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Sports Then and Now



A look back at the Greatest Memories from Last Year’s Cheltenham Festival 0

Posted on February 20, 2020 by Lucy Waldon

It’s only a couple of weeks before the iconic Cheltenham Roar erupts across Prestbury Park as the famous four-day Cheltenham Festival gets underway. Racing fans up and down the country are already scrambling to find the latest odds on 2020 Cheltenham hopefuls, and anticipating the thrills that are sure to ensue. Ahead of this year’s Festival, let’s take a look back at some of the most memorable moments from last year.

Amazing Altior’s jumps record

The Nicky Henderson-trained horse was the favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase and not only did he win, but he hung on to his record for the most consecutive wins in jump racing – this triumph being the 18th, equalling the record set by Big Buck’s.

Altior certainly didn’t make it easy, with a mistake at fence seven (the water jump), but jockey Nico de Boinville spurred him on to find that extra gear. Describing him as “an absolute warrior”, the final 100 yards was where the race was won, and Altior beat Politologue by one-and-three-quarter lengths.

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How do Champion Hurdle Greats Compare to Current Crop Aiming at 2020 Cheltenham Festival? 0

Posted on January 08, 2020 by Jack Erikson

Some commentators will tell you the Champion Hurdle isn’t what it once was. Sending racehorses over steeplechase fences has become infinitely more fashionable, so the result is a dearth of two-mile hurdlers and an open betting heat come the 2020 Cheltenham Festival.

Many of the finest equine athletes to ever race under National Hunt rules have tasted Champion Hurdle glory, but how do the current crop of hopefuls compare to the legends in whose hoofprints they hope to follow?

Five racehorses in the illustrious history of this Cheltenham Festival feature have been fortunate enough to win it three times. Each of the mighty Hatton’s Grace, Sir Ken, Persian War, See You Then and Istabraq completed their Champion Hurdle hat-tricks in consecutive years.There are two ways of looking at such feats. These Champion Hurdle legends dominated their respective eras – from the post-war Britain of Hatton’s Grace and Sir Ken through to the dawn of a new millennium with Istabraq.

Was the opposition they faced up to much? The betting is a good indicator of this with Sir Ken sent off favorite on all three occasions alongside Istabraq. Persian War and See You Then, meanwhile, were returned at the shortest starting price in two of their respective Champion Hurdle triumphs.

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Gone but not forgotten: 5 lost races of the Cheltenham Festival 0

Posted on March 03, 2019 by David Hay
The history of the Cheltenham Festival dates back more than 150 years.

Cheltenham hasn’t always been the location for the festival, with both Market Harborough and Warwick racecourses hosting the event in the 19th century. Since 1911, the permanent home of the festival has been Cheltenham’s Prestbury Park, although it had been held at Cheltenham on a few occasions prior to this.

The Cheltenham Festival always sees plenty of closely fought races, and the Cheltenham odds certainly suggest that this year will be no different. There are plenty of races to focus on at this year’s event, but what about races which no longer exist? We’ve taken a look at five of the races that are no longer run at Cheltenham.

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The Cheltenham Gold Cup: A Look at the Key Contenders 0

Posted on January 09, 2018 by Elliot Ramsden

Cheltenham-2018The 2018 Cheltenham Festival is drawing ever closer and horse racing fans from all over the world will be eagerly anticipating one of the biggest meetings on record. In 2017, avid racegoers travelled to Prestbury Park for the four-day event, with high numbers attending on Gold Cup Day – which takes place on the Friday.

Widely regarded as one of National Hunt racing’s most prestigious accolades, the Gold Cup is the race that everybody wants to win. Whether you are an experienced jockey or a young, up-and-coming trainer, Cheltenham’s ultimate prize is extremely lucrative and punters will be finding it tough to pick a winner this year. The 2018 renewal is looking very competitive indeed.

Sizing John, trained by Jessica Harrington, took the famous race by the scruff of the neck in 2017 to romp home for a well-received victory. But it could be all change in the winner’s enclosure this time around, a few Gold Cup debutants are surely in with an excellent chance of glory. We previewed some of the ante-post market leaders ahead of March’s big race…

Sizing John

Sizing John was well beaten in the competitive Christmas Chase at Leopardstown last month and he has now relinquished his spot at the head of the betting. Finishing almost 30 lengths behind fellow Gold Cup candidate Road to Respect is hardly ideal for his 2018 preparations but you’d have to put that defeat down to the yielding ground.

He remains as versatile as ever over various distances, winning over 20 furlongs as well as the much longer 26 furlong Gold Cup in 2017. It would be foolish to write Sizing John off just yet given how he flourished at Cheltenham last year.

Current odds: 7/1 Read the rest of this entry →

Cheltenham Festival Has Rich Tradition 1

Posted on September 03, 2017 by John Harris

CheltenhamFirst held in 1860 as the National Hunt Chase, the Cheltenham Festival is a top-rated horse racing competition on the United Kingdom calendar with prize money second only to the Grand National.

Often held around St. Patrick’s Day and popular with Irish visitors, the festival features several Grade 1 races and is one of the few times during the year where many of the top British and Irish trained horses compete. The festival also includes one of the two biggest Hunter Chases of the season, the Foxhunters’, which is run on the Friday of the event.

The Cheltenham Festival is especially noted for its atmosphere, most notably the “Cheltenham roar”, which refers to the enormous noise generated by the crowd as the starter raises the tape for the first race of the festival.

The Stayers Hurdle, which was first ran in 1912, is the oldest race in the festival that is currently a championship race. The Gold Cup, established in 1924, was originally a supporting race for the County Hurdle, which was the main event of the first day, but that eventually changed as it became a championship race. The Champion Hurdle started in 1927 and the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 1959, were both championship races from the time they were introduced. Read the rest of this entry →

Strength in Depth Can Make the Neptune a Thriller 0

Posted on March 11, 2011 by Pete South

Of all the novice hurdle events that take place at the Cheltenham Festival, no race looks as competitive as the Neptune Investment Management Hurdle.

26 possible runners remain in the race at the six-day entry stage and that includes all of the fancied runners and anyone looking to place Cheltenham 2011 bets has plenty of choice.

Leading trainer Nicky Henderson has two of the entries and both look to be strong contenders to land the prize. Bobs Worth has been a revelation since switching to hurdles, he won well on his debut at Kempton, but has really improved on that run with back-to-back wins at Cheltenham. His proven ability to act on the track at Cheltenham is an obvious bonus and the stiff uphill finish will hold no fears to him. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Stan Jones – Weight Training Trailblazer
      October 11, 2020 | 1:48 pm
      Stan Jones

      The Sports Then and Now Athlete of the Month was one of the great linemen of his era and is considered a trailblazer for using weight training and conditioning to develop his skills.

      After a standout career at the University of Maryland, Stan Jones spent nine seasons as an offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, making seven Pro Bowl appearances and earning first team All-Pro three times.

      In 1962, assistant coach George Allen suggested Jones move to defense to help solidify that unit for the Bears. He played both ways in 1962 and then in 1963 moved permanently to the defense.

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