18 March 2019
Awesome Altior, Terrific Tiger Roll and more! Paragon Cheltenham 2019 Highlights: Part 1
What a week it was. There’s been so many brilliant stories over the last few days and while it hasn’t been without its drama (hello Benie Des Diuex) it’s safe to say racing has enjoyed a much needed week in the sun.
Klassical Dream lives up to his name
John Coleman always dreamed of owning a Cheltenham Festival winner. Sadly the well-respected owner lost a battle with cancer in the summer, but his widow Joanne was determined he should be at Prestbury Park anyway.
Carrying his ashes in her handbag, an emotional Coleman said after Klassical Dream had carried her colours to victory in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle: “It’s a dream come true. My husband passed away in July and it was his dream. He never got to see him run at all and this was absolutely phenomenal.
“John’s ashes are in my handbag. He wanted desperately to make this Cheltenham. He’s not missed one in 20-odd years so we’ve brought him.”
Awesome Altior defends his Champion Chase Crown
Every sport has their superstars – Altior is racing’s. If you look back at the history books you’d find that over 99% of horses would be expected to fall at some point in 18 starts – Altior is the exception.
Sent off at odds of 4/9 in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, Altior was almost foot perfect throughout.
His jockey Nico De Boinville said: I didn’t want him to get stuck in the ground and we had a little miscommunication at the water fence. I didn’t want him to get too over-exuberant at his fences. He’s a phenomenal athlete and he just seems to find an extra gear from somewhere. He doesn’t know how to lose at the moment – long may it continue.”
Altior now joins the great Big Buck’s as the only other horse to go 18 races unbeaten in National Hunt Racing, and it’ll surely only be a matter of time until the record is his.
Tiger on a roll
You’d struggle to find a more popular horse in training than Tiger Roll and that’s saying something given he’s owned by Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary.
In what was up there with one of the most impressive performances of the week, this tiny horse with a massive heart hopped over each of the 32 fences, before strolling away up the straight. Gordon Elliot’s pocket rocket will now head to Aintree to defend his Grand National Crown and on this evidence he’s very much the one to beat!
The Cheltenham VIP Club 2020
The Cheltenham VIP Club is the number one Cheltenham Festival hospitality facility. Running across all four days, The VIP Club offers a delicious three course lunch, an open bar and has balcony views of the stunning Cheltenham Racecourse. The VIP Club is hosted by Rachel Wyse, Mick Fitzgerald while a jockey from the day will mark your card before racing.
Quotes taken from the Racing Post. Videos from Racing TV and Buss TV.