Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Cheltenham Festival - Supreme Novices' Hurdle

The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle gets the honour of opening the action at the Cheltenham Festival every year. This really is an honour that comes with a lot of pressure as the race is expected to set the tone for the four-day event. It is a National Hunt Grade one rated race that brings together horses of four years or more competing over a distance of two miles and half a furlong (3298 meters) at the Old Cheltenham Course.

A run of well over half a century gives the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle a rich history which makes it just the ideal event to open this popular festival in Britain.

Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh have had great runs in this opening race, each earning five wins in the trainer and jockey category respectively. They worked as a team between 2013 and 2015, sweeping first honours in all three years.

Mullins-trained Getabird is still favourite to win the 2018 event after winning both hurdle races he has started in with a considerable gap between him and the second placed finisher in the past season. First Flow, peerless in his last three jump races, is a close competitor.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Cheltenham Festival - RSA Chase

The RSA Chase takes centre stage in the early moments of the second day of the annual Cheltenham Festival. It is a grade one race that brings together horses of age five years and above to compete for a purse of around £150,000 by clearing a distance of three miles and 110 yards (4929 m). The long path is riddled by 19 fences that must be jumped, making it a pretty stamina-demanding exercise.

This race was introduced in 1946. 11-year-old Birthlaw took first finish in that inaugural race and still remains the oldest horse to finish in that position ahead of the 2018 edition.

Horses that take place in this are often likely to go on to the more challenging Gold Cup. Most remarkable is Lord Windermere who took first honours here in 2013 and went on to claim the Gold Cup on the New Course a year later.

Leading Jockey Ruby Walsh is still looking to join the record ranks in this one. He has just one win here. Willie Mullins won for the fourth time in 2015 to equal the 4-win trainer record set by Fulke Walwyn in 1957. Mullins has a variety of horses to pick from as he seeks to set a new record at the 2018 event.