Cheltenham Festival finishes in style
On Friday, 13 March 2009, the prestigious Cheltenham Festival came to a close, and if spectators thought the first two days of racing was exciting, the last two most certainly did not disappoint. A few surprises were in store for the jumps racing community, as racing greats won back their titles and others were defeated by upcoming stars. It was a festival of disappointment for some, astounding performances for others and magnificent victories for horse racing enthusiasts to be witness to.
Thursday began with a very satisfying victory for trainer Paul Nicholls, as Chapoturgeon raced to victory in the Jewson Novices Handicap Chase. Isn’t that Lucky settled for second place, while Crescent Island came in third. In the Pertemps Final, Kayaf Aramis managed to keep Buena Vista and Pennek at bay, to secure the winning place, while Imperial Commander proved to be the dominating force in the Ryanair Chase, followed home by Voy Por Ustedes and Schindlers Hunt. Paul Nicholls and jockey Ruby Welsh could not wipe the smiles off their faces when Big Buck’s caused great upset by winning the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, seeing Punchestowns finishing in second, followed by Powerstation. Something Wells won the Freddie Williams Festival Plate and Character Building rounded up day three, by taking top honors in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup.
Tension was running high on Friday, with big names in jumps racing getting ready to show their worth. The JCB Triumph Hurdle opened the proceedings with a brilliant win for Zaynar (trained by Nicky Henderson), while the teaming up of Ruby Walsh and American Trilogy proved to be a lethal combination, and another victory for Paul Nicholls. Weapon’s Amnesty secured a flawless win in the Albert Bartlett Novice’s Hurdle, followed over the finish line by Pride of Dulcote and The Midnight Club. The Cheltenham Gold Cup was a highly anticipated event, and the new comer to the rising stars of the Nicholls stable, Neptune Collonges, held his own against his celebrity stable mates, but Kauto Star stole the show, winning the event, with Denman in second, Exotic Dancer in third and Neptune Collonges in forth position. Cappa Blue won the Christie’s Foxhunter Chase, Andytown took the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle and the final race of the Cheltenham Festival, the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual, was taken by Oh Crick.
The 2009 Cheltenham Festival was an event to remember this year. Its star studded line up of competitors, thrilling jumps racing action and spectacular entertainment, has left spectators hungry for more, guaranteeing that next year, the Cheltenham Festival will be even more successful than this year.