So with the Cheltenham festival just a little over a week away now the buzz and excitement is very real and building nicely. For many including us at Money Rider it is the greatest 4 days of racing in the racing calendar and for good reason, it plays host to the creme de la creme of national hunt racing and it all begins on Tuesday 13th also know as Champion day.
This is a day that I my self (Sean) not only enjoy above the others but hold it as the day that got me hooked on this great sport and these remarkable animals. With races like the Supreme Novice that gets the whole week of racing under way and gives you the biggest chill of the week when the flag is dropped and after months of waiting you get to hear the famous Cheltenham roar, to the Arkle chase which has been won but some greats such as Moscow Flyer, Sprinter Sacre and last years the ever impressive Alitor.
Annie Power banishes painful memories
For me though it has to be the main event of the first day that has always been a massive favourite of mine and for good reason too. A race that has been won but some truely brilliant horses over the past 20 years or so like Istabraq for the silks of JP Mcmanus 3 years on the bounce in the late 90s to the more recent dominance of Willie Muliins who has manage to train 4 winners and 4 placed horses in this race since 2011. He also has the proud owner of the race record when Annie Power who was only placed in the race as a some what replacement for The Machine (Faugheen) blew the field away in 2016.
Can Buveur D’air make it two in a row?
This year however Nicky Henderson has what many believe a horse on his hands that looks set to win it 2 years on the bounce with Buveur D’air who has since his win last year in the race just seemed to get better and better. It has to be noted he hasn’t yet faced a field any where near the quality of what he will come up against at the festival but that is purely down to his own credit as no one wants to see their horse get taken apart by what is proving a fantastic Champion hurdler. Talking of horses taking a chance of having to watch Noel Fehily and his mount stretch away from them as they turn for home up the hill, Faugheen The Machine is back and attempting to regain his crown after 3 years from first winning it but has one hell of a task ahead of him.
Unlike Buveur D’air his form this year after returning from a long injury has been i guess patching to be honest, he seemed to be back to his old self back in November marking his come back with a comfortable win at Punchestown before pulling up just before the new year for no real explainable reason.
His last race he did bounce back to claim 2nd in the Irish Champion Hurdle to the impressive Supasundae, with that in mind and with who he is to conquer to once again win at the festival he really needs to raise his game 10 fold which sadly for me as a massive fun of the horse i just cant see coming but will be standing by the machine when handing my hard earned money over when im there once again for day 1 of the most amazing 4 days racing of the year.Follow us on social media or get in touch