own private box. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a race day at Cheltenham in style?

Book Cheltenham Showcase Meeting Corporate Hospitality for 2020 NOW!

Cheltenham Festival Hospitality Private Box

Cheltenham November Meeting – Friday 13th – Sunday 15th November 2020

The Cheltenham November Meeting is undoubtedly one of the most highly anticipated Cheltenham racing fixtures to be hosted at Cheltenham Racecourse. The three day spectacular is the perfect way to enjoy some of the finest racing at the iconic race track. From the November meeting, you can expect to see Novice racing, Grade Two races and Handicap Hurdles.  The action is exhilarating and exciting so it is no surprise as to why the event attracts huge popularity year on year. Popular races from the weekend include the BetVictor Gold Cup Steeple Chase and JCB Triumph Trial Hurdle. 2019 winners from this fixture included: Defi Du Seuil, Harambe and Happy Diva.

The Cheltenham November Meeting once again provides the opportunity to spot early front-runners from the line-up ahead of the pinnacle Cheltenham Festival meeting in March. Historically the November Meeting was originally named the Cheltenham Open. However, this name sparked confusion within the sporting world. Many believed that it was unwise to have two major sporting events referred to with the title The Open (the other event being golf). Following this, the Jockey Club and R&A met to discuss the names of the event and ultimately decided that it would be best to change the name of the race at Cheltenham.

If you are someone that wants to get in on all the horse racing action early and experience the magic of a day at the Cheltenham Races then the November Meeting is for you. Treat your guests and clients to an unrivalled experience in 2020 with VIP hospitality like no other. Experience all the thrills and action from the Cheltenham November Meeting in true style.

Book Cheltenham November Meeting VIP Hospitality and Private Boxes for 2020.

Cheltenham International Meeting – Friday 11th – Saturday 12th December 2020

Another key Cheltenham racing fixture within the National Hunt Season has to be the Cheltenham International Meeting. The racing weekend plays a crucial part in the popular term “The Road To Cheltenham”. A key race from the weekend; The International Hurdle is one of seven races that are highly popularised and integral to the build-up of the prestigious Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival. The event is always hosted mid-December a great way to get into the Christmas spirit. The festive cheer can be felt throughout the course, with decorations and mulled wine aplenty.

Highlighted races from the weekend include Caspian Caviar Gold Cup (December Gold Cup) and The International Hurdle. The second day of the meeting attracts competitors from as far as Europe who are all hoping to be crowned victorious at the Cheltenham Races. The action packed weekend is certain to provide you with a dose of all the horse racing action you need. Combined with festive cheer there really is no better way to enjoy a racing experience.

The ideal setting for a Christmas work party with a difference. First-class hospitality matched with exhilarating horse racing make the ideal combination.

Celebrate Christmas in style this year and book VIP hospitality for 2020 now.

There you have it! A full breakdown of all fixtures you can expect from all Cheltenham Races throughout the season. Have we helped you in deciding which day is best for you and your guests? There’s plenty of racing action to be enjoyed at Cheltenham Racecourse. Whether the big showstopper event or smaller race days throughout the year, we are certain you will find your perfect fit.

Explore VIP Cheltenham Races hospitality packages and book your corporate experience today. 

Cheltenham Festival Fever – The Big Guns to Watch Out For

The biggest Jumps racing Festival is almost upon us! Take a read of the runners and riders that’ll be turning heads in March.

Cheltenham Festival Trials Day Review

With not long to go before the Cheltenham Festival is in full swing, Festival Trials Day gives us the chance to predict which horses will come up trumps on the big day. Last year we saw three festival trials winners go on to secure victory at The Festival, which leaves us wondering if the same could happen this year. Plenty took place during Festival Trials Day last Saturday, so there is much to be discussed. Let’s take a look at exactly what happened during each of the races.

JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle

It was Galahad Quest who galloped to victory during the Grade 2 race along with jockey Harry Cobden. The race began with a lead from Monte Cristo with Galahad Quest just behind in second. The four-year-old, who is trained by Nick Williams, said ‘I think it was a good performance. It was good form but I brought him as a three-mile chase prospect, so I didn’t want to do too much with him this season.’ Despite the win, Williams is not sure whether Galahad Quest will enter the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. ‘I don’t really see him as Triumph prospect myself, it’s possible. I’d rather look after him to be honest.’ Watch this space to see if he runs on the big day.

Timeform Novices Handicap Chase

A much more competitive race than the former. It was a close call throughout between Simply The Betts, On The Slopes and Imperial Aura. However, it was Simply The Betts who came out on top with jockey Gavin Sheehan. Having displayed a shaky performance at Kempton over Christmas, Simply The Betts managed to jump well during Trials Day but would he be able to live up to the competition in the Novices’ Handicap Chase on Champion Day? Runners are still to be confirmed so keep your eyes peeled.

Paddy Power 45 Sleeps To Cheltenham Trophy Handicap Chase

This race caused a mixture of emotions for racing fans. It began with Caspian Cavier Gold Cup winner, Warthog being pulled up by jockey David Noonan due to injury just after the first fence. Sadly, the injury was fatal and he lost his life later that day. Trainer, David Pipe, tweeted ‘fly high big lad, thank you for the great days’.

The race continued as winner Cepage took a strong lead throughout, with the other horses snapping at his heels. In what is the eight-year old’s first Cheltenham victory, trainer Venetia Williams said ‘I’m absolutely thrilled as he deserved to win one of these. He has run so many good races he had worked his way up to be top weight in this.’ He is set to run in both the Ryanair Chase and Gold Cup during The Cheltenham Festival. It will be interesting to see how he fairs against such fierce competition.

Paddypower Cotswold Chase

It was Nicky Henderson’s Santini that rose to victory during this Grade 2 race with jockey Nico de Boinville. Last year’s winner Bristol De Mai took the lead for much of the race but Santini was successful in fending him off during the final stretch despite making an error just before the final jump. Santini looks now to be a promising runner for the Gold Cup in March. Henderson believes that good ground will be the key to Santini’s success for the Grade 1 race and how satisfying it has been to see him make this comeback.

Ballymore Classic Novices Hurdle

Six-year-old Harry Senior came out on top during this Grade 2 race with jockey Robbie Power. It was uncertain how he would perform giving that he had to be withdrawn from Warwick two weeks ago.  It seems that he is now on track for the Albert Bartlett Novice’s Hurdle on Gold Cup Day. Trainer Colin Tizzard mentioned that ‘he won’t run again before Cheltenham as we would like to think he could run again at Aintree or Punchestown.’ We all eagerly await to see how Harry Senior performs in March.

Galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle

Perhaps the most anticipated race of the day. Everyone had high hopes for Paisley Park and he didn’t disappoint! Having won the Cleeve Hurdle last year and going on to win the Stayers Hurdle, bookmakers are confident that he can be the star of the show again in March. That being said, there will definitely be some stiff competition. Willie Mullins is confident that Benie Des Dieux could pose a threat to Paisley Park following a recent victory a Gowran Park. It will surely be an enthralling race no matter the result.

Steel Plate and Sections Handicap Hurdle

The final race of the day, it was Back On The Lash who came up trumps with jockey Jonathan Burke. The six-year-old won by over three lengths much to the delight of trainer Martin Keighley. He mentioned how Back On The Lash was his 20th Cheltenham winner. He commented on how he didn’t have a winner last year so he was extremely pleased by this result.  ‘I always thought Back On The Lash had a bright future.’ He said. ‘He’s so tough and genuine. As you saw today, he wants to win.’

Well, there you have it – a breakdown of all the Festival Trials Day action. Will any of these successes go on to prevail at The Cheltenham Festival in just a few weeks’ time? Make your predictions and we’ll soon see who comes out on top.

If you are yet to purchase your Cheltenham Festival tickets and hospitality packages, then head on over to our Cheltenham Festival hospitality page as we still have a few spaces remaining.