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Cheltenham 2014 review : and the best were ...

2014/03/15 - {Stats étalons}
The major actors of this year Cheltenham Festival were with no doubt : Ruby Walsh for the jockeys and Willie Mullins for the trainers. Ireland was the main winning breeding soil fr the 4 days meeting, which gathered 27 races, including 13 Gr.1s, 1 Gr.2, 6 Gr.3s and 3 listed races. The french bred contingent did better than ever by winning 8 races. 
Tuesday 11th March 2014
Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Gr. 1) Vautour (FR) Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh Robin Des Champs Dom Pasquini Haras de Saint-Voir & Patrick Joubert
Arkle Challenge Trophy (Gr. 1) Western Warhorse (IRE) David Pipe Tom Scudamore Westerner Anshan Harry Kavanagh
Luxury Handicap Chase (Gr. 3) Holywell (IRE) Jonjo O'Neill Richie McLernon Gold Well Tchatching Patrick Doyle
Champion Hurdle (Gr. 1) Jezki (IRE) Mrs John Harrington Barry Geraghty Milan Phardante Gerard M McGrath
OLGB Mares' Hurdle (Gr. 2) Quevega (FR) Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh Robin Des Champs Cap Martin Pierre Rives
National Hunt Chase (Listed) Midnight Prayer (GB) Alan King Mr Joshua Newman Midnight Legend Energist JPL Reynolds
Rewards4racing Novices' Hp Chase (Listed) Present View (GB) Jamie Snowden Brendan Powell Presenting Lafontaine Richard Mathias
Wednesday 12th March 2014
Neptune Novices' Hurdle (Gr. 1) Faugheen (IRE) Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh Germany Accordion Dr John Waldron
RSA Chase (Gr. 1) O'Faolains Boy (IRE) Rebecca Curtis Barry Geraghty Oscar Glacial Storm Tom & P Phelan
Coral Cup (Gr. 3) Whisper (FR) Nicky Henderson Nico De Boinville Astarabad Mansonnien Hubert & Sandra Hosselet
Queen Mother Champion Chase (Gr. 1) Sire De Grugy (FR) Gary Moore Jamie Moore My Risk Passing Sale SCEA La Grugerie
Glenfarclas Handicap Chase Balthazar King (IRE) Philip Hobbs Richard Johnson King's Theatre Hernando Sunnyhill Stud
Fred Winter Juvenile Hp Hurdle (Gr. 3) Hawk High (IRE) Tim Easterby Brian Hughes High Chaparral Machiavellian Gleadhill House Stud Ltd
Champion Bumper (Gr. 1) Silver Concorde (GB) Dermot K Weld Mr Robbie McNamara Dansili Daylami Mrs Anne Coughlan
Thursday 13th March 2014
JLT Novices' Hurdle (Gr. 1) Taquin Du Seuil (FR) Jonjo O'Neill AP McCoy Voix Du Nord Marchand De Sable Succ. Marc Boudot
Pertemps Network Final (Listed) Fingal Bay (IRE) Philip Hobbs Richard Johnson King's Theatre Blakeney James Kinsella
Ryanair Chase (Gr. 1) Dynaste (FR) David Pipe Tom Scudamore Martaline Pistolet Bleu Paul Chartier
World Hurdle (Gr. 1) More Of That (IRE) Jonjo O'Neill Barry Geraghty Beneficial Esprit Du Nord Mrs Eleanor Hadden
Byrne Group Plate (Gr. 3) Ballynagour (IRE) David Pipe Tom Scudamore Shantou Simply Great GT Morrow
Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase Spring Heeled (IRE) JH Culloty Mr Robbie McNamara Old Vic Dilum Isidore & Padraic Murtagh
Friday 14th March 2014
Triumph Hurdle (Gr. 1) Tiger Roll (IRE) Gordon Elliott Davy Russell Authorized Entrepreneur G O'Brien
Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle (Gr. 3) Lac Fontana (FR) Paul Nicholls Daryl Jacob Shirocco Josr Algarhoud SCA La Perrigne
The Spa Novices' Hurdle (Gr. 1) Very Wood (FR) Noel Meade Philipp Carberry Martaline Cadoudal C. Jacquemont, J.-P. Gronfier, A. Gronfier
Cheltenham Gold Cup (Gr. 1) Lord Windermere (IRE) JH Culloty Davy Russell Oscar Satco Edmond Coleman
Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup Tammys Hill (IRE) Liam Lennon MR J J Smyth Tamayaz Troy Fair Patrick J Smyth
Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey's Handicap Hurdle Don Poli (IRE) Willie Mullins M P Fogarty Poliglote Sillery Brian J Griffiths & John Nicholson
Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup Handicap (Gr. 3) Savello (IRE) A J Martin Davy Russell Anshan Lafontaine Anthony Walsh


Trainers : Even if he missed the big one when he saddled On His Own, 2nd in the Gold Cup and close to  Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle, when 4th, Willie Mullins and his horses did not make it easy for their rivals by winning 4 races of the 27 on the card. On the first day, he already took contests with Vautour (Supreme Novices' Hurdle Gr. 1) before smahing Quevega in the OLGB Mare's Hurdle (Gr. 2). On the 2nd spot, it is dead heat for David Pipe et Jonjo O'Neill, two classic trainers. Just remember when Jonjo O'Neill was a talented jockey : he rode Dawn Run, the only horse to win the Champion Hurdle and the Gold Cup de Cheltenham and Sea Pigeon (Champion Hurdle 1980).

A little disappointment from Alan King and Nicky Henderson (winning trainer of 7 races in 2012) who only took one race back home. As for Philip Hobbs and JH Culloty, they both scored twice with Balthazar King (Grand Cross de Craon, see article) for Philip Hobbs and Lord Windemere, THE winner of the  Gold Cup for JH Culloty.

Jockeys : Every year, we always hear Kaiser Chiefs song called "Ruby". If you can not see which song I al talking about, I invite you to find it on You Tube. He really left a mark in 2014 and had to share the onors with three weighing room partners . Tom Scudamore, Barry Geraghty, Davy Russell and Ruby Walsh ended up the festival with 4 winners.

But the man of this year's meeting will remain Davy Russel. On the 3rd day, the irish man did not get one winner, but then, score three times on Gold Cup day ! Winner of the Triumph Hurdle with Tiger Roll, avoiding fallers Mullins Abbbyssial and Adriana Des Mottes, Davy Russell was called following Bryan Cooper 's fall (he went to hospital with a broken leg). Bryan Cooper is the jockey who took over Davy Russell for Gigginstown Stud since 1st January 2014.


Breeding soil : Ireland was the best this year. French do no contest this score, but hello.... With twice more births in Ireland than in France, the Emerald Isle can win the best european races (flat or over jumps). This is how horses bred and raised in Ireland won 16 races during this 2014 Festival against 8 "FR" winners but just group events! Close enough! 

Ireland and France left few contests for the others ad England enjoyed 3 winners, a proof that UK has little interest in NH pedigrees. e.g : among the 3 winners, one was an kind of "accident" as it is a 100% flat horse being by Dansili out of a Daylami mare. 


Sires : In the top of the NH stallions, we find of course proven NH stallions. Martaline, Robin Des Champs, King's Theatre and Oscar are no surprises. On the french side, the only great story could be from My Risk who produced more flat horses rather than NH. The exception would be Sir De Grugy same for 'Astarabad, sire of Whisper (Coral Cup Gr. 3),the late Voix Du Nord, sire ofTaquin Du Seuil (JLT Novices' Hurdle Gr. 1) and Robin Des Champs &  Martaline, best french sires of the Festival. Martaline indeed as Robin Des Champs moved to Ireland to Glenview Stud in 2009.