Wednesday 22 November 2017

Cheltenham Festival - Fred Winter Juvenile Novices' Handicap Hurdle

The Fred winter takes place on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival. Racehorses aged four years rush out of thegates in a bid to complete the two miles and half a furlong (3319 m) in the
fastest time. And boy is this race interesting; you wouldn’t tell it’s a grade three race from a mere look.

Despite being a young race (established in 2005) it has meshed well with other races run on the Old course. The left handed nature of this turf surface make it necessary to race with maximum concentration. Horses that win here are oft billed to go big in the horseracing career.

And it does carry its own fair share of surprises too. In 2017, for instance, Flying Tiger raced to victory despite lying on the outside of the favourites circle at the start. Nube Negra has been
pinpointed as the favourite to win the 2018 edition, but can he go the distance.

No single jockey has had a repeat win at the race named after famous jockey/trainer Fred Winter. Paul Nicholls has, however, seen horses trained at his stable sweep top honours three times (2010,
15 & 16) and will once again be looking to extend that dominance.

Wednesday 8 November 2017

Cheltenham Festival - Foxhunter Chase

Three miles and two-and-a-half furlongs (5331m) make the Foxhunter Chase one of the most taxing races at the Cheltenham Festival. It is an exact replica of the main event- The Gold Cup- running over
the same distance and a similar 22 fences. That it is ungraded is thus of little consequence.

The major differences are the pedigree of the competing horses and the £40,000 purse that pales in comparison to that of the Gold Cup.

The race has been in existence since 1904 and not once has its popularity dipped. It is so loved that it has earned itself the name amateur Gold Cup.

To get the Foxhunter’s competitiveness in perspective, consider that not a single horse has been able to win it three times. The record stands at two wins, shared by eight horses. The four-win trainer record set by Richard barber stands to date. Colman Sweeney made it three wins for a single jockey in 2013 and still stands a chance to extend the record.