Day 4 round up Cheltenham Festival 2015

Gold Cup Day!

Rain fell on the final day of The Festival changing the ground to soft/good to soft and most likely changing the outcome for many of the competitors.

Ruby Walsh took an early lead in the JCB Hurdle with Dicosimo by five or six lengths, but Peace And Co and Top Notch stepped up as they approached the last, with favourite Peace and Co taking the win at the very end.

The Vince O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle was taken by outsider Wicklow Brave, who came from nowhere at the end to romp home at 25/1. Noel Fehily took a fall on Roman Flight, but both horse and rider were ok.

Mortello Tower just managed to hold on to his lead in the Albert Bartlett, with the team at Dan Skelton Racing (a favourite of Duralock) coming in 5th with the hotly tipped Value At Risk.

The hugely anticipated Gold Cup did not disappoint. Coneygree was first out and managed to fend off some serious competition throughout. Ending in an exciting three way sprint and becoming the first novice to win The Gold Cup since 1974!

The Foxhunters, had a false start, an aborted second start and a messy standing start before they finally got underway. On The Fringe, ridden by female jockey Nina Carberry, opened up a massive lead before winning by a street from Following Dreams.

The Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle was no less dramatic, starting smoothly, Bulgarry took a crashing fall at the second flight and the race ended with Killutagh Vic pronounced winner in a photo finish with Noble Endeavour.

The final race of the festival and Tony McCoy’s last at Cheltenham was The Grand Annual Chase. After a well fought battle, hampered by a fall from Dresden, he handed the trophy to the winner to a rapturous applause from the crowd. Maybe not the fairytale ending most people had hoped for, but he can certainly look back on the week with pride.

Two men who definitely can, are Champion Trainer Willie Mullins, who trained a record eight winners and Champion Jockey Ruby Walsh who rode four winners over the four day festival.

Festival over, we can all relax a little bit over the weekend and catch up on who’s in and out of pocket… until the Grand National!

Tony McCoy with Tom Scudamore, who rode the winner of the A P McCoy Grand Annual Chase at Cheltenham

Day 1 round up Cheltenham Festival 2015

The roar!

The excitement at the start of the festival that has been heralded the Olympics of horseracing, is captured beautifully here by former Grand National winning jockey Marcus Armytage, writing for Betfair:

“At 1.30pm in the natural amphitheatre below Cleeve Hill, a roar will ring out across the north-eastern corner of Cheltenham that signals the start of the 2015 National Hunt Festival; four days, 27 races, Britain versus Ireland, punter versus bookmaker, the retiring A P McCoy against Ruby Walsh …” 

It looked to be Walsh’s day with a win in the first race, the Sky Bet Supreme Novice Hurdle on Douvan (and a win for the punter that placed £20k on him!). Followed up by a win in the Arkle on Un De Sceaux and to the cries of ‘Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby’ Faugheen wins the Stan James Champion Hurdle. The bookies were panicking, Twitter was alive with speculation on the massive losses about to be made as the fourth favourite Annie Power looked all set to take the win in the Mares Hurdle, jumping well and tucked in on the nearside, second to last she took the lead and on the final hurdle… disaster! Today’s photos look as if she jumped the shadow and landed too early, either way Ruby and Annie were out of the race and it was a photo finish with Glens Melody taking first. Everyone (especially the bookies) breathed a sigh of relief as it was confirmed that all involved were well. Cause of Causes wins the Toby Balding and the last race of the day is won by Irish Cavalier.

An exhilarating start to what is truly the greatest show on turf!

Annie P