Day One of The Cheltenham Festival 2019 on 12 March saw Gavin Cromwell overjoyed to have trained his first Festival winner, in no less a race than the £450,000 G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle.
The softly-spoken farrier, who now combines shoeing horses with training a 50-horse string, sent out Espoir D'Allen (16/1) to land Europe's greatest hurdle race, and the gelding did it in style, becoming the first five-year-old to land the prize since Katchit in 2008 - you have to go back to 1985, and See You Then, to find the next winner of such youth.
Roksana was another unexpected winner in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle for the Skelton brothers after capitalising on Benie Des Dieux’s fall at the final fence when appearing to have the race in her mercy under Ruby Walsh for Willie Mullins.
Did you see our wrap up video from The Core?
Who did we spot at champion day 2019?
Four Days of Extraordinary kicked off in style at Cheltenham Racecourse where many famous faces were enjoying the action on the track. Liz Hurley, Carol Vorderman, Richard Hammond, Nick Knowles, Chris Hughes, Jeremy Kyle, Sir Alex Fergusson, Zara Phillips and Lee Westwood were some of the celebrities spotted.