Cheltenham Festival in 2019 has been nothing short of extraordinary. Racegoers coming from all over the world have been treated to a thrilling experience at Cheltenham Racecourse. With world class jump racing and exquisite hospitality options making for a great atmosphere at Cheltenham throughout the week. Reminisce on some of the greatest Festival moments with us below!
Willie Mullins Wins His First Cheltenham Gold Cup
The most coveted prize at the Cheltenham Festival is without a doubt the Gold Cup! With the biggest names in horse racing competing for this title, it was an intense and electrifying race to witness!
The Cheltenham Gold Cup race was won by Al Boum Photo for Paul Townend and Willie Mullins! This victory comes as Mullins’ first ever Gold Cup victory after having trained the runner up six times. The seven year old remains unbeaten this season and now adds a Gold Cup to his name! Sure to go down in history for the Mullins camp.
Last year’s winner Native River came in fourth place after Bristol De Mai and Anibale Fly. King George winner Clan Des Obeaux came in fifth for trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Harry Cobden. Whilst Elegant Escape came in sixth. Most surprisingly, favourite to win Presenting Percy suffered a few mistakes and managed to come in seventh place with Davy Russell.
Bryony Frost Makes History at Cheltenham Festival
What a day is was on St Patrick’s Thursday at Cheltenham! Jockey Bryony Frost became the first female to secure victory in a top level Grade One race. The win sparked inspiration throughout the racecourse and is sure to go down in history.
23 year old Bryony was greeted by an euphoric crowd cheering her on as she won the Grade One Ryanair Chase whilst riding Frodon – a Paul Nicholls trained horse. This victory securely places her in history books as she leads a rising generation of female jockeys. In a sport where some may claim that women often compete against men unequally, her win paves the path for many other aspiring female jockeys.
Bryony Frost first began riding on a donkey called Nosey at the mere age of two. Now, many years later, she punched the air and grinned widely after she scored a significant and high profile victory at this year’s Cheltenham meeting.
Thrilled following her win, she exclaimed:
“He just made the dream come true, it’s just incredible. He will deserve every single high five, pat and carrot.”
At the finish line, to ITV Racing she said of the remarkable horse:
“He’s Pegasus! He’s got wings, most horses would quit, but he grabbed me by the hands and said, ‘don’t you dare give up, don’t you dare not send me into the last – I want this more than you, now come on, where are you?’ Just look at what he’s done there – deny that he just loves racing. He’s unbelievable. I love you.”
Frodon’s triumph kick started an exciting hour of racing as Andrew Gemmell’s Paisley Park and Lizzie Kelly succeeded in attaining another victory for female jockeys!
Tiger Roll Lands a Phenomenal Win
Last year’s Grand National winner Tiger Roll added a fourth victory to his Cheltenham Festival successes. The champion horse went on to win Wednesday’s Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase by a staggering twenty two lengths. This ignited a thunderous roar from the crowds at Cheltenham who saw the horse put up a phenomenal display of jumps. Keith Donoghue guided the horse perfectly over 32 obstacles, making it seem effortless!
Tiger Roll strode into the lead before the last hurdle and went for a clear twenty two lengths ahead of Josies Orders. On entrance to the winners enclosure, he enjoyed loud cheers of admiration from Cheltenham crowds.
Shortly after, Michael O’Leary noted:
“He’s a legend around here. Triumph Hurdle winners tend not to come back, but they certainly don’t come back and win four-mile races for amateurs and then cross-countries.”
He commended Tiger Roll’s trainer saying:
“It’s a phenomenal training performance by Gordon Elliot. He wasn’t great as a novice chaser but he’s transformed him by changing his routine and sending him cross-country.”
Altior Clings to His Record at Cheltenham
Favourite to win Altior went on to achieve his 18th consecutive jumps success. He won the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham Festival.
Despite lacking dominance throughout the race, the Nicky Henderson trained horse clung to victory winning by nearly two lengths. He made a small mistake at the seventh fence however he was able to recover afterwards and climb to victory.
The superstar horse came to Cheltenham having an undefeated run since October 2015. Since then, he has attained victory in twelve steeple chases, five hurdle races and now a further Cheltenham Festival triumph.
Following the success, Altior’s record is now neck and neck with Big Buck who had a winning record spanning two years from the start of 2009.
Jockey Noel Fehily Retiring Following Win at Cheltenham
Noel Fehily is set to retire following his victory on Eglantine Du Seuil at Cheltenham’s Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. He described his win as “the perfect ending” to a rich and fruitful career of horse racing. To date, Fehily has ridden well over 1,350 winners over jumps in Britain and Ireland since his very first win in 1998.
Indeed, many of Fehily’s greatest successes came at the Cheltenham Festival. He has won the Champion Hurdle twice – once in 2012 with Rock On Ruby and again in 2017 with Buveur d’Air.
Following a surgery he had earlier this year, the jockey feared he would miss out on Cheltenham Festival. He told the BBC:
“I could go on but I was very ill in January and February and it didn’t look like I would make the Festival for a while. So to come here and ride a winner seems like the perfect ending. I will carry on for the next couple of weeks and then I’ll decide when to stop. I’m lucky and had some great days. I’ve ridden some lovely horses and had great support.”
What a great way to end a career at the world renowned Cheltenham Festival.