Cheltenham Festival 2023: Gold Cup Day Review

The Gold Cup is the most prestigious day of the Cheltenham Festival, and the 2023 edition was action packed and enthralling for all those in attendance at Cheltenham Racecourse.

There were some great performances with a an even better atmosphere. The Gold Cup day got underway with the JCB Triumph Hurdle.

The JCB Triumph Hurdle – 13:30

Winner: Lossiemouth

The much anticipated Gold Cup day got underway with the JCB Triumph Hurdle, where Lossiemouth was the favourite to win the race.

Lossiemouth very much lived up to the favourite tag, with Paul Townend’s fantastic performance leading to what was a comfortable victory. Jipcot took the lead at the start of the race, but Lossiemouth soon took control, taking the lead ahead of the final hurdle. Townend’s lead grew and grew to win the race ahead of Gala Marceau and Zenta coming in second and third respectively.

All of the horses in the top four are trained by Willie Mullins.

The McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle Race – 14:10

Winner: Faivoir

It was joy for Bridget Andrews, who rode Faivoir to victory in the 2023 McCoy Contractors County Hurdle.

It was Prairie Dancer who took an initial lead to begin the race, going on to lead by three lengths with Highway One O Two in second place. Prairie Dancer lost the lead to Highway One O Two with 2 hurdles to go, only to lose the lead themselves to Faivoir, who went on to win the race by the narrowest of margins.

The Albert Bartlett  Novices’ Hurdle Race – 14:50

Winner: Stay Away Fay

Embassy Gardens, trained by Willie Mullins, took the lead in the initial stages of the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. However, Stay Away Fay soon took the lead from the grasp of Embassy Gardens with 5 hurdles to go. It was a tight race, but Stay Away Fay managed to hold on to the lead to win the race.

Affordable Fury and Sandor Clegane had to settle for second and third place respectively.

Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup (Grade 1) – 15:30

Winner: Galopin Des Champs

Race Highlights:

The Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup is the headline race of the day, and it didn’t disappoint.

It was Ahoy Senior who took the lead to start the race, with Hewick in second. This lead was maintained until there were 5 hurdles remaining, where he was forced to exit the race following a fall at the hurdle. Chaos then ensued with Galopin Des Champs finally emerging from the field to win the race – the favourite certainly lived up to the billing.

Jockey Paul Townend said (via ITV Racing & The Independent):

“It wasn’t clean sailing that is for sure! Everywhere I went I was running into trouble. A proper, proper horse because he ran three different races and still won a Gold Cup.

“I was delighted to see it all going on in front of me. It gave me a chance to fill him up after making up a lot of ground.

“This race is just different. It brings winning to a different level.”

St. James’ Place Hunters’ Chase – 16:10

Winner: Premier Magic

The 2023 St James’ Place Hunters’ Chase was certainly a memorable and action packed race from start to finish.

Rocky’s Howya had the lead from the start of the race, but this did not last long as Go Go Geronimo took the lead moments later. With 12 hurdles to go, Billaway, who won the 2022 edition of this race suffered a fall and was now out the race. Rocky’s Howya remained in the lead until the final moments of the race when Premier Magic emerged from the chaos to win the race.

The Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase – 16:50

Winner: Impervious

The penultimate race of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival was the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase. Impervious, ridden by Brain Hayes, was the winner come the finish line.

It was Pink Legend who led the way from the start of the race, but by the halfway point it was Zambella who took the lead with Impervious making fine progress. Pink Legend re-took the lead with just two fences to go, but alas would not hold on to the lead with Impervious going on to win the race in comfortable fashion.

Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle– 17:30

Winner: Iroko

The Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle was the race to end what has been an incredible four days of racing at Cheltenham Racecourse.

Hollow Sound led the way for much of the race and, going down the hill West To The Bridge was challenging and they were now level pegging. Iroko was beginning to make progress and went on to take the lead at the very last second just as it looked like it was one of Buddy One and No Ordinary Joe were going to win.

In the end, No Ordinary Joe and Buddy One had to settle for second and third respectively.

With the 2023 Cheltenham Festival now over, we are already looking forward to the next festival in 2024! There is no better way to experience the world class horse racing in style than with one of Eventmasters’ VIP Cheltenham Festival Hospitality Packages!

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