The Cheltenham Festival’s Biggest Shocks

From Douvan’s incomprehensible defeat in the Champion Chase to an astounding 100/1 Gold Cup winner in the shape of Norton’s Coin – the Cheltenham Festival has certainly seen its fair share of hair-raising moments.

We have chosen our four biggest surprises that left racegoers at Prestbury Park in awe as the unthinkable unfolded in front of their very eyes:

Cue Card storms to shock victory in Weatherby’s Champion Bumper (2010)

Although there may have been bigger priced winners at the Festival than Cue Card, who obliged at 40/1, it cannot be said that any of them have gone further than the 2010 Champion Bumper winner to prove the bookmarker’s colossal error of judgment. Winning with ease by more than 8 lengths on the day, the 9-time Grade One winner, trained by the industrious Colin Tizzard, has garnered an outstanding record at the Cheltenham Festival, with other notable wins including the Ryanair Chase in 2013.

Douvan crashes to defeat in Queen Mother Champion Chase (2017)

Dubbed as one of the biggest shocks in Festival history, Douvan’s disastrous defeat in the 2017 Champion Chase is certain to still be fresh in the minds of racing enthusiasts. The 2/9 favourite, ridden by Ruby Walsh, jumped poorly throughout and was never once in contention, prompting trainer Willie Mullins to suggest that the 7-year-old may have pulled a muscle during the race. Now primed to face fierce rival, Altior, in the same competition this year, Mullins and co. will be eager to see a vast improvement.

100/1 shot Norton’s Coin astounds racegoers with Gold Cup win (1990)

Undoubtedly the pick of the bunch is Norton’s Coin’s unprecedented victory in the 1990 Cheltenham Gold Cup, in a race that saw the biggest priced winner in festival history. Owned and trained by Sirrell Griffiths, a Welsh dairy farmer with just three horses, the 100/1 stunned the racing community, fending off competition from odds-on favourite and reigning Gold Cup hero Desert Orchid, as well as Jenny Pitman’s Toby Tobias.

Arctic Kinsman stuns Cheltenham with Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (1994)

The 1994 festival kicked off in emphatic style when Messrs Twiston-Davies and combined with 50/1 outsider in the meeting’s opening race. Arctic Kinsman impressively went to the front four out and quickened clear on the run to the last to put 8 lengths into the 1998 Aintree Hurdle winning Pridewell.  Twiston-Davies is now looking to the 2018 festival with much anticipation, with key runners, such as The New One looking to impress in the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle.

Join us at Prestbury Park for another thrilling instalment of racing as you sit back and enjoy the very best Cheltenham Festival Hospitality on offer.

Cheltenham Festival Hospitality 2018 - Luncheon Menu

Enjoy the 2018 Cheltenham Festival in unrivalled style from within our delightful Silks@Frontrunners restaurant.

Eventmasters are delighted to offer the very finest Cheltenham Festival hospitality packages for this signature race event. Officially appointed by Cheltenham Racecourse, we offer the highest quality corporate entertainment packages at The Festival including places within Silks@Frontrunners, The Venue, Glass Fronted Boxes and our exclusive Grandstand Box.

Discover our package availability below:

Champion Day

Ladies Day

St Patrick’s Thursday

Gold Cup Day

Cheltenham’s April Meeting to Host First All-Mares Jumps Card

Cheltenham will break new ground on the second day of its April meeting this year by staging a seven-race programme devoted solely to fillies and mares, with £190,000 in prize money up for grabs.

The meeting swiftly follows the hotly anticipated Cheltenham Festival which is due to kick off proceedings on Tuesday 13th March with four Grade 1 races for spectators to relish.

The newly designed card, on Thursday 19th April, will include three Listed races, as a well as a valuable £40,000 juvenile handicap hurdle.

Simon Claisse, Cheltenham clerk of the course, showed great enthusiasm at the latest announcement, saying:

“I am delighted that Cheltenham is to be the first jumps racecourse to stage an all-mares racecard.

“With two mares-only races at the festival and this card following four weeks later, the mares’ programme is developing and, hopefully, owners will be encouraged to run mares at the home of jump racing, especially late in the season.

“My thanks go to the British Horseracing Authority for their help in bringing this concept together – we are very much looking forward to hosting the mares’ card in April.”

The British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) initiative forms a key element of the organisation’s ongoing commitment to bolstering the overall mares’ programme by providing incentives to own and jump mares.

Stuart Middleton, BHA racing operations manager added:

“We hope that the fixture will garner positive publicity and the promise of being part of a unique event at such an iconic venue will, we hope, be yet another reason to be excited about ownership of mares at all tiers of the sport.”

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Our splendid Cheltenham Festival Hospitality packages allow you to enjoy a day of racing in unrivalled VIP style.

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Our stunning Silks@Frontrunners restaurant facility offers guests fine dining, a complimentary bar, a first-class hostess service and more.

Discover our fabulous hospitality and day-by-day availability below:

Champion Day

Ladies Day

St Patrick’s Thursday

Gold Cup Day

(Credit Racing Post for Quotes)

Jumps Action Returns To Cheltenham Racecourse for Showcase Meeting

Cheltenham Racecourse will host it’s first meeting for over five-months with the traditional curtain raiser, The Showcase Meeting beginning this afternoon. The ‘Home of Jumps Racing’ will host the two-day event which has attracted several challengers from Ireland, which has added real spice at such an early stage of the season.

The Showcase Meeting will give trainers the chance to give their horses’ valuable experience of the famous Prestbury Park course ahead of the season’s major events such as The Open Meeting and the Cheltenham Festival.

The Showcase Meeting has been the starting point for Festival winners in the past with the likes of Moon Racer (2015 Champion Bumper) and The New One (2013 Neptune Hurdle) making successful starts to the season at this meeting.

We preview some of the two big races on day one of the Showcase Meeting.

2.10 – Neptune Investment Management Novices´ Hurdle

Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls will be hoping El Bandit can follow in the footsteps of The New One by taking the opening race of the day, the Ditcheat handler has an excellent record winning two of the last three runnings.

The five-year-old was last seen winning the Grade Two Persian War Hurdle at Chepstow and his credentials are clear to see. Colin’s Sister was a useful bumper horse and made a successful start to life over hurdles, the talented mare gets a nice weight allowance and the step-up in trip will suit.

Black Warrior is an interesting contender from Ireland for Charles Byrnes, the six-year-old won a handicap in good style last time, and connections obviously think there is more to come from especially on today’s ground.

Selection: El Bandit

3.55 – Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Novices´ Chase

This useful novice chase is dominated by the Irish runners, headed by former Cheltenham Festival winner Tiger Roll. The Gordon Elliot star seemed to lose his way after his Festival win in 2013, but he bounced back in emphatic fashion last time winning the Munster National by seven-lengths.

The six-year-old could have turned a corner after that win, he is twice a course-winner and will be tough to beat. The strong Irish challenge also comes from Henry De Bromhead who saddles Full Cry and Heron Heights.

Heron Heights has a record of three wins from five starts over fences in Ireland and looks to be improving and the better ground will suit. While Full Cry probably has a bit to find on his recent form – but the stables form can’t be ignored.

Cottersrock heads the challenge for the home team for Martin Keighley. The six-year-old made a successful debut over fences at the start of the month and could be very unexposed in this company.

Selection: Tiger Roll

Cheltenham Racecourse Corporate Hospitality Packages on Sale

Eventmasters are delighted to provide official corporate hospitality packages for all meetings at Cheltenham Racecourse during the National Hunt Season.

We can offer a Private Grandstand Box for The Open Meeting, International Meeting and Festival Trials Day. At the Cheltenham Festival we can offer a wide-range of facilities across all four days including Silks@Frontrunners, The Venue and our Private Box.

Champion Hurdle Race – Are There Clues Ahead?

This weekend see’s the return of jumps racing to Cheltenham for The International Meeting. Saturday’s feature race in the Grade Two International Hurdle which could provide racegoers and Cheltenham Festival hospitality guests with major clues ahead of the Champion Hurdle on the opening day of the National Hunt Meeting – Tuesday 15th March 2016.

Eventmasters are delighted to provide an exclusive Grandstand Box for the opening day of the International Meeting, Friday 11th December. This superb facility provides you with stunning views of the track and overlooks the winning line. There is still time to book this outstanding Cheltenham hospitality facility.

A few months ago the idea that Faugheen could lose his Champion Hurdle crown in 2016 seemed laughable, but after his shock defeat in November his challengers will feel more confident. One of those looking to stake his claim in The International Hurdle is JCB Triumph Hurdle winner Peace And Co.

The unbeaten four-year-old just got the better of stablemate Top Notch at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival and will make the step up to face older rivals on Saturday afternoon. The Nicky Henderson star is currently 8/1 for the showpiece event of Champion Day and Cheltenham Festival hospitality guests will be hoping to see him emerge as the leading British contender for the race.

Anthony Bromley, racing manager to owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede said “By all accounts Peace And Co has been working well and this has been the target for a while so it’s all systems go.

“There has never been any question of going novice chasing. We’re trying to see if he is a Champion Hurdle horse and this is the first stepping stone. Daryl Jacob will ride.”

Peace And Co. could face the exciting Greatwood Hurdle winner Old Guard, who takes a major step up in class after two fantastic handicap wins at Prestbury Park. After making smooth progress throughout the Greatwood, the four-year-old powered up the hill to score by two-lengths. Now connections are dreaming of a tilt at the biggest prize in hurdling.

His trainer Paul Nicholls won the race in 2012 with the classy Zarkandar and is keen to see how his charge handles the occasion saying “Old Guard is going to run in the International, even though it is a big step-up in class.

“I want to let him take his chance and see where we are with him. Sam Twiston-Davies is going to ride him as Harry cannot claim in this race. Sam has won on him before and Old Guard schooled this morning and is fine.”

VIP guests who have already purchased their Cheltenham Festival hospitality packages for 2016 will also be keen to see the return of 2014 World Hurdle winner More Of That. The seven-year-old made the perfect start to his career over fences last month and is one of the leading fancies for the RSA Chase on Ladies Day of the Cheltenham Festival – Wednesday 16th March.

The exciting prospect is entered in Saturday’s Raymond Mould Memorial Novices’ Chase and another victory would surely see him move to the top of the market for the RSA.

Our Cheltenham Festival hospitality packages for 2016 are selling fast, don’t miss out on this iconic event.

For more information and to book your packages please see our Cheltenham Festival hospitality page.

Cheltenham Showcase Meeting Day Two Preview

Day two of Cheltenham’s Showcase Meeting features several horses who made good impressions at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival. Eventmasters hospitality guests will be keeping a close eye on the meeting to see if any horses can return for the National Hunt Festival in 2016.

Eventmasters Horse Racing Ambassador Richard Johnson has several good rides on the day and could extend his lead at the top of the British Jumps Jockeys Championship.

The opening race of the day is The Handicap Chase – 2.10 and features the 2015 Grand Annual Chase first two in Next Sensation and Eastlake. Next Sensation was a superb winner at the Cheltenham Festival for Michael Scudamore, but has to shoulder top weight in this contest.

The race was one of the highlights of the week for Cheltenham Festival hospitality guests.

Eastlake ran a brilliant race to finish second on that day and will be a danger with Barry Geraghty in the saddle. There are several other major contenders for the £31,000 first place including; Dan Skelton’s Workbench who arrives in good form.

While Eventmasters Horse Racing Ambassador Richard Johnson rides course and distance winner Dunraven Storm who has an excellent record when running fresh.

The second race of the day The Materson Holdings Hurdle – 2.40 features two high quality hurdlers in Hargam and Devilment; who finished third and fourth in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.

Hargam represents the powerful combination of Nicky Henderson of Barry Geraghty. In the 2014/15 National Hunt season the four-year-old was one of the best juvenile hurdlers and enters the race as favourite.

Devilment was also a top juvenile and is trained by the red-hot John Ferguson, who saddled Penglai Pavilion to win the opening race on day one. While Tea in Transvaal arrives after four consecutive victories and could be a player at the bottom of the weights.

The fifth race of the day is the Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Novices’ Chase – 4.30. While the race has only attracted five runners, they all have potential to do well over the larger obstacles.

Parlour Games was excellent novice hurdler last season and now goes chasing for John Ferguson. He was second in The Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle a prestigious race that has produced several champions.

He will be very hard to beat if taking to fences and his main threat looks to be course and distance winner Long House Hall trained by Dan Skelton.

For more information and to purchase your Cheltenham Festival hospitality packages, please visit our hospitality page.


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