Friday 7 September 2018

Cheltenham Festival – ‘Championship’ Races 2009

Champion Hurdle

The 2009 Champion Hurdle featured 23 runners – the largest field since Morley Street beat 23 rivals in 1991 – including the winners for the previous five years. Binocular, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by A.P. McCoy, started 6/4 favourite, but was upstaged by stable companion Punjabi, ridden by Barry Geraghty, who was all out to win by a head from Celestial Halo, with Binocular a neck back in third. Katchit fared best of the previous winners, finishing a never-nearer sixth, beaten 5¾ lengths.

Queen Mother Champion Chase

Defending champion Master Minded, still only a 6-year-old, came into the race on the back of easy wins in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown and the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot and was sent off at prohibitive odds of 4/11 to retain his crown. His supporters never had an anxious moment, though, as he went clear to beat Well Chief by 7 lengths, with Petit Robin 2 lengths back in third. Newmill, the 2006 winner, finished fourth at odds of 100/1.

Stayers’ Hurdle

Big Buck’s – complete with that annoying, and unnecessary, apostrophe – made his first appearance in the Ladbroke World Hurdle, having been put back over the smaller obstacles after falling at the final fence in the Hennessy Gold Cup. The move proved to be a stroke of genius by trainer Paul Nicholls, because the 6-year-old stayed on gamely to beat Punchestowns and Powerstation by 1¾ lengths and 17 lengths.

Cheltenham Gold Cup

The 2009 Cheltenham Gold Cup was billed as Kauto Star versus Denman, round two, but this time it was the 2007 winner, Kauto Star, who served it up to his ailing stable companion, winning impressively by 13 lengths. To be fair, Denman was having just his second start back after treatment for an irregular heartbeat, but Kauto Star, nevertheless, became the first horse in the history of the race to regain his crown after being beaten in a previous renewal.

No comments:

Post a Comment