JOE's Cheltenham Festival: Day One as it happened
Missed anything from Day One at Cheltenham? Here’s how the day unfolded.
17:38: Well, the opening day of Cheltenham didn’t disappoint. We had the fantastic, sixth win at the Festival for Quevega in the Mares’ Hurdle and we had the marvellous sight of Jezki toppling Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle. That win for Jessica Harrington in the feature had a small shadow across it as the rising star of the sport, Our Conor had to be put down after a bad fall.
We also had some storming finishes, with long shot Western Warhorse pipping Champagne Fever in the Arkle and the final race went to the stewards, who didn’t
And the star of the day might just have been Vautour, who won the Supreme Novices with oodles of class.
The day ends with Britain leading Ireland 4-3. Sleep well, we will do it all again tomorrow.
17:35: After a very long wait the final result stands. Right decision.
17:25: Here's the provisional result but we don't think it will be overturned
1st 9 Present View 8/1
2nd 10 Attaglance 10/1
3rd 8 Pendra (IRE) 8/1
4th 13 Ahyaknowyerself (IRE) 33/1
17:22: Another great race. Present View held off a strong challenge from At A Glance who made an attempt to pass up the inside before switching to the outside and running out of track before the line. Another 100 yards and he'd win it. We're hearing it is a Steward's Inquiry now. Pendra was doing very well and led over the last but hit it hard and finished third. We'll update you on the judge's view.
17:16: And they are off in the last race of the day...
17:12: Do keep an eye out for Baby Mix too. It is the last horse left for Jerry Flannery to make some money for MS Ireland with his charity bet.
17:08: But we are ignoring them to go for a horse called Pendra. AP hasn't had a winner yet today and this horse from the in-form yard of Charlie Longsden looks the one to invest in for the final time today.
17:06: Ericht, a Henderson/Geraghty mount, carries top weight at 11-10 but the eight-year-old is still very popular in the betting, touching sevens as we write
17:04: Last race then, the Novices' Handicap Chase. Twenty runners go to post and it is a real puzzler. Art Of Logistics is the favourite at 13/2
17:01: Okay, one race left, and if you're still here. fair play to you. You're hardcore and we appreciate that.
16:51: Shutthefrontdoor and Foxrock were both in with a shout about three from home but the latter tired and the former just didn't have the kick that that winners displayed. Brave efforts but Alan King wins it via Midnight Prayer. The way Suntiep finished suggests that if Patrick Mullins had startd his charge just a wee bit earlier, that race could have gone to Ireland too. it is 3-3 after six races now.
16:48: A cracking race was taken by a head by Midnight Prayer from Shotgun Paddy, Think Suntiep finished strong to take third.
16:44: Halfway and only faller is Merlin's Wish
16:42: Nothing much to report so far in the National Hunt Chase, just a small mistake by Foxrock at the ninth. According To Trev leads
16:40: About to go in the National Hunt Chase...
16:37: True love between man and mare 16:36: Foxrock now the favourite at 10/3 16:33:
16:30: The way we see it, this is a two-horse race. The favourite is Shutthefrontdoor, with the expert amateur Nina Carberry aboard. The other is Foxrock, trained by the wily Ted Walsh and ridden by his daughter Katie. We see this is a straight fight between the two Irish female jocks. Other contenders are Shotgun Paddy (4/1), who has had a fair wedge of money placed on him in recent minutes, while one JOE reckons that Suntiep (10/1) is the way to go. Considering his punting so far, we'll advise you to ignore that. 16:23: It hasn't been a great day for winners for your humble correspondent so far, so take these upcoming tips at your peril. 16:16: The always brilliant Terry Biddlecombe National Hunt Chase is up next, and with four miles to cover by amateur jockeys, it should be entertaining. 16:14: Mullins is reported to have said that Quevega will be back next year to try for seven-in-a-row. Incredible. 16:13: Quevega is now in the winner's enclosure, and she is welcomed with a huge reception. Well deserved. 16:06: Six Mares' Hurdles in a row and it really looked like she wasn't going to do it. She looked in massive trouble at various stages and even heading for the run she looked like she wouldn't have the kick to win but she did. It took until the final yards to overhaul a brave run by Glens Melody but she did it. Another win for Mullins and Walsh and a third win out of five for Ireland so far. 16:05: QUEVEGA IS THE QUEEN OF CHELTENHAM. 15:58: The Our Conor news really is devastating but the racing goes on. The horses for the Mares' Hurdle are at the start. What a story it would be if Quevega bags the win. 15:55: Reports from the course now saying Our Conor had to be out down after that fall in the Champion Hurdle. So sad, such a bright future ahead and the grand gesture of owner Barry Connell to give all winnings from this season to the JT McNamara fund only makes the fatality all the more poignant. 15:52: If you are punting with your heart this afternoon, you can’t oppose Quevega. However, if you are punting with your wallet, then listen up. At odds on, you can’t really plunge on Quevega so what are the other options. Cockney Sparrow, under AP, is the big one and was second to Annie Power last time out. At 9s, she has appeal. But we’re plumping for Cailin Annamh, from the same yard as Jezki. Reports from the yard are great, they are clearly in form and Barry Geraghty rides again. At 12/1, we hope to make up some of our lost money in this one. Sorry Quevega. 15:47: Reports from the track suggest that the treatment being administered to Our Conor will delay the start of the Mares Hurdle. 15:44: With Fly beaten, millions of euros of doubles paired with Quevega have hit the floor. Still, the story of that horse, looking for a sixth consecutive win at the Festival in the same race, is compelling. And the money is piling in for the lightly raced veteran. She's 8/11 in most books now. 15:40: Update on Our Conor from the course
Our Conor is being treated on course. He's been given painkillers and water and they're hopeful he'll be okay. Too early to say though — Cheltenham Festival (@cheltenham) March 11, 2014
15:38: No let up in the action here, as we are only 20 minutes away from Quevega going for her sixth Mares' crown. We'll be bac to break down her challenges in a mo, we're just off to stretch our legs and give lour hard pressed fingers a break. 15:36: Still trying to get our breath back after that. Sad to see Fly beaten but we expected that and we hope that Our Conor is okay after that fall. By the way, hats off again to Jezki, what a ride and win for Harrington and Geraghty. At least the Championship stays in Ireland. 15:33: A new course record too. Vautour's record didn't last long 15:32: Post mortem on RTE gives all the credit to Geraghty and Harrington. Compliment the first use of a hood too. Wish we had listened to Hayley now 15:28: Here's the official result. A first Champion Hurdle success for Jessica Harrington 1st 4 Jezki (IRE) 9/1 2nd 6 My Tent Or Yours (IRE) 3/1 3rd 9 The New One (IRE) 10/3 15:26: Jezki was just too strong for stablemate My Tent Or Yours and The New One recovered superbly to take third from Hurricane Fly in the closing stages. It was a great race but the terrible fall suffered by Our Conor was hard to watch. 15:24: JEZKI IS THE NEW CHAMPION. Fly was fourth. 15:21: Our Conor took a bad fall six out, and took out The New One too, who has recovered. 15:20: Here we go, they are off in the Champion Hurdle. Good luck whoever you are on. 15:16: Telegraph reporting that someone has stuck £20,000 on The New One EW. As a result, price now in to 10/3. Yikes. 15:15: Excitement building for the big one here. Folks who have never even seen a horse in the flesh are piling around the flat screen to watch the Fly in action. Shows what a special horse he is. That said, most of us have opposed him in this one but a few sentimental folks are backing the champion. 15:12: After two big price winners, the bookies have probably already made back the money they lost on Vautour in the opener. A win for Hurricane Fly, especially with all the multiples he will sit in, will have the punters winning early. Which we like. 15:07: Right, time to get down to business. Next up is the Champion Hurdle and it is all about whether Hurricane Fly can win a third title, to join the elite of the sport. The winner of the race in 2011 and 2013, it would be an awesome hat-trick for Mullins and Walsh if they can do it. But the challenge this year is the greatest the 10-year-old will have faced. Three real contenders, plus one more than decent longer shot can win this. The biggest threat to the Fly might be from My Tent Or Yours. Second in last year's Supreme Novices behind Champagne Fever, he beat The New One at Christmas, so we can probably write the latter horse off in this one. At 3/1, My Tent Or Yours is second in the market now and with the ground so good, he should fly. The big danger from home, and my pick, is Our Conor. A stunning winner of the Triumph last year, the five-year old has twice been bested by Hurricane Fly at Leopardstown but we think he was not fully firing on those days. Some improvement, and the age gap and the ground suggest to me that it could be Dessie Hughes' day. Finally Jezki, at 9/1, is a decent EW bet with a host of Grade 1 wins behind them. If it is a fast run race, as I suspect it will, it could fall right for Jessica Harrington's charge. 14:56: Not quite as cool as Sean O'Brien, but here's a slightly dishevelled looking Michu at the races today 14:53: Less than 30 minutes now until the big one, the Champion Hurdle. We'll preview it in full for you next. 14:51: Here's the full result 1st 7 Holywell (IRE) 10/1 2nd 10 Ma Filleule (FR) 33/1 3rd 13 The Package 16/1 4th 11 Green Flag (IRE) 16/1 14:48: Holywell, who didn't jump great in the first circuit, got it together in the second half of the race to just hold off Ma Filleule over the final furlong. 14:44: Halfway round and the only significant news is that Cantlow and King Massini have fallen and Wrong Turn has been pulled up 14:41: And they are off 14:40 Relax is a non-runner 14:35: All sorts of horses have been tipped for this one, excluding the ones below. King Massini, Green Flag and Tour Des Champs all get a mention but we will stick with Time For Rupert. 14:32: We’ve also heard ‘whispers’ for the second in the betting, Hadrian’s Approach. Barry Geraghty is aboard and we do love the Meath man around this track. Top weight is Cantlow but he is out to 16s now as money comes in for the likes of Time For Rupert, our personal pick in this one. Just don't hold us to it. 14:27: At the top of the market sits Alfie Sherrin. Jonjo O’Neill and AP McCoy rides are always worth your attention and this horse won this very race in 2012. Lightly race since, a fourth in last year’s Kim Muir hasn’t put people off and you can back it at 8/1. 14:22: That's better. Right, next up is the Baylis and Harding Handicap Chase, a 24 runner handicap over 3m 110yards that is a very tricky one to call. Just one Irish runner goes to post, Tony Martin's Wrong Turn, so this one is almost certain to go to the English. Wrong Turn is 12s if you fancy the upset. 14:16: Time for the first quick cuppa of the meeting. Be back real soon with all the info on the headache that is the 2.40, a monster handicap chase. 14:15: Okay, just an update on a few other fancies. Rock On Ruby had a huge mistake early, and Noel Fehily was lucky to hang on. The horse never recovered and was pulled up before the finish. Dodging Bullets looked to be in contention for a while but was just ran out of the places. And Hayley's EW punt, Ted Veale, fell at the last just as it was getting into the race. Shame. 14:12: Here's the result 1st 9 Western Warhorse (IRE) 33/1 2nd 2 Champagne Fever (IRE) 11/4 j 3rd 7 Trifolium (FR) 11/4 j 14:10: The winner was 33/1! Anyone back it. Beat Champagne Fever right on the line by a nose. Trifolium was third. 14:09: What a race! Western Warhorse pips Champagne Fever on the line! 2:05: And they are off in the Arkle, this will be fast and furious so we'll update you once they cross the line. 2:00: Just a heads up that Hayley tipped Ted Veale as an EW punt in this one. At 25/1, that looks worth a euro or two. 1:57: Here's the Cheltenham Roar from the opener
1:55: Okay, time to get serious about the next one up, the puzzle that is the 2014 Arkle. Nine runners go to post, and with Nicky Henderson picking up this race for the last two years (Sprinter Sacre and Simonsig) what odds Grandouet completing the hat-trick? It is 9/1 actually, but we don't think it is on. Unsurprisingly, the favourite is Champagne Fever, who won the Supreme Novices last year in some style. Winning experience on this course is vital to success, and with the added bonus of Mullins and Walsh, the price of 3/1 still looks tempting. Those brave enough to oppose are piling into Trifolium, from Charles Byrnes' yard. With last year's fairytale rider Bryan Cooper on board, the Kerry rider carries a lot of good will into the 2014 meeting. Other Cheltenham winners, like Rock On Ruby and Dodging Bullets, have their backers too but after what we just witnessed, it could well be champagne time yet again. 1:42: Ruby on the ride; 'We thought he was a hell of a horse but he proved it today'. Champagne Fever, Ruby's ride in the Arkle at 2.05, is already coming in. 1:41: Odds on #RubyTuesday trending? Unbackable I'd say. With Hurricane Fly and Quevega to come, Mullins and Walsh backers are in line for yet another bumper day. Let's take you through some of the other fancies. Favourite Irving was out the back and never really contended while Gilgamboa blundered badly at the second last and AP did well to stay on. Wicklow Brave was challenging the winner up the hill but ran out of steam and ended up outside the places. 1:36: And here's the initial result 1st 15 Vautour (FR) 7/2 j 2nd 6 Josses Hill (IRE) 14/1 3rd 14 Vaniteux (FR) 11/1 Fourth was Sgt Reckless 1:35: A win for Mullins/Walsh thanks to Vautour. Business as usual eh? A real classy ride as it led all the way. 1:32: Four to jump and all in contention 1:30: AND THEY ARE OFF. WHAT A ROAR 1:29: Much interest in Cheltenham? Well, an English horse is trending. The power of being the favourite for the opener.
1:26: Now The Liquidator is coming in, at 14s. Looks like the punters were waiting for the price to drift before diving in, presumably each way. The race is wide open so no surprise. 1:23: There's Sean O'Brien looking very dapper at the Festival. 1:20: The Liquidator, David Pipe's well-fancied runner in the opener, is gone cold in the market, and is now out to 16s. 1:17: Lovely shot of Gilgamboa. Looks like a beautiful day at Cheltenham.
1:13: Okay, 20 minutes until the off so here's the latest on the Supreme Novices. Irving, from Paul Nicholls yard, has long been the fancy for this race and he continues to lead the betting at 7/2. However, a favourite hasn't won this race since the famous Brave Inca in 2004 so we will follow that trend and avoid Irving. The two Willie Mullins runners, Vautour and Wicklow Brave, are getting a lot of buzz, and Ruby Walsh chose to ride the former. At 4/1, he is still worth a punt. And, if you like a slightly longer shot, a lot of folks fancy Enda Bolger's Gilgamboa. He's into 9s now, and with the irish record in this race being pretty handy, an Irish winner from the ones listed above looks likely. 1:08: So, before we get in to the Supreme Novices, here's a few tips for you, via Ladbrokes' Hayley O'Connor. They come with added charity bets from our own Jerry Flannery, who may or may not know much about horses. We'll know for sure later today. 1: 00: The wait is over. Once again, we are at the kick off of the Cheltenham Festival, probably the most hope-filled day of the sporting year. The form has been studied, the tips have been noted down and the money is on, all we need now is for the races to begin. They will in 30 minutes, and we will bring you all the build-up, market changes and anything else we can find in the run up to the famous Cheltenham Roar. Today is arguably the biggest and best day of the entire Festival so strap in and enjoy what is set to be four-and-a-half hours of brilliant action from Prestbury Park.