Published on March 19th, 2013 | by Duncan Thomson4
The Top 10 Cheltenham Festival Winners Of 2013
Well, that’s the Cheltenham Festival over for another year and what a week it was. The meeting started under a bit of a cloud, quite literally, when the snow and frost threatened to scupper racing on the first day, but as the temperature improved throughout the morning we only had to suffer a short delay of 35 minutes before racing got underway and from then on it was plain sailing for the rest of the week.
I’m sure you’ll all have your favourite moments from this year’s Festival, and to place them in some semblance of order has proved difficult for me today too, but I’ve given it my best shot and these are the horses that I felt personally put up the best Cheltenham Festival performances of 2013.
You can click on the title of the entries to watch a replay of each race too.
Is there anything this horse can’t do? Well, over two miles at least. This was his eight consecutive win and every time I see him his performances seem to be better than the last. He’s only a 7yo too, believe it or not, so there’s plenty of mileage left on the clock. The 1/1 that William Hill offered was amazing!
This was the most visually impressive winner I’ve ever seen in the Triumph Hurdle. He travelled like a dream throughout the race, drew alongside two out and then effortlessly pulled away from the field to win by 15 lengths. He’s now the clear favourite for next year’s Champion Hurdle and I can see why!
What isn’t to love about this amazing little horse? This was her fifth win in the race and she was only the second horse to win five races at the Festival since Golden Miller won the Gold Cup five years on the bounce back in the 1930’s. For that fact alone she deserves her place at the top of this list!
Hurricane Fly defied the odds to land his second Champion Hurdle in some style. There had only been three winners over the age of eight in the last 58 years and it had been 40 plus years since a defeated champion came back to win it again, but the horse looked better than ever and won impressively!
You might find it strange that the Gold Cup winner only makes it into number five on my list, and he did do everything right and won well in the end, but I felt that the race was tainted somewhat by the fall of Silviniaco Conti at the third last fence when he was probably travelling better than anything.
I’ve been a huge fan of Cue Card since he strolled away with the Champion Bumper back in 2010, but there’s always been a niggling feeling that he’s been just short of top class, until now. That’s two Grade 1 races on the bounce now and he couldn’t have won the Ryanair any easier. One to follow, for sure!
7 – Briar Hill in the Champion Bumper (no video available)
Wullie Mullins had already notched up four wins at the meeting by the time we got around to the Champion Bumper, so it was amazing that this horse was allowed to go off at 25/1 with Ruby Walsh onboard. And what an impressive winner he was too – powering clear to win easily by 7 lengths!
Tony McCoy’s first winner at the meeting, At Fishers Cross, was notching up his fifth consecutive win here, bringing his career record up to 7/9, and he just seems to get better and better with every run. Travelling strongly throughout, he took the lead at the last and then quickly went 4 lengths clear!
The New One came into this race with six previous wins and only two defeats to his name, the first time when he finished sixth in last year’s Champion Bumper and last time out when he finished a 1/4 length second to At Fishers Cross, so both horses look like they’ll be very exciting prospects next season!
The second placed My Tent Or Yours arrived at Cheltenham with a lofty reputation after demolishing the field in the £86,000 Betfair Hurdle at Newbury in February, but just when it looked as though he was going to take it up, Champagne Fever kept pulling out more. Both should be followed in future!
Those are my favourite Cheltenham Festival winners of 2013. Of course, there are others I could have included and every winner was a champion on their day, but these were my personal favourites of the meeting and I’m sure there will be plenty of winners to be had in the future from this list too.
So that’s it for another year, but I always see the Cheltenham Festival as the start of the betting year, rather than the NH season coming to a close. The flat season kicks off at Doncaster on Saturday with the Lincoln Handicap and two weeks after that we’ve got the Grand National to get stuck into. Then, of course, a full summer of the best horse racing action in the world. Personally I can’t wait…