The Countdown is On
With Cheltenham Festival right around the corner we wanted to take a trip down memory lane with our team. We’ve sat down with our team of tipsters and had a good chat about their greatest Cheltenham memories, whether it be a day, a bet, a horse… we all have those abiding memories of the great week. Here are ours!
Plenty of racing folk will have amazing memories from Cheltenham Festival and the years gone by, and I am no different of course, but rather than talking about the Kauto Star’s of this world, one of my best Cheltenham memories was when a relatively under-the-radar horse, that I had been backing for months beforehand, romped home in the 2012 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle.
It is rare for an entire Cheltenham to be made (or broken) in 1 race for the way I bet, but I had so fancied Lucinda Russell’s BRINDISI BREEZE since watching him bolt up at Newcastle in January, 2 months prior to the festival, that it ended up being exactly that. Never have the 3 days leading up to Gold Cup day gone so slowly, as all the adrenaline was saved for 2.40pm on the Friday.
Before the race, I had a real sickness brewing in the back of my throat, especially as Willie Mullins’ Boston Bob was being backed off the boards, but so was good old Brindisi, and watching him lead the field around that sickness soon turned into relief as I knew that this horse was not going to be headed. Although the run in felt like it was being ran in super slow motion, he gamely held on to win by a few lengths. I remember rushing back through Tatts, round the back of the paddock into the winners enclosure to watch him come back in. This legend just made my Festival! It is a real shame that this horse never got to show us what he would have done over fences as he died in a freak accident after this race, but he will long live in the memory with me.
JPW Racing Tipster
The Cheltenham Festival is on the horizon and it always brings back those special memories you hold with regards to the greatest 4 days of racing. My first visit to the course was back in 2008 and I often ask myself how I let that happen. I am 33 years old so my Festival debut was at 24 years old. What on earth was I doing?!
It is safe to say I have not looked back and never will I miss another festival in my life. I hold so many memories of the Cheltenham Festival be it in my youth in front of the TV or live from the course. The one that sticks out and was actually nearly one of my worst festivals to date, was in 2011. I was having a dreadful Friday and it had not been a great festival overall. The last race of the day one final chance to save the day and the members. I had actually been harping on about OISEAU DU NUIT all day about how much value he was at 25/1. Come 5 minutes before the race OISEAU DU NUIT had drifted to 40/1 and I couldn’t quite understand why.
My first reaction was if he is 40/1 with the bookies then what sort of price was he with the Tote. One minute to the off, 72.0 with the Tote. I steamed straight in with a decent size bet WIN ONLY. I would’ve kicked myself if he finished 2nd and going WIN ONLY was against everything I follow 99.9% of the time but I suppose something was urging me to place the bet. OISEAU DE NUIT won with something in hand and the feeling was absolutely amazing. Not only were my members on at anything between 25/1 and 70.0 on the exchanges but I had just wiped the floor with the Cheltenham Festival but waited until the very last race. The Tote settled at 69.40. Amazing memory and amazing feeling. I could go and on with memories but this is near the very top.
I am perhaps a rookie in the area of Cheltenham memoirs,but even so I do count myself lucky that I have been able to witness two of the great sporting moments in Horse Racing history.
The first of which has to be Sir Antony McCoy’s final Cheltenham winner. A legend in the world of horse racing and a fitting farewell for the man we all refer to as the champ. Uxizandre made all under a typically forceful AP ride and the champ once again reigned supreme at Cheltenham.
The second has to be Coneygree winning The Gold Cup. A true underdog story that I will forever look back upon with fondness. In reality it is a story we rarely see in the world of horse racing, the powerhouse stables are so dominant and it takes a somewhat special horse to ‘stick it to’em’. Coneygree did just that with superb jumping under a power packed stamina testing ride. The Bradstocks are a small but all together wonderful stable who fully deserve to reap the rewards of a fantastic training performance.
I’d also like to pay a small tribute to an incredible horse that sadly lost his life at the weekend. A true sprinting warrior, R.I.P Boomerang Bob.
Everyone has their fond memories when it comes to horses they’ve roared up the Cheltenham hill. Often, it can be special betting slips that hold the most iconic of places in the punter’s heart. For me, the Cheltenham magic was encompassed by a small horse with the heart of a lion 10 years ago – a horse who was no less classy than he was brave, but who gave those of us in the stands and at home a reason to believe until the very last stride of a race.
Katchit was simply the horse of a lifetime for connections. His form on the flat barely suggested he was a Cheltenham hero in the waiting, but he would go on to win 10 times over timber. And it was his win in the 2007 Triumph Hurdle – by an electric 9 lengths – that lit up Prestbury Park. Choc Thornton, a master in the saddle, had the pleasure of the ride and just a year later Katchit would go on to repeat the dose in the Champion Hurdle with a really gusty victory. His ability to capture the hearts of the racing public was, in my belief, as much to do with his size as anything else. Cheltenham is all about the stories, with punters needing a reason to look past the flashy headline grabbers. For a couple of years, Katchit was that reason for this particular punter. And long may his memory live on.
My most memorable Cheltenham memory has to be my first visit, way back in 2008 on Friday 14th March Cheltenham Gold Cup day. I went with my father and it was a day to remember. There were 9 races on the card for the day and I only a tiny bit spending money with me as a youngster at the time. I had 5 winners and 2 seconds! My winners include, Whiteout 20-1, Nenuphar Collonges 9-1, Celestial Halo 5-1, Denman 9-4, Fiveforthree 7-1 and also 10-1 and 11-1 seconds. I walked away with a massive profit and I was over the moon!! My first experience at the racecourse and it was one of the best memories in my life.
Don’t miss out
Let us know your favourite Cheltenham memories below 🙂