Focus on Cheltenham

They don’t call it the sport of kings for nothing, and horse racing really is a big part of the fabric of british sport. With all of the talk of the premier league and so on, it’s easy to forget how much racing goes on, day in, day out in the UK, and the little (and big!) truimphs that take place at courses all over the country. Big events too, like The Grand National, Royal Ascot, Ebor Festival, the list goes on. Surely though, the jewel in the crown has to the the Cheltenham Festival.

 

This national hunt event has been taking place now since way back in 1860, so to say that it’s steeped in history is an understatement. During the Festival racing takes place each March over four days in front of huge on-course crowds and audiences watching at home. Top drawer Grade I races such as the Queen Mother Champion Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup draw the crowds and attract the very best horse, jockeys, trainers and owners to the course. Such is the atmosphere on-course during the most anticipated races, that the crowd reaction is known as the Cheltenham Roar. In 2016 there were 28 races in total, starting with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on Tuesday and ending with the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase on Sunday.

The most popular race of the festival, taking place on the final day has to be the aforementioned Cheltenham Gold Cup. With total prize money last year of over £550,000 last year it’s certainly one not to be missed. This year’s winner was Sizing John, ridden by Robbie Power and trained by Jessica Harrington. If we go way back to 1990, we can see that the race’s winner, Norton’s Coin, won at 100-1. Not a bad day, by all accounts, to be backing outsiders or following big priced cheltenham tips!

As the Cheltenham Festival attracts the cream of the crop of the racing world, it’s perhaps no surpise then, that the jockeys and trainers are eager to stamp their mark on the festival. Paul Nicholls had a memorable festival run having the most winners to 2004 (4), 2006 (3), 2007 (4), 2008 (3) and 2009 (5). In recent years another respected trainer, Willie Mullins, has been a frequent winner of the accolade. The most stunning individual performance though surely goes to jockey Ruby Walsh. Since 2004 Walsh has won the most races for a mind boggling 11 of those years and a total of 46 individual winners over that period of time. I wouldn’t mind his prize money!

The next Cheltenham Festival starts on Tuesday 13th March 2018 at 1:30pm and ends on Friday 16th March. Be sure to tune in for what is bound to be top horse racing action!

 

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