Monday 3 September 2018

Cheltenham Festival – ‘Championship’ Races 2008

Champion Hurdle

Defending champion Sublimity was back for another crack, but was beaten early on the run-in as Katchit, an impressive winner of the Triumph Hurdle at the previous Festival, and Osana, who’d won the International Hurdle at Cheltenham the previous December, fought out the finish. It was Katchit who prevailed by a length, all out, to record a first victory in the race for trainer Alan King and jockey Robert Thornton. Favourite Sizing Europe weakened quickly and was virtually pulled up on the run-in.

Queen Mother Champion Chase

The second day of the 2008 Cheltenham Festival was cancelled due to stormy weather and, in particular, high winds, which made areas of Prestbury Park unsafe for racegoers. Consequently, the Queen Mother Champion Chase was run as part of a 10-race card, arranged over five and a quarter hours, on Thursday. However, the race was worth the wait, with the favourite Master Minded putting in a breathtaking display and cruising to victory by 19 lengths. In so doing, he became the first 5-year-old ever to win the race.

Stayers’ Hurdle

Defending champion Inglis Drever, who’d also won the race in 2005, started 11/8 favourite and duly completed a hat-trick with a narrow, but ultimately fairly comfortable, win over French raider Kasbah Bliss. The field also feature 2006 winner, My Way De Solzen, who was fifth, and Hardy Eustace, winner of the Champion Hurdle in 2004 and 2005, who finished a well-beaten twelfth of the 15 finishers.

Cheltenham Gold Cup

Kauto Star, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Ruby Walsh, was once again all the rage, backed into 10/11 favourite, to win his second consecutive Gold Cup. However, his nearest market rival, and stable companion, Denman, had other ideas, taking the race by scruff of the neck and going clear after the fourth last to win comfortably by 7 lengths. Neptune Collonges finished third, just a short head behind Kauto Star, to complete a Nicholls’ 1-2-3.

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