RECORD OPENING DAY CROWD AT THE FESTIVAL
Today's crowd of 67,934 was a new record figure for the opening day of The Festival, Champion Day.
Last year's attendance on the Tuesday came to 66,632, with the previous record for the day being 67,770 in 2016.
NEAR RECORD PLACEPOT PAYOUT
The opening day produced the second-biggest Totepool Placepot dividend of all time as one on-course customer took home a spectacular £182,567.80 for a £2 straight line bet, in which they selected only one horse in each race.
The net pool of £958,481.10 was shared by just 10.50 winning units, producing a dividend of £91,283.10, only a few hundred pounds short of the record Placepot payout. Other on-course winners at Cheltenham included two customers who each collected £36.513.56 for a 40p share, having played in 10p unit stakes, while there were numerous 20p and 10p winners.
Totepool spokesman Matt Hulmes said: "We know how popular the toteplacepot is, and with dividends like this it's incredible to think this can be won without having a winner on the card. Over £1 million was bet into the toteplacepot on Tuesday.
"I'm sure plenty of those looking forward to Ladies' Day at Cheltenham tomorrow will fancy a flutter, and the toteplacepot continues to offer enjoyment and the potential to win huge sums for small stake."
Tuesday's results were so hard to find that both the win and place pools in the Scoop6, running every day during the Cheltenham Festival, were not won, meaning the money carries forward to Wednesday's bet. There is also a rollover of £32,572 in the totejackpot pool.
The selections of Tuesday's £182,567.80 winning toteplacepot ticket holder:
Race 1 Klassical Dream - WON
Race 2 Duc Des Genievres - WON
Race 3 Beware The Bear - WON
Race 4 Melon - 2nd
Race 5 Stormy Ireland - 2nd
Race 6 A Plus Tard - WON
LATEST NEWS ON PRECAUTIONARY INSPECTION FOR WEDNESDAY
Cheltenham Racecourse has called a precautionary inspection ahead of racing tomorrow, Wednesday, March 13, to take place at 8am.
Ian Renton, Regional Director for the south west region of The Jockey Club, said: "We may get 38/40mph winds at Cheltenham tomorrow which would be perfectly OK, but we don't know when the gusts are coming or how localised they will be.
"The other day, we had a little wind here, yet a few miles away, there were massive gusts, so that's why we feel it is sensible to call a precautionary inspection just in case we get some gales that are forecast and could affect racing."
Explaining the potential decision to stage Wednesday's card on Saturday instead of being added to the Thursday and Friday's racing, Renton continued: "I think we would make that decision because we could. We have looked at this scenario for a few days and talked about the potential of this gale coming in, so we have been able to put some contingencies in place.
"Simon [Claisse, Clerk of the Course] and his team have been looking to get the necessary ambulance, doctor and veterinary cover. We have been looking at all of these areas. A lot of our catering team will heading off to Twickenham or Cardiff for the Six Nations, but we felt able to put on the meeting on Saturday if necessary.
"We also feel it is infinitely preferable to have a proper day's racing as a Festival day rather than nine or 10 race-cards.
"If you have a ticket for tomorrow and the racing is abandoned, then you will get a full refund and we would ask people to buy again on the Saturday.
"There are lots of details to be flashed out and we are not going to reveal some of those details until we need to. Hopefully, tomorrow's meeting is not lost and we are all guns ahead to put the meeting on tomorrow.
"If the unfortunate circumstance occurs and we do lose tomorrow's meeting, then we will release as much details as we can about racing taking place on Saturday.
"We feel giving a Festival day a full day is right for the all owners and trainers."
FINIAN MAGUIRE TAKEN TO HOSPITAL
Amateur jockey Finian Maguire, the rider of Whisperinthebreeze, who fell at the 14th fence in the National Hunt Chase, has been taken to Southmead Hospital in Bristol for further assessment. He is the son of former top jockey Adrian Maguire.
TODAY'S STEWARDS REPORTS
Race 1 - 1:30pm G1 SKY BET SUPREME NOVICES' HURDLE
Permission was given for FELIX DESJY (FR) to wear a hood in the parade ring. KLASSICAL DREAM (FR) wore earplugs which were removed at the start and AL DANCER (FR), ARAMON (GER), FELIX DESJY (FR) and FAKIR D'OUDAIRIES (FR) wore earplugs throughout the race. Having reviewed recordings of the false start, the Starters were satisfied that no riders should be reported for contravening the starting procedures. After jumping the final hurdle, FELIX DESJY (FR), placed fifth, landed awkwardly and lugged left making contact with ARAMON (GER), placed sixth, but after viewing a recording of the incident, it was found that no riding offence was involved and that it had not improved the placing of FELIX DESJY (FR). The performance of AL DANCER (FR), which started favourite and finished unplaced, was considered. Nigel Twiston-Davies could offer no explanation other than the gelding failed to see the race out on this step up in class. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of AL DANCER (FR) during routine testing failed to reveal any abnormalities. Following the race, Neil King reported that BRANDON CASTLE, which was pulled up, was unsuited by the going, which was officially described as Soft on this occasion, and would prefer a quicker surface. The Veterinary Officer reported that ITCHY FEET (FR), placed third, bled from the nose and that THOMAS DARBY (IRE), placed second, was lame on its right fore.
Race 2 - 2:10pm G1 RACING POST ARKLE NOVICES' CHASE
Having reviewed recordings of the false start, the Starters were satisfied that no riders should be reported for contravening the starting procedures. A Veterinary Officer reported that Davy Russell had disobeyed instructions given to him by a Veterinary Surgeon and acted in an improper way towards a Racecourse employee in the pull-up area after the race whilst runners were still being assessed by the Veterinary team. Russell was suspended for 2 days. Following the race, Davy Russell reported that HARDLINE (IRE), placed seventh, was never travelling and Richard Johnson reported that LALOR (GER), which was pulled up, was never travelling and the Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of the gelding during routine testing failed to reveal any abnormalities.
Race 3 - 2:50pm G3 ULTIMA HANDICAP CHASE
Permission was given for GIVE ME A COPPER (IRE) to go early to post. Having reviewed recordings of the false start, the Starters were satisfied that no riders should be reported for contravening the starting procedures. The performance of MISTER WHITAKER (IRE), which started joint favourite and was pulled up, was considered. The representative of Mick Channon explained that the gelding was never travelling and jumped poorly. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination revealed the gelding had lost its left fore shoe. Following the race, Richie McLernon reported that MINELLO ROCCO (IRE), which was pulled up, was never travelling and the Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of the gelding failed to reveal any abnormalities. Jack Kennedy reported that he pulled up GENERAL PRINCIPLE (IRE) after the final fence due to being hampered by the faller. The Veterinary Officer reported that ACTIVIAL (FR), placed sixth, lost its right hind shoe; CALIPTO (FR), which was pulled up, lost its right hind shoe; WILLIE BOY (IRE), which was pulled up, lost its left hind shoe; OLDGRANGEWOOD, unplaced, lost its right hind shoe and FLYING ANGEL (IRE), placed fifth, sustained a wound to its right fore.
Race 4 - 3:30pm G1 UNIBET CHAMPION HURDLE
BUVEUR D'AIR (FR) wore earplugs. BRAIN POWER (IRE) and LAURINA (FR) both wore earplugs which were removed at the start. The performance of APPLE'S JADE (FR), which started favourite and finished sixth of seven finishers, was considered. Gordon Elliott could offer no explanation for the mare's performance. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of APPLE'S JADE (FR) during routine testing failed to reveal any abnormalities.
Race 5 - 4:10pm G1 OLBG MARES' HURDLE
BENIE DES DIEUX (FR) and ELIMAY (FR) wore earplugs. Following the race, the Veterinary Officer reported that LIMINI (IRE), which was pulled up, bled from the nose, LACKANEEN LEADER (IRE), which was also pulled up, was lame on its left fore and that STORMY IRELAND (FR), placed second, had post-race ataxia.
Race 6 - 4:50pm LISTED CLOSE BROTHERS NOVICES' HANDICAP CHASE
Permission was given for SPRINGTOWN LAKE (IRE) to wear a hood in the Parade Ring only. SOLOMN GRUNDY (IRE) wore earplugs and RIDERS ON THE STORM (IRE) wore earplugs which were removed at the start. Having reviewed recordings of the false start, the Starters were satisfied that no riders should be reported for contravening the starting procedures. After the third last fence, MOVEWITHTHETIMES (IRE), placed eighth, hung left crowding TOWER BRIDGE (IRE), placed second, onto CUBOMANIA (IRE), which was pulled up, but after viewing a recording of the incident, it was found that no riding offence was involved. Following the race, P. Townend reported that SOLOMN GRUNDY (IRE), which was pulled up, was never travelling. Joshua Moore reported that DELL ORO (FR), unplaced, made jumping mistakes and the Veterinary Officer reported that the gelding lost its right fore shoe. The Veterinary Officer also reported that WALT (IRE), which was pulled up, lost its right hind shoe.
Race 7 - 5:30pm G2 NATIONAL HUNT CHASE
BALLYWARD (IRE) wore earplugs. Permission was given for MULCAHYS HILL (IRE) to be mounted in the chute. It was noted that CLONDAW CIAN (IRE), placed fourth, lost a cheekpiece on the first circuit. Following the race, Mr Derek O'Connor reported that OK CORRAL (IRE), which was pulled up, was hampered on several occasions by fallers.
Holland Cooper Leading Jockey Award -
Standings after Champion Day
Jockey 1st 2nd 3rd
Paul Townend 1 2 -
Rachael Blackmore 1 - 1
Mr Jamie Codd 1 - -
Jeremiah McGrath 1 - -
Harry Skelton 1 - -
Mark Walsh 1 - -
Ruby Walsh 1 - -
JJ Slevin - 2 -
Danny Cook - 1 -
Richard Johnson - 1 -
Mr Barry O'Neill - 1 -
Henry Brooke - - 1
Keith Donoghue - - 1
Mr Declan Lavery - - 1
David Mullins - - 1
Gavin Sheehan - - 1
Adam Wedge - - 1
The Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award - Standings after Champion Day
Trainer 1st 2nd 3rd
Willie Mullins IRE 2 2 1
Henry de Bromhead IRE 1 - -
Gavin Cromwell 1 - -
Nicky Henderson 1 - -
Ben Pauling 1 - -
Dan Skelton 1 - -
Joseph O'Brien IRE - 2 -
Olly Murphy - 1 1
Paul Nolan IRE - 1 -
Sue Smith - 1 -
Nick Alexander - - 1
Gordon Elliott IRE - - 1
Philip Hobbs - - 1
Terence O'Brien IRE - - 1
Evan Williams - - 1
NetJets Leading Owner Award -
Standings after Champion Day
Owner 1st 2nd 3rd
J P McManus 1 1 1
Sullivan Bloodstock Ltd 1 1 -
George Barlow 1 - -
Cheveley Park Stud 1 - -
Joanne Coleman 1 - -
Sarah Faulks 1 - -
Emma Palmer 1 - -
Trevor Hemmings - 1 1
Burnham P & D Ltd - 1 -
Mrs J Donnelly - 1 -
Thomas Friel/Andrew Gemmell - 1 -
Diana Whateley - 1 -
Kate & Andrew Brooks - - 1
Chris Jones - - 1
L Fell - - 1
Nigel King - - 1
Martin McDonagh/Paul Murphy/M J Nixon - - 1
888 Prestbury Cup - Standings after Champion Day
Great Britain 3