Which was the longest-priced winner in the history of the Cheltenham Festival?

Which was the longest-priced winner in the history of the Cheltenham Festival? The Cheltenham Festival is the scene of some of the most competitive, hotly-contested horse races staged anywhere in the world. Consequently, long-priced winners, while not exactly ten-a-penny, are to be expected from time to time, especially in the handicap races. The Pertemps Network Final, for example, produced two winners at 50/1 in the early Noughties.

More surprising, though, are rank outsiders in the highest calibre, Grade One races, which are run at level weights and, at least on paper, are supposed to represent a test of class. The Triumph Hurdle, for example, produced three winners at 66/1 during the Eighties.

Even the ‘championship’ races, such as the Champion Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, are not immune to the odd shock. Kirriemuir, in 1965, and Beech Road, in 1989, both won the two-mile hurdling championship at odds of 50/1, but the ‘daddy of them all’ remains Norton’s Coin, trained by Carmarthenshire permit-holder Sirrell Griffiths. Not only did he bely odds of 100/1 to win the 1990 Cheltenham Gold Cup, but did so in style, beating reigning champion Desert Orchid and breaking the course record in the process. The ‘Racing Post’ rightly called it the ‘Shock of the Century’.

How many races at the Cheltenham Festival are handicaps?

How many races at the Cheltenham Festival are handicaps? The ‘Olympics’ of National Hunt racing, the Cheltenham Festival, was from three to four days in 2005 and, nowadays, the schedule consists of seven-race cards each day, making 28 races in total.

Exactly half of those races are at the highest calibre, Grade One level and include the four main, ‘championship’ races, namely the Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Stayers’ Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup.

However, nearly a third of the Cheltenham Festival schedule is made up of handicaps, four over fences and five over hurdles, strategically positioned throughout the four days. All nine handicaps have a safety limit of 20 or more and generally attract maximum fields, which makes them fiercely competitive and, by the same token, devilishly difficult to solve from the punters’ perspective.

The four handicap steeplechases are, in chrononological order, the Ultima Handicap Chase, on day one, Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup, on day two, and the Paddy Power Plate and Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup, both on day four. Similarly, the five handicap hurdles are the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, on day one, Coral Cup, on day two, Pertemps Network Final, on day three and the McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle and Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, both on day four.

How many winners does it take to win the Leading Jockey Award at the Cheltenham Festival?

How many winners does it take to win the Leading Jockey Award at the Cheltenham Festival? At the Cheltenham Festival, the Leading Jockey Award, sponsored in recent years by Cotswold designer Jade Holland Cooper, is presented to the jockey who rides the most winners over the four days, counting back to placed horses in the event of a tie. Obviously, the number of winners required to win the Leading Jockey Award varies from year to year according to the number of different jockeys who ride winners at the Festival.

Indeed, way back in 1982, Jonjo O’Neill became leading jockey with just a single winner, while the likes of Peter Scudamore and Richard Dunwoody won the Leading Jockey Award, more than once, in the Eighties and Nineties with just two winners on each occasion. However, since 2005, when the Festival was extended to four days from three, jockeys have needed at least three winners, and often more, to win the Leading Jockey Award. In fact, Rupert ‘Ruby’ Walsh rode seven winners at the Festival in both 2009 and 2016, while Paul Townend, his successor as stable jockey to Willie Mullins, won the Leading Jockey Award with five winners. Over the course of the last 16 Festivals, the average number of winners need to win the Leading Jockey Award was approximately four.

Which current jockey has won the Cheltenham Gold Cup most often?

Which current jockey has won the Cheltenham Gold Cup most often? The most successful jockey in the history of the Cheltenham Gold Cup was Pat Taaffe, who partnered the legendary Arkle to three consecutive victories in 1964, 1965 and 1966 and added a fourth, courtesy of Fort Leney, also trained by Tom Dreaper, in 1968. However, of jockeys still riding, two have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice apiece.

The first of them is four-time British Champion Jockey Richard Johnson, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup for the first time on Looks Like Trouble, trained by Noel Chance, in 2000. A 30-length winner of what is now the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase at the 1999 Cheltenham Festival, Looks Like Trouble was pulled up in the King George VI Chase at Kempton, but made it 2-2 at the Festival when staying on gamely to beat Florida Peark by 5 lengths.Later in his career, in 2018, won the Cheltenham Gold Cup again, on Native River, trained by Colin Tizzard, who got the better of an epic duel with Might Bite to win by 4½ lengths.

The second dual Gold Cup winning jockey in the current ranks is, of course, Paul Townend, who recorded back-to-back victories on Al Boum Photo in 2019 and 2020. On the first occasion, Al Boum Photo was only third choice of four runners trained by Willie Mullins but, nevertheless, ked turning for home and stayed on strongly to win by 2½ lengths. Later that year, Townend succeeded Ruby Walsh as stable jockey to Willie Mullins and rode at his first Cheltenham Festival in that capacity in 2020. As defending champion, Al Boum Photo was sent off favourite for the Gold Cup and, although all out in the closing stages, held on to win by a neck.

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