Annie Power makes Champion return
The OLBG mares race has seen plenty of drama over the years, no
moment is ever likely to match when Annie Power fell with the race
at her mercy. That fall prevented bookmakers paying out an
estimated £50 million after earlier results had been in favour of
punters that had multiple bets riding onto the star mare. Whilst
much was made about her fall that day the iconic moment for me has
to be her return to the course 12 months later to win the Champion
Hurdle in empathic style. With stablemate Faugheen out injured, the
path was clear for Willie Mullins to send the eight year old to the
top hurdle race at the Festival. She went off the 5/2 joint
favourite and used her seven pound allowance against the geldings
to great effect. Sadly, we only ever saw her on the racecourse once
more before injury ended her days on the track.
Currently in foal to star flat horse Camelot breeders will hope
she can pass on her ability to a new generation.
Masterminded jumps them silly in the Champion Chase
Clive Smith’s silks tend to be more attached to Kauto Star by
racing fans but his stablemate Master Minded was a true great in
his own right having won two fantastic Champion Chases and was an
electrifying watch over his fences. Brought from France after eight
runs, he was transformed in the care of Paul Nicholls and he won
thirteen times for Nicholls at a time when he seemed to dominate
every big race at the Festival with the likes of Big Bucks, Denamn
and Kauto Star. While we have been treated to many special Champion
Chase winners, Masterminded was arguably one of the best and this
effort lives long in the memory of racing fans.
We are showing Cheltenham Festival memories on the channel. The 2008 Champion Chase was something of an exhibition. pic.twitter.com/KRA1QBNNWU— Racing UK (@Racing_UK) March 1, 2018
Vautour makes it three Festival wins
To win once at the festival you have to be a good horse, to win
twice a special horse, to win three times you have to be
exceptional. Vautour was just that when he visited Prestbury Park.
Sadly, he was lost far too early in his career to ever see him
return to add to his perfect record. His highlights at the Festival
were beyond brilliant. The Supreme won in 2014 was a real emergence
of a top talent, under a great front running ride from Ruby Walsh
he eased to victory. It seems almost madness that given his
connections he went off at an SP of 4/1.
Bookies certainly knew plenty about him as he arrived a hot
favourite to win the JLT novice chase, again the result was the
same a carbon copy of his Supreme win but this time he was hopping
over fences for fun. His final win was arguably his most brilliant.
Sadly, the race is tainted by the late switch to the Ryanair from
his longterm target on the Gold Cup. Plenty of fans of the sport
reacted badly to the change of target which was only announced at
the last possible moment. Burnt ante-post fingers aside, his
brilliance was once again on show as he won in great style. It is
with huge regret we never saw him tackle the Gold Cup trip.
Denman powers up the hill to Gold Cup glory
As Gold Cup winners go, Denman was probably one of the toughest
to ever set foot on a racecourse. Plenty recall his Hennessy win
off top weight at Newbury, but his Gold cup win was stunning. Going
into the race it was a straight shootout between him and his
stablemate Kauto Star. His trainer Paul Nicholls achieved a 1,2,3
that day but his admiration was reserved for his winner: "that was
brilliant. What a great performance and good for the whole team.
Going out on the second circuit he was going really well. He's just
good,: he said.
He gave National Hunt fans some great thrills over the years but
that Gold Cup was truly magical, pulverising his opponents with a
relentless gallop he really did provide us with a stunning winner
of chasing blue ribbon event.
Sprinter Sacre regains his crown
The comeback of all comebacks. This, to me, is one of the
greatest stories ever told in racing as Sprinter Sacre burst onto
the scene when he went novice chasing. A fair hurdler, it was his
bold style that captured the public’s imagination. His Arkle win
over Cue Card as a novice is often forgotten in his tale but it was
the following season that he became a legend. His five wins in the
2012/2013 season took in grade one wins at all the top tracks
including at the Festival where he won his first grade Queen Mother
Champion Chase. What followed was the problem period for Nicky
Henderson’s star, an Irregular heart beat was discovered after a
run at Kempton, a back issue was later also detected in the 2014/15
season where he just didn't look near the horse of old.
The comeback trail started with a good win over Somersby at the
November meeting held at Cheltenham, fans and enthusiasts of the
sport started to believe the spark had returned in their hero. A
hard fought win over Sire De Grugy followed at Christmas time and
was his final run before he would face off with Un De Sceaux at the
Festival. The bookies made Willie Mullins horse the 4/6 favourite
whilst Sprinter would go off a massive 5/1. The win that day was
not his cleanest of runs or in the style of his previous Cheltenham
Festival wins he showed his huge heart and under a good ride from
Nico de Boinville served it up to his younger opponent to complete
a sensational story by regaining his Champion Chase crown.
I am not the only person that watches Sprinter Sacre clips weekly am I?— OLBG Betting Tips (@OLBG) February 14, 2018
Still my favourite horse 😍pic.twitter.com/p7yebqThEA
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