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/r/horseracing Cheltenham Festival guide and discussion 2015

As of writing this there is less than two weeks until the greatest horseracing festival on Earth. With 4 days and 35 races of the highest quality, the sub would be inundated unless we keep things central so use this thread for absolutely anything Cheltenham - news, previews, tips and, most importantly, debate!
For those who are unfamiliar, The Cheltenham Festival in held every March at Cheltenham Racecourse in Gloucestershire. The National Hunt season is mostly run with it in mind, as top trainers all desire even a single win at the jewel in the crown of jumps racing. The various graded races throughout the year are usually used as pointers towards graded races at the festival, for example a winner of the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown in January will probably be high up in the market for the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Festival. It consists of 4 days - Champion Day (Tue), Ladies Day (Wed), St Patricks Thursday and Gold Cup Day (Fri) and this year is held between the 10th and 14th of March
The Races
Each of the four days is centred around a Championship race:
The Champion Hurdle, The Queen Mother Champion Chase, The World Hurdle and The Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Champion Hurdle and Champion Chase are 2m races - the shortest distances in NH racing and are held on the Cheltenham Old Course as are all races on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The World Hurdle and Gold Cup are held over stayers distances of 3 miles and 3 miles 2 and a half furlongs respectively. They are raced on the New Course on Thursday and Friday.
Other races include Grade 1 novice chases and hurdles, big prize pot handicaps as well as handicaps for amateur riders, conditional jockeys and hunter chasers as well as a mares hurdle race and two races for juvenile hurdlers (4 year old horses).
The Stars
Perhaps one of the greatest appeals of National Hunt racing is the opportunity for horses to become household names due to the lengths of their careers. Unlike on the flat where stallions are carted off to stud after 2 or 3 years, most NH horses are geldings and usually aren't begun to be raced until they develop into their strongest frames between 5 and 8.
Festival heroes include Istabraq who is a three time winner of the Champion Hurdle. More recently, Hurricane Fly who is trained by Irish top trainer Willie Mullins won the 2011 and 2013 renewals of the race.
Just as we were blessed to watch the mighty Frankel in our lifetimes, there will surely be or have been very few who are better chasers than Sprinter Sacre at the height of his career. The Nicky Henderson Horse was undefeated over fences before having to pull up due to a heart condition last Christmas. He was defeated upon reappearance in the Clarence House Chase, though arguably was not hard pushed. Whether that is a good or bad sign will become clear as the festival unfolds. American followers of NH racing were cheering home Flagship Uberalles during his racing career, and with silks like those they must have been ecstatic when he made up for his loss when favourite in the 2000 QMCC by winning the 2002 renewal.
No horse have ever been bred to win a World Hurdle is a saying in the NH world. Most horses that win were bred with the Gold Cup in mind but didn't take to chasing for whatever reason. Though a winner of the 2m4f novices chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2008, Big Buck's was reverted to hurdles after unseating his rider in the Hennessey Gold Cup in the next season. This was rather fortuitous as it turned out as staying hurdlers go, he was an absolute machine. Until an injury setback in 2013, he was undefeated in 18 runs, including 4 World Hurdles, 4 Liverpool Hurdles, 4 Long Distance Hurdles and 3 Long Walk Hurdles - all of which are Grade 1s. After missing most of the 2013 season due to injury, the 11 year old returned after a 400+ day absence for the 2014 Cleeve Hurdle during Festival Trials day where he lost his unbeaten record. There was no fairytale finish when competing in the 2014 World Hurdle, though he was retired a legend of the staying hurdle sphere to rapturous applause from the crowd.
The Gold Cup has been won by many beloved horses over the years - Arkle, Desert Orchid, Dawn Run. More recently Best Mate entered the hearts when winning his third successive Gold Cup. The image of his trainer Henrietta Knight embracing husband and former champion jockey Terry Biddlecombe at the post lives long in the memory - especially given the passing of Mr Biddlecombe last year.
Kauto Star is also a mutiple Gold Cup winner who retired in 2012. He had a famous rivalry with stablemate Denman who won the 2008 Gold Cup and whose career was blighted by a heart issue.
Another festival legend is Quevega who is on a massive unbeaten run herself. She won the Mares Hurdle at the festival an impressive 5 times in a row as well as the World Series Hurdle at Punchestown in the same years. Last year she picked up her sixth win in the Mares Hurdle but could not retain her World Series Hurdle crown and was retired to stud.
Ones to Watch
Even at the grand old age of 11, Hurricane Fly is having another crack at the Champion Hurdle in order to emulate Istabraq in winning it three times. This years competition will be one of the more competitive affairs. Favourites in the betting include new kid on the block Faugheen who as a novice won races from 2 miles to 3 over al sorts of ground. his versatility makes him the most exciting hurdling prospect in training although questions are in place over the quality of his victories this campaign. The New One returns flying the flag for Britain having arguably been unlucky in running last year. There is no doubt over his quality and he has a devestating turn of foot. Last year's winner Jezki returns having been beaten convincingly by Hurricane Fly three times this season. There can be no doubt he'll be primed for this race though some spectators question his record with Tony McCoy on board. This race is certain to be a fantastic showcase of hurdling and with any luck will be a fantastic spectacle.
With Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy returning from injury with question marks the Champion Chase appears to be a 4 horse race. The grade 1 preps for this race - the Tingle Creek and the Clarence House Chases have been won in most impressive fashion by speedy chaser Dodging Bullets.. Of the Irish horses, Willie Mullins trains Supreme Novices 2013 winner Champagne Fever who was narrowly edged out by Western Warhorse in last year's Arkle (2m novice grade 1 chase). An outside chance after victory in The Game Spirit chase is Mr Mole whom has been subject to an outstanding training performance by Paul Nicholls to get him to grade race standard. In the World Hurdle, a very open and unfortunately underwhelming contest looks to be on offer. With Big Bucks retired, More of That edged out Annie Power in a thriller finish last year. More Of That could be out injured and Annie Power may take the penalty kick of the Mares Hurdle. In the same colours as Big Bucks representing the Stewart Family, Saphir De Rheu is favourite after reverting from chasing to staying hurdling and winning the Cleeve hurdle (deja vu?!). The ever popular Zarkandar is also trained by Nicholls and was edged out by Reve de Sivola in the Long Walk hurdle before Christmas. Champion Hurdler (2012) Rock On Ruby will be trying his hand at 3 miles having shown potential to stay the trip when winning the Relkeel Hurdle - the same race More Of That landed before going on to victory here last year.

Finally, the Gold Cup looks to be King George VI Chase 2013 and 14 winner Silviniaco Conti's to lose. His opposition will come from last year's 20/1 winner Lord Windermere, Hennessey Gold Cup winner Many Clouds and Lexus Chase winner Road To Riches. Carlingford Lough landed the Irish Hennessey the day after AP McCoy announced his retirement, and what better send off for the soon to be 20 times champion jockey than to land the most prestigious prize in National Hunt racing.

TL;DR Have fun over those 4 days. Best of luck with your bets.
submitted by RichDavi to horseracing [link] [comments]

/r/horseracing Cheltenham Megathread

As of writing this there is less than 24 hours until the greatest horseracing festival on Earth. With 4 days and 36 races of the highest quality, the sub would be inundated unless we keep things central so use this thread for absolutely anything Cheltenham - news, previews, tips and, most importantly, debate!
For those who are unfamiliar, The Cheltenham Festival in held every March at Cheltenham Racecourse in Gloucestershire. The National Hunt season is mostly run with it in mind, as top trainers all desire even a single win at the jewel in the crown of jumps racing. The various graded races throughout the year are usually used as pointers towards graded races at the festival, for example a winner of the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown in January will probably be high up in the market for the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Festival. It consists of 4 days - Champion Day (Tue), Ladies Day (Wed), St Patricks Thursday and Gold Cup Day (Fri) and this year is held between the 10th and 14th of March
The Races
Each of the four days is centred around a Championship race:
The Champion Hurdle, The Queen Mother Champion Chase, The World Hurdle and The Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Champion Hurdle and Champion Chase are 2m races - the shortest distances in NH racing and are held on the Cheltenham Old Course as are all races on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The World Hurdle and Gold Cup are held over stayers distances of 3 miles and 3 miles 2 and a half furlongs respectively. They are raced on the New Course on Thursday and Friday.
Other races include Grade 1 novice chases and hurdles, big prize pot handicaps as well as handicaps for amateur riders, conditional jockeys and hunter chasers as well as a mares hurdle race and two races for juvenile hurdlers (4 year old horses).
The Stars
Perhaps one of the greatest appeals of National Hunt racing is the opportunity for horses to become household names due to the lengths of their careers. Unlike on the flat where stallions are carted off to stud after 2 or 3 years, most NH horses are geldings and usually aren't begun to be raced until they develop into their strongest frames between 5 and 8.
Festival heroes include Istabraq who is a three time winner of the Champion Hurdle. More recently, Hurricane Fly who is trained by Irish top trainer Willie Mullins won the 2011 and 2013 renewals of the race.
Just as we were blessed to watch the mighty Frankel in our lifetimes, there will surely be or have been very few who are better chasers than Sprinter Sacre at the height of his career. The Nicky Henderson Horse was undefeated over fences before having to pull up due to a heart condition last Christmas. He was defeated upon reappearance in the Clarence House Chase, though arguably was not hard pushed. Whether that is a good or bad sign will become clear as the festival unfolds. American followers of NH racing were cheering home Flagship Uberalles during his racing career, and with silks like those they must have been ecstatic when he made up for his loss when favourite in the 2000 QMCC by winning the 2002 renewal.
No horse have ever been bred to win a World Hurdle is a saying in the NH world. Most horses that win were bred with the Gold Cup in mind but didn't take to chasing for whatever reason. Though a winner of the 2m4f novices chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2008, Big Buck's was reverted to hurdles after unseating his rider in the Hennessey Gold Cup in the next season. This was rather fortuitous as it turned out as staying hurdlers go, he was an absolute machine. Until an injury setback in 2013, he was undefeated in 18 runs, including 4 World Hurdles, 4 Liverpool Hurdles, 4 Long Distance Hurdles and 3 Long Walk Hurdles - all of which are Grade 1s. After missing most of the 2013 season due to injury, the 11 year old returned after a 400+ day absence for the 2014 Cleeve Hurdle during Festival Trials day where he lost his unbeaten record. There was no fairytale finish when competing in the 2014 World Hurdle, though he was retired a legend of the staying hurdle sphere to rapturous applause from the crowd.
The Gold Cup has been won by many beloved horses over the years - Arkle, Desert Orchid, Dawn Run. More recently Best Mate entered the hearts when winning his third successive Gold Cup. The image of his trainer Henrietta Knight embracing husband and former champion jockey Terry Biddlecombe at the post lives long in the memory.
Kauto Star is also a mutiple Gold Cup winner who retired in 2012. He had a famous rivalry with stablemate Denman who won the 2008 Gold Cup and whose career was blighted by a heart issue.
Another festival legend is Quevega who is on a massive unbeaten run herself. She won the Mares Hurdle at the festival an impressive 5 times in a row as well as the World Series Hurdle at Punchestown in the same years. Last year she picked up her sixth win in the Mares Hurdle but could not retain her World Series Hurdle crown and was retired to stud.
This year I've been so pressed for time I have left this until the last minute and haven't written a summary of some of the big battles and drama leading up to the festival. Apologies for those looking for backstory. Hopefully in the individual text posts I'll have time to say a few words
TL;DR Have fun over those 4 days. Best of luck with your bets.
submitted by RichDavi to horseracing [link] [comments]

/r/horseracing Official Cheltenham Festival Thread

As of writing this there is just under 17 days until the greatest horseracing festival on Earth. With 4 days and 35 races of the highest quality, the sub would be inundated unless we keep things central so use this thread for absolutely anything Cheltenham - news, previews, tips and - most importantly - debate!
For those who are unfamiliar, The Cheltenham Festival in held every March at Cheltenham Racecourse in Gloucestershire. The National Hunt season is mostly run with it in mind, as top trainers all desire even a single win at the jewel in the crown of jumps racing. The various graded races throughout are usually used as pointers towards graded races at the festival, for example a winner of the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown in January will probably be high up in the market for the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Festival. It consists of 4 days - Champion Day (Tue), Ladies Day (Wed), St Patricks Thursday and Gold Cup Day (Fri) and this year is held between the 11th and 15th of March
The Races
Each of the four days is centred around a Championship race:
The Champion Hurdle, The Queen Mother Champion Chase, The World Hurdle and The Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Champion Hurdle and Champion Chase are 2m races - the shortest distances in NH racing and are held on the Cheltenham Old Course as are all races on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The World Hurdle and Gold Cup are held over stayers distances of 3 miles and 3 miles 2 and a half furlongs respectively. They are raced on the New Course on Thursday and Friday.
Other races include Grade 1 novice chases and hurdles, big prize pot handicaps as well as handicaps for amateur riders, conditional jockeys and hunter chasers as well as a mares hurdle race and two races for juvenile hurdlers (4 year old horses).
The Stars
Perhaps one of the greatest appeals of National Hunt racing is the opportunity for horses to become household names due to the lengths of their careers. Unlike on the flat where stallions are carted off to stud after 2 or 3 years, most NH horses are geldings and usually aren't begun to be raced until they develop into their strongest frames between 5 and 9.
Festival heroes include Istabraq who is a three time winner of the Champion Hurdle. More recently, Hurricane Fly who is trained by Irish top trainer Willie Mullins won the 2011 and 2013 renewals of the race.
Just as we were blessed to watch the mighty Frankel in our lifetimes, there will surely be or have been very few who are better chasers than Sprinter Sacre. The Nicky Henderson Horse was undefeated over fences before having to pull up due to a heart condition this Christmas. Race fans will have their fingers crossed that he returns to full health in order to defend his title in the Champion Chase this year. American followers of NH racing were cheering home Flagship Uberalles during his racing career, and with silks like those they must have been ecstatic when he made up for his loss when favourite in the 2000 QMCC by winning the 2002 renewal.
No horse have ever been bred to win a World Hurdle is a saying in the NH world. Most horses that win were bred with the Gold Cup in mind but didn't take to chasing for whatever reason. Though a winner of the 2m4f novices chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2008, Big Buck's was reverted to hurdles after unseating his rider in the Hennessey Gold Cup in the next season. This was rather fortuitous as it turned out as staying hurdlers go, he is an absolute machine. Until very recently he was undefeated in 18 runs, including 4 World Hurdles, 4 Liverpool Hurdles, 4 Long Distance Hurdles and 3 Long Walk Hurdles - all of which are Grade 1s. After missing most of the 2013 season due to injury, the 11 year old returned after a 400+ day absence for the 2014 Cleeve Hurdle during Festival Trials day where he lost his unbeaten record. This year promises to be a more competitive renewal than usual due to the apparent fragility of Big Buck's, though fingers crossed he can make it 5 wins.
The Gold Cup has been won by many beloved horses over the years - Arkle, Desert Orchid, Dawn Run. More recently Best Mate entered the hearts when winning his third successive Gold Cup. The image of his trainer Henrietta Knight embracing husband and former champion jockey Terry Biddlecombe at the post lives long in the memory - especially given the passing of Mr Biddlecombe at the beginning of this year.
Kauto Star is also a mutiple Gold Cup winner who retired in 2012. He had a famous rivalry with stablemate Denman who won the 2008 Gold Cup and whose career was blighted by a heart issue.
Another festival legend is Quevega who is on a massive unbeaten run herself. She has won the Mares Hurdle at the festival an impressive 5 times in a row as well as the World Series Hurdle at Punchestown in the same years.
Ones to Watch
This year, Hurricane Fly is having a crack at his third Champion Hurdle in order to emulate Istabraq. However it is certain that this year will be one of the most competitive renewals of the race. He faces International Hurdle winner The New One, Fighting Fifth Hurdle and Christmas Hurdle winner My Tent or Yours, Triumph Hurdle 2013 winner Our Conor, Hatton's Grace Hurdle winner Jezki and potentially Red Mills Trial Hurdle winner Un De Sceaux and unbeaten supermare Annie Power. This race is certain to be a fantastic showcase of hurdling and with any luck will be a fantastic spectacle.
With Sprinter Sacre out of most of the year and still not a certainty to run, the Champion Chase is certainly more open. The grade 1 preps for this race - the Tingle Creek, The Desert Orchid and the Clarence House Chases have been won in most impressive fashion by another speedy chaser Sire De Grugy. Even if Sprinter Sacre takes his chance he will have a difficult opponent to over come in SdG. Of the Irish horses, Willie Mullins trains Arvika Ligeonniere who won the Tied Cottage Chase at Punchestown in early February. The winner of the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet this year at Leopardstown and 2013 Jewson Novices Chase at the festival Benefficient could also line up.
In the World Hurdle, Big Buck's will return but faces a tough task in order to win this race a fifth time. He faces 2013 festival winner At Fishers Cross who was one of the two who just beat him home in January but has jumped inconsistently this season. Annie Power could be the prime Irish threat if she races here rather than the Champion Hurdle. Another JP McManus (The striped green and gold silks) horse More of That represents an unexposed and very progressive threat in the line up. Other runners include 2013 Neptune runner up Rule The World who could end up being the only Irish threat if Annie Power doesn't line up. Reve de Silvola was disappointing in January having won the Long Walk in December but is usually a huge threat on soft ground.
Finally, the Gold Cup looks to be a match race between last years winner Bobs Worth who bounced back to illustrious form last time out in the Lexus Chase. His main rival is King George VI Chase winner Silviniaco Conti who fell in last years Gold Cup before giving his running. Though Gigginstown Studs main staying chaser Sir Des Champs is sidelined with injury, Last Instalment won the Irish Hennessey and will aim to cause an upset to the top two. Cue Card looked to have proved he could stay 3 miles when winning the Betfair Chase in November but seemed to run out of steam when 1 fence from home in the King George and looking very likely to win. He will have a task to stay the extra quarter mile as well as bettering Bobs Worth and Silviniaco Conti.
TL;DR Have fun over those 4 days. Best of luck with your bets. Comments below will be dedicated to each of the four days.
EDIT: Sorry the images on some won't load with RES - had to tinyURL to get within the character count
submitted by RichDavi to horseracing [link] [comments]

The most recent triple winner of the Champion Hurdle was Istabraq , whose successes came in 1998, 1999 and 2000. After the following year’s Cheltenham Festival was called off due to foot-and-mouth disease, Istabraq attempted to become the first horse to win four Champion Hurdles, but was well beaten in the 2002 renewal. £40 Bet £10 get £30 in free bets + 10 casino bonus. Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days • To All five horses won the Champion Hurdle in consecutive years, making the feat even more incredible and the most recent champion was Istabraq in 2000. Istabraq was the odds-on favourite to win his fourth unprecedented Champion Hurdle but the foot-and-mouth outbreak of 2001 caused history to halter. Amazing scenes in Cheltenham's parade ring after Istabraq's 2000 Champion Hurdle win - his third success in the race The most prestigious hurdle in National Hunt racing has been won by some of the greatest names in the sport - mythical figures in Irish sport such as Hatton's Grace, Istabraq and Hurricane Fly. He would, of course, be on-board the simply sensational Istabraq. After winning the Royal & Sun Alliance Novices’ Hurdle in 1997, Istabraq was trained with a crack at the following season’s Champion Hurdle in mind. Aiden O’Brien planned his campaign expertly and he arrived at Cheltenham as a warm 3/1 favourite.

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