A Look at Cheltenham Racing Action
The Cheltenham Racecourse is known as a premier venue for live horse racing in Britain. It is an old racecourse and is seen as the heart of racing, as it is easily reachable from London, Birmingham and Cheltenham. With a spectator capacity of approximately sixty-seven thousand and breathtakingly beautiful grounds, the Cheltenham Racecourse has not only become home to the Cheltenham Festival, but many other prestigious races such as the Cheltenham Gold Cup (part of the Cheltenham Festival), Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Spa Novices’ Hurdle, Cotswold Chase, Paddy Power Gold Cup, Triumph Hurdle, Champion Bumper, Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle, Cleeve Hurdle, World Hurdle, Festival Trophy, Royal & SunAlliance Chase and the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
Some of the races run at the Cheltenham Racecourse have a long and distinguished history. The Cheltenham Cup for instance, was first run on 12 March 1924 and is today a Grade 1 National Hunt horse racing event in the United Kingdom. This magnificent race for five year olds has seen many legendary horses take part, of which Golden Miller is probably the most famous, after winning the race five times consecutively from 1932 to 1936. Red Splash was the first winner of the race, with Cottage Rake winning the Cheltenham cup three times from 1948 to 1950; Arkle taking the title from 1964 to 1966 and more recently, Best Mate won the cup from 2002 to 2004. In 2005, Kicking King won, followed by War of Attrition in 2006, Kauto Star in 2007, and this years’ winner, the race favorite, Denman.
Celestial Halo walked into the winners’ circle this year, after winning the Triumph Hurdle. This is yet another magnificent Grade 1 National Hunt racing event that also takes place during the Cheltenham Festival and is for four year old novice horses. The first race was run in 1939, but only moved to the Cheltenham Racecourse in 1965. Previous winners of the race, since being run at Cheltenham, include Blarney Beacon (1965), Solar Cloud (1986), Rare Holiday (1990), Snow Drop (2000), Scolardy (2002), Spectroscope (2003), Made in Japan (2004), Penzance (2005), Detroit City (2006) and Katchit (2007).
Racing history was made in the World Hurdle event this month, when Inglis Drever became the first horse to win this event for a third time. In a race that allows horses of four years and older to compete, the nine year-old secured his name as one of the legendary horses of the race, together with previous winners such as Galmoy (1987-1988), Baracouda (2002-2003), Iris’s Gift (2004) and My Way de Solzen (2006).
A surprise victory came in the form of Silver Jaro, in the Vincent O’Brian Handicap Hurdle, which left spectators and punters completely shocked. With so many top horses competing, premier events scheduled and the season kicking off with so much action and excitement, Cheltenham is definitely going to be the keeping horse racing enthusiasts entertained for the rest of the year.