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A look back at the first three days of The Festival presented by Magners

Press Release 15th March 2019 Cheltenham

By Racenews

What a week it's been, and it's not over. If past experience is anything to go by the best is yet to come, with a Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup as open as any in recent times and a supporting card offering something for everyone.

Even the weather has been kinder than it might have been, and it's hard to credit that only three days ago we were gloomily preparing ourselves for Wednesday's racing to be called off and the card to be transferred lock, stock and barrel to Saturday.

Champion Day got off to a brilliant start, with Klassical Dream looking an outstanding winner of the G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle despite doing plenty wrong, and we've scarcely looked back.

The G1 Unibet Champion Hurdle did not disappoint, even though none of the market principals were involved at the finish. This time last year few of us were aware of Espoir D'Allen, and his farrier trainer Gavin Cromwell had barely had a Festival runner, but the five-year-old won by the widest margin in history and looked the real deal.

On Ladies Day we woke to the news that the inspection had been brought forward and racing was to go ahead, and from that point onwards it got better and better.

Altior has become a huge favourite with racegoers on both sides of the Irish Sea, just as Sprinter Sacre was, and after battling much harder than expected for his second G1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase and fourth successive win at The Festival he returned to a hero's reception and a rousing round of 'three cheers'.

Less than an hour later Randox Health Grand National winner Tiger Roll also added a fourth Festival win to his extraordinary CV when repeating last year's win in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase in effortless fashion, and he too was accorded a reception of Altior proportions.

Some regard the St Patrick's Day card as the Festival's weakest, yet as we left the course many of us were struggling to recall a better day.

In what has been christened Cheltenham's 'golden hour' Bryony Frost became the first female to ride a top-level win over obstacles at the Festival with a fabulous victory on Frodon in the G1 Ryanair Chase, and owner Andrew Gemmell, blind since birth, celebrated with unbridled joy as Paisley Park delivered a first win at the same level for Emma Lavelle and Aidan Coleman in the G1 Sun Racing Stayers' Hurdle.

Pure sporting magic.

Female Jockeys at The Festival

Bryony Frost's victory on Frodon in the G1 Ryanair Chase on St Patrick's Thursday is the most high-profile victory by a female rider at The Festival and the first in a Grade One chase or hurdle race at the meeting.

It was Frost's second win at The Festival, following on Pacha Du Polder's victory in the 2017 St James's Place Foxhunter Chase when she was an amateur rider.

Rachael Blackmore, another professional jockey and second in the Irish Jump jockeys' championship, was the first female rider to succeed at The Festival 2019, partnering A Plus Tard to win the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase on Tuesday.

There was a third female success when Lizzie Kelly partnered Siruh Du Lac to victory in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase on St Patrick's Thursday.

2018 was the best year yet for female jockeys at The Festival, with four victories, each provided by a different rider - with Lizzie Kelly becoming the first professional female jockey to triumph, followed by Bridget Andrews, while amateurs Harriet Tucker and Katie Walsh, who retired from race riding the following month, also enjoyed memorable victories.

Another leading Irish amateur, Nina Carberry, who has the best record of any female rider at The Festival with seven wins, also stepped back from race riding in April, 2018.

Overall: 15 winning female jockeys, with 26 winners between them

First: Miss Caroline Beasley - Eliogarty, 1983 Foxhunter Chase.

First professional rider: Lizzie Kelly - Coo Star Sivola, 2018 Ultima Handicap Chase.

Most successful: Ms Nina Carberry, 7 winners.

First Grade One winner - Ms Katie Walsh - 2018 Weatherbys Champion Bumper

First Grade One chase winner - Bryony Frost - Frodon - 2019 Ryanair Chase

Best race: St James's Place Foxhunter Chase - 2018 Miss Harriet Tucker; 2017 Miss Bryony Frost; 2016 & 2015 Ms Nina Carberry; 2004 Miss Rilly Goschen; 2002 Mrs Fiona Needham; 1995 Miss Polly Curling; 1989 Miss Katie Rimell; 1983 Miss Caroline Beasley.

Today's Runners

As mentioned above, 2018 was the best year to date for female jockeys with four winners across the four days. With three winners already on the board in 2019, there is a realistic chance of that record being equalled or bettered with 13 contenders having a female rider today:

2.10pm Randox Health County Handicap HurdleMohaayed (Bridget Andrews), Due Reward (Rachael Blackmore), Monsieur Lecoq (Lizzie Kelly)

2.50pm Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle

Minella Indo (Rachael Blackmore)

4.10pm St James's Place Foxhunter Chase

Haymount (Miss Gina Andrews), Pacha Du Polder (Miss Harriet Tucker), Samanntom (Miss Susie Doyle), Southfield Theatre (Miss Lily Bradstock), Sybarite (Miss Lilly Pinchin), Top Wood (Miss Tabitha Worsley)

4.50pm Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase

Mind's Eye (Rachael Blackmore), Brelan D'As (Bryony Frost)

5.30pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle

If You Say Run (Bryony Frost)

Holland Cooper Leading Jockey Award -

Standings ahead of Gold Cup Day

Jockey    1st    2nd      3rd

Barry Geraghty 2   2     -

Nico de Boinville 2   1     1

Mark Walsh   2   1     1

Mr Jamie Codd 2   -     -

J J Slevin   1   2     -

Paul Townend   1   2     -

Harry Cobden   1   1     1

Ruby Walsh   1   -     2

Rachael Blackmore 1   -     1

Keith Donoghue 1   -     1

Aidan Coleman 1   -     -

Noel Fehily   1   -     -

Bryony Frost   1   -     -

Lizzie Kelly   1   -     -

Jeremiah McGrath 1   -     -

Mr Derek O'Connor 1   -     -

Harry Skelton   1   -     -

Jack Kennedy   -   1     2

Daryl Jacob -   1     1

Richard Johnson -   1     1

Tom Bellamy   -   1     -

Joe Colliver   -   1     -

Danny Cook   -   1     -

Mr Alex Edwards -   1     -

Charlie Deutsch -   1     -

Danny Mullins   -   1     -

Mr Patrick Mullins -   1     -

Mr Barry O'Neill -   1     -

Robbie Power   -   1     -

Henry Brooke   -   -     1

Sean Flanagan -   -     1

Felix de Giles   -   -     1

Mr Declan Lavery -   -     1

David Mullins   -   -     1

Davy Russell   -   -     1

Gavin Sheehan -   -     1

Sam Twiston-Davies -   -     1

Mr Sam Waley-Cohen -   -     1

Adam Wedge   -   -     1

  

The Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award -

Standings ahead of Gold Cup Day

Trainer   1st    2nd      3rd

Willie Mullins IRE 3   5     3

Nicky Henderson  3   3     -

Gordon Elliott IRE 3   1     4

Paul Nicholls   2   1     -

Joseph O'Brien IRE 1   2     -

Philip Hobbs   1   -     2

Dan Skelton   1   -     1

Ben Pauling   1   -     1

Martin Brassil IRE 1   -     -

Henry de Bromhead IRE 1   -     -

Gavin Cromwell IRE 1   -     -

Emma Lavelle   1   -     -

Ted Walsh IRE 1   -     -

Nick Williams   1   -     -

Olly Murphy   -   1     1

Enda Bolger IRE -   1     -

Debra Hamer   -   1     -

Paul Nolan IRE -   1     -

Jedd O'Keeffe   -   1     -

Henry Oliver   -   1     -

Sue Smith   -   1     -

Colin Tizzard   -   1     -

Venetia Williams -   1    -

Nick Alexander -   -     1

Emmanuel Clayeux FR -   -     1

Jessica Harrington IRE -   -     1

Alan King   -   -     1

Noel Meade IRE -   -     1

Neil Mulholland -   -     1

Terence O'Brien IRE -   -     1

Nigel Twiston-Davies -   -     1

Evan Williams   -   -     1

 

 NetJets Leading Owner Award -

Standings ahead of Gold Cup Day

Owner    1st   2nd      3rd

J P McManus   4   4     1

Sullivan Bloodstock Ltd 2   1     -

Cheveley Park Stud 2   -     -

Gigginstown House Stud 1   1     4

George Barlow 1   -     -

Justin Carthy   1   -     -

Joanne Coleman 1   -     -

Sarah Faulks   1   -     -

Andrew Gemmell 1   -     -

Chris Giles & Mr & Mrs Paul Barber 1   -     -

Bernadine Mulryan 1   -     -

Emma Palmer   1   -     -

Patricia Pugh   1   -   -

Paul Vogt   1   -     -

Walters Plant Hire Ltd 1   -     -

John White & Anne Underhill 1   -     -

Simon Munir & Isaac Souede -   2     1

Trevor Hemmings -   1     1

Andy Bell & Fergus Lyons -   1     -

The Bellamy Partnership -   1     -

Burnham P & D Ltd -   1     -

Caron & Paul Chapman -   1     -

Mrs J Donnelly -   1     -

Down The Quay Club -   1     -

Thomas Friel/Andrew Gemmell -   1     -

John Hales   -   1     -

Richard & Lizzie Kelvin Hughes -   1     -

Taylor & O'Dwyer -   1     -

Diana Whateley -   1     -

Wicklow Bloodstock (Ireland) Ltd -   1     -

The Aldaniti Partnership -   -     1

Kate & Andrew Brooks -   -     1

Mike Burbidge & The Old Masters -   -     1

The Englands & Heywoods -   -     1

Chris Jones   -   -     1

L Fell   -   -     1

Nigel King   -   -     1

N W Lake   -    -     1

Martin McDonagh/Paul Murphy/M J Nixon -   -     1

ML Bloodstock Ltd -   -     1

A Rasquier   -   -     1

Robcour   -   -     1

Susannah Ricci -   -     1

Options O Syndicate -   -     1

 

 

The Festival™ presented by Magners 2019 - Winners

 

Champion Day - Tuesday, March 12, 2019

1:30pm Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y £125,000

KLASSICAL DREAM (FR) Joanne Coleman 5-11-07 Willie Mullins IRE/Ruby Walsh 6/1

2:10pm Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y £175,000

DUC DES GENIEVRES (FR) Sullivan Bloodstock Limited 6-11-04 Willie Mullins IRE/Paul Townend 5/1

2:50pm Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m 1f £110,000

BEWARE THE BEAR (IRE) George Barlow 9-11-08 Nicky Henderson/Jeremiah McGrath 10/1

3:30pm Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) 2m 87y £450,000

ESPOIR D'ALLEN (FR) J P McManus 5-11-10 Gavin Cromwell IRE/Mark Walsh 16/1

4:10pm OLBG Mares' Hurdle (Registered as the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle) (Grade 1) 2m 3f 200y £120,000

ROKSANA (IRE) Sarah Faulks 7-11-05 Dan Skelton/Harry Skelton 10/1

4:50 pm Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase (Listed Race) 2m 4f 63y £70,000

A PLUS TARD (FR) Cheveley Park Stud 5-11-07 Henry de Bromhead IRE/Rachael Blackmore 5/1 Fav

5:30pm National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Novices' Chase (Grade 2) 3m 7f 166y £125,000

LE BREUIL (FR) Emma Palmer 7-11-06 Ben Pauling/Mr Jamie Codd 14/1

 

Ladies Day - Wednesday, March 13, 2019

1:30pm Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered as the Baring Bingham) 2m 5f £125,000

CITY ISLAND (IRE) Bernadine Mulryan 6-11-07 Martin Brassil IRE/Mark Walsh 8/1

2:10pm RSA Insurance Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 3m 80y £175,000

TOPOFTHEGAME (IRE) Chris Giles & Mrs & Mrs Paul Barber 7-11-04 Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden 4/1

2:50pm Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 5f £100,000

WILLIAM HENRY (IRE) Walters Plant Hire Ltd 9-11-10 Nicky Henderson/Nico de Boinville 28/1

3:30pm Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y £400,000

ALTIOR (IRE) Patricia Pugh 9-11-10 Nicky Henderson/Nico de Boinville 4/11 Fav

4:10pm Glenfarclas Chase (A Cross Country Chase) 3m 6f 37y £65,000

TIGER ROLL (IRE) Gigginstown House Stud 9-11-04 Gordon Elliott IRE/Keith Donoghue 5/4 Fav

4:50pm Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Registered as the Fred Winter) (Grade 3) £80,000

BAND OF OUTLAWS (IRE) Justin Carthy 4-11-08 Joseph O'Brien IRE/J. J. Slevin 7/2 Fav

5:30pm Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1) 2m 87y £75,000

ENVOI ALLEN (FR) Cheveley Park Stud 5-11-05 Gordon Elliott IRE/Mr Jamie Codd 2/1 Fav

 

St Patrick's Thursday - Thursday, March 14, 2019

1:30 pm JLT Novices' Chase (Grade 1) (Registered as the Golden Miller) 2m 4f 5y £156,760

DEFI DU SEUIL (FR) J P McManus 6-11-04 Philip Hobbs/Barry Geraghty 3/1 Fav

2:10pm Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 7f 213y £100,000

SIRE DU BERLAIS (FR) J P McManus 7-11-09 Gordon Elliott IRE/ Barry Geraghty 4/1 Fav

2:50pm Ryanair Chase (Registered as the Festival Trophy) (Grade 1) 2m 4f 184y £350,000

FRODON (FR) Paul Vogt 7-11-10 Paul Nicholls/Bryony Frost 9/2

3:30pm Sun Racing Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y £325,000

PAISLEY PARK (IRE) Andrew Gemmell 7-11-10 Emma Lavelle/Aidan Coleman 11/8 Fav

4:10 pm Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m 4f 184y £110,000

SIRUH DU LAC (FR) John White & Anne Underhill 6-10-11 Nick Williams/Lizzie Kelly (3) 9/2

4:50pm National Hunt Breeders Supported By Tattersalls Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) (Registered as the Dawn Run) 2m 179y £90,00

EGLANTINE DU SEUIL (FR) Sullivan Bloodstock Limited 5-11-02 Willie Mullins IRE/ Noel Fehily 50/1

5:30pm Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase 3m 2f 75y £70,000

ANY SECOND NOW (IRE) J P McManus 7-11-11 Ted Walsh IRE/Mr Derek O'Connor 6/1

 

888 Prestbury Cup - Standings ahead of Gold Cup Day

 

Great Britain 10

Ireland 11

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