The Betbright Cup

Tuesday 14th - Friday 17th March 2017

Ireland 19 wins; Great Britain 9

Great Britain's fate was sealed as the early as the second race on the final day when victory for the Willie Mullins-trained Arctic Fire in the County Hurdle gave Ireland an unassailable lead in the BetBright Cup. Though GB had started the four days as favourite, the dominance of Mullins and Gordon Elliott in particular ensured the trophy went across the Irish Sea with a final demoralising scoreline of 19-9 .

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Phil Tufnell and Hector Ó hEochagáin lead BetBright Cup Teams at 2017 Cheltenham Festival

Former cricketer and professional funny man Phil Tufnell, and Irish TV personality Hector Ó hEochagáin have been named respective Great Britain and Ireland captains for the 2017 BetBright Cup.

The BetBright Cup (formerly the Prestbury Cup) is awarded to the country with the greatest number of Cheltenham Festival winners. After Great Britain won a narrow victory in 2015, last year the teams couldn't be separated and it ended in a stalemate on the final day, though a subsequent disqualification gave Ireland a 15-13 advantage.

"The Cheltenham Festival is an incredibly exciting time for all British and Irish racing fans," said BetBright Chairman Rich Ricci, "the competition between the two nations has rarely been tighter than it was last year. This year, there's no doubt the Irish side will be up against it but I don't think Hector will lose faith.

"The BetBright Cup is a fun complement to the serious sport on the track, allowing racing fans to get behind their country's contenders throughout the week. We have made a change to the format this year whereby we will be making a donation of £10,000 to the Injured Jockeys Fund on behalf of the winning captain."

Phil Tufnell, affectionately known as 'Tuffers', enjoyed an illustrious career with England before becoming a regular face on British TV as a captain on a Question of Sport, a contestant with two left feet on Strictly Come Dancing and King of the Jungle on I'm a Celebrity.

The owner of numerous racehorses and a passionate Cheltenham fan, Phil is looking forward to taking Hector on and reckons the GB team are too strong for the Irish contingent.

Phil commented: "I love The Festival and am thrilled to be back this year as the Great Britain captain for the BetBright Cup. Both sides have lost a number of defending champions in recent weeks, and I've no doubt Hector is preparing the excuses as we speak, but I am banking on a few of our own super subs as well as the superstar Altior to keep the title at home."

Hector Ó hEochagáin is unquestionably one of Ireland's biggest racing fans and was devastated on the final day last year with how GB clawed their way back into contention and managed to sneak a draw.

"It was a Paul Nicholls smash and grab there's no question, a couple of exceptional wins on the last day and he snatched the BetBright Cup from our fingers. We're up against it this year there's no question but if we win a few key battles we could certainly be in contention."

Ireland are currently 9/2 with BetBright against Great Britain who head into The Festival as the 1/3 favourites.

BetBright have announced that the winning BetBright Cup captain will receive a £10,000 donation to the Injured Jockeys Fund of their respective country on their behalf.

The BetBright Cup (formally the Prestbury Cup) is awarded to the country with the greatest number of Cheltenham Festival winners. “The prize money is a new feature added this year, the respective Injured Jockeys Funds are such incredible charities that caters to the enhanced care, rehabilitation and welfare of jockeys past and present. We are very proud to be supporting such organisations”, said BetBright Chairman Rich Ricci.

This years’ instalment of the BetBright Cup sees captains Phil Tufnell and Hector O’Heochagain take the position of GB and Irish captains respectively. Hector was denied victory by an inspired GB comeback last year, the odds are against him this year after an unfortunate run of injuries in recent months but he believes that if the Irish can rack up one or two surprise upsets they’ll be in with a fighting chance. Phil commented: “I love the Festival and am thrilled to be back this year as the Great Britain captain for the BetBright Cup. Both sides have lost a number of defending champions in recent weeks, and I’ve no doubt Hector is preparing the excuses as we speak, but I am banking on a few of our own super subs as well as the superstar Altior to keep the title at home”.

After Great Britain won a narrow victory in 2015, last year the teams couldn’t be separated and it ended in a stalemate on the final day. “The Cheltenham Festival is an incredibly exciting time for all British and Irish racing fans,” said BetBright Chairman Rich Ricci, “the competition between the two nations has rarely been tighter then it was last year, this year there’s no doubt the Irish side will be up against it but I don’t think Hector will lose faith. The BetBright Cup is a fun complement to the serious sport on the track, allowing racing fans to get behind their country’s contenders throughout the week.

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