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Cheltenham Festival Live

Cheltenham Festival Live racing updates


    [edchamberlin]Ahead of four mouth-watering days of racing, Sky Sports' Ed Chamberlin and Alex Hammond have been talking to Dave Ord and Sky Bet's Dale Tempest to preview the Cheltenham Festival with our exclusive series of podcasts. The four have been previewing each day's racing with the panel split over whether My Tent Or Yours is a bet in Tuesday's Supreme Novices' and there are more Overturn fans than Simonsig backers in the Arkle. What of Hurricane Fly et al in the Champion Hurdle and Quevega's bid for a remarkable fifth successive win in the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle? 
    3/11/2013 11:44:24 AM
  • TIPS

    Alex Hammond has picked her winners for the Festival with My Tent Or Yours her fancy for the Supreme Novices Hurdle. 

    He was a very easy winner of the Betfair Hurdle last time out, making light of his rating of 149. There will be plenty of long faces in the unsaddling enclosure if he doesn't win - and I have to say I think he is my day one banker.

    Here are all of Alex Hammond's Cheltenham tips
    3/11/2013 12:14:20 PM

    It's almost time for the talking to stop and the galloping to start. Graham Cunningham is packing his bag for Cheltenham - but the big questions are still hanging in the air as he signs off with the final instalment of his 2013 Festival File.
    One huge unknown surrounds the going but the proof of whether the Cheltenham ground is like a pudding will come in examining the times of the early races. "If the Supreme Novices' and Arkle winners can't break four minutes then it's testing."
    3/11/2013 12:26:05 PM

    Ante-post favourite My Tent Of Yours will face 11 rivals in the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham on Tuesday.
    Nicky Henderson's six-year-old obliterated a field of top-drawer handicappers in last month's Betfair Hurdle at Newbury and with Tony McCoy on board, he is going to be a warm order to claim the Festival curtain-raiser.
    McCoy is certainly not picking holes in My Tent Or Yours, who has also won at Huntingdon and Ascot.
    The ground was pretty testing at Newbury, he coped with it OK, and it's going to be testing at Cheltenham again. He's got a rating of 162, I can't remember many in the Supreme Novices' with that high a rating. That's not to say he's definitely going to win but it's a good start.
    Can My Tent Or Yours triumph? Bet on the Supreme Novices' Hurdle
    3/11/2013 12:36:27 PM

    Willie Mullins could not be happier with Hurricane Fly as his stable star bids to regain his crown in the Stan James Champion Hurdle on Tuesday.
    A winner of no less than 14 Grade One prizes, the nine-year-old is one of the most prolific two-mile hurdlers of the last decade.
    However, he arguably returns to Prestbury Park with something to prove, having suffered a shock odds-on reverse when only third 12 months ago behind the reopposing Rock On Ruby.
    But Mullins appears in relaxed mood on the eve of the showpiece meeting.
    He travelled well, he's in great form and I'm happy with conditions. I haven't even looked at the declarations. I'm just happy with how everything has gone with our horse so far.
    3/11/2013 12:42:11 PM

    Willie Mullins believes Quevega could be even better than last year as she bids for her own piece of Festival history tomorrow. The nine-year-old lines up in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle, better known as the David Nicholson, a race she will be trying to win for the fifth successive year. If she completes the five-timer, Quevega will become only the second horse since the great Golden Miller to achieve the feat.
    Quevega has done everything well, we think. Not having had a run, it can be difficult to gauge her, but we think she's as good, if not better, than last year.
    3/11/2013 1:38:23 PM

    Our Will Hayler reports that Cheltenham's familiar green vista won't be seen until just an hour and a half before the first race with plans to keep the course covered until as late as possible. Freezing temperatures and snow flurries greeted early visitors to the track on Monday, as preparations for the meeting were finalised but clerk of the course Simon Claisse has no doubts the racing will beat the weather..
    We've been expecting a bit of sleety stuff for a few days and we might get a light dusting but no more. We've used the frost covers several times, during times when the temperatures were colder and for more prolonged periods, so those experiences have told us not to expect any problems. That said, I have never experienced weather as cold as this in the build-up to a Festival.
    3/11/2013 1:56:03 PM

    Harry Fry admits it will be a thrill to watch his charge, and defending champion, Rock On Ruby run in the Stan James Champion Hurdle on Tuesday in what is his first season as a trainer. Fry prepared the gelding for Paul Nicholls 12 months ago, but will be taking centre stage this time around as he bids to continue a superb start to his own training career.
    To have a horse like him running in a Champion Hurdle in my first season as a trainer is great and obviously very exciting. He has really come to himself the last week to 10 days and we really couldn't be happier with him.
    3/11/2013 2:22:29 PM

    Nicholls remains upbeat about his chances in the Champion Hurdle despite the loss of Rock On Ruby and believes that his horse Zarkandar has every chance of getting in the frame at Cheltenham on Tuesday.
    Having won on each of his three last starts, Nicholls believes the five-year-old has the quality to win despite the fact that regular pilot Ruby Walsh will be on board rival Hurricane Fly.
    He's a seven-time winner from nine runs, he's won a Triumph and is unbeaten this year. We don't need Ruby riding him, Daryl won the Triumph on him and gets on very well with him, it's no problem. He keeps on winning, he's not flashy. He's off the bridle for a long way and keeps on galloping up that Cheltenham hill, which is what you want.
    Fancy Zarkandar to get the better of Hurricane Fly & co? Bet on the Champion Hurdle here
    3/11/2013 2:37:24 PM

    Fancy a few quid in your Cheltenham fund? You can win free bets courtesy of Sky Bet in our Cheltenham Festival Tipping Challenge. Tips can be placed from Monday. Simply enter the game, click Cheltenham Racecards and then select "Festival Game" as the game type. There's a prize for every daily winner - plus the tipster who tops the overall leaderboard after the final race of the extravaganza, the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual on Friday afternoon.
    3/11/2013 2:42:56 PM
  • 3/11/2013 2:45:16 PM

    Long Run’s jockey Sam Waley-Cohen has been speaking to Sky Sports News and insists he is capable of repeating his 2011 success in the Cheltenham Gold Cup later in the week. While acknowledging that favourite Bobs Worth will take some stopping, the amateur jockey insists his mount remains the class act of the field should he rediscover top form.
    On the form you'd have to say Bobs Worth is the one to beat, everything he has done has been very impressive and he's won at Cheltenham twice before. But Long Run has been there and done it and achieved a level of performance that none of the other horses have yet achieved and I wouldn't get off Long Run for any of the other horses.
    3/11/2013 3:12:26 PM

    Now we all have friends, acquaintances, family members, work colleagues and those dodgy types down the pub offering up their 'guaranteed' tips during Cheltenham week, but if you want to get some inside information from the horse's mouth - not literally you'll be pleased to hear, but from those that know them best - then click through and see what the leading trainers are saying about their chances heading into this year's Festival.
    Watch Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls, Martin Pipe et al discuss their Festival chances
    3/11/2013 3:31:54 PM

    A bit more clerk of the course Simon Claisse, he's been on Sky Sports News and insists he has no concerns about racing getting underway as scheduled on Tuesday, despite the freezing conditions...
    In relation to the current forecast, if we got the worst of it - which is that minus five, six overnight - we'll certainly be racing as normal.
    3/11/2013 4:19:25 PM

    It's time to start studying the runners and riders ahead of the first day of the Festival. We've got all the cards for tomorrow's seven-race programme, including all the market movers. Racing gets underway with the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle at 1.30pm.
    3/11/2013 4:23:19 PM

    Nicky Henderson’s charge Binocular won the 2010 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham with AP McCoy in the saddle. However, the 17-time champion jockey is not too confident about a repeat of that victory this year, insisting conditions have handed a big advantage to race favourite Hurricane Fly.
    3/11/2013 4:32:40 PM

    Gordon Elliott, who is currently third in the Irish trainers' table, is impressed by the efforts of all at the course in battling the bad weather...
    To be fair to Cheltenham they've done a great job. It's taken a lot of manpower but hopefully we will be okay for tomorrow. The horses will be wrapped up, it's not a worry for them. It's just that the ground will be very tacky
    3/11/2013 6:01:40 PM

    Leon Blanche of Boylesports thinks people are going against favourite Hurricane Fly because of his age. He won as a seven-year-old but is now nine. He's got some difficult opposition in both Zarkandar and Rock On Ruby. Gordon Elliott thinks the ground being on the "testing side" might actually suit Hurricane Fly
    3/11/2013 6:04:37 PM

    Cheltenham will have to pass a 10.30am inspection if the opening day of the Festival meeting is to go ahead. Although the covers were put down at the track over the weekend, officials report the track to be frozen in a few places this morning after a wind chill of -12C overnight.

    Here's our full story on the Cheltenham inspection plans

    3/12/2013 7:29:55 AM

    Leading Irish racing correspondent Donn McClean believes Hurricane Fly is the right price ahead of this afternoon's big race.
    Hurricane Fly looked very short when he was trading at 6/4 and 13/8 in the Champion Hurdle ante post markets, but now he has been eased to 9/4 - slightly bigger on the exchanges - and there is every chance that the easy ground will help him.  He is the correct favourite for the race, and he is on his way out to his correct price now.  It would be fantastic to see him regain his crown.
    3/12/2013 8:26:12 AM

    [ssn]Alex Hammond is at a very chilly Cheltenham to give an update on conditions.

    Clerk of the course
    Simon Claisse just wants to wait and see what happens when he lifts the frost covers at 10am.
    It got down to a wind chill of -12 last night and it was pretty chilly at 5am. They are hoping the sun will come out and that will help lift the frost out of the ground.

    3/12/2013 8:33:28 AM

    [ssn]More from the course and David Craig has been talking with Irish trainer Gordon Elliott about concerns over the weather.
    We'll all keep our fingers crossed. Conditions are going to be tricky. The crucial thing is that the track is safe. The clerk of the course will have to have everything proper.
    3/12/2013 8:51:10 AM

    [ssn]Alex Hammond has been talking to racing journalist John McCririck who has been discussing the horses he is looking forward to seeing at the Festival and he can't wait to see the performance of My Tent Or Yours in the first race this afternoon.
    In the Champion Hurdle they are all talking about Hurricane Fly, the Irish - the last three winners of the Hurdle have been Irish. I thought Countrywide Flame was a big price but I've got a hot tip for the Sky Sports audience. If you've got a bank of money for Cheltenham, put the whole bank on My Tent Or Yours in the opener. 
    3/12/2013 8:58:28 AM

    Our tipster Nick Grant belives Grandouet can lift the Stan James Champion Hurdle on the opening afternoon of the Cheltenham Festival. The Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old had to miss the two-mile blue riband 12 months ago following a setback and has had just one run in over a year when hecam in second behind Zarkandar in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham in December. A minor issue scuppered his prep in the Kingwell Hurdle but few men know how to ready one for the Champion Hurdle off an interrupted preparation better than Henderson. Dangers abound, of course, namely Hurricane Fly and Zarkandar, but he is 4lb better off for his two-length beating in the International and represents a value call against the Irish favourite.
    3/12/2013 9:11:12 AM

    Our Will Hayler is at the course and will be blogging through the day - assuming his typing fingers don't start to suffer from frostbite. 
    Good morning from the snowy wastes of Cheltenham. Using the very inexact science of asking everyone I have met so far today as to what chance they give racing of going ahead today, the general vibe is that racing probably will beat the -12C overnight temperatures (with windchill) and the frozen patches that has created in places under the frost covers. So it's not quite time yet to dust off the formbooks for the BAGS meetings at Crayford and Perry Barr. But Simon Claisse says he has never known anything like it and nor have I - even in the heated haven of the Press Room, I'm still struggling to get my frozen fingers to do what I want them to.
    3/12/2013 9:37:40 AM

    [edchamberlin] The Supreme Novices' Hurdle gets the Cheltenham Festival underway and Ed Chamberlin is tipping a potential 'superstar' to start the four-day bonanza on a winning note. My Tent Or Yours is Ed's selection in the opener at 1.30. Ed's only concern is whether the huge occasion will get to Tony McCoy's horse.
    3/12/2013 9:50:03 AM

    [skybet] Sky Bet have plenty of specials on offer for the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival. Do you fancy the four hot-pots to come in this afternoon? If so, you can get 18/1 for My Tent Or Yours, Simonsig, Hurricane Fly and Quevega to all win. There are also specials for the seven races on today's card, how many winners will certain jockeys have and the winning distance.
    3/12/2013 10:01:04 AM

    [twtr]Our live blogger Will Hayler has been gauging the nation ahead of the start of the Festival.

    I'm going for Zarkandar in the Champion and Champagne Fever in the Supreme, having secured fancy prices on both - Albert Pearce

    Here in southern Cheltenham, it feels much warmer than yesterday... reckon we'll be okay, but will have fun either way - good memories of spending the day in the pub on the last called off day before the fantastic 12-race card! Good luck to all! Loch Ba looks to have everything in its favour in 2.40 - value bet of the day for me - Paul Wright

    Simonsig and Quevega today to get my Lucky 15 ball rolling and then the beast that is Pont Alexandre tomorrow and my banker of the meeting albeit at 5/2 and not the current 6/4 - Damon from Selby

    3/12/2013 10:03:27 AM

    The inspection at Cheltenham is due to take place in 10 minutes and our live blogger Will Hayler is reporting positive news.
    The covers are starting to come off. Ooh the excitement. If Cheltenham is Christmas, then this is the unwrapping of the presents. Or something like that.
    Follow Will Hayler's live Cheltenham blog
    3/12/2013 10:20:45 AM
  • [bn]Cheltenham announces racing will go ahead but with a delayed start at 2.05pm
    3/12/2013 10:25:14 AM

    In addition to the first race being put back to 2.05pm, there is also a change to the time of the cross country chase, if the banks course passes an inspection this afternoon, according to clerk of the course Simon Claisse.
    "We're going ahead, but we're delaying the first race until 2.05pm. We're going to have a further inspection of the cross-country course at around 2.15pm, with a view to running the race at 5.45pm."

    3/12/2013 10:38:21 AM

    [ssn]David Craig has been speaking to Lee Mottershead from the Racing Post who believes the Festival would not have gone ahead if not for the frost covers deployed across the course. He also believes bookies are "desperate" to take on Champion Hurdle favourite Hurricane Fly.
    The bookmakers are convinced they can beat this favourite. He was turned over last season at 6/4 on. They see no reason why they can't get him beat. The stats are against him; only one horse has ever regained the Champion Hurdle.
    3/12/2013 10:44:41 AM

    [skybet] The Arkle Chase will now start at 2.40pm and the odds-on favourite Simonsig, trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Barry Geraghty, is continuing to attract support. Simonsig is the best-backed horse so far today with Sky Bet, in to 4/7 from 8/13, with Overturn drifting out from 3/1 to 7/2 in response.
    3/12/2013 10:53:15 AM

    Nicky Henderson has an enviable array of horses running at the Festival this week and Sprinter Sacre is many people's idea of the banker in tomorrow's Queen Mother Champion Chase over two miles. Henderson is a huge fan of the horse but is taking nothing for granted.
    He knows he's good looking, he knows he's good - it really is 'look and watch me. He finds it ridiculously easy but Cheltenham is Cheltenham and the course takes plenty of jumping. He is a hugely-talented natural athlete. Sprinter Sacre is the one we would be disappointed with if he doesn't win.
    3/12/2013 11:05:43 AM

    Dual winner Albertas Run features among eight declared runners for the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham on Thursday. Jonjo O'Neill's 12-year-old won the 2m 5f showpiece in 2010 and 2011, as well as finishing second last year to Riverside Theatre, who reopposes. 2010 Champion Bumper hero Cue Card takes his chance, along with First Lieutenant, who runs in this race in preference to the Gold Cup on Friday, Champion Court, For Non Stop, Menorah and Ghizao.
    3/12/2013 11:13:27 AM

    There's no Big Bucks in the World Hurdle this year and that has left a wide-open field of 14 runners for Thursday's race over three miles. Reve De Sivola and Oscar Whisky are the leading contenders, while Peddlers Cross, winner of the Neptune Novices' Hurdle in 2010 and runner-up in the Champion Hurdle of 2011, represents Donald McCain. Paul Nicholls, trainer of Big Buck's, saddles Wonderful Charm and Celestial Halo, while Cross Kennon, Get Me Out Of Here, Smad Place, Cloudy Spirit, Oscara Dara, Bog Warrior, Zaidpour, So Young and Solwhit complete the line-up.
    3/12/2013 11:22:32 AM

    [ssn]Ahead of the Festival we asked the Sky Sports pundits to make their selections. Here are their tips for the opening day.
    • Ed Chamberlin - My Tent Or Yours in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle
    • Alex Hammond - Grandouet in the Champion Hurdle
    • Rachel Wyse - My Tent Or Yours in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle
    • Jeff Stelling - My Tent Or Yours in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle 
    • Jamie Redknapp - Zarkandar in the Champion Hurdle
    Here are all the Sky pundits' Cheltenham selections
    3/12/2013 11:22:50 AM
  • 3/12/2013 11:47:13 AM

    [skybet] Just two hours to go until the first race at Cheltenham, with My Tent Or Yours the 7/4 favourite with Sky Bet to take the Supreme Novices' Hurdle. Jezki, who also runs in the famous green and gold colours of JP McManus, is second favourite at 9/2. The Willie Mullins-trained duo Champagne Fever and Un Atout are next in the betting, with Dodging Bullets from the Paul Nicholls yard a 10/1 shot.
    3/12/2013 12:07:15 PM

    Sizing Europe has a tremendous Cheltenham record over two miles, winning the Arkle in 2010 and the Queen Mother a year later before going down narrowly to Finian's Rainbow 12 months ago. Trainer Henry de Bromhead is optimistic of another bold showing from Sizing Europe at the Festival.
    He seems in good form, he travelled over well and we're hoping for a good run. The ground had a bit to do with us going for the Queen Mother rather than the Ryanair but we think we are pretty good over the course and distance. He has a good record.
    3/12/2013 12:12:26 PM

    David Craig has been speaking to Robert Waley-Cohen, who is the owner of Long Run and is hoping the 2011 Gold Cup winner can regain his crown. Long Run is trained by Nicky Henderson, who also saddles the current favourite Bobs Worth.
    The trainer's not letting on if Bobs Worth or Long Run has got the better chance. I think he's definitely a better horse than he was last year. Last year was very disappointing and things didn't go quite according to plan but if he's back to what he was in 2011 he will take all the beating. He's the only horse in the race who's been there and done it.
    3/12/2013 12:18:16 PM

    Sprinter Sacre may have scared off some of the opposition in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, but Tom George hasn't shirked the challenge after supplementing Mail Du Bievre for the race. George reports the eight-year-old to be in good form after he finished fifth over three miles behind Silviniaco Conti on his British debut at Newbury last month. 
    He's come on a lot since he went to Newbury. He's very sharp and I'm looking forward to him running. He's able and very ready for the big day. He'll make it a good gallop, that is one thing we do know.
    3/12/2013 12:28:28 PM

    Here's another view from connections of a horse taking on Sprinter Sacre. Wishfull Thinking heads into the Queen Mother Champion Chase in good form after winning the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury last month, but trainer Philip Hobbs is realistically aiming for place money.
    It looks like we're going round for place money this year. Sprinter Sacre looks like he ought to certainly win. If we get some place money I'll be pleased.
    3/12/2013 12:42:34 PM

    The Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle is the second race on day two of Cheltenham and Pont Alexandre is currently the 6/4 favourite with Sky Bet. Trainer Willie Mullins believes Pont Alexandre "seems to have everything" ahead of his highly-anticipated run.
    He's in good form - the ground wouldn't be a worry for me, or the trip. The potential for him looks immense, especially over fences rather than hurdles, but we thought we would stick to hurdles this year.
    3/12/2013 12:57:12 PM
  • It was touch and go this morning but we finally got the go ahead for racing to begin at 2.05pm
    3/12/2013 12:58:54 PM
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