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The eagerly awaited Cheltenham Racecourse Events are back, and fans flooded the racecourse yesterday for day one of the festival, Champions day. With Hospitality Finder guests treated to some of the best views in the house.
The first race of the day was Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle, 17-year-old Jockey Jack Kennedy stormed to victory on Labaik, an outsider with 25-1 odds. Following this was the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase, the Nicky Henderson trained horse Altior was the winner giving Henderson his sixth win in this race.
Guests continued to enjoy the day as the line-up of races continued, with Un Temps Pour Tout claiming a second successive victory in the Ultima Handicap Chase with rider Tom Scudamore. There was another victory for trainer Henderson in the Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge with Buveur D'Air, ridden by Noel Fehily, making Henderson the most successful trainer in the history of the race.
As the afternoons racing continued it was the turn of OLBG Mares' Hurdle, Apple’s Jade and jockey Bryan Cooper fended off Vroum Vroum Mag and Limini to take the title. In the JT McNamara National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Novices' Chase Tiger Roll gave trainer Gordon Elliot a famous Cheltenham treble victory with victories earlier on in the day in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle and the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
In the final race of the day, the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap, Alan Fleming’s horse Tully East claimed a victory, with Gold Present and Two Taffs coming in second and third respectively.
First up on the calendar was the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle, the 14/1 Willoughby Court beat favourite to win Neon Wolf at the last hurdle to win. This was jockey David Bass’ second win and trainer Ben Pauling’s first. Next up was the RSA Novices' Chase which saw a dramatic photo finish between Might bite and Whisper, Might Bite with Jockey Nico de Bonville claimed the victory by a narrow margin.
The third race of the day, the Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle, was another nail-biting finish when Supasundae beat Taquin Du Seuil with jockey Robbie Power. Special Tiara won the Queen Mother Champion Chase after finishing third in the last two running’s of the race, and gave jockey Noel Fehily his second race win at Cheltenham this year.
Up next was the Glenfarclas Chase, the winner was Cause of Causes who earned the third festival success of his career, Picking up the lead at the final obstacle he raced to victory for jockey Jamie Codd and trainer Gordon Elliot. In the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle 33/1 Flying Tiger stormed to victory with jockey Richard Johnson and trainer Nick Williams claiming their first win of the festival.
The final race of Ladies’ day was the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, it was another success story for trainer Gordon Elliot as he won his fifth race of the festival with Fayonagh and jockey Jamie Codd.
St Patrick’s Day celebrations were in full swing with St Patrick’s Thursday, and the racing did not disappoint. To kick off the day Yorkhill won the JLT Novices' Chase, the favourite for the race provided jockey Ruby Walsh with his first win of the festival. In the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle Presenting Percy gave his jockey Davy Russell and trainer Pat Kelly back-to-back victories.
Other winners on the day included Un De Sceaux in the Un De Sceaux, Nichols Canyon in the Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle and Road To Respect in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase.
In the final two races Let’s Dance provided Jockey Ruby Walsh and trainer Willie Mullins with four wins in the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle. In a thrilling final race, Domesday Book surprised the crowd with a victory for him and jockey Gina Chase.
The first race of the day was the JCB Triumph Hurdle which was won by Defi Du Seuil, followed by Mega Fortune and Bapaume in second and third place respectively. Following this was the second race, the Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle, where Willie Mullins’ horse Arctic Fire was victorious.
As the racing continued with the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle it was more success for trainer Willie Mullins as his horse Penhill stormed to victory with jockey Paul Townend. In the race that everyone had been waiting for, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Sizing John took the title with Robbie Power in what was a thrilling race on their victory trainer Jessica Harrington said: “That was absolutely amazing, the way he jumped and travelled. That was absolutely fantastic. This was unreal”
As the day continued Pacha Du Polder came first in the St. James's Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase, Champagne Classic won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle with trainer Gordon Elliot and Rock The World stormed to victory in the final race.