All the news from Champion Day 2019







Cheltenahm’s Clerk of the Course, Simon Claisse, said: “As expected last night we had some strong gusts of wind, although nothing that would give us any concern about public or racing safety.


“Although we were forecasted a few millimetres of rain falling through the night, that didn’t materialise.


“We are still expecting now a band of rain to come through in the next couple of hours.


“The going on the Chase and Hurdle courses is Good to Soft, Soft in places. We could get up to half an inch, 12 millimetres of rainfall, between now [9.10am] and 11.30am-12 noon. Then it clears through and it’s a much drier afternoon.


“If that rain comes, the ground will go Soft, no doubt about that, but we will wait and see when it arrives.”





1.30pm Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

6 Elixir de Nutz (FR) (Self Certificate, Lame)
















1:30 pm JLT Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (Registered as the Golden Miller) 2m 4f 5y £156,760

1 Capeland (FR) ts 7 11 4 Paul Nicholls Mrs Kathy Stuart Harry Cobden

2 Defi du Seuil (FR) 6 11 4 Philip Hobbs Mr John P. McManus Barry Geraghty

3 Kildisart (IRE) 7 11 4 Ben Pauling Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Daryl Jacob

4 Lostintranslation (IRE) 7 11 4 Colin Tizzard Taylor & O’Dwyer Robbie Power

5 Mengli Khan (IRE) ts 6 11 4 Gordon Elliott Ireland Gigginstown House Stud Jack Kennedy

6 Real Steel (FR) 6 11 4 W. P. Mullins Ireland Sullivan Bloodstock Limited

7 Vinndication (IRE) 6 11 4 Kim Bailey Moremoneythan David Bass

8 Voix du Reve (FR) h 7 11 4 W. P. Mullins Ireland Andrea & Graham Wylie R. Walsh

9 Castafiore (USA) p 6 10 11 Charlie Longsdon Slater Stockwood Nicholson Partnership Paul O’Brien

10 Pravalaguna (FR) 7 10 11 W. P. Mullins Ireland Bruton Street IV

2:10pm Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 7f 213y Weights raised 2lb £100,000

1 Walk To Freedom (IRE) h,ts 9 11 12 Mrs J. Harrington Ireland Whole Of The Moone Syndicate Robbie Power

2 A Toi Phil (FR) ts 9 11 10 Gordon Elliott Ireland Gigginstown House Stud Jack Kennedy

3 Sire du Berlais (FR) ts, p 7 11 9 Gordon Elliott Ireland Mr John P. McManus Barry Geraghty

4 Boyhood (IRE) 8 11 7 Tom George H Stephen Smith & The Gabbertas Family Paddy Brennan

5 Padleyourowncanoe 5 11 6 Colin Tizzard Kevin Corcoran Aaron Pierce Chris Weare Harry Cobden

6 First Assignment (IRE) 6 11 6 Ian Williams The DTTW Partnership Tom O’Brien

7 Eminent Poet 8 11 6 Venetia Williams Mr B. C. Dice Charlie Deutsch

8 Aaron Lad (IRE) 8 11 6 Dr Richard Newland Off The Clock Partners & Dr RDP Newland Charlie Hammond (5)

9 Culture de Sivola (FR) 7 11 5 Nick Williams Larkhills Racing Partnership II Lizzie Kelly (3)

10 Black Mischief ts, p 7 11 5 Harry Fry Tom Chadney and Friends Noel Fehily

11 Not Many Left (IRE) p 6 11 5 Mrs J. Harrington Ireland Robcour Mark Walsh

12 Coole Cody (IRE) ts 8 11 3 Michael Blake Mr W. Clifford Nick Scholfield

13 Theclockisticking (IRE) 7 11 2 Stuart Edmunds Asphalt Reinforcement Services Ltd Ciaran Gethings

14 Thermistocles (IRE) 7 11 1 Joseph Patrick O’Brien Ireland Miss Sarah O’Brien J. J. Slevin

15 Flemcara (IRE) ts 7 11 1 Emma Lavelle Andy & The Frisky Fillies Aidan Coleman

16 Cuneo (FR) 7 11 1 Henry de Bromhead Ireland Gigginstown House Stud Rachael Blackmore

17 Oh Land Abloom (IRE) v,ts 9 11 1 (5lb ex) Neil King Milsom Baker Racing Bryony Frost

18 Wait For Me (FR) 9 11 0 Philip Hobbs Mr Andrew L. Cohen Micheal Nolan

19 Tobefair 9 11 0 Debra Hamer Down The Quay Club Tom Bellamy

20 Samburu Shujaa (FR) 6 11 0 Philip Hobbs Robert & Janet Gibbs Richard Johnson

21 Notwhatiam (IRE) ts 9 10 13 Dan Skelton Hools & Forces Partnership Harry Skelton

22 Champers On Ice (IRE) bl 9 10 13 David Pipe Professor Caroline Tisdall & Bryan Drew Tom Scudamore

23 Abolitionist (IRE) p 11 10 12 Dr Richard Newland M Albon, J A Provan & C E Stedman Sam Twiston-Davies

24 Aspen Colorado (IRE) p 7 10 12 Jonjo O’Neill Mr John P. McManus Jonjo O’Neill Jr. (5)

R25 Mormon (IRE) 6 10 11 Henry de Bromhead Ireland Gigginstown House Stud

R26 Minella Warrior (IRE) ts 7 10 11 Kim Bailey Mrs Julie Martin and David R. Martin David Bass

2:50pm Ryanair Chase (Registered as the Festival Trophy) (Grade 1) 2m 4f 184y £350,000

1 Aso (FR) 9 11 10 Venetia Williams The Bellamy Partnership Charlie Deutsch

2 Balko des Flos (FR) 8 11 10 Henry de Bromhead Ireland Gigginstown House Stud Denis O’Regan

3 Charbel (IRE) ts, p 8 11 10 Kim Bailey Mrs Julie Martin and David R. Martin David Bass

4 Coney Island (IRE) ts 8 11 10 Eddie Harty Ireland Mr John P. McManus Mark Walsh

5 Footpad (FR) 7 11 10 W. P. Mullins Ireland Mr Simon Munir/Mr Isaac Souede Ruby Walsh

6 Frodon (FR) ts 7 11 10 Paul Nicholls Mr P. J. Vogt Bryony Frost

7 Monalee (IRE) 8 11 10 Henry de Bromhead Ireland Mr Barry Maloney Rachael Blackmore

8 Road To Respect (IRE) 8 11 10 Noel Meade Ireland Gigginstown House Stud Sean Flanagan

9 Sub Lieutenant (IRE) ts, p 10 11 10 Henry de Bromhead Ireland Gigginstown House Stud J. J. Slevin

10 Terrefort (FR) 6 11 10 Nicky Henderson Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Daryl Jacob

11 The Storyteller (IRE) 8 11 10 Gordon Elliott Ireland Mrs Pat Sloan Davy Russell

12 Un de Sceaux (FR) 11 11 10 W. P. Mullins Ireland E. O’Connell Paul Townend

3:30pm Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y £325,000

1 Bacardys (FR) 8 11 10 W. P. Mullins Ireland Shanakiel Racing Syndicate Mr P. W. Mullins

2 Bapaume (FR) 6 11 10 W. P. Mullins Ireland Mrs S. Ricci P. Townend

3 Black Op (IRE) ts 8 11 10 Tom George Mr R. S. Brookhouse Noel Fehily

4 Coquin Mans (FR) 7 11 10 W. P. Mullins Ireland Mr George Creighton David Mullins

5 Faugheen (IRE) 11 11 10 W. P. Mullins Ireland Mrs S. Ricci R. Walsh

6 Keeper Hill (IRE) 8 11 10 Warren Greatrex McNeill Family Richard Johnson

7 Kilbricken Storm (IRE) ts 8 11 10 Colin Tizzard A Selway & P Wavish Harry Cobden

8 Man of Plenty bl,ts 10 11 10 Sophie Leech Mr G. Thompson Jonathan Burke

9 Nautical Nitwit (IRE) p 10 11 10 Philip Kirby Birrafun 2 Thomas Dowson

10 Paisley Park (IRE) 7 11 10 Emma Lavelle Mr Andrew Gemmell Aidan Coleman

11 Petit Mouchoir (FR) 8 11 10 Henry de Bromhead Ireland Gigginstown House Stud Rachael Blackmore

12 Sam Spinner p 7 11 10 Jedd O’Keeffe Caron & Paul Chapman Joe Colliver

13 Supasundae ts 9 11 10 Mrs J. Harrington Ireland Ann & Alan Potts Limited Robbie Power

14 The Mighty Don (IRE) 7 11 10 Nick Gifford Golden Rose Partnership Leighton Aspell

15 Top Notch (FR) 8 11 10 Nicky Henderson Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Daryl Jacob

16 West Approach 9 11 10 Colin Tizzard John and Heather Snook Tom Scudamore

17 Wholestone (IRE) 8 11 10 Nigel Twiston-Davies Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Sam Twiston-Davies

18 Yanworth bl 9 11 10 Alan King Mr John P. McManus Barry Geraghty



4:10 pm Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m 4f 184y Weights raised 5lb £110,000

1 Janika (FR) 6 11 12 Nicky Henderson Mr Simon Munir & Mr Isaac Souede Daryl Jacob

2 River Wylde (IRE) 8 11 6 Nicky Henderson Grech & Parkin Nico de Boinville

3 Spiritofthegames (IRE) p 7 11 3 Dan Skelton Mr N. W. Lake Harry Skelton

4 Modus 9 11 3 Paul Nicholls Mr John P. McManus Barry Geraghty

5 Kalondra (IRE) ts 8 11 3 Neil Mulholland Mr J. Henderson (Co Durham) Noel Fehily

6 Valseur Lido (FR) p 10 11 1 Henry de Bromhead Ireland Gigginstown House Stud Rachael Blackmore

7 Kauto Riko (FR) 8 11 1 Tom Gretton Mr and Mrs J.Dale and Partners David Noonan

8 Bigmartre (FR) p 8 11 0 Harry Whittington Mr P. J. Dixon Gavin Sheehan

9 Polidam (FR) 10 10 13 W. P. Mullins Ireland Mr Simon Munir/Mr Isaac Souede P. Townend

10 Ballyhill (FR) 8 10 12 Nigel Twiston-Davies S Such & CG Paletta Sam Twiston-Davies

11 Bouvreuil (FR) h,ts 8 10 12 Ben Haslam Mr John P. McManus Richie McLernon

12 Siruh du Lac (FR) 6 10 11 Nick Williams John White & Anne Underhill Lizzie Kelly (3)

13 Some Buckle (IRE) ts 10 10 10 Richard Bandey Mr S. W. Dunn Harry Bannister

14 Templehills (IRE) h 8 10 10 Nigel Twiston-Davies Oi Digital Limited Tom Bellamy

15 Doitforthevillage (IRE) ts 10 10 10 Paul Henderson The Rockbourne Partnership Paddy Brennan

16 Voix d’Eau (FR) ts, p 9 10 9 Lucinda Russell Mr J Fyffe & Mr Gerry McGladery Callum Bewley

17 Testify (IRE) bl 8 10 9 Donald McCain Mr Trevor Hemmings William Kennedy

18 Gardefort (FR) 10 10 7 Venetia Williams Kate & Andrew Brooks

19 Azzerti (FR) 7 10 7 Alan King McNeill Family and Prodec Networks Ltd Wayne Hutchinson

20 Romain de Senam (FR) h,ts 7 10 7 Paul Nicholls Mr Chris Giles & Mr Dan Macdonald Harry Cobden

21 Eamon An Cnoic (IRE) ts, p 8 10 7 David Pipe The Angove Family Tom Scudamore

22 Splash of Ginge 11 10 7 Nigel Twiston-Davies Mr J. D. Neild Jamie Bargary

23 King’s Odyssey (IRE) 10 10 7 Evan Williams Mr & Mrs William Rucker Adam Wedge

24 Didero Vallis (FR) 6 10 5 Venetia Williams Lady Bolton Charlie Deutsch

4:50pm National Hunt Breeders Supported By Tattersalls Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (Registered as The Dawn Run) 2m 179y £90,000

1 Posh Trish (IRE) 6 11 7 Paul Nicholls Highclere T’Bred Racing – Posh Trish Harry Cobden

2 Queenohearts (IRE) 6 11 7 Stuart Edmunds The Sherington Partnership Ciaran Gethings

3 Sancta Simona (FR) h,ts 6 11 7 W. P. Mullins Ireland Mr John P. McManus Mark Walsh

4 Sinoria (IRE) 6 11 7 Henry de Bromhead Ireland Mr K. Alexander Rachael Blackmore

5 Awayinthewest (IRE) 7 11 5 P. A. Fahy Ireland Mrs Una Brady

6 Court Maid (IRE) 6 11 5 Thomas Mullins Ireland Rory F. Larkin David Mullins

7 Lust For Glory (IRE) 6 11 5 Nicky Henderson Grech & Parkin Nico de Boinville

8 Presidente Line (FR) 5 11 5 Alain Couetil France Ecurie Cerdeval & Elevage Couetil Alexis Poirier

9 Tintangle (IRE) p 6 11 5 Gordon Elliott Ireland Gigginstown House Stud Jack Kennedy

10 Allez Dance (FR) 5 11 2 W. P. Mullins Ireland Mr Simon Munir/Mr Isaac Souede Daryl Jacob

11 Black Tears 5 11 2 Gordon Elliott Ireland Mrs C Walsh/Mr J Lightfoot Davy Russell

12 Buildmeupbuttercup 5 11 2 W. P. Mullins Ireland Mr J. Turner Brian Hayes

13 Concertista (FR) 5 11 2 W. P. Mullins Ireland Mr Simon Munir/Mr Isaac Souede

14 Dame du Soir (FR) 6 11 2 David Bridgwater CWB Plus 1 Partnership Tom Scudamore

15 Diamond Gait ts 6 11 2 Kim Bailey Mr Norman Carter David Bass

16 Eglantine du Seuil (FR) 5 11 2 W. P. Mullins Ireland Sullivan Bloodstock Limited Noel Fehily

17 Elfile (FR) 5 11 2 W. P. Mullins Ireland Mr K. Alexander P. Townend

18 Elusive Belle (IRE) h 5 11 2 Nicky Henderson Mr Robert Waley-Cohen Mr Sam Waley-Cohen

19 Emily Moon (IRE) 5 11 2 Mrs J. Harrington Ireland Mrs P. Myerscough Robbie Power

20 Epatante (FR) h 5 11 2 Nicky Henderson Mr John P. McManus Barry Geraghty

21 Indefatigable (IRE) 6 11 2 Paul Webber Mr Philip Rocher & Mr John B. O’Connor Gavin Sheehan

22 My Sister Sarah (IRE) 5 11 2 W. P. Mullins Ireland Barnane Stud R. Walsh

5:30pm Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase 3m 2f 75y Weights raised 1lb £70,000

1 Livelovelaugh (IRE) 9 11 12 W. P. Mullins Ireland Mrs S. Ricci Mr P. W. Mullins

2 Any Second Now (IRE) bl 7 11 11 T. M. Walsh Ireland Mr John P. McManus Mr Derek O’Connor

3 The Young Master p 10 11 10 Neil Mulholland Mike Burbidge & The Old Masters Mr Sam Waley-Cohen

4 Pearl Royale (IRE) 7 11 9 Nigel Hawke Air Cdre&Mrs M R Hallam&Mark Phillips Mr Kieren Buckley (7)

5 Out Sam v,ts 10 11 8 Gordon Elliott Ireland Mr D Charlesworth Mr Robert James (7)

6 Crievehill (IRE) 7 11 8 Nigel Twiston-Davies Highclere T’Bred Racing- Crievehill Mr Zac Baker

7 Perfect Candidate (IRE) p 12 11 8 Fergal O’Brien ISL Recruitment Miss Brodie Hampson

8 Kilfilum Cross (IRE) 8 11 7 Henry Oliver Andy Bell & Fergus Lyons Mr Alex Edwards

9 Speaker Connolly (IRE) 6 11 7 Alan Fleming Ireland Mr Barry Connell Mr Richard Deegan

10 Arkwrisht (FR) ts 9 11 6 Joseph Patrick O’Brien Ireland Gigginstown House Stud Mr T. Hamilton

11 No Comment h 8 11 6 Philip Hobbs Mr John P. McManus Mr M. J. O’Hare

12 Squouateur (FR) ts 8 11 6 Ben Haslam Mr John P. McManus Mr Harley Dunne

13 Measureofmydreams (IRE) 11 11 5 Gordon Elliott Ireland T. Howley Jnr/A. J. O’Ryan/D. McDonnell Mr J. J. Codd

14 Sumkindofking (IRE) ts 8 11 5 Tom George Mr D. W. Fox Mr Noel George (3)

15 Rogue Angel (IRE) bl,ts 11 11 5 Gordon Elliott Ireland Gigginstown House Stud Ms L. O’Neill

16 Just A Sting (IRE) 7 11 5 Harry Fry Nigel & Barbara Collison Mr Michael Legg

17 Ah Littleluck (IRE) ts 9 11 3 T. Gibney Ireland Kevin Haigney Mr N. McParlan

18 Captain Chaos (IRE) bl 8 11 3 Dan Skelton Mike and Eileen Newbould Miss Gina Andrews

19 Treackle Tart (IRE) 7 11 3 Charlie Longsdon Bradley Partnership Mr Eoin O’Brien (3)

20 Sky Pirate 6 11 2 Jonjo O’Neill Lady Bamford & Alice Bamford Mr Tommie M. O’Brien

21 Uhlan Bute (FR) p 11 11 1 Venetia Williams The Autumn Partnership Miss Lucy Turner (5)

22 Touch Kick (IRE) ts 8 11 1 Paul Nicholls Mr Trevor Hemmings Mr William Biddick

23 Its All Guesswork (IRE) ts 7 11 1 Gordon Elliott Ireland Philip J. Reynolds Mr Barry O’Neill

24 Drumconnor Lad (IRE) v,ts 9 11 1 A. P. Keatley Ireland Mr D. Keys Mr Finian Maguire

R25 Morney Wing (IRE) ts, p 10 10 12 Charlie Mann The Steeple Chasers

R26 Se Mo Laoch (IRE) p 8 10 12 Brian McMahon Ireland Coalbrook Racing Syndicate Mr Eoin Mahon (5) Tu6.








The going has changed to Soft from Good to Soft, Soft in Places after five millimetres of rainfall up to 11.21am.


A further five millimetres of precipitation is expected before racing commences at 1.30pm.


The forecast is predicting continuing blustery showers through the afternoon.




1.30pm Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

6 Elixir de Nutz (FR) (Self Certificate, Lame)

16 Tokay Dokey (IRE) (Self Certificate, Stiff)




Champion jockey Richard Johnson has been given the all clear to take up his three rides on day one of The Festival™ presented by Magners.


Johnson was stood down by the racecourse doctor at Taunton on Monday after he was unseated by Sandy Boy in the three-mile handicap chase and brought down another runner.


He has been passed fit by the Cheltenham doctor this morning and rides Thomas Darby in the G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (1.30), Lalor in the G1 Racing Post Arkle Chase (2.10) and Springtown Lake in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase (4.50).


Johnson has ridden 23 winners at The Festival™. His rides later in the week include Native River, on whom he will bid to repeat last year’s win in the G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.




Twenty-one years since his last winner at The Festival, Deep Run is still at the top of the table of the meeting’s leading sires.


The 14-time champion Jump stallion has 16 victories at The Festival to his credit from 13 individuals, the first being Kilcoleman in the 1977 County Handicap Hurdle and the latest Unguided Missile in the 1998 National Hunt Chase.


But two champions of the modern era are snapping at his heels, each with chances of equalling or bettering his total this week. Presenting and King’s Theatre have both sired the winners of 15 races at The Festival from 12 individuals.


Next on The Festival sires’ leaderboard is Robin Des Champs, with 14 victories, but from just five individuals. He is followed by Fortina (13 wins, 10 winners), Vulgan (13 wins, 13 winners) and Oscar (13 wins, 12 winners). Like Presenting and King’s Theatre, Robin Des Champs and Oscar will have runners this week.


Strong Gale (12 victories from 10 individuals) comes next, with Accordion and Bob Back on nine victories, King Hal on eight, and nine horses on seven: Flemensfirth, Kayf Tara, Sadler’s Wells, Old Vic, Domaha, Jackdaw, Achtoi, Archive, Van and Werwolf. The old-time sires deserve extra credit, as there were fewer opportunities during their smaller three-day Festival (The Festival went to four days in 2005).


In terms of individual Festival winners, Deep Run and Vulgan are tied at the top on 13, with King’s Theatre, Oscar and Presenting all on 12. Grade One honours belong to Presenting, whose 15 Festival victories include nine from six individuals at the highest level, followed by King’s Theatre, Oscar and Deep Run, each with eight Grade One (or equivalent championship races in Deep Run’s case) wins from seven individuals.


Since the first Cheltenham Festival in 1911, only six stallions have sired three winners at any one meeting: Archive (1965), Deep Run (1986), Accordion (2008), King’s Theatre (2012, Beneficial (2013) and most recently Kayf Tara in 2016.


Kayf Tara’s treble is unique – he is the only stallion with three Grade One (or championship equivalent) winners at the same Festival: Thistlecrack (Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle), Blaklion (RSA Novices’ Chase) and Ballyandy (Weatherbys Champion Bumper).




Possible landmarks for Ladies Day, Wednesday, March 13, at The Festival™ presented by Magners:


Willie Mullins is targeting a fifth victory in the opening G1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (1.30pm) following the successes of Fiveforthree (2008), Mikael d’Haguenet (2009), Faugheen (2014) and Yorkhill (2016). The Closutton handler saddles Easy Game and Castlebawn West this time around.


Rachael Blackmore would be the first female jockey to win the G1 RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase (2.10pm) or the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (3.30pm). She partners the Joseph O’Brien-trained Mortal in the former and Ordinary World for Henry de Bromhead in the two-mile chasing championship.


Nine winners of the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase since 1959 have gone on to win the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup – the most recent of them was Lord Windermere (2013-RSA/2014-MCGC). A 10th, Tied Cottage, won the RSA in 1976 and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1980, but was subsequently disqualified from the latter.


The Willie Mullins-trained Bleu Berry would be the first horse in history to win the G3 Coral Cup (2.50pm) more than once. He captured last year’s renewal under Mark Walsh.


Only two favourites have won the Coral Cup (2.50pm) since its inception in 1993. There have been 10 Irish-trained winners of the two and a half-mile handicap hurdle.


Tiger Roll will gain a fourth victory at The Festival™ presented by Magners if he lands the £65,000 Glenfarclas Chase (4.10pm). Gordon Elliott’s charge has won the G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle (2014), the National Hunt Chase (2017) and last year’s Glenfarclas Chase.


Enda Bolger’s Josies Orders would be the third horse to regain the Glenfarclas Chase (4.10pm) after Garde Champetre (2008 & 2009) and Balthazar King (2012 & 2014). Josies Orders landed the 2016 renewal.


There has only been one British-trained winner of the Glenfarclas Chase. Philip Hobbs’ Balthazar King won the unique contest over the Cross Country fences in 2012 & 2014. Irish-trained horses have won 12 of the 14 renewals.


Ditcheat handler Paul Nicholls is the winning-most trainer in the G3 Boodles Juvenile Novicesd Handicap Hurdle (4.50pm) with three winners, courtesy of Sanctuaire (2010), Qualando (2015) and Diego Du Charmil (2016). He saddles Dogon this time around. Six of the last seven winners have been 25/1 or bigger in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (4.50pm). There has been one winning favourite and one winning joint-favourite in the two-mile contest.


Willie Mullins is seeking a 10th success in the G1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper (5.30pm). He has captured the two-mile flat contest with Wither Or Which (1996), Florida Pearl (1997), Alexander Banquet (1998), Joe Cullen (2000), Missed That (2005), Cousin Vinny (2008), Champagne Fever (2012), Briar Hill (2013) and Relegate (2018). He runs Blue Sari in this year’s renewal.









Trainer Henry de Bromhead confirmed on this morning’s The Opening Show on ITV that talented chaser Monalee will run in the £350,000 G1 Ryanair Chase on St Patrick’s Thursday, March 14 at at The Festival™ presented by Magners.


The eight-year-old son of Milan returned to winning ways with a comfortable two-length success in the G2 Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park in February over two miles and four furlongs, having previously chased home Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Kemboy in the three-mile G1 Savills Chase at Leopardstown in December.


Monalee has finished second over three miles in both the G1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (2017) and the G1 RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase (2018) at The Festival™ presented by Magners and connections have decided to drop back in trip this time around for the two mile and five-furlong G1 event.


Explaining the decision, de Bromhead revealed: “Monalee will run in the Ryanair Chase and will be ridden by Rachael Blackmore.


“Hopefully, we have made the right decision to run in that race and if the rain does continue to come, I wouldn’t be concerned about him over that trip.


“Monalee is in very good form, he won well at Gowran Park the other day and has enjoyed a great season.


“We have tried him over three miles twice at the Cheltenham Festival in the past and we’ll drop him back a little bit and see whether he can win this time around.”


Monalee, owned by Barry Maloney, is a general 4/1 shot for the G1 Ryanair Chase.




























The wait is finally over! Day one of The Festival™ presented by Magners has arrived with punters and bookmakers set to do battle with 28 races over four exhilarating days of action.


Today’s championship contest is the G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle (3.30pm) in which the Nicky Henderson-trained Buveur D’Air bids to become the sixth horse to win three consecutive renewals of the two-mile hurdling showpiece and the first since Istabraq (1998, 1999 & 2000) to complete the feat. The eight-year-old son of Crillon has won two of his three starts this term, but suffered a shock reversal to stable companion and fellow Unibet Champion Hurdle hope, Verdana Blue, in the G1 Unibet Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park. Buveur D’Air is an 11/4 shot with the sponsor, with Apple’s Jade, who captured her 10th G1 win in the Irish Champion Hurdle last time out, the 2/1 favourite for Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy. With the rain continuing to fall at Cheltenham, the Willie Mullins-trained Laurina is the main market mover. Unbeaten in two starts this term, she is a 3/1 shot from 10/3 with Unibet.


In the traditional Festival curtain-raiser, the £125,000 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (1.30pm), Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Al Dancer is a solid favourite at 7/2 with the sponsor. Successful in each of his four starts this term, the six-year-old son of Al Namix captured the G3 Betfair Hurdle on his latest start at Ascot. Nicky Henderson has two live hopes in the shape of Dovecote Novices’ Hurdle second Angels Breath (4/1) and the well-supported Mister Fisher, an 11/1 shot from 14/1 with SkyBet, who landed the G2 Sky Bet Rossington Main Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock Park last time out. Sky Bet will give all customers their money back (£20) in cash if their horse does not win.


Hardline has been one of the best-backed horses in the run-up to The Festival 2019 and he has continued to attract support this morning ahead of the G1 Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase (2.10pm). A G1 winner at Limerick on Boxing Day, the seven-year-old son of Arcadio is a 9/2 shot from 5/1 with Unibet. Amy Murphy’s Kalashnikov finished a neck second in the 2018 renewal of the G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, but he has made an inauspicious start to life over fences despite two victories in four starts. Despite concerns about his jumping, the six-year-old son of Kalanisi will enjoy the soft conditions and is an 8/1 shot from 10/1 with Paddy Power.


The ultra-competitive Ultima Handicap Chase (2.50pm) has attracted a field stacked with handicap experience. Willie Mullins’ Up For Review, an eye-catching third in the Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran Park in January, is the one for money, constricting in price to 8/1 from 10/1 with Unibet for the three miles and one furlong event.


Benie Des Dieux is bidding to retain her G1 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (4.10pm) crown this afternoon and is seen as one of the Irish “bankers” of the week in the two miles and four-furlong contest. Not seen since capturing a G1 event at Punchestown in April, she is a solid 11/10 favourite with Sky Bet.


In the Listed Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase (4.50pm), Alan King’s Good Man Pat, third in G2 company at Kempton last time out, has attracted each-way money into 12/1 from 14/1 with Paddy Power and Unibet.


Nicky Henderson’s OK Corral has been earmarked as a potential Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup horse of the future, but he has proved weak in the betting markets this morning for the concluding G2 National Hunt Chase over four miles, drifting out to 4/1 from 11/4 with Unibet. Ballyward, trained by Willie Mullins and a facile winner at Naas last time out, is the 5/2 market leader.


Market Movers


1.30pm G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – Mister Fisher 11/1 from 14/1 (Unibet)

2.10pm G1 Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase – Hardline 9/2 from 5/1 (Unibet) & Kalashnikov 8/1 from 10/1 (Paddy Power)

2.50pm G3 Ultima Handicap Chase – Up For Review 8/1 from 10/1 (Unibet)

3.30pm G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle – Laurina 3/1 from 10/3 (Unibet)

4.50pm Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase – Good Man Pat 12/1 from 14/1 (Paddy Power & Unibet)












The second day of The Festival™ presented by Magners, tomorrow, Wednesday, March 13, could be under threat due to wind speeds of around 50 miles per hour which might affect temporary structures at the racecourse.


Clerk of the Course Simon Claisse said at 12:40pm: “We wanted to give everyone an early insight into conditions for tomorrow as the forecast is looking challenging, with strong gusting winds throughout the day.


“We are continually monitoring the situation and will keep racegoers informed as the conditions present themselves.”




Horse Racing Ireland hosted a press conference at Cheltenham this morning with jockeys Keith Donoghue, Jonathan Burke and Danny Mullins looking ahead to The Festival™ presented by Magners.


Donoghue tasted success at last year’s meeting aboard Tiger Roll, who bids for a fourth win at The Festival in tomorrow’s Glenfarclas Chase (4.10pm), which he won last year. Gordon Elliott’s charge went on to land the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree in April under Davy Russell, but Donoghue has been delighted with the nine-year-old son of Authorized’s preparation ahead of the unique contest over the Cross Country fences. Tiger Roll was an impressive victor of the Boyne Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs on his latest start and the jockey is relishing the prospect of recording another success at The Festival™ presented by Magners.


He said: “Tiger Roll is in great form and I’m looking to riding him tomorrow. This is the place where you want to be riding and it’s exciting. You want to be coming to Cheltenham on a horse which has a live chance.


“If we get a nice run around like we did last year and a bit of luck, then hopefully he can win again. You could arguably say he is a better horse this year, having won a Grand National and now a Boyne Hurdle.


“It was a brilliant day last year and it meant a lot to win that event.”


Donoghue also rides out G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle hope Apple’s Jade every day and he was bullish about her chances in this afternoon’s two-mile hurdling championship.


He continued: “Apple’s Jade is biting and kicking and when she is like that, she is on a going day. When she goes to kick you in the morning, then you know she is on a going day.


“The more she is on her toes then the better she is. I think she’s good enough to win a Champion Hurdle and her form this year has been superb.”


The rider also added that Delta Work, trained by Gordon Elliott, is his biggest fancy of the week in tomorrow’s G1 RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase.


Jonathan Burke has a live hope this afternoon in the shape of the Mick Channon-trained Glen Forsa, who is currently shading favouritism in the two-mile G1 Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase (2.10pm). The seven-year-old son of Mahler is unbeaten in three starts over fences and he recorded a bloodless success in the G2 Kingmaker Novices’ Chase at Sandown Park on his latest start.


Burke commented: “I do think Glen Forsa could win the Arkle. He won well at Chepstow in November and then backed it up at Kempton over Christmas, and was then very impressive in the Kingmaker at Sandown.


“He has got better with every run and he enjoyed the drop back in trip last time out. Visually, his most impressive performance was at Sandown last time.


“Glen Forsa is a very straightforward ride, is not keen and we know that he stays. Soft ground will also suit him, so he has a lot of positives – it would be unbelievable to have a winner at Cheltenham.”


Danny Mullins is aboard Scarpeta (Willie Mullins) in tomorrow’s G3 Coral Cup, who would have “an each-way chance” according to Mullins. The jockey also said Benie Des Dieux is the Irish banker of the week in today’s G1 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle.


Looking ahead to Friday and Jump Racing’s Blue Riband event, the £625,000 G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup (3.30pm), both Burke & Donoghue are keen on the chances of Pat Kelly’s Presenting Percy. Mullins is sweet on recent Irish Gold Cup winner Bellshill.



Buveur D’Air and a pair of mares give the racing press its opening-day angle when The Festival™ presented by Magners opens at Cheltenham racecourse this afternoon.


The apparent three-way thrash for the £450,000 G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle – which involves a total of 10 runners – sees the race’s dual-winning gelding Buveur D’Air face feminine opposition from Apple’s Jade and Laurina, plus his own female stablemate Verdana Blue. It is as if today’s G1 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle had yet to be invented.


‘Ready for the Roarrr?’ is the Daily Mirror’s way of igniting its coverage of The Festival – although you would have to stand among the crowd just before today’s first race to understand which roar is being referred to – and the paper’s Newsboy leans towards Buveur D’Air in a column headlined ‘D’Air Force’. Jon Freeman of i is another who tips Buveur D’Air.


The front cover of the Racing Post tees up today’s big race under the headline ‘D’Air to dream’, and while Verdana Blue beat Buveur D’Air by a short head in Kempton’s G1 Unibet Christmas Hurdle, their trainer, Nicky Henderson, is quoted by the paper as saying: “You’d be a bit wild not to expect the places to be reversed.” Barry Geraghty, quoted by Marcus Townend in the Daily Mail, says of Buveur D’Air: “This fella is the best hurdler I have ridden,” but that does not sway Captain Wessex, the Western Daily Press’s tipster, who sides with Apple’s Jade. The Western Daily Press gives fulsome coverage to The Festival, and wanders down memory lane to record victories by such giants as Desert Orchid, Brave Inca and Viking Flagship.


‘Look to Laurina’, is the Daily Express’s suggestion, and the Racing Post’s guest columnist, Willie Mullins, who trains that mare, admits: “It will be a stiff ask stepping into the big league for the first time.” The same paper quotes a typically pithy Ruby Walsh saying: “It’s impossible to know how good she might be.”


Walsh has surpassed all others to become the ‘face of Cheltenham’, at least in the eyes of his sponsors and sections of the press. Today’s Daily Star gives him a Prince [as in the pop star] makeover for a two-page spread of rock ‘n roll text and pictures. The same paper, which raced ahead of the curve to produce a cracking 24-page racing pull-out on Monday, follows up with a 16-pager that leads with a shot of Apple’s Jade and the headline ‘Apples n D’Airs’.


Walsh, 40 in May, also features in an interview with the Daily Mirror’s David Yates, in which he ponders retirement, but says: “You’re living the dream, so you keep chasing the dream.”


The appeal of women’s input to the sport continues to produce column inches. Rachael Blackmore could well become the star of this year’s Festival, but until then it is the ebullient Bryony Frost to whom the press turn to for a quote. Paul Hayward interviews Frost for The Daily Telegraph and The Irish Independent, claiming: “This is an interview not with a woman jockey but a top National Hunt rider . . . gender is incidental to what Frost brings to Jump racing.”

ITV Racing presenter Francesca Cumani smells a female takeover, and in a column in The Times she writes: “I think it could be all about the girls.” The Times also produces an interesting series of photographs under the headline, ‘Art meets science: how a horse jumps’.


Frost’s jockey colleague at Paul Nicholls’ Somerset yard, Harry Cobden, is interviewed by Donald McRae in The Guardian. On the indecipherable subject of falls, and why Jump jockeys apparently face them with such cool philosophy, Cobden says: “The more falls you have the more you cope with pain. When I was 16 it hurt every time I hit the deck. Now I just try to brush it off.”


Cobden cannot be missed in the news pages of the Daily Star, where he can be found sitting astride his Magners Gold Cup hope Clan Des Obeaux, who is partly-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson. ‘Bookies fear Fergie’s Time . . .’ runs the headline.


The Daily Telegraph’s Alan Tyers chats to Richard Hoiles, ITV’s lead commentator, and clearly someone who has observed others of his ilk. He tells Tyers: “You have to communicate the atmosphere, but there is nothing worse that just being told how wonderful everything is.” He adds: “That is the crux, to always leave yourself somewhere else to go [when commentating].”


No doubt Rupert Bell, who commentates for Talksport, and is the subject of an interview in The Sun, would concur. The Sun, which published a 16-page racing pull-out 24 hours before The Festival commenced, leaves it to tipster Steve Jones to solve the Unibet Champion Hurdle – he is another Apple’s Jade fan.




The biggest field since 2006 will line up for the Grade One Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle on Thursday (March 14) – and the 18-runner race could provide the most emotional story of The Festival™ presented by Magners 2019.


The EmmaLavelle-trainedPaisley Park, who took the G2 Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January, is owned by ardent racing fan Andrew Gemmell, who has been blind since birth and developed his love of the sport by listening to race commentaries as a schoolboy.


Although Lavelle has trained two winners at The Festival – Crack Away Jack, 2008 Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle and Pause And Clause, 2010 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle – she has not yet managed a winner of one of the meeting’s championship contests. PaisleyPark, who overcome a severe bout of colic two years ago, is currently favourite to achieve that goal. He will be ridden by Aidan Coleman.


Willie Mullins, victorious in this race last year with Penhill, sends out a strong team of four for the three-mile contest, headed by 10-time Grade One winner Faugheen (Ruby Walsh). The 11-year-old is now in the twilight of a brilliant career, but if he can capture some of the old magic he could still be a serious threat to Paisley Park. Mullins’ remaining trio are Bacardys – a G1 winner over two miles four furlongs as a novice – Bapaume, second to Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy last time out, and Coquin Mans. Patrick Mullins, Paul Townend and David Mullins will be in the saddle respectively.


Two other top Irish trainers are represented in the Sun Racing Stayer’s Hurdle – Jessica Harrington runs Supasundae (Robbie Power), runner-up to Penhill in the race last year and winner of the Coral Cup at the 2017 Festival, while Henry de Bromhead steps up Petit Mouchoir (Rachael Blackmore), third behind Apple’s Jade in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown last month, to three miles for the first time.


Tom George trains just a few miles away from Cheltenham, and Black Op (Noel Fehily) would be a popular local winner. The eight-year-old was third behind PaisleyPark in the Cleeve Hurdle in January and a G1 winner over two miles four furlongs at Aintree last spring.


Another local trainer, Nigel Twiston-Davies, trained Wholestone to take third place in this race in 2018, and the eight-year-old will be ridden this year by Nigel’s son Sam, who won on him at Aintree in November.


Nicky Henderson may have 60 Festival winners to his name, but he hasn’t taken the Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle since Bacchanal’s victory in 2000. Top Notch, a good winner over fences last time out at Kempton but only third behind PaisleyPark in the G1 JLT Hurdle at Ascot in December, is his representative this year under Daryl Jacob.


Colin Tizzard, successful in this race with Thistlecrack in 2016, sends forward both Kilbricken Storm (Harry Cobden), winner of the G1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle over course and distance at The Festival 2018, and West Approach (Tom Scudamore), runner-up to PaisleyPark on both of his most recent outings.


The Alan King-trained Yanworth was second here in the G1 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle in 2016, and won a G1 hurdle over three miles at Aintree in 2017, but only finished sixth in this race last year and pulled up on his only outing of this season. He will be ridden by Barry Geraghty.


Nick Gifford’s The Mighty Don (Leighton Aspell) won over course and distance in October, but was beaten 53 lengths into 10th place behind PaisleyPark in the Cleeve Hurdle in January.


Sam Spinner started this contest as favourite in 2018 after a three-mile G1 win but finished fifth for trainer Jedd O’Keeffe. His three runs this winter have included two unseatings of jockey Joe Colliver.


Cole Harden gave trainer Warren Greatrex a Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle triumph in 2015 and Greatrex returns this year with Keeper Hill, a winner over three miles and a furlong at Warwick in January. Champion jockey Richard Johnson will ride him.


Sophie Leech is looking for a first Festival training success courtesy of outsider Man Of Plenty (Thomas Dowson), as is Philip Kirby (Nautical Nitwit, Jonathan Burke).




Four-times G1-winning novice Footpad has two previous winners of the race among his 11 rivals when he bids to follow up last year’s G1 Racing Post Arkle Chase win in what looks a particularly strong G1 Ryanair Chase on day three of The Festival™ presented by Magners. He will be ridden by Ruby Walsh.


Willie Mullins’ top-class seven-year-old had Tuesday’s G1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase as an option at the start of the week, but instead he takes on his stable-mate Un De Sceaux, who won the 2017 Ryanair, and Balko Des Flos, who beat Un De Sceaux in the race 12 months ago.


Footpad has had an interrupted second season over fences and the Ryanair, which carries total prize money of £350,000, will be only his third start. He incurred an overreach and looked in trouble when falling at the last at Naas in November, and he was narrowly beaten by Simply Ned at Leopardstown at the end of December, but on his novice form he is arguably the one to beat.


Paul Townend rides Un De Sceaux, who is making his fifth successive appearance at the meeting, having won the Arkle in 2015 and been second to Sprinter Sacre in the following year’s Queen Mother. He too has had a limited campaign, having not been out since his reappearance second to Altior in the G1 Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in December, but the softer ground should suit him ideally.


The Henry De Bromhead-trained Balko Des Flos has not won since last year’s Ryanair and is among the outsiders this time, punters much preferring his stable-mate Monalee, who was second to Presenting Percy in last year’s G1 RSA Chase and successfully dropped back to the Ryanair’s shorter trip when ridden by Rachael Blackmore for the first time in a G3 chase at Gowran Park last month. De Bromhead also saddles Sub Lieutenant, who has been in the frame in the last two Ryanairs.


Noel Meade’s Road To Respect, fourth in last year’s G1 Gold Cup, is yet another strong challenger from Ireland.


The Paul Nicholls-trained Frodon, who was winning for a fourth time at Cheltenham and a fourth time for Bryony Frost when beating Elegant Escape in the G2 BetBright Trial Chase on Festival Trials Day, January 26, is the shortest-priced British challenger. Nicholls is bidding for a third win in the Ryanair but was last successful in 2007 with Taranis.


Nicky Henderson is represented by Terrefort, who like Footpad races for owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede.








Klassical Dream, a hugely impressive winner of the G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, gave his trainer Willie Mullins the perfect start The Festival™ presented by Magners. It was a record 62nd Festival success for Mullins and a sixth in this race.


Klassical Dream also fulfilled the dreams of his late owner, John Coleman, by providing him with a first winner at The Festival.


Ridden by Ruby Walsh, the Dream Well five-year-old – now owned by John Coleman’s wife Jo – won by four and a half lengths at 6/1 from 28/1 chance Thomas Darby (Olly Murphy and Richard Johnson).


Mullins said: “It’s terrific. He’s a good horse. We took a risk running him on goodish firm ground at home, but we thought he had a fair engine all along. We debated whether we’d need to go for the other race [the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle over two miles and five furlongs] but when we saw the rain forecast, we decided to come for this [over two miles].


“It’s a very poignant victory for us. John Coleman had a lot of cheaper horses with me and then he retired and sold his business two years ago and said, ‘here’s a few quid – go and buy me a Cheltenham horse, and this is the horse. Jo [his wife] and his family are here today and it is fantastic; a very emotional victory. John and myself had many a good night and Jo and family will be invited over for a few tears and beers to celebrate this winner. I’m delighted it happened for the family.


“Klassical Dream was well within his own cruising speed travelling there, so he looks a real one, especially in this type of ground, and we know he can go up in trip no problem. He’s a very, very good horse. His work last weekend at the Curragh, we came away thinking here’s one who will take a lot of beating at Cheltenham, no matter what he came up against.”




Racehorse owner Jo Coleman travelled to The Festival™ today from her home in Essex with her late husband, and not just in a spiritual sense.


John Coleman died last summer from bone marrow cancer, but his wife was so keen to fulfil his wish of seeing Klassical Dream run at the meeting that she carried some of his ashes in her handbag. The fates were smiling on them, as their horse (6/1) romped to victory in the G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle for trainer Ruby Walsh and jockey Ruby Walsh.


Mrs Coleman said: “It seems such a shock to be here to see John’s horse run, let alone win. He bought Klassical Dream two years ago and dreamed he might be a good horse, and he’s proved it. He never got to see the horse run at all.


“I didn’t really watch the race, I just listened to the boys around me getting more and more excited as the race went on. I was too nervous to watch.


“John was a Willie Mullins’ fanatic, which is why he put his horses with Willie.


“I don’t know I can put into words how I feel, but it has blown our minds. It’s mind-blowing. I’ve bought some of John’s ashes with me because he said he wanted to be here, but he knew his time was limited. I wanted to make sure he got here.”


Mark Smith, who has acted in the role of racing manager to Mrs Coleman, said: “John was my best mate, and we had been coming to Cheltenham together for about 30 years. He always dreamed of having a decent horse to run at the meeting, and then he went and died just when that horse arrived.”




Ruby Walsh & Willie Mullins made the perfect start to The Festival™ presented by Magners as they teamed up to land a sixth £625,000 G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle courtesy of 6/1 shot Klassical Dream.


The five-year-old son of Dream Well took the lead in the middle stages of the race and jumped with aplomb in the home straight to scamper clear of his rivals and score by four and a half-lengths from Olly Murphy’s stable companions Thomas Darby (25/1) and Itchy Feet (25/1), who was a further half-length behind in third.


Walsh, registering his 59th winner overall at The Festival was impressed with the performance of the gelding who emulate future stars such as Douvan and Vautour, both also trained by Mullins, in winning the two-mile G1 event.

Klassical Dream was responsible for the false start before the contest and Walsh said: “Klassical Dream barged into the tape which wasn’t ideal, but second time around, I got a good start and he jumped brilliant.


“He was magical and very professional at his hurdles. At the top of the hill, I could hear a couple of others tapping away and I was thinking I’m going better than those immediately behind me which gave me confidence.


“We thought he would get two and a half miles, so I thought in the home straight that he would obviously get home in this race.


“This is tinged with sadness – John Coleman had waited a long time to get a couple of good horses, then he came across this fella and unfortunately passed away before he got to see him race


“John was a real racegoer and a lovely man. His wife and kids are here today, but I am sorry for him. I am sure he is looking down on us. This is what he dreamt of and he is not here to see it.”


Klassical Dream was originally going to run in the G1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle tomorrow, Wednesday, March 13, before connections decided to switch to today’s two-mile event.


Walsh continued: “This horse worked last Tuesday and we were very happy with him and then that’s where we sort of decided where we wanted to go. I thought Al Dancer and Angels Breath were easier than the horses to take on in the Ballymore. We made a call and sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong, but that was the decision we made.


“We left it late and, having looked at the forecast, plumped for this race. We were a bit anxious this morning when it had not rained but it came in time for us.


“It is a fair relief to have a winner already. This lad has really improved from his run at Leopardstown last time.”


1.30pm Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)

1 Klassical Dream (Joanne Coleman) Willie Mullins IRE 5-11-07 Ruby Walsh 6/1

2 Thomas Darby (Diana Whateley) Olly Murphy 6-11-07 Richard Johnson 28/1

3 Itchy Feet (Andrew & Kate Brooks) Olly Murphy 5-11-07 Gavin Sheehan 25/1

9/2jf Fakir D’Oudairies (4th), Al Dancer (10th)

16 ran

Distances: 4½, ½

Time: 3m 59.56s

Tote Win: £6.70 Places: £2.40, £6.20, £5.50 Exacta: £250.50

Willie Mullins – 62nd winner at The Festival

Ruby Walsh – 59th winner at The Festival




Olly Murphy does not enjoy being beaten, but he was as proud as can be after Thomas Darby (28/1) ridden by Richard Johnson, and Itchy Feet (25/1), partnered by Gavin Sheehan, finished second and third behind a winner he described as “a freak” in the G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the traditional opening race of The Festival™ presented by Magners.


Murphy does not go in for ‘social’ runners and had only one representative at the meeting in 2018, which was his first as a trainer.


After Thomas Darby and Itchy Feet had come from off the pace to chase home the impressive Klassical Dream on ground that did not play to their strengths he said: “The ground wasn’t ideal for the pair of them and they’ve both run fantastic races. I’m never happy finishing second and third, but I’m delighted for them both, as they’ve done me proud and are horses who will win loads of races.”


He added: “I’m not in a massive rush with them, but they might have one more run, either at Aintree or even Punchestown, but you won’t see the best of them until they jump a fence.


“They were big prices, but there was no fluke about that as they are two good horses. They might just get the credit they deserve now. They are two lovely horses, and Thomas Darby in particular is still so raw. We’d never beat the winner, who looked a freak, but we had a nice bunch of horses behind us.”


Thomas Darby was beaten four and a half-lengths by the winner, with Itchy Feet another half-length back in third.


Murphy, whose father Aiden sourced Thomas Darby, has only one more runner this week. He saddles Brewin’upastorm in Wednesday’s G1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.


Joseph O’Brien was happy enough with the running of fourth-placed Fakir D’Oudairies,  the 9/2 joint favourite with Al Dancer, who was the only four-year-old in the race. “He ran a good race,” he said.




First race, 1.30pm: Sky bet Supreme Novices Hurdle



Gavin Sheehan, rider of the third, Itchy Feet, said: “Soft.”


Sam Twiston-Davies, on Al Dancer, said: “Soft.”


Nico de Boinville, rider of Angels Breath, said: “Heavy.”


Paul Townend, partner of Aramon, said: “Testing.”


Robbie Power, jockey of Beaufort West, said: “Heavy.”


Bryony Frost, on board Brandon Castle, said: “Sloppy soft.”


Sean Flanagan, partner of Felix Desjy, said: “Soft to heavy going.”


Harry Cobden, on board Grand Sancy, said: “Soft.”


James Bowen, on Mister Fisher, said: “It is soft at the moment but if there is any more rain it will be heavy ground.”


Paddy Brennan, partner of Normal Norman, said: “Heavy all over.”


Noel Fehily, rider of The Big Bite, said: “Soft.”


Jamie Moore, partner of The Flying Sofa, said: “Soft.”


Jack Kennedy, rider of Vision D’Honneur, said: “Soft, but it could go to heavy.”









Willie Mullins could not have had a better start to The Festival™ sponsored by Magners – the Irish trainer followed up his G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle success with victory in the Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase, courtesy of the Paul Townend-ridden Duc Des Genievres. The 41/1 double took his total of Festival winners to 63, and his Racing Post Arkle tally to four (2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019).


The French-bred six-year-old Duc Des Genievres won by a very comfortable 13 lengths at odds of 5/1 from Us And Them.


Mullins said: “Obviously this rain has just come in time. I was moaning at 10am that nothing had come – there was a lot of wind last night but no rain. It has just worked the oracle for this horse and made a huge difference to him.


“Looking at Paul, once the two horses fell going away from the stands, I thought, ‘why are you going out wide?’, but he must have seen something I didn’t see. Next thing there was a bit of a shemozzle and he ended up in third place, when I thought he was going to be out the back. He just kept him together from thereonin and he just jumped and did everything right for him.


“It feels very good, considering where I thought I was two or three weeks ago, looking at the string and going round our ground and horses we had tried to get runs into and couldn’t. It looks like we’ve got two nice horses there anyway, and a few to come – and some nice ones at home that we never got out.


“It’s very early days at the Cheltenham Festival but it’s fantastic to have two winners by this stage. There’s a lot more to happen over the next four days, though.


“Duc De Genievres showed a good bit as a novice hurdler but then went off form a bit. When he came back in this season, we thought maybe he was going to be a disappointing horse, but I think it was just the firm and good ground we had back home in Ireland. He was a different racehorse on this ground today.


“It was a big step up in class the last day [he won a beginner’s chase at Gowran Park in February] but I didn’t that it would be good enough to win here – I thought he would have to improve again and I think he did.


“He seemed to be travelling so well and I said that he would have a great chance if he just kept jumping. He did that and seemed to really like that ground. It’s nice to get a winner for [owner] Jared Sullivan here.


“It looked like a schooling session for Paul, to be honest. He just held his position from the top of the hill, kept jumping and motored away up the hill.
“It’s a fantastic start for anyone and I didn’t dream that we could do that. I was hoping that the first one would go close but I didn’t think this fellow could – I thought he had an each-way chance.”




Paul Townend could scarcely believe the run he enjoyed on 5/1 chance Duc Des GenIevres, his first winner of the race when coming home 13 lengths clear in the G1 Racing Post Arkle .


Townend, enjoying a ninth Festival success, said: “I got a dream run around. He really put it together the last day, when he was impressive, and thankfully he put it together again today. He handled the ground very well, as he did the last time, and it surprised me how well I was going at the top of hill. At least he kept going and was foot perfect.”


He added: “His jumping was electric. There was a lot of pace on paper and I was undoubtedly planning on leaving them to it, but this horse travelled so well and jumped his way there. I was able to take him back coming down the hill, which you can’t do very often around here.


“I don’t have the vocabulary to describe Willie Mullins but year on year, he produces them here in some order and fair play to him. It is a privilege to work for him.”


Owner Jared Sullivan, who also has Laurina in the Unibet Champion Hurdle, was enjoying a fifth success at Cheltenham but could not choose between his winners.


He said: “That was great. That’s my fifth winner here and they are all great – they are hard enough to get, that’s for sure.


“He looked like he was going to win from the top of the hill. Paul said he was tanking all of the way. Hopefully, Laurina will win too – you never know – and then I’ve got Stormy Island in the Mares’ and one in the four-miler. We’ll see.”


2.10pm Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)


1 Duc Des Genievres (Sullivan Bloodstock Limited) Willie Mullins IRE 6-11-04 Paul Townend 5/1

2 Us And Them (Burnham P & D ltd) Joseph O’Brien IRE 6-11-04 J J Slevin 14/1

3 Articulum (Martin McDonagh & Paul Murphy & M Nixon) Terence O’Brien IRE 9-11-04 David Mullins 25/1


100/30 fav Hardline (7th)


12 ran

Distances: 13, 3¾

Tote Win: £5.10        Places: £2.10, £3.10, £8.30  Exacta: £70.70


Willie Mullins – 63rd winner at The Festival

Paul Townend – 9th winner at The Festival




The bird had flown, but 14/1 chance Us And Them stayed on up Cheltenham’s hill to take second place in the G1 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy.


The Joseph O’Brien-trained six-year-old was beaten 13 lengths by the Willie Mullins-trained winner Duc Des Genievres (5/1), and finished three and three-quarters of a length ahead of third-placed Articulum, a 25/1 shot.


Burnham-on-Sea-based John Spence, managing director of plastering and dry-lining specialists Burnham P & D Ltd , the owner of Us And Them, said: “Tom O’Brien [the jockey] is a good mate of mine and related to Joseph O’Brien. He told me there was a nice horse for sale in Ireland, so we went over them and bought him.


“We have horses with a number of trainers in Britain, but we’ve had a lot of ordinary types, selling platers and so on. It’s a thrill to have one this good. Now we want to go to Aintree and Punchestown.”


Cork-based Terence O’Brien had not had a runner at The Festival, so Articulum’s third place was a tremendous start. O’Brien said: “I’ve had a runner at the November meeting, but I’m thrilled with this. Willie Mullins’ horses are running out of their skins at the moment and the winner was so good there was no second, but that won’t stop us enjoying the moment.


“Our horse won a maiden hurdle by 30 lengths just over a year ago and at that point I said we might have a Cheltenham horse. Then he disappointed in a few runs, but lately has been back to form, finishing second to Getabird at Punchestown and then won at Naas so he’s been mixing with nice horses.


“David [Mullins, jockey] was mentioning a race over two and a half miles at Aintree and we might go for that but today was the target.”


Ciaran Gethings had never ridden in a G1 race, and was delighted to finish fourth on the Tom George-trained Clondaw Castle. He said: “He ran a blinder. The winner pulled away in the home straight and I just got a bit lonely after the second-last. Two horses came past and did me, but if I’d had company all the way up the hill I might have been a good second.


“Until we started sweeping around the final bend I was thinking we were matching the winner, but he went away. That was my first ride in a G1 race and it’s super to be a part of it.”




J J Slevin was magnanimous in defeat following 14/1 shot Us And Them’s second-placed finish in the £175,000 G1 Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase to the impressive Duc Des Genievres (5/1), who provided Willie Mullins with a quick-fire 41/1 double on day one of The Festival™ presented by Magners.


Us And Them stayed on steadily in the closing stages past beaten rivals to fill the runner-up position and Slevin said: “Us And Them has run a good race. He jumped well throughout the race in the main despite a couple of messy leaps early on.


“The ground is getting very testing, but he stayed on nicely, but was no match for the winner – it was a good run.”


25/1 chance Articulum, trained by Terence O’Brien, shaped well throughout the two-mile event and finished a creditable third, three and three-quarter lengths behind Us And Them.


Jockey David Mullins commented: “Articulum has run a great race. He ran very well for a long way and jumped brilliantly – I’m delighted with him.”









Beware The Bear’s 10/1 victory in the G3 Ultima Handicap Chase was trainer Nicky Henderson’s 61st Festival win – and his first in the three-mile,  one furlong race since Marlborough in 2000.


The Shantou nine-year-old was fourth in this contest last year and, under Jeremiah McGrath, won by a length and a quarter, beating Vintage Clouds in the 24-strong field.


Henderson said: “That was fabulous. We put the blinkers on him on Festival Trials Day here and tried to make the running – there were only six runners that day, he had a lovely, soft lead and enjoyed himself. But normally we try and get up there with him and he drops himself out and comes home with a rattle. So I said to Jerry [McGrath], let’s start where he’s going to put himself – start out the back, then he can come and work past horses, rather than having to press.


“O O Seven [12th, ridden by Nico de Boinville] ran a great race as well, he loved it up the front and we slightly changed tactics with both of them.


“Bear had lots of daylight, lots of time to just find himself. He stays well and he enjoyed himself.


“It’s nice to get one on the board and settle everything down. Buveur D’Air doesn’t mind the soft ground – he goes on anything – but we know Laurina and Apple’s Jade love it. We’ve been waiting for this since this time last year. He’s won on very soft ground before.


“Both Angels Breath and Mister Fisher [who finished seventh and eighth in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle] were disappointing but they found the ground horrible and didn’t like it. Probably, a little bit of inexperience as well but the ground more than anything.”




Racehorse owner George Barlow had waited 46 years to enjoy a winner at The Festival, having had one snatched from his grasp in 1973.


That was when Bear’s Slipper, who he owned and trained, won the then four-mile St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase, only to lose the race in the stewards’ room.


Today there was simply the pleasure of winning for Cheshire-based Barlow and his wife Anne after Beware The Bear (10/1) carried their colours to a ready victory in the Ultima Handicap Chase. The Nicky Henderson-trained winner scored by one and a quarter lengths and two lengths from Vintage Clouds (16/1) and Lake View Lad (25/1), who each carried the colours of Trevor Hemmings. Big River (28/1) was three and a quarter lengths further back in fourth.


George Barlow, proudly holding up a lucky (and tiny) teddy bear for the cameras, said: “We never encourage people to back our horses, but when Beware The Bear has blinkers on he is different gear.


“I was robbed in 1973 when I had a permit and Bear’s Slipper, ridden by Billy Foulkes. had the Foxhunter taken off him in the stewards’ room.” His wife said: “This is a dream. We’ve always dreamed of having a Festival winner.”


Nick Alexander was thrilled with third-placed Lake View Lad, whose place as a leading candidate for the Randox Health Grand National was endorsed by his run today. Alexander, nursing a dislocated shoulder, the result of a skiing accident, said: “I’m thrilled with the horse. He’s carried top weight in a competitive handicap and he’s finished a close third. I could not be happier.


“The plan was to go to Kelso then Aintree, but we swapped Kelso for this and it has worked out. Henry [Brooke] has given him a lovely ride and he’s jumped every fence without making a mistake.


“Now I’ve just got to look after him and get him to Aintree – so long as we don’t get blown over on the M74 going home tonight. He’s progressed so well this season and he’s a great horse to have in the yard. He stayed so well today.”




Jerry McGrath admitted success was owed in good part to trainer Nicky Henderson’s last minute change of orders after enjoying a second success at The Festival on 10/1 chance Beware The Bear, who held off the Trevor Hemmings runners Vintage Clouds and Lake View Lad by a length and a quarter and two lengths in the £110,000 Ultima Handicap Chase.


He said: “It’s very funny because before the race I had it in my head that I was going to do what I did on New Year’s Day – pop out, make the running and keep it simple.


“But Mr Henderson took the saddle off me and said to drop in, creep away and keep him wide. It is one of those that if he said to me this morning, I would have spent too much time thinking about it, but the fact he said it to me just before the race meant I just went out and did it.”


He added: “The blinkers made a big difference. Even though we gave away ground on the outside, he jumped and travelled everywhere.


“I didn’t realise it had been seven years since my first win here on Une Artiste in the Fred Winter. It is a typical story in that you probably take it for granted. God, I will enjoy this one.


“The owners are lovely, old owner/breeders. They really enjoy it and I am delighted for all of them. It was a messy start again – it has been a theme of the racing so far. It was a slow-enough start, but it didn’t bother me because sometimes you can go on horses too early in these big handicaps.


“I got into a nice rhythm on the outside. I was wary of a few horses in front of me that have brought me down in the past, so I was keeping out of their way. It may have looked like a very intentional plan to go wide but it was more than fact of trying to keep out of trouble.


“I got a great run round and his jumping is exceptional. He is a big horse, who is better going in a fraction long than short and popping one, but he is all heart. The blinkers have really rejuvenated him and it’s brilliant.


“He was wearing blinkers for a reason and you are just hoping he wasn’t going to prick his ears. I could see the head of Danny Cook’s horse coming and I was just praying the line was coming. To be fair, the horse answered every call.


“I rode him in the Scottish National last year, but he has had his wind done since. It was on very quick ground in April and he didn’t enjoy it – he didn’t go a yard and pulled up in the straight. If there was a bit of give in the ground, I think he could take a lot of beating but he could take up a step up further too. He is not a young horse, but is on an upward curve.


“You don’t appreciate having a winner here the first time. You think it is going to happen every year or every second year but it’s so hard to get rides at Cheltenham, never mind winners. I am thankful for the great team I have around me.”


Unlike the placed horses, Beware The Bear is not entered in the Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on April 6, and McGrath suggested he was likely to be aimed instead at the Scottish National at Ayr. He said that the ground had been too quick when he ran in it last year.




Sue Smith was delighted with the performance of Vintage Clouds (16/1) who finished a creditable length and a quarter second to Nicky Henderson’s Beware The Bear (10/1) in the G3 £110,000 Ultima Handicap Chase.


Always prominent under Danny Cook throughout the three miles and one furlong event, the nine-year-old son of Cloudings kept on tenaciously in the home straight but found Beware The Bear, ridden by Jeremiah McGrath, too strong up the Cheltenham hill. Vintage Clouds was third in this race last year and fell two out when prominent in 2017.


Smith is now targeting the £1-million Randox Health Grand National at Aintree on Saturday, April 6. Discussing the Trevor Hemmings-owned gelding, Smith said: “That was a great run by Vintage Clouds. He has just come back from a small wind op and we’re absolutely delighted with him.


“He jumped great and we couldn’t ask for more from him. Vintage Clouds always runs his race and he has been a real star for us.


“Danny gave him a lovely ride and all the team have done a lovely job with him at home.


“The Grand National at Aintree is now the plan for him and the three-week gap between this race and Liverpool should be ideal. He seems to have taken this race very well and he should be spot on for the Grand National.”


Jockey Danny Cook added: “I was really pleased with that performance from Vintage Clouds – that should put him spot on for Aintree and that was a nice warm-up race.”


The Nick Alexander-trained Lake View Lad (25/1) was a further two lengths back in third and like Vintage Clouds, is owned by Hemmings and has the Randox Health Grand National as his next target.


His rider Henry Brooke said: “This race sets up Lake View Lad perfectly for Aintree. He is a Grand National horse written all over. He was doing his best work at the end and for me, he has not had the hardest of races – we’re delighted and all sights are not set for April. With a good round, he should be in the mix at Aintree.”


Hemmings added: “Vintage Clouds and Lake View Lad are two good ones and they are both in the Grand National. That’s the main objective and today’s just a refresher.”


Derek Fox, rider of Big River (28/1), three and a quarter-lengths back in fourth, commented: “Big River got outpaced on the second circuit and got in deep to a few fences. He is probably a horse who will stay four miles as he just keeps galloping away, so we’re happy with the run.”










If Gavin Cromwell felt like shouting from the rooftops that he had just trained his first winner at The Festival™, and in no less a race than the £450,000 G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle, he was going to say it quietly.


The softly-spoken farrier, who now combines shoeing horses with training a 50-horse string, sent out Espoir D’Allen (16/1) to land Europe’s greatest hurdle race, and the gelding did it in style, becoming the first five-year-old to land the prize since Katchit in 2008 – you have to go back to 1985, and See You Then, to find the next winner of such youth.


Espoir D’Allen, who carried the colours of J P McManus, and was ridden by Mark Walsh, scored by 15 lengths and a neck from last year’s runner-up Melon (20/1) and outsider Silver Streak (80/1). Remarkably, the three horses who headed the market, failed to make the places – dual winner Buveur D’Air fell at the third, Laurina was fourth and Apple’s Jade (7/4f) sixth.


They may be back next year, but Paddy Power reckons Espoir D’Allen is the new kid on the block, and make him a 5/1 chance to repeat his win in 2020.


County Meath-based Cromwell, who sounded a sad note when revealing his mother had passed away in November, said: “I am lost for words. Espoir D’Allen is French-bred and they do mature earlier. He has been winning G3s this season, so to go and do that is fantastic. He wouldn’t stand out in the string on his work, but he’s a gorgeous-looking horse.


“I have three horses for J P McManus and about 50 in total, but not many graded horses.


“Charlie Swan [who won three Unibet Champion Hurdles on Istabraq for McManus] found the horse in France and he came to me after winning a juvenile bumper over there. I had a call from J P’s team to say I had a horse coming to me in a couple of weeks, and it was this one. J P has been very good to me and sent me Jer’s Girl, who won a couple of Grade One races – it’s great to be able to repay him.


“I started training a few point-to-pointers and enjoyed it, and it went from there. We’ll still do a little bit of farriery because it’s the only way to make it pay. You need [to train] 145 horses otherwise. The game is full of talented trainers and better trainers than me – right the way through from the point-to-point ranks to the top of the game there are some brilliant trainers in Ireland.”




The Gavin Cromwell-trained Espoir D’Allen ran out a shock 16/1 winner of the feature race on Champion Day at The Festival™ presented by Magners, the £450,000 G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle.


The five-year-old son of Voix Du Nord travelled menacingly into contention approaching the turn for home and ran on strongly in the home straight, producing a superb leap at the last to register a bloodless 15-length success under Mark Walsh, registering his second victory at The Festival overall.


The Willie Mullins-trained Melon (20/1) was back in second with a neck back to 80/1 shot Silver Streak, trained by Evan Williams in third.


In a race full of drama, favourite Apple’s Jade (7/4f) was sixth, defending champion Buveur D’Air (11/4) fell at the third hurdle and Laurina (5/2) could only finish fourth.


Winning rider Walsh commented: “Everything went well for me on Espoir D’Allen. When Buveur D’Air fell at the third hurdle, I luckily avoided the fall and got a lovely run through the whole way.


“For a five-year-old to do that against what we thought was one of the best Champion Hurdles run in the past few years, he is a right little horse. It is unbelievable.


“He is the first five-year-old since Katchit to win the race and hopefully there will be a few more Champion Hurdles in him yet.


“He travelled very strongly and he gave me a dream ride. Espoir D’Allen very uncomplicated and we were delighted when we saw the rain come this morning as he travels a lot better in this slower ground.

“Me and Gavin spoke before the race and the plan was to ride him for a place – we got a place, it was first place!


“I was in front soon enough and I heard a horse coming but only realised after the last that it was a loose horse [Buveur D’Air].


“This win will take a while to sink in. It’s back to work now but it was brilliant to land this event.”


Winning owner J P McManus was recording an eighth victory in the Champion Hurdle and this was his 55th success at The Festival in total.


Discussing the winner and Buveur D’Air’s third-flight fall, McManus commented: “It’s great to win another Champion Hurdle. I am thrilled for Gavin and Mark. It is a big moment for them.


“It was disappointing to see Buveur D’Air fall, but that was his own making. It is of course still very nice to win the race with Espoir D’Allen.


“Any time you win the Champion Hurdle you have to enjoy it.”




Willie Mullins and jockey Paul Townend were both delighted when last year’s runner up Melon (20/1) returned to form to finish second again in the G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle, but neither Mullins nor jockey Ruby Walsh were ever entirely happy with the better-fancied Laurina (5/2 second favourite), who had every chance coming down the hill but faded into fourth.


Mullins said: “I thought after jumping three hurdles that Laurina wasn’t firing as Ruby should have been taking a pull out of her and he wasn’t, but that’s probably the best run of Melon’s life, so they are the tactics we’ll use in future.”


Walsh confirmed: “I was never happy, but I couldn’t tell you what the problem might have been. She just didn’t run a race.”


Townend said: “Melon ran a cracker and has found a bit of form again.”


The pair were separated by the Evan Williams-trained Silver Streak (80/1), who has worked his way through the ranks and excelled himself in third.


Williams was thrilled and said: “I’m genuinely shocked. I would have run him in the Kingwell rather than here.


“I didn’t think we could be third so we are more than delighted. It’s a fairytale and it’s great for Mr and Mrs Fell and their family. It’s fantastic that he’s justified him coming here.


“He’s come such a long way. He was running off only 96 when he won a handicap hurdle at Taunton two seasons ago.”


Jockey Adam Wedge added: “That was fantastic. He’s run a mighty race and for a moment I thought we were going to get second.”




Trainer Nicky Henderson was philosophical after Buveur D’Air, winner of the £450,000 G1Unibet Champion Hurdle for the past two years, fell in the early stages of this year’s race, at the third hurdle. The J P McManus-owned eight-year-old, sent off at 11/4, quickly got up and continued to race without his jockey, Barry Geraghty, and actually passed the winning post only half a length behind the winner, Espoir D’Allen, also owned by McManus. If Buveur D’Air had won, it would have been Henderson’s eighth victory in the Unibet Champion Hurdle.


Henderson said: “He seems fine. Actually he nearly won the race but unfortunately there’s a rule that says you have to have a jockey on top.


“We all have to take these things on the chin. You have a winner and then you are back to square one again.


“In his hurdling there is such a fine margin over the hurdles, an inch every time and you only have to get it wrong by half an inch. If you are so slick and accurate you are dangerously low [over the hurdles] and the margin for error will always be there. He was an inch lower than he should have been I guess, I don’t know – I’d have to see it again.


“Well done J P – I’m delighted he won it anyway. He must have felt the same way as I did when Buveur D’Air fell, but he had still got one in the race [Espoir D’Allen] and I had two [Brain Power, pulled up by Nico de Boinville, and Verdana Blue, fifth under Davy Russell]. That’s the reason you run two in a race. It’s sad because Buveur D’Air seemed in such good form, but there you go.


“Verdana Blue has run remarkably well considering the ground. Brain Power – it’s the ground again really as the third horse was behind us in the Unibet International Hurdle [at Cheltenham in December]. If you don’t go in it, you don’t go in it and I am afraid it’s the way it’s going to go this week.”


3:30pm Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1)

2m 87y £450,000

1 Espoir d’Allen (FR) 5 11 10 Gavin Cromwell Ireland Mr John P. McManus Mark Walsh 16/1


2 Melon p 7 11 10 Willie Mullins Ireland Mrs J. Donnelly Paul Townend 20/1


3 Silver Streak (IRE) 6 11 10 Evan Williams Mr L. Fell Adam Wedge 80/1


4 Laurina (FR) 6 11 3 Willie Mullins Ireland Sullivan Bloodstock Limited Ruby Walsh 5/2


5 Verdana Blue (IRE) 7 11 3 Nicky Henderson Crimbourne Stud Davy Russell 33/1


6 Apple’s Jade (FR) ts 7 11 3 Gordon Elliott Ireland Gigginstown House Stud Jack Kennedy 7/4 Fav


7 Global Citizen (IRE) 7 11 10 Ben Pauling The Megsons David Bass 50/1


PU Brain Power (IRE) p 8 11 10 Nicky Henderson Mr Michael Buckley Nico de Boinville 33/1


FELL 3rd Buveur d’Air (FR) 8 11 10 Nicky Henderson Mr John P. McManus Barry Geraghty 11/4


BD 3rd Sharjah (FR) 6 11 10 Willie Mullins Ireland Mrs S. Ricci Mr Patrick Mullins 20/1



Time: 3m 59.07s


Distances: 15, nk, 1½, 7, 6, 45


Breeder: Bruno Vagne


Breeding: 5 b g Voix Du Nord (FR) – Quadanse (FR) (Maille Pistol)


Tote Win: £22.30 Places: £3.30 £2.80 £7.30 Exacta: £277.60


Gavin Cromwell – 1st winner at The Festival

Mark Walsh – 2nd winner at The Festival

J P McManus – 55th winner at The Festival


Eighth Unibet Champion for owner J P McManus following Istabraq (1998, 1999, 2000), Binocular (2010), Jezki (2014), Buveur d’Air (2017, 2018)


Third Race Result

2.50pm Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m 1f

1 Beware The Bear (G Barlow) Nicky Henderson 9-11-08 Jerry McGrath 10/1

2 Vintage Clouds (Trevor Hemmings) Sue Smith 9-11-01 Danny Cook 16/1

3 Lake View Lad (Trevor Hemmings) Nick Alexander 9-11-12 Henry Brooke 25/1

4 Big River (Two Black Labs) Lucinda Russell 9-10-11 Derek Fox 28/1


8/1 co-fav Up For Review (8th), Mister Whitaker (Pulled up), Give Me A Copper (Fell)


24 ran

Distances: 1¼, 2, 3¼ Time: 6m 39.02s

Tote Win: £11.00      Places: £2.50, £4.10, £5.20, £7.50  Exacta: £176.80


Nicky Henderson – 61st winner at The Festival

Jerry McGrath – 2nd winner at The Festival









The Dan Skelton-trained Roksana (10/1) benefited from the final-flight fall of 10/11 favourite Benie Des Dieux, trained by Willie Mullins, to land the G1 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle.


Ridden by his brother Harry, the seven-year-old daughter of Dubai Destination kept on gamely up the Cheltenham hill to score by two and a half-lengths from Benie Des Dieux’s stable companions Stormy Ireland (7/1) and Good Thyne Tara (25/1), who was a further two lengths back in third.


Winning jockey Skelton, recording his second victory at The Festival overall, said: “Obviously I am the beneficiary of what happened – that’s Jump racing. You are never home until you jump the last and luck has been on our side today. I hope Ruby and Benie Des Dieux are up OK.


“It is our first G1 winner and she is a good mare in her own right. You have to take days like these.


“It means the world to have a winner here. Nobody is afraid of saying that these are the four days when it really, really matters.


“We have a long old year and this is what you work for. This is why I do it, for days like this. I have a dream job and am in a very lucky position.


“Fair play to Dan as he decided to stick to the plan in running here. He has always believed in Roksana and so have the rest of the team.


“She has stepped forward from her previous run. We’re absolutely delighted and it means an awful lot.”

Benie Des Dieux was reported to be fine after her fall at the last.


4.10pm OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 3f 200y

1 Roksana (Sarah Faulks) Dan Skelton 7-11-05 Harry Skelton 10/1

2 Stormy Ireland (Sullivan Bloodstock Ltd) Willie Mullins IRE 5-11-05 7/1

3 Good Thyne Tara (N King) Willie Mullins IRE 9-11-05 Rachael Blackmore 25/1

10/11 fav Benie Des Dieux (Fell)

14 ran

Distances: 2¼, 2

Time: 5m 0.26s

Tote Win: £9.80 Places: £2.10, £2.50, £6.50 Exacta: £87.40

Dan Skelton – 3rd winner at The Festival

Harry Skelton – 2nd winner at The Festival




Roksana’s victory in the G1 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle gave trainer Dan Skelton a third Festival success – and a first in a Grade One race. The Dubai Destination seven-year-old mare, a 10/1 chance, beat Stormy Island by two and a quarter lengths. She was ridden by Skelton’s brother Harry.


Benie Des Dieux, the 10/11 favourite and last year’s winner, fell at the final flight of hurdles when in the lead.


Dan Skelton said: “It’s been a great team effort. Sarah Faulks, who owns her, is an owner-breeder and the mare will have a home for life. We hope we get plenty of her foals and that they come back here. Sarah’s a real stalwart of National Hunt breeding. It’s an amazing feeling. I thought I was past all that youthful stupidity and excitement, but last night I honestly felt like a kid at Christmas. I thought we had a great team coming here in great form, and Harry is riding brilliantly, the whole team at home are doing everything right, and I just got that warm feeling last night you don’t often get, that buzz. I didn’t tell anybody because I didn’t want to be an optimistic fool, but they are in great form. It’s a magic day – to win on Tuesday just sets your week up.


“I’ve got a lot of respect for Ruby [Walsh, who rode Benie Des Dieux] and he taught me so much when I was assistant trainer to Paul Nicholls. He’ll get up, dust himself off and go again for the rest of the week. That’s racing. But we’d have got a lot of credit if we’d finished second in that race – it took a real hard mare. She wandered off across the track when she got left in front after Benie Des Dieux’s fall, but Harry was super on her the whole way. She had to be nimble.


“We got her unraced, and started in bumpers – it’s been a full team effort from the start. She was second to Santini last year at Aintree and has just got better and better. We planned this race – I said to Sarah that this was the race we wanted to be going for. One run and go there. What gave me a lot of confidence was Native River [last year’s Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup winner] – one run and he wins the Gold Cup, so it can be done.”




Roksana, winner of the G1 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle at 10/1 for trainer Dan Skelton and his jockey brother Harry, is owned by Sarah Faulks, for whom it was a first winner at The Festival™ sponsored by Magners.


Faulks said: “It was really exciting. It’s a fantastic tribute to Dan and the team who have done such a good job. They leave no stone unturned and it has all come together today. You’ve got to jump the fences, and we were the lucky beneficiary at the last [when favourite Benie Des Dieux, trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Ruby Walsh, fell].


“Dan found hher for me as a broodmare, but when he found her he said, ‘I’ve found you a broodmare, but the trouble is that she hasn’t run yet!’ She’s got fantastic black type. He said, ‘I guarantee you I’ll get black type.’”


“What happens next will depend on Dan. Maybe she will go to the paddocks next year; she doesn’t need to prove much, but I think Dan and my husband might want her to go on racing, I’m not sure.”




History repeated itself when 10/11 chance Benie Des Dieux fell at the last when around four lengths clear and in complete command in the G1 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle, just as her stable-mate Annie Power had done in identical circumstances in the same race four years ago, when also partnered by Ruby Walsh for owner Rich Ricci.


In 2015 Annie Power’s fall saved bookmakers from an estimated £50-million payout, as she was the last leg of a widely predicted Willie Mullins first-day four-timer that had been heavily promoted to punters.


Benie Des Dieux, who won last year’s Mares’ Hurdle, will also have featured in many multiples, for Walsh had been saying for weeks that she was his best chance of the entire meeting.


Fortunately both horse and jockey were soon on their feet and seemingly none the worse for the experience.


Ricci, who has had plenty of unfavourable press following last week’s closure of bookmaker BetBright, of which he was chairman, said: “It has been a very difficult week, but the horse is great and Ruby is fine, which is the most important thing.


“I don’t want the trolls to attack Ruby. He is the best jockey in the world and it happens. I just hope he is protected from the same nonsense he got the last day.


“Benie Des Dieux was going very well and she is a very good mare. We will mind her, bring her back and she will win again, but I am just so sorry and it’s just difficult.
“Her getting up is the most important thing and that’s what we have to remember. This game is tough and I take a lot and I’m tough. The fact that she got up should make everybody happy.
“I am sorry for people who punted her and I know that I will get stick for that as well, but it just doesn’t matter – if she’s up, that’s fine. It’s just heart-breaking, but she’s up and that’s the most important thing. It could be worse.
“I just watched the replay. It’s tough and I don’t know what to say. It has been a difficult week.”


Benie Des Dieux had traded at 1.03 (1/33) in running on Betfair prior to her fall.









The Henry de Bromhead-trained A Plus Tard recorded an impressive success to justify 5/1 favouritism in the £70,000 Listed Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap.


Ridden by Rachael Blackmore, recording her first success at The Festival, the Cheveley Park Stud-owned gelding travelled with menace throughout the two mile and four-furlong event.


A Plus Tard sauntered clear under a motionless Blackmore approaching the home straight and sealed victory with a fine leap at the last, powering up the hill to score by 16 lengths.


The five-year-old son of Kapgarde scored at Naas in December, defeating this afternoon’s G1 Racing Post Arkle Novices’ Chase winner Duc Des Genievres, and A Plus Tard backed up that victory with an imperious success at Prestbury Park.


Winning trainer de Bromhead, registering his sixth win at The Festival overall, said: “A Plus Tard looked really good. Rachael was fantastic on him and gave him a super ride.


“I am delighted to get a winner for the Thompsons. It is really good of them to support us. They have a few real nice jumpers.


“We have always liked A Plus Tard. He had a couple of good runs and beat Duc Des Genievres in Naas, so that was fairly telling. I was a bit disappointed the last day but he just looked tapped for toe. This looked the right race to go for once he got in.


“Rachael is a brilliant jockey and we are very lucky to be associated with her. She as tough as any of them and bounces back up every time.”




Rachael Blackmore’s impressive success in the Listed Close Brothers Handicap Chase aboard the Henry de Bromhead-trained A Plus Tard was her first at The Festival™ presented by Magners. She is the 15th female jockey to win at The Festival, and A Plus Tard is the 24th female-ridden winner in the meeting’s history. She is the third professional female jockey to win, following two last year – Lizzie Kelly and Bridget Andrews.


Blackmore, 29, is second with 84 winners in the Irish jump jockeys’ championship to Paul Townend (94) at present. She has had more rides than any other jockey in Ireland this season. She has more booked rides at The Festival – nine up to and including Thursday – than any other female jockey in history; the greatest number before this was five.


A Plus Tard, the 5/1 favourite, won by 16 lengths from Tower Bridge.


Blackmore said: “He has won incredibly well. When Duc Des Genievres won the Arkle, that was franking my form [A Plus Tard beat Duc Des Genievres by three and a quarter lengths in a beginners’ chase at Naas in December], but I never thought I would be coming up that hill like that. It’s unbelievable. The race went perfectly.


“Henry de Bromhead has put a lot of faith in me this week, considering I had never ridden a Festival winner; he’s put me up on a lot of them, including in Grade Ones, and I’m very grateful to him. It’s phenomenal. He’s been extremely good to me all year and this is a very nice horse for the future.


“Cheltenham has its own kind of atmosphere and pressure attached to it but Henry left it up to me and gave me very easy instructions. He was going to be able to blame me if it didn’t go right! To be honest, I was never winning with that margin in my mind. It’s fantastic to get a winner here – it’s what every jockey dreams about and I’m just so grateful to get to ride a horse like him and just steer him up the hill.”




On a day of runaway winners A Plus Tard joined their ranks when landing the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase.


Sent off the 5/1 favourite, he finished 16 lengths ahead of runner-up Tower Bridge (6/1), who was four and a half lengths clear of Ben Dundee (33/1). Fourth place went to The Russian Doyen (20/1).

Joseph O’Brien, who trains Tower Bridge, said: “He ran well. He made one mistake, but it was his first run in a handicap so he was entitled to do that, and he galloped up to the line. He hasn’t won yet over fences and so it probably makes sense at this stage of the season to keep him a novice. He could have a nice race in him next season. He’s a good, fun horse.”

Gordon Elliott, who trains Ben Dundee, said of the seven-year-old: “He’s run well and we’re happy with that. We’ll get him home and make a plan.”


Ben Dundee carried the colours of Chris Jones, whose father, also called Chris, owned Klairon Davis, winner of the 1995 Racing Post Arkle Trophy and the 1996 Betway Queen Mother Champion. Jones Jr said: “I’m delighted. He’s run a cracker and I thought going to the second-last he might be in with a chance of winning. Any time you get into the winner’s enclosure here, the inner sanctum, you’re happy.

“We’ve had a lot of success here, but every year it becomes more challenging. That won’t stop us trying.

“Mags O’Toole [bloodstock agent] bought him for us as a store. He comes from the family of Nick Dundee, who was a very good chaser for the Magnier family, and that’s how he came by his name.”


4.50pm Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed)


1 A Plus Tard (Cheveley Park Stud) Henry de Bromhead IRE 5-11-07 Rachael Blackmore 5/1f

2 Tower Bridge (J P McManus) Joseph O’Brien IRE 6-11-05 J J Slevin 6/1

3 Ben Dundee (Chris Jones) Gordon Elliott IRE 7-11-05 Keith Donoghue 33/1

4 The Russian Doyen (The Gosden Mob) Colin Tizzard 6-11-05 Harry Cobden 20/1


20 ran

Distances: 16, 4½, 3¾

Tote Win: £5.50        Places: £2.30, £2.30, £7.70, £5.50  Exacta: £32.30


Henry de Bromhead – 6th winner at The Festival

Rachael Blackmore – 1st winner at The Festival








Local trainer Ben Pauling is dreaming of a tilt at the Randox Health Grand National next year after 14/1 chance Le Breuil got the better of Discorama (9/2) by half a length in the finish of the Festival so far, the pair pulling 47 lengths clear of the third in a National Hunt Chase in which only four of the 18 starters completed.


It was a second Cheltenham win for Pauling, following the 2017 G1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle success of Willoughby Court, and it seemed to mean every bit as much as the first.


Pauling, who trains at Bourton-on-the-Water, said: “I’ve got one thing in mind for this horse and that’s the National next year, so let’s hope he gets there in one piece.


“Winning here is just the best. We won here with Willoughby Court, but it’s just as good second time around. It’s incredible.”


He added: “He was so gutsy there. That was very, very special. He jumped and he travelled, and with a circuit to go we knew we had a hell of a chance.


“Jamie Codd phoned up for the ride and thank God he did, because that was the icing on the cake and confirmed for us which race we were going for. He’s one hell of a jockey, and hopefully it means as much to him as it does to us.


“That will be it for Le Breuil now.”




Leading Irish amateur riders Jamie Codd and Barry O’Neill served up a battle royal in the closing stages of the National Hunt Challenge Cup over four miles.


Codd prevailed by half a length as the Ben Pauling-trained Le Breuil (14/1) wore down Discorama (9/2) from Paul Nolan’s stable. There was a yawning 47 lengths back to third-placed Jerrysback (16/1).


The winner became Codd’s eighth success at The Festival and his second in this race, and it came about after he put in a phone call to Pauling to ask if he might ride the horse.


Codd said: “I have to thank Niall Cronin [a friend of Codd’s], who looked up this horse’s form, and Tessa Greatrex [bloodstock agent and wife of trainer Warren] who I rang to get Ben’s number. It has worked out brilliantly.


“Gordon Elliott had a ride in it for me but on Wednesday he said that one wouldn’t run. Myself and Niall went through the form and we felt the race he ran against Santini at Newbury was good and we liked the way he galloped to the line at Haydock the last time he ran.


“He had a good rating and so we decided to ring Ben, who was very good. He just said, ‘You won’t let me down?’ and I said ‘No, that’s 100 per cent, I’ll ride him’.


“What a tough little horse to jump and gallop in that ground. It was a fair slog and I’m delighted he’s won for Ben and the team. I got a great run around and kept him very wide. Looking at the videos, he had been making the running, but I just felt he might be better with a bit of room and going forward from midway.


“Going to the last, it was nip and tuck, and my lad has really battled and pulled it out.


“I was very fortunate that Ben had no one to ride the horse – two days later he might have found someone else and I’d be sitting in the weighing room. They say that what’s meant for you won’t go past you.”




After a ding-dong battle on the run-in in the final race of the opening day of the 2019 Festival, Barry O’Neill on the Paul Nolan-trained Discorama (9/2) went down by half a-length to the 14/1 winner Le Breuil ridden by Jamie Codd.


O’Neill reflected: “It was a very tough run. My horse had a fall last time out and was a little bit novicey early on. He was thinking about it a bit. I had to avoid one or two fallers.


“I got in a little bit tight to the second last and then he gave the last a bit of height.


“He went down fighting – it was just unfortunate that we finished second.”


Nolan commented: “You are always disappointed, it is like being beaten by a last-minute goal. I thought he was going to win and then he didn’t.


“There were probably a couple of little things that happened – we were unfortunate not to get a racecourse school after his fall and I thought he was too novicey early on, which sapped his energy a little bit.


“I blame myself for that, we should have had that better covered. I don’t think the ground was an issue – they were 47 lengths in front of the next horse.


“Our fella had to swerve out to avoid a couple of fallers which also saps energy.


“If you had told me before that we were going to be second at Cheltenham I would have been delighted but it is a devil when you think you’re going to win and you don’t.


“That race will have taken an awful lot out of him and he is going to come back light so you have to imagine that that is going to be the end of his season.


“I think this horse is nice. How far he can go I don’t know, but he is nice – he is a 150 plus horse, which means he can take his place in a lot of races. He is the best I have.”


5.30pm National Hunt Chase (Grade 2)


1 Le Breuil (Emma Palmer) Ben Pauling 7-11-06 Mr Jamie Codd 14/1

2 Discorama (Thomas Friel & Andrew Gemmell) 6-11-06 Mr Barry O’Neill 9/2

3 Jerrysback (J P McManus) Philip Hobbs 7-11-06 16/1


9/4 fav Ballyward (Fell)


18 ran

Distances: ½, 47

Tote Win: £14.70      Places: £3.90, £2.20, £4.40  Exacta: £89.40


Ben Pauling – 2nd winner at The Festival

Mr Jamie Codd – 8th winner at The Festival




Sadly Ballyward sustained an injury in the National Hunt Chase. They were immediately attended to by our vet team, who very sadly determined that it was necessary to euthanize them on welfare grounds. As animal lovers, we hate to lose any horse and of course we shall review this incident. Our thoughts are with the Ballyward’s connections.



More from Race 5 – OLBG Mares’ Hurdle




Ireland’s champion trainer Willie Mullins was delighted with his second and third placed horses, Stormy Ireland (two and a quarter-lengths, 7/1) and Good Thyne Tara (two-lengths, 25/1), after his charge Benie Des Dieux, the 10/11 favourite, came down at the last with the race at her mercy.


Mullins commented on the placed runners: “I am delighted with both of them. Stormy Ireland ran a great race and Good Thyne Tara ran a cracker.”


Jockey of Stormy Ireland, Paul Townend added: “I am delighted with her. She has run her heart out. She stuck at it really well.”









Today’s crowd of 67,934 was a new record figure for the opening day of The Festival, Champion Day.


Last year’s attendance on the Tuesday came to 66,632, with the previous record for the day being 67,770 in 2016.




The opening day produced the second-biggest Totepool Placepot dividend of all time as one on-course customer took home a spectacular £182,567.80 for a £2 straight line bet, in which they selected only one horse in each race.


The net pool of £958,481.10 was shared by just 10.50 winning units, producing a dividend of £91,283.10, only a few hundred pounds short of the record Placepot payout. Other on-course winners at Cheltenham included two customers who each collected £36.513.56 for a 40p share, having played in 10p unit stakes, while there were numerous 20p and 10p winners.


Totepool spokesman Matt Hulmes said: “We know how popular the toteplacepot is, and with dividends like this it’s incredible to think this can be won without having a winner on the card. Over £1 million was bet into the toteplacepot on Tuesday.


“I’m sure plenty of those looking forward to Ladies’ Day at Cheltenham tomorrow will fancy a flutter, and the toteplacepot continues to offer enjoyment and the potential to win huge sums for small stake.”


Tuesday’s results were so hard to find that both the win and place pools in the Scoop6, running every day during the Cheltenham Festival, were not won, meaning the money carries forward to Wednesday’s bet. There is also a rollover of £32,572 in the totejackpot pool.


The selections of Tuesday’s £182,567.80 winning toteplacepot ticket holder:

Race 1 Klassical Dream – WON

Race 2 Duc Des Genievres – WON

Race 3 Beware The Bear – WON

Race 4 Melon – 2nd

Race 5 Stormy Ireland – 2nd

Race 6 A Plus Tard – WON




Cheltenham Racecourse has called a precautionary inspection ahead of racing tomorrow, Wednesday, March 13, to take place at 8am.


Ian Renton, Regional Director for the south west region of The Jockey Club, said: “We may get 38/40mph winds at Cheltenham tomorrow which would be perfectly OK, but we don’t know when the gusts are coming or how localised they will be.


“The other day, we had a little wind here, yet a few miles away, there were massive gusts, so that’s why we feel it is sensible to call a precautionary inspection just in case we get some gales that are forecast and could affect racing.”


Explaining the potential decision to stage Wednesday’s card on Saturday instead of being added to the Thursday and Friday’s racing, Renton continued: “I think we would make that decision because we could. We have looked at this scenario for a few days and talked about the potential of this gale coming in, so we have been able to put some contingencies in place.


“Simon [Claisse, Clerk of the Course] and his team have been looking to get the necessary ambulance, doctor and veterinary cover. We have been looking at all of these areas. A lot of our catering team will heading off to Twickenham or Cardiff for the Six Nations, but we felt able to put on the meeting on Saturday if necessary.


“We also feel it is infinitely preferable to have a proper day’s racing as a Festival day rather than nine or 10 race-cards.


“If you have a ticket for tomorrow and the racing is abandoned, then you will get a full refund and we would ask people to buy again on the Saturday.


“There are lots of details to be flashed out and we are not going to reveal some of those details until we need to. Hopefully, tomorrow’s meeting is not lost and we are all guns ahead to put the meeting on tomorrow.


“If the unfortunate circumstance occurs and we do lose tomorrow’s meeting, then we will release as much details as we can about racing taking place on Saturday.


“We feel giving a Festival day a full day is right for the all owners and trainers.”




Amateur jockey Finian Maguire, the rider of Whisperinthebreeze, who fell at the 14th fence in the National Hunt Chase, has been taken to Southmead Hospital in Bristol for further assessment. He is the son of former top jockey Adrian Maguire.






Permission was given for FELIX DESJY (FR) to wear a hood in the parade ring. KLASSICAL DREAM (FR) wore earplugs which were removed at the start and AL DANCER (FR), ARAMON (GER), FELIX DESJY (FR) and FAKIR D’OUDAIRIES (FR) wore earplugs throughout the race. Having reviewed recordings of the false start, the Starters were satisfied that no riders should be reported for contravening the starting procedures. After jumping the final hurdle, FELIX DESJY (FR), placed fifth, landed awkwardly and lugged left making contact with ARAMON (GER), placed sixth, but after viewing a recording of the incident, it was found that no riding offence was involved and that it had not improved the placing of FELIX DESJY (FR). The performance of AL DANCER (FR), which started favourite and finished unplaced, was considered. Nigel Twiston-Davies could offer no explanation other than the gelding failed to see the race out on this step up in class. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of AL DANCER (FR) during routine testing failed to reveal any abnormalities. Following the race, Neil King reported that BRANDON CASTLE, which was pulled up, was unsuited by the going, which was officially described as Soft on this occasion, and would prefer a quicker surface. The Veterinary Officer reported that ITCHY FEET (FR), placed third, bled from the nose and that THOMAS DARBY (IRE), placed second, was lame on its right fore.




Having reviewed recordings of the false start, the Starters were satisfied that no riders should be reported for contravening the starting procedures. A Veterinary Officer reported that Davy Russell had disobeyed instructions given to him by a Veterinary Surgeon and acted in an improper way towards a Racecourse employee in the pull-up area after the race whilst runners were still being assessed by the Veterinary team. Russell was suspended for 2 days. Following the race, Davy Russell reported that HARDLINE (IRE), placed seventh, was never travelling and Richard Johnson reported that LALOR (GER), which was pulled up, was never travelling and the Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of the gelding during routine testing failed to reveal any abnormalities.




Permission was given for GIVE ME A COPPER (IRE) to go early to post. Having reviewed recordings of the false start, the Starters were satisfied that no riders should be reported for contravening the starting procedures. The performance of MISTER WHITAKER (IRE), which started joint favourite and was pulled up, was considered. The representative of Mick Channon explained that the gelding was never travelling and jumped poorly. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination revealed the gelding had lost its left fore shoe. Following the race, Richie McLernon reported that MINELLO ROCCO (IRE), which was pulled up, was never travelling and the Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of the gelding failed to reveal any abnormalities. Jack Kennedy reported that he pulled up GENERAL PRINCIPLE (IRE) after the final fence due to being hampered by the faller. The Veterinary Officer reported that ACTIVIAL (FR), placed sixth, lost its right hind shoe; CALIPTO (FR), which was pulled up, lost its right hind shoe; WILLIE BOY (IRE), which was pulled up, lost its left hind shoe; OLDGRANGEWOOD, unplaced, lost its right hind shoe and FLYING ANGEL (IRE), placed fifth, sustained a wound to its right fore.




BUVEUR D’AIR (FR) wore earplugs. BRAIN POWER (IRE) and LAURINA (FR) both wore earplugs which were removed at the start. The performance of APPLE’S JADE (FR), which started favourite and finished sixth of seven finishers, was considered. Gordon Elliott could offer no explanation for the mare’s performance. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of APPLE’S JADE (FR) during routine testing failed to reveal any abnormalities.


Race 5 – 4:10pm G1 OLBG MARES’ HURDLE


BENIE DES DIEUX (FR) and ELIMAY (FR) wore earplugs. Following the race, the Veterinary Officer reported that LIMINI (IRE), which was pulled up, bled from the nose, LACKANEEN LEADER (IRE), which was also pulled up, was lame on its left fore and that STORMY IRELAND (FR), placed second, had post-race ataxia.




Permission was given for SPRINGTOWN LAKE (IRE) to wear a hood in the Parade Ring only. SOLOMN GRUNDY (IRE) wore earplugs and RIDERS ON THE STORM (IRE) wore earplugs which were removed at the start. Having reviewed recordings of the false start, the Starters were satisfied that no riders should be reported for contravening the starting procedures. After the third last fence, MOVEWITHTHETIMES (IRE), placed eighth, hung left crowding TOWER BRIDGE (IRE), placed second, onto CUBOMANIA (IRE), which was pulled up, but after viewing a recording of the incident, it was found that no riding offence was involved. Following the race, P. Townend reported that SOLOMN GRUNDY (IRE), which was pulled up, was never travelling. Joshua Moore reported that DELL ORO (FR), unplaced, made jumping mistakes and the Veterinary Officer reported that the gelding lost its right fore shoe. The Veterinary Officer also reported that WALT (IRE), which was pulled up, lost its right hind shoe.


Race 7 – 5:30pm G2 NATIONAL HUNT CHASE


BALLYWARD (IRE) wore earplugs. Permission was given for MULCAHYS HILL (IRE) to be mounted in the chute. It was noted that CLONDAW CIAN (IRE), placed fourth, lost a cheekpiece on the first circuit. Following the race, Mr Derek O’Connor reported that OK CORRAL (IRE), which was pulled up, was hampered on several occasions by fallers.


























Holland Cooper Leading Jockey Award –

Standings after Champion Day


Jockey                                   1st                                          2nd                                                     3rd

Paul Townend                     1                                      2                                                -

Rachael Blackmore             1                                      -                                                1

Mr Jamie Codd                   1                                      -                                                -

Jeremiah McGrath               1                                      -                                                -

Harry Skelton                     1                                      -                                                -

Mark Walsh                        1                                      -                                                -

Ruby Walsh                        1                                      -                                                -

JJ Slevin                            -                                      2                                                -

Danny Cook                       -                                      1                                                -

Richard Johnson                 -                                      1                                                -

Mr Barry O’Neill                  -                                      1                                                -

Henry Brooke                     -                                      -                                                1

Keith Donoghue                  -                                      -                                                1

Mr Declan Lavery               -                                      -                                                1

David Mullins                      -                                      -                                                1

Gavin Sheehan                   -                                      -                                                1

Adam Wedge                      -                                      -                                                1




















The Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award – Standings after Champion Day


Trainer                                  1st                                          2nd                                                     3rd

Willie Mullins IRE                2                                      2                                                1

Henry de Bromhead IRE      1                                      -                                                -

Gavin Cromwell                  1                                      -                                                -

Nicky Henderson                1                                      -                                                -

Ben Pauling                        1                                      -                                                -

Dan Skelton                       1                                      -                                                -

Joseph O’Brien IRE              -                                      2                                                -

Olly Murphy                       -                                      1                                                1

Paul Nolan IRE                   -                                      1                                                -

Sue Smith                          -                                      1                                                -

Nick Alexander                   -                                      -                                                1

Gordon Elliott IRE               -                                      -                                                1

Philip Hobbs                       -                                      -                                                1

Terence O’Brien IRE            -                                      -                                                1

Evan Williams                     -                                      -                                                1

NetJets Leading Owner Award –

Standings after Champion Day


Owner                                    1st                                          2nd                                                     3rd

J P McManus                       1                                      1                                                1

Sullivan Bloodstock Ltd       1                                      1                                                -

George Barlow                   1                                      -                                                -

Cheveley Park Stud             1                                      -                                                -

Joanne Coleman                 1                                      -                                                -

Sarah Faulks                      1                                      -                                                -

Emma Palmer                     1                                      -                                                -

Trevor Hemmings               -                                      1                                                1

Burnham P & D Ltd             -                                      1                                                -

Mrs J Donnelly                    -                                      1                                                -

Thomas Friel/Andrew Gemmell -                                   1                                                -

Diana Whateley                  -                                      1                                                -

Kate & Andrew Brooks        -                                      -                                                1

Chris Jones                        -                                      -                                                1

L Fell                                 -                                      -                                                1

Nigel King                          -                                      -                                                1

Martin McDonagh/Paul Murphy/M J Nixon -                                     -                                                1


888 Prestbury Cup – Standings after Champion Day


Great Britain 3

Ireland 4








The Festival™ presented by Magners 2019 – winners


Champion Day – Tuesday, March 12, 2019


1:30pm Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y £125,000

KLASSICAL DREAM (FR) Joanne Coleman 5-11-07 Willie Mullins/Ruby Walsh 6/1



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