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Cheltenham Festival, Day 1 · The42

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1:15PM

· TUESDAY

Afternoon all and welcome along on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.

The build-up has been dominated by speculation as to whether 2020 four-day race meeting would take place but it is set to commence at 1.30pm.

Here’s today’s schedule:

  • 1.30pm – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
  • 2.10pm – Arkle Challenge Trophy
  • 2.50pm  Ultima Handicap Chase
  • 3.30pm – Champion Hurdle
  • 4.10pm – Mares’ Hurdle
  • 4.50pm – Handicap Chase
  • 5.30pm – National Hunt Chase

1:18PM

· TUESDAY

So first up it’s the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, won last year by Willie Mullins with Klassical Dream.

He has the fancied Asterion Forlonge here with Paul Townend on board. Other leading contenders here are Abacadabras for Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell, Fiddlerontheroof for Robbie Power and Colin Tizzard, Chantry House for Barry Geraghty and Nickey Henderson, and then Shishkin for Henderson and Nico De Boinville.

Who’s your tip to triumph?

1:20PM

· TUESDAY


Trainer Henry de Bromhead

willie-mullins-with-his-wife-jackie
Trainer Willie Mullins with his wife Jackie

racegoers-use-hand-sanitisers-ahead-of-the-festival-as-a-result-of-the-corona-virus
Racegoers use hand sanitisers ahead of the festival as a result of the corona virus.


Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

1:21PM

· TUESDAY

The big news here is that Henderson’s mount Shishkin has been drifting notably this morning. The trainer last won here in this race in 2016 with Altior, who was ruled out this morning of the bid to defend the Champion Chase title tomorrow.

1:28PM

· TUESDAY

Almost set to go in the first race in what looks like a wide open contest.

1:31PM

· TUESDAY

And we’ve had a false start, it’ll take a few moments to get them back together and that Cheltenham roar must gather again.

1:32PM

· TUESDAY

And they’re off in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle! 

1:33PM

· TUESDAY

The favourite Asterion Forlonge leading them out.

1:34PM

· TUESDAY

Elixir D’Ainay and Whatsnottoknow challenging Asterion Forlonge now, plenty involved.

1:34PM

· TUESDAY

Four still to go and all still in this.

1:35PM

· TUESDAY

Elixir D’Ainay and Captain Guinness are both gone!

1:36PM

· TUESDAY

It’s between Shishkin and Abacadabras at the line!

1:37PM

· TUESDAY

Looks like Shishkin just got there for Nico De Boinville and Nicky Henderson.

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1:37PM

· TUESDAY

Shishkin wins the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle!

1:39PM

· TUESDAY

So a brilliant start to the week for Henderson and De Boinville. Big disappointment for Davy Russell and Gordon Elliott not managing to get there.

Favourite Asterion Forlonge’s jumping was an issue as the race progressed and his jump right impacted Elixir D’Ainay and Captain Guinness.

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1:42PM

· TUESDAY

So here’s the official result from the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle:

  • 1. Shishkin 6/1
  • 2. Abacadabras 11/4
  • 3. Chantry House 15/2

1:43PM

· TUESDAY

A fourth win for Nicky Henderson in this race.

1:50PM

· TUESDAY

cheltenham-festival-2020-champion-day-cheltenham-racecourse
Shishkin ridden by Nico de Boinville (behind) goes over the last with Abacadabras ridden by Davy Russell

cheltenham-festival-2020-champion-day-cheltenham-racecourse
Nico de Boinville and trainer Nicky Henderson celebrate following victory in the the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle aboard Shishkin


Source: Simon Cooper

1:53PM

· TUESDAY

So we can start to take a look at what’s coming up next now. It’s the Arkle Challenge Trophy which is due off at 2.10pm, it was a Willie Mullins-Paul Townend partnership last year that celebrated courtesy of Duc Des Genievres.

The big contenders here are:

  • Notebook for Rachael Blackmore and Henry De Bromhead
  • Fakir D’Oudairies for Joseph O’Brien and Mark Walsh
  • Cash Back for Townend and Mullins
  • Brewin’upastorm for Richard Johnson and Olly Murphy

2:06PM

· TUESDAY

There’s 11 in the field here, Notebook set to go off favourite.

2:09PM

· TUESDAY

AP McCoy going with Fakir D’Oudairies and Ruby Walsh says it’s Cash Back (each/way).

2:11PM

· TUESDAY

And we’ve another false start, we’ll have to wait a bit longer for the Arkle to go off.

2:12PM

· TUESDAY

And they’re off in the Arkle Challenge Trophy.

2:12PM

· TUESDAY

Put The Kettle On and Cash Back in front in the early stages.

2:12PM

· TUESDAY

Notebook in fifth, Fakir D’Oudairies right there as well.

2:13PM

· TUESDAY

Cash Back has the lead, favourite Notebook is improving and jumps into third.

2:14PM

· TUESDAY

Maire Banrigh is gone, Brewinupastorm has unseated rider as well.

2:14PM

· TUESDAY

Three to go, leading pack still there.

2:15PM

· TUESDAY

Put The Kettle On and Fakir D’Oudairies, it’s between them.

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2:16PM

· TUESDAY

Put The Kettle On wins the Arkle Challenge Trophy!

2:18PM

· TUESDAY

So it’s an Irish winner but not the Henry De Bromhead contender that was expected! He sees Cork native Aidan Coleman on board to steer the winner home ahead of Fakir D’Oudairies with Rouge Vif back in third.

2:19PM

· TUESDAY

The favourite Notebook was in a strong position but faded towards the end and ultimately it was an eighth Cheltenham Festival success for De Bromhead.

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2:21PM

· TUESDAY

Here’s the official result:

  • 1. Put The Kettle On 16/1
  • 2. Fakir D’Oudairies 3/1
  • 3. Rouge Vif 9/1

2:24PM

· TUESDAY

cheltenham-festival-2020-champion-day-cheltenham-racecourse
Aidan Coleman on board the winner Put The Kettle On


Source: Simon Cooper

2:37PM

· TUESDAY

Next up is the Grade 3 Ultima Handicap Chase at 2.50pm with Kim Bailey’s entrant Vinndication the favourite here.

2:39PM

· TUESDAY

Disappointing news for jockey Richard Johnson.

2:51PM

· TUESDAY

And they’re off in the third race of the day, the Ultima Handicap Chase. 

2:55PM

· TUESDAY

Cepage leads them with Vinndication in second and Vintage Clouds close by. Going to the final circuit.

2:56PM

· TUESDAY

Kildisart and The Conditional there as well with leaders, Discorama about 9th or 10th.

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2:58PM

· TUESDAY

The Conditional wins the Ultima Handicap Chase!

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3:03PM

· TUESDAY

Here’s how it finished:

  • 1. The Conditional 15/2
  • 2. Kildisart 10/1
  • 3. Discorama 11/2 joint fav
  • 4. Vinndication 11/2 joint fav

3:07PM

· TUESDAY

All eyes now turn to the big one today, the 2020 Champion Hurdle. They’re off at 3.30pm with Epatante the favourite in a field of 17.

3:20PM

· TUESDAY

Here’s the field for the 2020 Champion Hurdle:

  1. Ballyandy
  2. Call Me Lord
  3. Cilaos Emery
  4. Coeur Sublime
  5. Cornerstone Lad
  6. Darasso
  7. Darver Star
  8. Fusil Raffles
  9. Gumball
  10. Le Patriote
  11. Not So Sleepy
  12. Pentland Hills
  13. Petit Mouchoir
  14. Sharjah
  15. Silver Streak
  16. Supasundae
  17. Epatante

3:27PM

· TUESDAY

charlie-ewels-ellis-genge-jamie-george-elliot-daly-and-tom-curry
England rugby players (L-R) Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Elliot Daly and Tom Curry present for Champion Hurdle day.


Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

3:32PM

· TUESDAY

And they’re off in the Champion Hurdle!

3:33PM

· TUESDAY

Petit Mouchoir the early leader from Cornerstone Lad.

3:33PM

· TUESDAY

Favourite Epatante in seventh right now.

3:34PM

· TUESDAY

Petit Mouchoir and Cornerstone Lad have stretched clear by a few lengths now.

3:34PM

· TUESDAY

Darver Star in third, likes of Ballyandy and Epatante also well placed.

3:35PM

· TUESDAY

Now Petit Mouchoir has increased the advantage, about four lengths clear of Darver Star.

3:35PM

· TUESDAY

Cornerstone Lad set to be eased out of the contest after that strong early start.

3:35PM

· TUESDAY

The pack has closed in on Petit Mouchoir after they have taken two from home.

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3:36PM

· TUESDAY

And Epatante wins the Champion Hurdle!

3:38PM

· TUESDAY

The favourite justifies that tag for trainer Nicky Henderson, jockey Barry Geraghty and owner JP McManus.

3:38PM

· TUESDAY

A fourth Champion Hurdle success for Geraghty, what a record he has in this race.

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3:39PM

· TUESDAY

And here’s the full result from the 2020 Champion Hurdle:

  • 1. Epatante 2/1
  • 2. Sharjah 16/1
  • 3. Darver Star 17/2
  • 4. Cilaos Emery 7/1

3:42PM

· TUESDAY

A big milestone as well for Nicky Henderson. An eighth Champion Hurdle win for the renowned trainer!

3:55PM

· TUESDAY

Next it’s the Mares’ Hurdle at 4.10pm with Benie Des Dieux the overwhelming favourite with Honeysuckle the other highly-rated option.

4:10PM

· TUESDAY

So this looks a straight two horse race between these leading contenders, can any other runner spring a surprise?

4:11PM

· TUESDAY

And they’re off in the Mares’ Hurdle.

4:12PM

· TUESDAY

Stormy Ireland makes the early running with Honeysuckle just behind.

4:13PM

· TUESDAY

Favourite Benis Des Dieux in fourth just behind Honeysuckle. Stormy Ireland still in front.

4:13PM

· TUESDAY

The fancied pair both coming to challenge now.

4:15PM

· TUESDAY

Stormy Ireland continuing to lead with Honeysuckle third and Benie Des Dieux in fourth. Heading for the third last.

4:15PM

· TUESDAY

Elfile also in the reckoning approaching the third last.

4:15PM

· TUESDAY

Honeysuckle hits the front.

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4:17PM

· TUESDAY

Honeysuckle wins the Mares’ Hurdle!

4:18PM

· TUESDAY

Another super success for Henry De Bromhead with this Grade 1 triumph and Rachael Blackmore gets to celebrate after the disappointment earlier with Notebook.

4:20PM

· TUESDAY

Favourite Benie Des Dieux comes up short in second and then Elfile is in third.

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4:24PM

· TUESDAY

Here’s the full result from the Mares’ Hurdle:

  • 1. Honeysuckle 9/4
  • 2. Benie Des Dieux 4/6
  • 3. Elfile 16/1

4:48PM

· TUESDAY

Two more races to go today. We’ve the Handicap Chase next off at 4.50pm, favourite here likely to be Imperial Aura.

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4:58PM

· TUESDAY

Imperial Aura wins the Novices’ Handicap Chase!

4:59PM

· TUESDAY

Kim Bailey’s Imperial Aura wins ahead of Gordon Elliott’s Galvin with both the joint favourites beforehand.

5:05PM

· TUESDAY

Here’s the full result from the Novices’ Handicap Chase:

  • 1. Imperial Aura (4/1 joint fav)
  • 2. Galvin (4/1 joint fav)
  • 3. Hold The Note 10/1
  • 4. Whatmore 14/1

5:13PM

· TUESDAY

So just one race left on the first day of the 2020 Festival from Cheltenham. That’s the National Hunt Chase at 5.30pm with Patrick Mullins on board the favourite Carefully Selected here.

5:31PM

· TUESDAY

And they’re off in the National Hunt Chase.

5:33PM

· TUESDAY

Springfield Fox and Smoking Gun start well, Carefully Selected a little further back.

5:34PM

· TUESDAY

Lord Du Mesnil into the lead now, Newtide is fourth.

5:36PM

· TUESDAY

Lord Du Mesnil just ahead of Springfield Fox now, Newtide and Forza Milan well in contention.

5:38PM

· TUESDAY

Carefully Selected in seventh now.

5:39PM

· TUESDAY

Springfield Fox has unseated rider, Lord Du Mesnil leading Newtide now by four or five lengths.

5:41PM

· TUESDAY

And now favourite Carefully Selected has fallen! It’s between Ravenhill and Lord Du Mesnil.

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5:42PM

· TUESDAY

Ravenhill wins the National Hunt Chase!

5:43PM

· TUESDAY

Super stuff from jockey Jamie Codd and that gets trainer Gordon Elliott off the mark for the week.

5:46PM

· TUESDAY

Looks like Lord Du Mesnil in second with Lamanver Pippin back in third.

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5:47PM

· TUESDAY

Here’s the official result from the National Hunt Chase:

  • 1. Ravenhill (12/1)
  • 2. Lord Du Mesnil (11/2)
  • 3. Lamanver Pippin (33/1)

6:00PM

· TUESDAY

That’s it then from the opening day at Cheltenham.

In summary it’s been a great day for Nicky Henderson with those wins in the Supreme Novices’ for Shishkin and yet another Champion Hurdle win thanks to the exploits this time of Epatante. Barry Geraghty and JP McManus got to toast that success as well.

Waterford trainer Henry De Bromhead can feel pretty jubilant as well after Put The Kettle On took the Arkle while Honeysuckle claimed glory in the Mares’ Hurdle.

The Conditional won the Ultima Handicap Chase, Imperial Aura succeeded in the Novices’ Handicap Chase and Ravenhill was first home in the last race, the National Hunt Chase.

Thanks for joining in our coverage and we’ll be back tomorrow for more. Bye!



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