Tuesday 9 October 2018

Cheltenham Festival – ‘Championship’ Races 2010

Champion Hurdle

Binocular, who’d finished third, beaten a head and a neck, in 2009, when 6/4 favourite, had originally been declared a non-runner by trainer Nicky Henderson in February. However, after an exceptional piece of work, the Lambourn trainer changed his mind and, somewhat controversially, his charge won the Champion Hurdle, running on well to beat Khyber Kim by 3½ lengths. Zaynar, also trained by Henderson, finished third, a further 6 lengths away.

Queen Mother Champion Chase

Reigning champion Master Minded was all the rage, at 4/5, to complete a hat-trick, but ran a lifeless race, fading into fourth place on the run-in as Big Zeb asserted to beat compatriot Forpadydeplaster by 6 lengths. The winner, trained by Colm Murphy in Co. Wexford and ridden by Barry Geraghty, had fallen at the fourth last when still travelling well within himself the previous year. Second favourite Kalahari King kept on to take a never dangerous third, beaten 9¼ lengths by the winner.

Stayers’ Hurdle

Defending champion Big Buck’s, unbeaten since sent back over the smaller obstacles the previous season and firmly established as the leading staying hurdler in the country, started odd-on, at 5/6, to retain his crown. Retain his crown he did, in emphatic style, cruising upsides the leader, Time For Rupert, between the last two flights and asserting on the run-in to win by 3¼ lengths. Powerstation, third in 2009, was third again, 11 lengths further behind.

Cheltenham Gold Cup

Stable companions Kauto Star and Denman faced off for the third year running, with Kauto Star sent off 8/11 favourite to win his second consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cup and his third in all. However, having been given time to recover from a bad blunder before halfway, Kauto Star fell at the fourth last, when seemingly struggling and Denman was comprehensively outpointed by Imperial Commander. Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies and ridden by Paddy Brennan, Imperial Commander headed Denman at the second last and won, going away, by 7 lengths. Mon Mome, at 50/1, finished a well-held third, 23 lengths further behind.