The Cheltenham Open Meeting brings with it three days of racing, starting on Friday with Countryside Day and working up to the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday afternoon.
The weekend then concludes with The Open Sunday, which is the only Sunday that racing takes place at Cheltenham. This gives it real family feel, as well as drawing in serious racing enthusiasts.
This page will be updated as the results come through over the course of the weekend.
|Race||Local Time (GMT)||Prize Fund||Name||Winner||Second||Third|
|1||13:05||£20,000||Opus Energy Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase||Handy Andy||Charingworth||Hunters Lodge|
|2||13:35||£45,000||Paddy Power Handicap Chase||Anay Turge||Sew On Target||Eastlake|
|3||14:05||£20,000||Steel Plate And Sections Novices' Chase||Taquin Du Seuil||Oscar Whisky||The Romford Pele|
|4||14:40||£20,000||David Johnson Memorial Intermediate Handicap Hurdle||Thomas Crapper||Angles Hill||Whisper|
|5||15:15||£2,5000||Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase||Balthazar King||Uncle Junior||Any Currency|
|6||15:50||£12,000||Countryside Raceday Novices' Handicap Hurdle||Quick Jack||Deep Trouble||Three Kingdoms|
Friday saw an alight upset in the Steel Plate and Sections Novices' Chase, where all eyes were on favourite Oscar Whisky. He was a two-time winner of the Aintree Hurdle but made his chasing debut on Friday.
Unfortunately, he was just outdone by Taquin Du Seuil, who was also making his first chasing appearance.
Taquin Du Seuil coming back into the winners enclosure this afternoon. Could he be doing the same at the Festival? pic.twitter.com/K9SMvDd4Hd— Cheltenham Festival (@CheltenhamNews) November 15, 2013
Elsewhere, Balthazar King proved beyond doubt that he is the horse to watch over cross country, as he took victory in the Glenfarclas.
Runner-up in the same event last year to Uncle Junior, Balthazar turned the tables this year and beat him by a length. This continued the form he demonstrated by winning the Showcase Trophy on the same track in October.
Been a long day at Cheltenham for me, very profitable one too thanks to Thomas Crapper winning at 22/1!! :) I'm... http://t.co/mmxfjvVRXp— HorseRacingSuperTips (@HRSTips) November 15, 2013
This was a strong turnaround for the nine-year-old, as he clattered the third fence before making up ground late on and finishing strong.
Speaking to RacingUK.com, owner Phillip Hobbs outlined an uneven race for his horse:
He's a very accurate jumper, and he tries very hard, although at the third today, he hit it very hard, and he nodded at one or two others, so he wasn't foot perfect. He just took off too far away, and they were lucky to stay together.
Paddy Power Gold Cup Day Results: Saturday, November 16 Race Local Time (GMT) Prize Fund Name Winner Second Third 1 12:40 £30,000 JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial (Registered As The Prestbury Juvenile Hurdle) Royal Irish Hussar Guitar Pete Azza 2 13:15 £20000 Roy Blandford 65 Years At Cheltenham Novices' Chase Le Bec Shutthefrontdoor Sam Winner 3 13:50 £50,000 Murphy Group Handicap Chase Alvarado Knockara Beau Bradley 4 14:30 £160,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup Chase Johns Spirit Colour Squadron Hidden Cyclone 5 15:00 £27,000 Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Hurdle Return Spring Salubrious Southfield Theatre 6 15:35 £30,000 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle (Registered As The Hyde Novices' Hurdle) Creepy Timesremembered Port Melon 7 16:05 £20000 Ukash Mares' Standard Open NH Flat Race The Govaness Lily Waugh Legacy Gold
In the marquee race of the weekend, Johns Spirit held on to take victory in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, barely fending off a late challenge from Colour Squadron.
Jockey Richie McLernon spoke to BBC Sport about the difficulties he faced in guiding Johns Spirit to the win:
The fences were narrow enough, so instead of going down the inner, I went wider than was ideal, but his jumping was brilliant up the hill, and he just arrived there.
Fair play to the little horse, he took it up with a long way to go, but he stuck his neck out.
Over the last 11 years, the average #Placepot payout at the Cheltenham Open meeting is £805! Definitely worth having a go at!!— MrFootyTips.net (@MrFootyTips) November 15, 2013
McLernon will no doubt be relieved to get the win here, having participated twice in this race before, with a seventh-place finish in 2010 being his previous best result.
Trainer Jonjo O'Neill has had a successful weekend so far, after his other horse, Taquin Du Seuil, strode to success on Friday in the Steel Plate and Sections Novices' Chase.
His two runners on the final day of the meet, otherwise known as The Open Sunday, were rather less competitive, coming in at eighth and fourth in the final two races of the day respectively.
Attention was instead drawn to the StanJames.com Greatwood Hurdle and its hefty £100,000 prize fund, where French import Dell' Arca rode out as the deserved winner, handing David Pipe a Cheltenham treble on the final day of racing.
The trainer of Comply Or Die had entered Sunday without a win when three came almost at once with Home Run claiming glory in the opening race of the day before The Liquidator took first place in the second.
More was to come too with another Pipe trained horse, Red Sherlock, galloping to victory in the last race of the weekend, rounding off an incredible day for the team at Pond House stables.
|Race||Local Time (GMT)||Prize Fund||Name||Winner||Second||Third|
|1||13:00||£12,000||Mallard Pawnbrokers And Family Jewellers Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle||Home Run||Western Warhorse||Sausalito Sunrise|
|2||13:35||£30,000||Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle||The Liquidator||Sea Lord||Minellaforleisure|
|3||14:10||£32,000||Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices' Chase||Dodging Bullets||Raya Star||Ted Veale|
|4||14:40||£70,000||Shloer Chase||Kid Cassidy||Sire De Grugy||Special Tiara|
|5||15:15||£100,000||StanJames.com Greatwood Hurdle||Dell' Arca||Sametegal||Rawnaq|
|6||15:50||£20,000||Fairlawne Festival Jockey Club Fine Dining Bumper||Red Sherlock||Carningli||Our Kaempfer|
Sunday also saw AP McCoy ride to glory on Kid Cassidy in the Shloer Chase, fresh from his 4,000 career win.
The successful ride marked an incredible comeback for the horse and its trainer, Nicky Henderson, following a narrow escape from death by electrocution at Newbury in February 2011.
Following the race McCoy spoke to the press, as reported by Sporting Life:
I'm pleased for the horse, he's had plenty of problems and you need to get him relaxed. This horse has got plenty of ability and he likes a bit of dead ground as well.
He's a free-running horse early in his races, you just have to relax him and get him to enjoy it. You have to hold on to him and help him come home. It's nice for this horse to win. He hasn't had the most straightforward life. It helped they went a nice gallop and I didn't have to rush him down the hill.
Sire De Grugy had been the favourite heading into the race but McCoy was able to chase him down to deliver a win for the JP McManus owned gelding.
Yet the 18-time winning jockey laughed off suggestions that Kid Cassidy could be a potential Champion Chase winner, again via Sporting Life:
The conditions of this race were in his favour and he couldn't win the Grand Annual so I don't think Sprinter Sacre's got anything to worry about.
The other winner on Open Sunday was Dodging Bullets, who blasted away the competition in the Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices' Chase to hand trainer Paul Nicholls his only victory of the weekend.
After the four horse drama of Sunday however, there was no doubt who the weekend ultimately belonged to.