Five unforgettable Cheltenham Festival races that changed in an instant | Horse racing news

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Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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Jamie Moore is knocked down from Goshen on the final flight with the Triumph at their mercy

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

By Sam Hendry

The Cheltenham Festival is just two weeks away and the anticipation is starting to heat up. The festival has hosted many of the most famous – and infamous – moments in obstacle racing history and here we list some of the classic encounters that saw their outlook changed in an instant. . .


The background: Yes, I know, there are wounds that don’t need to be reopened and there are thousands who would gladly banish all memories of that race from their minds if given the chance, but the Annie Power’s crash at the end remains one of the most famous (or infamous) moments in Cheltenham history and changed not just the complexion of the race, but the entire first day of 2015.

Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh had completely dominated the opening afternoon, with wins for Douvan, Un De Sceaux and Faugheen leaving the bookmakers trembling at the prospect of 1-2 favorite Annie Power completing the extremely well-supported quadruple.

What happened: Everything was going perfectly to plan as the star mare headed for the lead before heading home and she was four lengths ahead of the last. What could go wrong?

Many, as it turned out, as Rich Ricci-owned Annie Power came in last and crashed. Walsh was left sprawled on the ground as Glen’s Melody secured an unlikely victory, saving bookmakers an estimated £50million in the process.

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

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The £50m drop: Annie Power's exit in the Mares' Hurdle saved a fortune from bookmakers

The £50m drop: Annie Power’s exit in the Mares’ Hurdle saved a fortune from bookmakers

Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)

Redemption for the pair would come 12 months later in the Champion Hurdle, but bettors were left with a distinct sense of deja vu when Benie Des Dieux, for the same owner-trainer-jockey combination, fell under circumstances almost identical in the same race. three years later.

Watch the replay here


The background: One of the most hotly contested RSA chases in years had three star names set to duel in Minella Indo, Allaho and Champ, and the trio produced a more than billing-worthy finish.

What happened: Champ’s less than smooth jumps looked to be costing him dearly and he was tied at 400 on rallies as he lost crucial ground to point guards Allaho and Minella Indo.

This duo seemed to have the race at their mercy as they raced up the hill, eight lengths ahead of a desperate looking champion at the end. Suddenly, and almost out of nowhere, Champ and a determined Barry Geraghty found an almighty second wind to somehow bring the leaders back into the final 150 yards.

John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

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Champ (left) looked down with a big gap to make up on Minella Indo and Allaho

Champ (left) looked down with a big gap to make up on Minella Indo and Allaho

John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)

Even Champ trainer Nicky Henderson admitted afterwards that he had stopped following his runner, until the eight-year-old charged his header between the leaders for a shock victory.

Watch the replay here


The background: Goshen had swept everything in front of him over hurdles up to this point with four wins this season over a total of 68 lengths and he was sent off the 5-2 favorite to open the final day of the 2020 festival with a bang for the coach Gary Moore and his son Jamie in the saddle.

What happened: A demolition job. That’s what it would have been had it not been for a freak incident at the last hurdle.

Goshen had gone miles ahead of the rest with a devastating turn around the home corner and only the final hurdle stood between him and one of the most dominating wins the festival has seen in many years.

However, Goshen paddled out at the end and stumbled, though even then he may have gotten away with it if his right rear hoof didn’t briefly become entangled with his right front hoof, causing a chain reaction that has saw Jamie Moore unceremoniously ejected from the saddle. .

Dan Mullan (Getty Images)

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Jamie Moore is helpless as Goshen's unfortunate stumble costs them victory

Jamie Moore is helpless as Goshen’s unfortunate stumble costs them victory

Dan Mullan (Getty Images)

Burning Victory, formed by Willie Mullins, picked up the pieces and sawed off the Aspire Tower, while Goshen and his connections still haven’t had that moment despite his successful but unpredictable subsequent career.

Watch the replay here


The background: This race was on the day’s Champion Hurdle undercard and fireworks were not expected. It was 7-1 in the peloton for the amateur riders event and 22 riders were fielded.

What happened: Only ten riders finished the 3m½f event and 40-1 shot Maximize came from another parish to take a surprise win for trainer Martin Pipe and jockey Darren Edwards.

Montifault had a long lead coming down the hill and was still 12 lengths ahead jumping the last, but he was on his feet as he approached the line and Maximize capitalized.

The running commentary from the winner read: midfielder, 3rd hampered, passed from 12th, 14th gaffed, bad 5th before 3 outs, effort to take 12 lengths 2nd after last, ran to lead the last strides.


The background: Like-A-Butterfly, owned by JP McManus, came in with an unbeaten record of seven runs, including a victory in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse, and was a 7-4 favourite. Westender, trained by Martin Pipe, was the only other single-price rider in the 28-man field.

What happened: Well-backed favorite Like-A-Butterfly wins, but only after a 10-1 shot Adamant Approach fell last as they traveled better under Ruby Walsh, briefly hampering Westender who ended up in a neck fight.

The general consensus was that Adamant Approach seemed the likeliest winner, but the final hurdle proved costly for him, and arguably Westender as well.

Like-A-Butterfly won back-to-back Grade 1s but never reached such heights again at Cheltenham, beating in the Champion Hurdle and RSA Chase.


Then read them:

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‘I did the right thing’ – Dan Skelton bets on new approach for Cheltenham


The Cheltenham Ultimate Guide has everything the smart punter needs for the 2022 Cheltenham Festival. With great race previews, tips, trends and more, the Cheltenham Ultimate Guide has it all. Order now.


FIRST PUBLICATION AT 07:00, MARCH 1, 2022

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