- April 4, 2018
04th April 2018
Have you recovered?
As the dust settles and we return to reality, we take a look back on the greatest week of the year. The Beast from the East threw the country into chaos, but ultimately it proved to be on our side. Two days later, Cheltenham was a very different sight to the week itself (pictured). It was a week of highs and lows as the ladies made their mark, and Cheltenham favourite Ruby Walsh suffered a nasty fall ending his Festival week two days early.
#IWasThere when Buveur D’Air retained his Unibet Champion Hurdle title for Champion trainer Nicky Henderson. The JP McManus horse battled hard up the hill to get his nose in front for Barry Geraghty in a thrilling finish up the hill with Willie Mullins’ trained Melon. Buveur D’Air became the sixth horse to win the famous race more than once, and Henderson said after the race, all being well he will aim for the 2019 rendition of the race.
#IWasThere when the Irish invaded. The Betbright Prestbury Cup has been a competitive competition over the years as Britain take on Ireland for the honours. In a fantastic week for Irish Sport, the team from the emerald isle could not be caught as we entered the final day of The Festival™. With the Irish finishing their week with a total of 17 wins over the four days, compared to Britain’s 11. Gordon Elliot led the charge for the Irish battalion, and took the Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award.
#IWasThere when Native River stormed up the Cheltenham hill with the roar of a sold-out Cheltenham crowd behind him. The Colin Tizzard- trained eight year old held off the favourite Might Bite. The two pulled clear of the field two fences from home. This was the geldings second run of the season, having made a triumphant return at Newbury Racecourse in January.
#IWasThere when the girls took over. It was a week when Lady Jockeys made their mark. Is it time to stop referring to them as Lady Jockeys and simply jockeys? With Lizzie Kelly, Bridget Andrews, Katie
Walsh and Harriet Tucker all taking centre stage, it was a week to remember for women in the sport. In a day that saddled mixed emotions for the Walsh family, with Katie’s brother Ruby having his Festival week cut short, she put the Walsh name back in the familiar place of the Winner’s Enclosure. Lizzie Kelly rode favourite Coo Star Sivola to victory for her step-father, trainer Nick Williams. Conditional Jockey, Bridget Andrews gave Dan Skelton his second career win at The Festival™ aboard Mohaayed in the Randox Health County Hurdle at a huge price of 33-1. Pacha Du Polder retained his St James’s Place Foxhunters for amateur rider, Harriet Tucker. In formidable fashion, the 22-year old managed to dislocate her shoulder in the race but still put up a strong finish to beat his rivals.
#IWasThere when 18 year old Jack Kennedy had The Festival™ that many could only dream of. Riding four winners, three of which were Grade Ones. The teenager was pipped to the Holland Cooper Leading Jockey award by Davy Russell purely on placings, and it was certainly a week that he will never forget.