Home / Top News / Cheltenham Festival: Jump racing showpiece on wettest ground in 36 years

Cheltenham Festival: Jump racing showpiece on wettest ground in 36 years

Robbie Energy kisses the Gold Cup after victory on Sizing John throughout Gold Cup day of the 2017 Cheltenham Pageant
Cheltenham Pageant
Venue: Cheltenham Racecourse Date: 13-16 March
Protection: Complete protection on BBC Radio Five reside; endured on BBC Radio Five reside sports activities additional; reside textual content updates on BBC Game web page

The Cheltenham Pageant, soar racing’s annual showpiece, begins on Tuesday at the wettest floor for 36 years.

The going on the Gloucestershire observe is formally described as heavy, cushy in puts after rain within the build-up.

Greater than 250,000 spectators are anticipated over 4 days with bookmakers estimating as much as £350m shall be wagered.

Buveur D’Air, for the assembly’s all-time main instructor Nicky Henderson, will try to shield his Champion Hurdle identify on day one.

Henderson additionally has Altior – the favourite for Wednesday’s Queen Mother Champion Chase – and May Chew, a large hope for the Gold Cup on Friday.

Loads of horses will compete in a complete of 28 races for file prize cash totalling £four.6m throughout the assembly.

Pageant fever

Racing fanatics were counting down the times to the Pageant, with the Monday ahead of the assembly even described as ‘Cheltenham Eve’.

The development is characterized through its top quality contests and the ambience generated through bumper crowds, which come with 1000’s travelling over from Eire.

Dozens of preview nights were held at which punters pay to listen to the perspectives of mavens making an attempt to are expecting the winners.

Buveur D’Air has been a well-liked variety, with a query mark over whether or not Faugheen can go back to the type of his 2015 triumph for Irish instructor Willie Mullins.

My Tent Or Yours – 3 times a runner-up within the race – and owned like the favorite through JP McManus, used to be declared a non-runner on veterinary recommendation on Tuesday morning.

Faugheen – ridden right here at the gallops through Rachael Robbins – is nicknamed ‘The Gadget’

Climate dominates Pageant build-up

Cheltenham is regularly noticed to usher in the beginning of spring, however there was about 45mm of rain and snow on the observe within the 10 days main as much as the Pageant.

Clerk of the path Simon Claisse is assured there is not any possibility to racing going forward.

“Except one thing totally untoward occurs then there is not any query of the assembly being in any doubt in anyway,” he mentioned.

“The observe has pop out of it smartly and appears superb.”

A mix of showers and dry spells are forecast for the remainder of the week on the observe, which is ready towards an attractive Cotswolds backdrop.

Jockey Patrick Mullins, the son of instructor Willie, advised BBC Game: “You’ll be able to want a other set of attributes than same old. The cruising velocity you want spherical right here is probably not as vital.

“Some horses favor the solar at the again quite than the rainy and the muck – slightly like a cross-country runner in comparison with a observe runner.

“It’s going to more than likely imply a more secure Pageant. Falls shall be softer. And I am certain jockeys shall be accountable and pull horses up when they’re drained.”


BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

No Pageant has began with stipulations this rain-soaked since 1982.

That implies the standard factor of searching for the ones horses who can also be anticipated to excel with the coming of the standard ‘higher’ springtime floor at Cheltenham is out of the window.

Alternatively, after a rainy season, it is going to imply the formbook is extra dependable.

The week’s headline horses are basically completed on cushy floor, although perceived knowledge is May Chew, whose stamina shall be examined additional than it’s been ahead of within the Gold Cup, may well be prone on cushy.

What occurs when on Tuesday?

(All occasions GMT, distances in miles and furlongs)

13:30: Sky Guess Preferrred Freshmen’ Hurdle 2m ½f

14:10: Racing Put up Arkle Problem Trophy Steeple Chase 2m

14:50: Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase 3m 1f

15:30: Unibet Champion Hurdle 2m ½f

16:10: OLBG Mares’ Hurdle Race 2m 4f

16:50: Nationwide Hunt Steeple Chase Problem Cup (newbie and newcomers) 4m

17:30: Shut Brothers Freshmen’ Handicap Chase 4m

Guidelines – choices from the BBC Radio Five reside workforce

Commentator John Hunt: 17:30 Barney Dwan (Eight-1)

Barney Dwan has appeared a category act from day one, is in very good fettle judged in his Musselburgh win remaining month and may give native instructor Fergal O’Brien a memorable win.

Reporter Gina Harding: 14:10 Saint Calvados (Five-2)

Footpad has appeared foot easiest over fences and can for sure end up an impressive opponent. Alternatively with the rain arriving, and the skill proven through the bettering Saint Calvados, it may well be price taking a possibility on him touchdown a primary Pageant win for his instructor Harry Whittington at larger odds.

Aidan Coleman driving Saint Calvados transparent the remaining to win The Betfred Cellular Freshmen’ Restricted Handicap Chase at Newbury

Jockey Andrew Thornton: 14:50 Coo Big name Sivola (Five-1)

I fancy Coo Big name Sivola, with Lizzie Kelly on board. He has path shape and his remaining run upped in commute at Exeter used to be spectacular. He handiest will get a 6lb penalty for that win.

Jockey Lizzie Kelly: 14:50 Coo Big name Sivola (Five-1)

It might be unsuitable not to pick out my very own journey Coo Big name Sivola. He is certain to love the commute and floor. I am very excited to be driving him on this race I believe it is my very best probability of a winner this week.

What are the opposite highlights on day one?

Months of anticipation climax with ‘the roar’ as punters cheer the runners initially of the outlet Preferrred Freshmen’ Hurdle.

The Pageant’s all-time main jockey Ruby Walsh, who handiest returned on Thursday after just about 4 months out with a damaged leg, rides Getabird for Mullins.

Kalashnikov represents Britain’s youngest instructor Amy Murphy, who has her first runner on the assembly on the age of 26.

Mullins and Walsh mix with Footpad within the Arkle Chase on an afternoon which has in the past yielded such dividends for the jockey that it earned the nickname ‘Ruby Tuesday’.

It’s their compatriot Gordon Elliott, best Pageant instructor for the primary time remaining 12 months, who saddles the Mares’ Hurdle favorite in Apple’s Jade.

What’s the climate forecast?

BBC Radio Five reside climate forecaster Simon King

After Monday’s heavy rain, I believe the path shall be beautiful soggy.

For the beginning of the racing on Tuesday, it is having a look a lot drier with the possibility even of a couple of brilliant spells breaking during the cloud.

Wednesday shall be some other dry day with some brilliant spells or hazy sunshine breaking during the cloud. Alternatively, it is going to flip rather breezy during the afternoon with gusts from the south east as much as round 30-35mph.

Rain is anticipated in a single day into Thursday which might convey round 10-15mm of rain to the observe through the tip of the day. As racing will get below approach, it is going to nonetheless be raining however progressively during the afternoon the rain gets lighter and patchier ahead of the rain after all clears in a while.

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