Cheltenham Festival 2009 

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The Cheltenham Festival Approaches

You might tell your better half that Christmas or your anniversary or some other family occasion is your favourite time of year. We know the truth though and after a year of racing it’s the only festival we love to celebrate the Cheltenham Festival and it’s just over a week away.

Katchit (Robert Thornton centre) takes the last hurdle ahead of Osana (right) and Sublimity keeping on well under strong pressure to win the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy, Cheltenham 11-03-08


The big race of the opening day is the Smurfitt Kappa Champion Hurdle. Ireland have been cleaning up in this two miler over the last decade but Katchit lead home a British 1-2-3 last year though he’s an outside shot this time round for a repeat though Binocular should mark another one up for Britain. The JP McManus owned horse will be making a first run of the year and is expected to win impressively.

Wednesday gets an extra race for the first time and the best of the seven is the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Master Minded’s win in this one last year was so impressive that no one really expects anything other than the same again this year. Nothing’s guaranteed at Cheltenham and if there’s going to be an upset, who could it be?

Kasbah Bliss (C Pieux blue cap) going on to finish second behind Inglis Drever, with Kazal (Barry Geraghty pink) in third
(Cheltenham 13-03-08)

Kasbah Bliss

Ladies Day is when we make all our fillies and whips puns but it also has two cracking races in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle and the Ryanair Chase. There’s no Inglis Drever this time round so Kasbah Bliss leads the betting to replace the three time winner. Voy Per Ustedes is a big favourite after winning in Ascot, though there are many who believe an upset is on the cards and suggest you cast your eye a little further down the betting.

Denman and Kauto Star will be going at it again in the showpiece Cheltenham Gold Cup on the Friday, which just happens to be the thirteenth. One of them is going to be unlucky but could both. Neptune Collonges trailed them both in last year’s race and could improve upon that third placed finish and while a horse like Exotic Dancer could upset the odds it’s looking likely that Paul Nicholls will be celebrating another Gold Cup success. Will Denman make it a double though?

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