CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL 2019
Day 2 – Wednesday 13 March
Picture of the Day
The Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1):
The winner returns – Altior
trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Nico de Boinville
My alarm sounded just before 06:00 but I turned over and decided to snooze on for a while; finally getting up to have a shower at 06:45.
I also checked social media for news of the racecourse inspection; racing was to go ahead, as the windy conditions hadn’t been quite as bad as predicted. In other words, no repeat of 2008 when Wednesday’s card had been called off and those races distributed into Thursday’s and Friday’s cards. If today’s card had been called off, racing on Saturday had been mentioned.
I was ready to go to breakfast, in the main hall, at around 07:25. This year, the 2-seater tables had been set up in the library. I ate a full English breakfast, plus two yoghurts, and drank two cups of tea before returning to my hotel room.
I was far too chilled out, as I didn’t set off for Cheltenham until 09:25. The journey was good, as the rush-hour and school day traffic had already cleared from Witney by the time I drove through the town; although there were road-works, with temporary traffic lights, situated on the road out of town.
Having arrived at Cheltenham, I also popped into the Sainsburys situated in Priors Road in order to fill up the petrol tank of my car. I parked up at around 10:30, again within the lower section of the North car park.
Having cleared through the turnstiles, I purchased a race-card, visited the ladies’ loo and decided that I’d take a look at the retail outlets in the shopping village too. I wanted a cobalt blue hat ... but these weren’t available in the style I wanted, or at a price I could afford! I settled for a very pleasant purple one instead; £45. I wore it for a while, but then decided to put it in a bag and wear a knitted hat instead; just in case it was too windy on the upper level of the steppings.
Yet again, I didn’t bother to head to the course-side rails; there seemed little point in getting muddy again besides, since last year, have been converted to a ‘Winners’ Enclosure watcher’.
Today’s Toteplacepot selections were are follows:
The time of the first race of the day was 13:30 and the favourite was the Gordon Elliott-trained Battleoverdoyen, ridden by Jack Kennedy; price 3-1
The race was won by the Martin Brassil-trained City Island, ridden by Mark Walsh.
Yet again, I was knocked out of the Toteplacepot in the first race; Brewin’upastorm was overtaken on the run-in, thus relegated to 4th position. Drat!
The favourite for the next race was Delta Work, trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Davy Russell; price 15-8.
And the race was won by Topofthegame trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Harry Cobden. I like Topofthegame, he reminds me of Pride Of Pemberley; both sired by Flemensfirth, although Topofthegame is a very big horse!
The favourite for the Coral Cup was the Willie Mullins-trained Uradel, ridden by Ruby Walsh; price 13-2.
One runner of interest for me, Monbeg Theatre trained by Jamie Snowden and ridden by Page Fuller.
The race was won by the Nicky Henderson-trained William Henry who collared Wicklow Brave in the dying strides of the race. The first two had both been held up at or towards the rear of the field until the closing stages of the race; their jockeys judging the pace to perfection.
The favourite for the feature event, was the Nicky Henderson-trained Altior, ridden by Nico de Boinville; he was the odds-on favourite at 4-11.
It was a brilliant race, with Saint Calvados making the running until three out; after which Altior took up the advantage. However the favourite had made an uncharacteristic mistake at the water-jump.
Altior was ridden after two out and headed narrowly by Sceau Royal as they cleared the last. However, the latter’s challenge faltered on the run-in and it was left to Politologue to make the final move, but Altior stayed on strongly to claim the race by 1¾ lengths at the line.
Altior was brilliant and it was a joy for everyone to welcome him back to the Winners’ Enclosure following the race.
The favourite for the Cross Country race was last year’s winner, and subsequent winner of the Grand National, Tiger Roll, trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Keith Donoghue; price 5-4.
Jamie Snowden had a runner in this race, Fact Of The Matter, ridden by Gavin Sheehan. He’d won over course and distance earlier in the season, but today was a conditions race with all horses carrying 11 stone 4 lbs.
And it was Tiger Roll who won the race again ... by a commanding 22 lengths!
Even though I’m not a fan of his owner, far from it, and prefer members of the home team to win races, I had to give credit to this tiny but very talented and versatile horse!
As yesterday, I left after the fifth race of the day.
The favourite for the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle was the Joseph O’Brien trained Band Of Outlaws, ridden by JJ Slevin; price 7-2.
Alan King had three runners in this race – Praeceps ridden by Wayne Hutchinson, Our Power ridden by Tom Cannon and Cracker Factory ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies.
Band Of Outlaws duly obliged.
It was a small field of only 14 for this year’s bumper and race favourite was Envoi Allen, trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Jamie Codd; price 2-1.
Alan King also had a runner in this race, namely The Glancing Queen ridden by Wayne Hutchinson.
The race was won by the favourite, with The Glancing Queen in 5th place.
The Irish continued to have the upper hand today, winning 4 of the 7 races; thus they now held a two race lead over the GB at close of play.
And my placepot results:
So that was two wins; plus three nearly but not quite good enough - 4th out of 16, 4th out of 25, and 5th out of 21.
Having left early, I was already outside the grounds by 17:00. My route took me back via Prestbury, Harp Hill and Greenway Lane. I then travelled back along the A40 to Witney. I now encountered the first hold-up of my journey, within the town; this was due to traffic from my right having priority over the traffic exiting from the Burford Road.
I arrived back at my hotel at 17:55, so it was still daylight; always a bonus! It was Pot Noodle for supper again ... but, having not eaten since breakfast, I was looking forward to my evening meal! I’d not even eaten any sweets during the day, because I’d forgotten to place them in my handbag!!!