How many times did Moscow Flyer win at the Cheltenham Festival?

How many times did Moscow Flyer win at the Cheltenham Festival?  Owned by Brian Kearney, trained by Jessica Harrington, in Moone, Co. Kildare and ridden, in all bar six of his 44 races, by Barry Geraghty, Moscow Flyer was an outstanding two-mile steeplechaser in the years following the turn of the millennium. The son of Moscow Society, from the family of Nijinsky, was no slouch over hurdles, winning seven of his 12 starts over the smaller obstacles, including three at Grade 1 level. Nevertheless, it was over fences that Moscow Flyer became what his trainer described as a ‘once in a lifetime horse’, winning 19 of his 28 steeplechases, including 10 at Grade 1 level, and just over £1 million in prize money in that sphere alone.

Moscow Flyer made an inauspicious debut over the larger obstacles, falling five fences from home in a beginners’ chase at Fairyhouse – which, unsurprisingly, he started at odds-on – in October, 2001. Thereafter, though, he won his next 19 completed starts before succumbing, by a short head, at odds of 1/4, to Rathnagar Beau in the Champion Chase at Punchestown in April, 2005. Indeed, he was awarded a Timeform Annual Rating of 184, placing him co-eighth in the all-time list, alongside Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Burrough Hill Lad and Long Run.

As far as the Cheltenham Festival is concerned, Moscow Flyer made his debut at Prestbury Park in March, 2002, when he was a ready, 4-length winner of the Arkle Challenge Trophy. He returned to the Festival in 2003, justifying favouritism in the Queen Mother Champion Chase and again in 2004, when he was sent off odds-on to defend his title. However, he and Geraghty parted company at the fourth-last, leaving the race at the mercy of second favourite Azertyuiop, who ran out a ready 9-length winner. Moscow Flyer was back again in 2005, regaining his title at the chief expense of Well Chief, with Azertyuiop only third, to make it three wins from four attempts and the Festival. He had one last try, on what turned out to be his final start, in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2006, but could only finish fifth, beaten 11½ lengths, behidn Newmill.