Thursday, 15 February 2018

Cheltenham Festival - Pertemps Final

Cheltenham Pertemps Final
Hurdle races are always a thrill at the Cheltenham Festival. Observers love the thrill of watching varying levels of skill give racehorses advantage (or its opposite) as they combine speed and power to navigate the course.

That is exactly what the Pertemps Final offers on the third day of the Festival- a thrill of power and pace. The third-grade race sees racehorses of five years and above compete over a distance of 4828 metres (3 mi) on the turf layered New Course at Cheltenham. The horses are handicapped to achieve a better balance as they seek to perform best over a path dotted with twelve hurdle obstacles.

It is a fairly aged race having been first run in 1974. It has been held at every Cheltenham festival since then with the exception of the foot-and-mouth ill-fated 2001. Seasoned sponsor Coral (now of Coral Cup) was a long time sponsor until 1993. Pertemps, the current sponsor, has had the deal since 2002. The sponsorship offers a purse of around £90,000 with the winner taking more than half of it.

The 2018 edition is this race’s first ever edition as a graded race. It was formerly run as a Listed race, but continuous improvement in competition has earned it a promotion.

Horses do not just register for the Pertemps Final. Rather, they go through a rigorous series of qualifiers in the five months leading up to the March festival.

This is one of the races with the evenest distribution of winners across the age brackets. Six, seven, eight andnine-year-olds are the most prolific winners. The record holder, however, had a two-digit age. Willie Wumpkins took first place in 1979, 80 and 81 to set a record that stands to date. The horse was ridden by amateur jockey Jim Wilson and trained by Jane Pilkington on all three occasions. Wilson remains the top jockey in the race, but Jane was overtaken by Jonjo O’ Neill who achieved a
fourth win as a trainer in 2013.

Cheltenham Festival - Festival Trophy

Cheltenham festival trophy
The Festival Trophy and the Ryanair Chase are one and the same race. The names are often used interchangeably to refer to the Grade 1 race run on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival.

The race is a Grade 1 chase event on National hunt’s calendar that admits racehorses five years and older. The competition takes place on the left-handed, turf New Cheltenham Course over a
distance of 4,225 metres (2 mi 5 furlongs) with seventeen fence hurdles acting as obstacles on the competitors’ path.

The race has been run for slightly over a decade, with the first edition happening during the 2005 festival. That event was sponsored by news outlet Daily Telegraph. Ryanair picked up the sponsorship from the second edition and the race has been known as the Ryanair Chase since
then. The sponsorship offers one of the festival’s biggest purses which is somewhere around £275,000. That translates to over £150,000 for the winning horse.

Cheltenham Festival’s leading jockey Ruby Walsh has had a lovely run in this race as well. He won the inaugural event atop Paul Nicholls-trained nine-year-old horse Thisthatandtother. He was again
the first-place finisher in 2007, this time riding six-year-old Taranis who also came from Nicholls’ training stable.

Walsh had an extended absence from the winners’ dais in this race from 2007, only sweeping first honours again in 2016 when he rode Willie Mullins-trained Vautour who was aged seven years. Trainer and Jockey were at it again in 2017 when they entered nine-year-old Un de Sceaux and went on to finish in the first position. The 2017 win tool Ruby Walsh to a record four wins while Mullins joined the class of trainers whose horses have won two races. Other trainers in this category include Paul Nicholls, David Pipe, Nicky Henderson and Jonjo O’ Neill. A Mullins-Walsh partnership is
heavily tipped to set a new record for both jockey and trainer