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What Happened at the Cheltenham Festival 2017?

Added on: March 21, 2017

The Cheltenham Festival is one of the most important events on the National Hunt racing calendar in the United Kingdom. This is generally held over a four day period and it usually coincides with Saint Patrick’s Day in mid-March. The only other event in the UK with a bigger prize pool is the Grand National.

There are several Grade I races and some of the most notable include the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Queen Mother Champion Chases, the Champion Hurdle and the World Hurdle. The very first Cheltenham Festival took place way back in 1860, although the Gold Cup was first held years later in 1924.

Lots of money is gambled on the event and this year one lucky 67-year-old factory worker placed a £1 bet (approx. $1.2) and scooped an incredible £251,382.34 (approx. $309,900). He backed a total of five horses in an each-way selection known as a Lucky 31. If the fifth horse on his selection had won he would have netted a cool £1,000,000.00 (approx. $1,200,000.00).

His winners included Arctic Fire (22/1), Penhill (14/1), Pacha Du Polder (22/1) and Champagne Classic (25/1) and the horse that failed to net him the top prize was Dodging Bullets (12/1). This year’s Gold Cup winner was Sizing John (7/1) who was ridden by Robbie Power and trained by Jessica Harrington.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the other winners on Gold Cup Day. The winner in the 13.30 JCB Triumph Hurdle was Defi Du Seuil (5/2 fav). Arctic Fire (20/1) won the 14.10 County Hurdle. Penhill (16/1) won the 14.50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. As mentioned, Sizing John (7/1) won the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The 16.10 Foxhunter Chase was won by Pacha Du Polder (14/1). The 16.50 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle was won by Champagne Classic (12/1) and Rock the World (10/1) ended up winning the final event of the day, the 17.30 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual. The second day of this annual event was marred by the death of Consul De Thaix who suffered multiple fatal injuries after falling at the sixth from last fence.

This was the first death of the year whereas by comparison last year a total of seven horses were killed. Back in 2006 this number reached 11 and in response to this the racecourse decreased the number of runners per race and they also re-sited one of the more difficult fences.