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Author Archive for Greg Wood at Cheltenham

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Bryony Frost makes history with Frodon in Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham

• Ryanair Chase winner Frodon and rider get huge reception • Front-runner looked beaten before rallying to win after lastBryony Frost became the first female jockey to win a Grade One chase at the Cheltenham Festival as Frodon made all the running unde…

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Tiger Roll storms to fourth Festival success with win in Cross Country Chase

• Last year’s Grand National winner takes race by 22 lengths• ‘I’ve never seen an easier winner around here,’ says ownerTiger Roll, last year’s Grand National winner, enjoyed one of the warmest receptions for a Festival winner for many years after runn…

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Cheltenham ready for starter’s orders but shadow of Brexit looms large | Greg Wood

The Festival is often an escape from politics but the ramifications for racing mean events in Westminster on Tuesday will be keenly monitoredFor a good part of its nearly 100-year existence, the first day of the Cheltenham Festival was also Budget Day …

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Baron Alco and Jamie Moore grind Cheltenham rivals into submission

• BetVictor Gold Cup winners lead from the front• Sara Bradstock praises third-placed ConeygreeWhen six of the 18 runners in a handicap chase make it across the line, up front is generally the best place to be. So it proved here on Saturday as Baron Al…

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Count Meribel survives bad mistake to make his mark at Cheltenham

• Serious error two out not enough to stop game winner• Sun Alliance Chase at Festival the long-term targetSeveral of the best chasers of the last 40 years have had their first experience of Cheltenham’s fences in the two-and-a-half mile novice on the …

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Count Meribel survives bad mistake to make his mark at Cheltenham

• Serious error two out not enough to stop game winner• Sun Alliance Chase at Festival the long-term targetSeveral of the best chasers of the last 40 years have had their first experience of Cheltenham’s fences in the two-and-a-half mile novice on the …

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Nicky Henderson bids for historic Cheltenham Festival treble in Gold Cup

The Lambourn trainer has already won the Champion Hurdle and Champion Chase and runs the favourite in Friday’s big raceIn the weeks running up to the Cheltenham Festival, when horses from his stable were firmly entrenched at the top of the betting for …

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Lizzie Kelly turns nightmare into dream Cheltenham ride on Coo Star Sivola

• Lizzie Kelly’s nerveless ride lands Ultima Handicap Chase at 5-1• Jockey lasted only two fences in last year’s Cheltenham Gold CupThere can be few public embarrassments to match being dumped on the turf in front of the Cheltenham grandstands after ju…

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A Cheltenham Festival run on heavy going will test horses and punters

The centrepiece meeting of the season always delivers a few surprises, but backers have had things fairly easy in recent yearsSo much has changed at the Cheltenham Festival in recent decades as it has grown to become one of the essential fixtures in th…

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A Cheltenham Festival run on heavy going will test horses and punters

The centrepiece meeting of the season always delivers a few surprises, but backers have had things fairly easy in recent yearsSo much has changed at the Cheltenham Festival in recent decades as it has grown to become one of the essential fixtures in th…

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Cue Card to miss King George in favour of spring campaign before retirement

• Colin Tizzard changes plans for popular chaser after discussions with owner• Betfair Chase followed by Ryanair at Cheltenham and Aintree the new targetsCue Card, one of the most popular steeplechasers of the last decade, is likely to miss the King Ge…

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Ruby Walsh risks missing Cheltenham Festival after Punchestown fall

• Walsh suffers suspected broken leg and kick to the head in tumble• Race against time to be fit for Festival, which opens on 13 MarchRuby Walsh, the top jockey at the Cheltenham Festival in 11 of the last 14 seasons, faces weeks and probably months on…

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Nicky Henderson launches defence of Altior breathing problem statements

• Cheltenham Festival favourite had wind operation on Friday• Trainer defends issuing bulletins through bookmakers’ websiteNicky Henderson, jump racing’s champion trainer, launched an angry defence of his conduct here on Friday in the face of continuin…

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North Hill Harvey ascent has Dan Skelton aiming at Cheltenham Festival

• Skelton marvels at novice chaser’s progress from point-to-point• Trainer believes North Hill Harvey will compete in Arkle Trophy“He started out at Chaddesley Corbett point-to-point,” Dan Skelton said after winning the big novice chase here on Friday …

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The New One profits from new approach to win International Hurdle

• Record-equalling third victory in race for eight-year-old
• Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has eyes on Champion Hurdle

Nigel Twiston-Davies’s first thought in the winner’s enclosure here after the International Hurdle on Saturday was for Ryan Hatch, the young jockey who would have ridden The New One to victory but for suffering an injury in a fall at the course on Friday. His second was of another, more fortunate twist of fate, that steered The New One away from a season over fences and towards a record-equalling third victory in this race.

“It was the best abandonment ever,” Twiston-Davies said, referring to the cancellation of the card at Exeter last month when The New One had been scheduled to make his chasing debut. The trainer was forced to put the switch to the bigger obstacles on hold and the International Hurdle then presented itself as an ideal opportunity to get The New One’s season started.

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Thistlecrack proves a daredevil in Cheltenham pursuit of Festival fame

• Colin Tizzard’s chaser wins with electric but sometimes careless jumping
• Taquin Du Seuil beats Village Vic in thrilling finish to BetVictor prize

A crowd of nearly 40,000 provided a telling soundtrack to the card here on Saturday, from the gasps that went up as Thistlecrack, the Gold Cup favourite, jumped around the chase course for the first time to the wall of noise as Taquin Du Seuil and Village Vic battled to the line in the BetVictor Gold Cup. It was Taquin Du Seuil, a well-backed 8-1 chance, who got up to win by a head, but one of the abiding images of the day for most punters will surely be Thistlecrack’s jump at the first open ditch.

Colin Tizzard can be planning for no more than six or seven starts to turn Thistlecrack into a Gold Cup winner in his novice season, and two of those are now in the book. His jumping here on Saturday ranged from careful to bold and, at times, veered towards recklessness, not least at the fifth, where he took off much too early and dragged his back legs through the fence.

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ITV Racing has full dress rehearsal at Cheltenham Showcase meeting

• Ed Chamberlin leads team in dummy run for 2017 broadcasts
• Use of drone camera is most striking aspect of new coverage

The possibility of seeing a new star of the jumping game drew more than 10,000 fans here on Friday for the first day of the 2016-17 season at the home of the National Hunt Festival but this year there were glimpses of the future on both sides of the running rail.

ITV Racing, which will take over terrestrial coverage of the sport from Channel 4 when it broadcasts the New Year’s Day card here, used the first afternoon of the Showcase meeting to stage a full dress rehearsal of the coverage that will become familiar to racing fans over the next four years.

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ITV Racing has full dress rehearsal at Cheltenham Showcase meeting

• Ed Chamberlin leads team in dummy run for 2017 broadcasts
• Use of drone camera is most striking aspect of new coverage

The possibility of seeing a new star of the jumping game drew more than 10,000 fans here on Friday for the first day of the 2016-17 season at the home of the National Hunt Festival but this year there were glimpses of the future on both sides of the running rail.

ITV Racing, which will take over terrestrial coverage of the sport from Channel 4 when it broadcasts the New Year’s Day card here, used the first afternoon of the Showcase meeting to stage a full dress rehearsal of the coverage that will become familiar to racing fans over the next four years.

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Don Cossack wins Cheltenham Gold Cup under Bryan Cooper

• Owner Michael O’Leary celebrates second victory in the race
• Cue Card fell three fences out when still in with every chance

In March 2004, when he was 11 years old, Bryan Cooper was a groom who helped to lead up Total Enjoyment for his father, Tom, when she won the Champion Bumper. He looked around at the crowd that welcomed her back and knew immediately what he wanted to be. “That was the day when I said that I wanted to do it,” he said in the same winner’s enclosure on Friday, after riding Don Cossack to victory in the Gold Cup. “I’ve fulfilled my dream.”

Cooper is still just 23, but he has already endured enough miserable afternoons here to make this success all the sweeter. Two years ago he broke his leg in a fall in the Fred Winter, while on Wednesday he rode No More Heroes for Gordon Elliott, the trainer of Don Cossack, in the RSA Chase. The horse, seen as a possible Gold Cup winner next year, was put down after severing a tendon.

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Cue Card going for a £1m bonus for win in the Cheltenham Gold Cup

King George VI Chase winner faces up to a vintage field with the total prize on offer more than any in jumps race history

When Victoria Pendleton turned up at Cheltenham on Gold Cup day last year, few in a crowd of nearly 70,000 even knew that she was there. And by the time they streamed away a few hours later, most thoughts had already turned to the 2016 Gold Cup, which already seemed sure to be a vintage renewal after a series of brilliant performances by novice chasers throughout the week.

Twelve months later, Gold Cup day is finally here, with the added interest that Cue Card, one of the most popular chasers in training, will land a £1m bonus for victory, yet Pendleton’s ride in the Foxhunter has attracted at least as much attention as the big race itself in the weeks leading up to the Festival.

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