Monday, 29 March 2021

Many Clouds

 Described by trainer Oliver Sherwood as 'the horse of a lifetime', Many Clouds tragically collapsed and died, from a severe pulmonary haemorrhage, shortly after narrowly beating Thistlecrack in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January, 2017. However, aside from that final Herculean effort, the Cloudings gelding will always be best remembered for winning the Grand National in 2015.


The winner of the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in November, 2014, Many Clouds was sent off 7/1 second favourite for the Cheltenham Gold Cup the following March, but could manage only sixth, beaten 24½ lengths, behind Coneygree. Consequently, when he lined up at Aintree less than a month later, under the welter burden of 11st 9lb, he was a largely unconsidered 25/1 chance.


However, ridden by regular partner Leighton Aspell, he raced prominently for most of the way and was left in the lead when second favourite Druids Nephew fell at the fence after Valentine's Brook on the second circuit. Thereafter, he made the best of his way home and set off up the run-in with a three-length lead over his nearest pursuer, Saint Are. Approaching the famous 'Elbow', he looked sure to win comfortably, but Saint Are, who was receiving 17lb, started to cut into his lead close home and, in the end, he had to be driven right out to win by 1¾ lengths.


Win he did, though, and in so doing made Aspell the first jockey since Brian Fletcher, in 1974, to win back-to-back Grand Nationals. Winning owner Trevor Hemmings, previously successful with Hedgehunter in 2005 and Ballabriggs in 2011, joined James Machell and Noel Le Mare as co-leading owner in the history of the Grand National.








Monday, 15 March 2021

Chomping at the Bit for Cheltenham!


Here at FestivalFocus.co.uk it should be no surprise that we're chomping at the bit with excitement for this years Cheltenham Festival. For starters it's a relief that it's even going ahead (last years Grand National had no such luck and we were instead lumbered with a 'Virtual' version – a poor substitute). And secondly there are a number of races that we just can't wait to see. Can Honeysuckle (currently 9/4) make it an amazing 11 from 11 in the Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy? Can Altior (13/2) overcome Chacun Pour Soi(10/11) in the Champion Chase. We'll soon find out, so prior to that let's have a lighthearted Cheltenham Festival themed  quiz from Betway with some not necessarily 'in the know' Premier League footballers!


Monday, 1 March 2021

Cheltenham Festival - Cheltenham Gold Cup

There is definitely a good reason why this race is the headline event of the Cheltenham Festival. An Assortment of the best horses fight it out for the top position through three miles and two-and-a-half furlongs ( 5331m) on the Cheltenham New course.

The horses must have attained the age of five years to participate, and will have to have been in tip-top position throughout the season. A gruesome path of such lengthy distance is laden with 22 fence obstacles.

A horse’s acceleration over short distances, endurance, braking and jumping skills are put to ultimate test in this event. The same applies to a rider’s handling skills.

For all the pain, the winner gets to take home a whopping £327,000 from a £575,000 purse. Gamblers find some of the best odds here too!

When it’s time for the Gold Cup, everything else comes to a stop. The viewing stands fill up to the brim as spectators line up to see this spectacular event.