Cheltenham Festival 2013 - Review

 Cheltenham Review - Irish dominate

  • The Cheltenham Festival is the place where every National Hunt owner, trainer and jockey wants to win and the statistics from last weeks’ festival would suggest that owning an Irish bred horse gives you the best chance of realising this dream. Irish bred horses won a staggering 20 of the 27 races over the four days including the big two, the Champion Hurdle with Hurricane Fly (IRE) and the Gold Cup with Bobs Worth (IRE)
  • On the final day Irish bred horses lead a clean sweep, winning all seven races on the card. To add further weight to this record, Irish trainers landed a record 14 winners, for the first time eclipsing British trainers who won 13 races. Willie Mullins was the festivals’ leading trainer with 5 winners and Ruby Walsh clinched the leading jockey award from emerging young talent Bryan Cooper who had a week to remember. Cooper tasted festival success for the first time with Benefficient and tripled that tally with top class rides on Our Conor and Ted Veale.
  • Jim Culloty became a member of the club that have both ridden and trained Cheltenham winners when Lord Windermere won the RSA Chase while another Irish trainer to score for the first time was Peter Maher, who saddled Big Shu to win the Cross Country Chase. Both Salsify and Alderwood proved course form is invaluable when they claimed back to back Cheltenham wins for Roger Sweeney and Tom Mullins. Charles Byrnes nursed back Solwhit from career threatening injury to win the World Hurdle while Gordon Elliott produced Flaxen Flare to win the Fred Winter Hurdle. Tony Martin capped a fantastic season with two winners courtesy of Benefficient and Ted Veale. Every Cheltenham Festival provides its fair share of thrills and spills but all the week’s success was tempered by the horrific fall that left top Irish amateur JT McNamara seriously injured. Racing is a close knit community and it will rally around JT and his family to provide as much support as possible.
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