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Friday, 15 March 2019

Cheltenham Festival – ‘Championship’ Races 2013


cheltenham festival 2013
Champion Hurdle


Hurricane Fly was beaten fair and square by Rock On Ruby in 2012 but, back on his favoured soft ground, the 2011 winner reversed the form with his old rival, to the tune of 7½ lengths, running on strongly in the closing stages. In so doing, he became the first horse since Comedy Of Errors in 1975 to regain the hurdling crown.



Queen Mother Champion Chase



The 2013 Queen Mother Champion Chase revolved around just one horse, Sprinter Sacre, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Barry Geraghty, who started the shortest-priced favourite, at 1/4, since Flyingbolt in 1966. The 7-year-old laughed at the opposition, effortlessly drawing away in the closing stages, still on the bridle, to beat 2011 winner Sizing Europe by 19 lengths.



Stayers’ Hurdle



If ever a race highlighted the talents of jockey Paul Carberry, it was the 2013 Stayers’ Hurdle. In the absence of four-time winner Big Buck’s, sidelined with a leg injury, Carberry rode the perfect waiting race on Solwhit who, himself, had been off the course for almost two years before returning to action at Punchestown on New Year’s Eve. Once produced at the last, Solwhit had too many guns for 40/1 outsider Celestial Halo and was driven out to win by 2½ lengths at odds of 17/2. Smad Place, third in 2012, was third again, beaten a further 3 lengths. Favourite Oscar Whisky ran no sort of race and was tailed off when pulled up before the final flight.


Cheltenham Gold Cup



The 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup featured just nine runners – the smallest field for 21 years – but that shouldn’t detract from the performance of 11/4 favourite, Bobs Worth, who finished strongly to beat Sir Des Champs by 7 lengths, with 2011 winner Long Run 4 lengths away in third. The winner, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Barry Geraghty, was recording his third consecutive victory at the Cheltenham Festival, having won the RSA Chase in 2012 and the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle in 2011.

Friday, 22 February 2019

Cheltenham: The Festival and the Facts

It seems like it was only yesterday that we were caught up in the thrill of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival, which experienced record breaking crowds of over a quarter of a million over the four day festival (with 70 thousand+ on Gold Cup day alone). With a Gold Cup win from the Colin Tizzard trained Native River, and odds on shot Buveur D'Air in the Champion Hurdle, there was plenty of excitement to appreciate for fans of top drawer racing.

Without a doubt the Cheltenham Roar will be of equal or higher volume during the 2019 Cheltenham Festival (starting March 12th), where the cream of the crop of racing talent will once again go head to head to see who's going to be this year's history makers. We're sure you'll be be tuning in for this unmissble four day festival and most likely having a flutter too (and who can blame you!). We'll be checking out Cheltenham tips from the experts at OLBG.com closer to the Festival start date and highlighting ones to watch. Current favourite for the showpiece event, the Gold Cup, is Presenting Percy at 3-1 (Native River is 5-1).



Ten Cheltenham Festival Facts


- The fastest Gold Cup victory was in 2011, when Long Run completed the course in just 6 minutes 29 seconds. Native River took 7 mins 2 seconds in 2018.

- Last year's total Cheltenham prize money was a mind boggling £4,590,000. Over £1,000,000 each day for the first time

- The Festival is said to be worth around £100,000,000 to the Gloucestershire community

- Prize money for the Cheltenham Gold Cup alone in 2018 was £625,000, up from £575,000 the previous year

- The Cheltenham Gold Cup was first run in 1924 where prize money was just £700

- Only seven horses have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup more than once, with Golden Miller winning the race a stunning 5 times in a row

- Dawn Run holds the honour of being the only horse ever to have won both the Champion Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup.

- The most successful trainer at the event is Tim Dreaoer with five Gold Cup wins on three horses (Prince Regent, Arkle and Fort Leney).

- The 2001 Foot and Mouth disease was the only non war related reason the Cheltenham Festival has ever been called off.

- A stand out jockey achievement at the Festival occurred in 2009 when Ruby Walsh rode seven winners over the course of the four days

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Cheltenham Festival – ‘Championship’ Races 2012


cheltenham festival 2012
Champion Hurdle

The two previous winners, Hurricane Fly and Binocular, returned for the 2012 renewal of the Champion Hurdle, with the former sent off 4/6 to make it 2-2 at the Festival. However, on good going, it was Rock On Ruby, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Noel Fehily, who kept on best to beat Overturn by 3¾ lengths. Hurricane Fly could make no impression in the closing stages and finished third, a further 1¾ lengths. Officially, the winner was credited to Nicholls, but Rock On Ruby was mainly prepared at his satellite yard in Seaborough, Dorset by Harry Fry.



Queen Mother Champion Chase



Just eight runners lined up for the 2012 Queen Mother Champion Chase, with defending champion Sizing Europe odds-on, at 4/5, to win again. Henry de Bromhead’s 10-year-old ran creditably, but was joined by 4/1 second favourite Finian’s Rainbow, at the final fence – bypassed following the fall of Wishfull Thinking on the first circuit – and headed in the final half a furlong, or so. Finian’s Rainbow, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Barry Geraghty, prevailed by 1¼ lengths, with Big Zeb a respectable, but distant, third, 15 lengths away.



Stayers’ Hurdle



Big Buck’s, the undisputed star of the staying hurdle division, claimed a record-breaking fourth victory in the race, at the chief expense of 20/1 Voler La Vedette, who pushed him all the way to the line, before succumbing by 1¾ lengths. The victory was the sixteenth in a row over hurdles by Big Buck’s, equally the record set by Sir Ken nearly six decades earlier. Another 20/1 chance, Smad Place, finished third, 7 lengths away.



Cheltenham Gold Cup



Defending champion Long Run was sent off 7/4 favourite to retain his title, ahead of 2007 and 2009 winner Kauto Star at 3/1. Kauto Star was pulled up before halfway, though, and although Long Run ran creditably he couldn’t find the same turn of foot as he had twelve months previously and eventually finished third, beaten 3 lengths. The race was won by 2011 Welsh Grand National winner, Synchronised, trained by Jonjo O’Neill and ridden by A.P. McCoy. The 8/1 chance led at the final fence and stayed on gamely to beat rallying 50/1 outsider The Giant Bolster by 2¼ lengths.


Friday, 15 February 2019

Best Bets For The Four Champions Races At The 2019 Cheltenham Festival

There are 28 races scheduled for the 2019 Cheltenham Festival but the four Championship contests are the ones which stand out more than any other across the week. Here is a preview of those four races and the best bets in each renewal.

Champion Hurdle

Buveur D’Air is bidding for his third straight Champion Hurdle success this year which would put him alongside some of the great hurdlers who have managed to achieve that feat. The eight-year-old tops the betting to come out on top again, however, his defeat at Kempton in the Christmas Hurdle may suggest he is worth opposing at the prices this year.

The good news for racing fans is that connections of Apple’s Jade have revealed she will line up in this race after she was so impressive in the Irish Champion Hurdle earlier this month. Annie Power was the last mare to win the premier hurdle contest in 2016 and with a seven-pound weight allowance in her favour, she is likely to have plenty of supporters.

At The Races via Twitter

The top two in the betting both have solid chances, however, it may pay to back the younger mare in the race in Laurina who is available at 7/2. She was such a comfortable winner of the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle last season and looks more than good enough to take her chance against the opposite sex here.

Cheltenham Gold Cup

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the Blue Riband event of National Hunt racing and as always it should be another fascinating contest. Last year’s winner Native River is set to return to bid to retain his crown, something which has not been done since Best Mate won the race for the third time in 2014.

Native River has had an average campaign so far as he was second at Haydock in the opening leg of the Chase Triple Crown, while he finished third at Kempton in the King George VI Chase. This 3m2f contest is a real test of stamina though and will suit him perfectly once again.

The leading novice of last season Presenting Percy will be stepping up against the older and more experienced horses this time around and on the evidence of his dominant RSA Chase victory last March, you think he would have a strong chance. Sadly we have only seen him once this season and after making a winning reappearance at Gowran Park, he was cut for Gold Cup glory by the bookmakers.

Last year’s runner up Might Bite has had a really disappointing campaign so far. He was travelling so well in the King George at Kempton before dropping down the field in the closing stages. Although there may have been reason for that poor showing from Nicky Henderson’s horse, it is hard to see him returning to form again in time therefore at 5/1 in the ante-post market, Native River is the best bet to outstay his rivals up the hill for a second time in the Blue Riband contest.

Queen Mother Champion Chase
One of the shortest priced favourites at the Festival this year is Altior who is 2/5 to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase for the second consecutive year. Henderson’s runner has won all 12 of his starts over fences and it is hard to see when his first defeat will come, such has been his dominance.


Racing Post via Twitter

Altior began his season at Sandown where he prevailed in the Tingle Creek Chase. Just weeks later he won the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton, while more recently, he was faultless again in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot.

If you are not having a bet in the Champion Chase, you can admire the quality of Altior as horses like him don’t come around too often. For those looking to have a bet though, the best way to play here is in the betting without the favourite market with Min who finished second behind the winner in 2018. Willie Mullins’ chaser landed the Dublin Chase earlier this month and he looks to be the one who will get closest to Altior again.

Stayers’ Hurdle

The Stayer’s Hurdle is one of the most open Championship races this season but the standout performer in the division this season has undoubtedly been Paisley Park who has claimed the Long Walk Hurdle and Cleeve Hurdle.

Emma Lavelle’s stablestar was so impressive last time at Cheltenham where he was ridden clear after the last hurdle to record a 12 length margin of victory. A repeat of that performance will ensure he is hard to beat in this race where he is 9/4 in the betting.

One of the most interesting runners in the race is former Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen. At his peak the Irish horse was very difficult to beat over 2m. On his opening appearance at 3m he won the Champion Stayers’ Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival, therefore, he has proved he can be effective at this trip. Willie Mullins’ runner will tempt plenty of punters in at 8/1 but it is Paisley Park who looks the most likely winner to cap off what has been a fantastic campaign for the horse.

If you are having a bet on the four Championship races today, a number of bookmakers are now offering non-runner no bet, therefore, you will be able to get insurance just in case your horse does not line up on the day of the contest.