The most dramatic races of Cheltenham 2017

The Cheltenham Festival was not short of drama this year with many of the races leaving punters, pundits and jockeys alike in shock and awe over all four days.

Cheltenham 2017 will be remembered mainly for the Irish dominance. From 17 year-old talent Jack Kennedy winning the Supreme, established greats Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins making their comeback on Thursday with a bang and finally Sizing John winning the Gold Cup ahead of the the much fancied Tizzard horses.

To help you get over the post-Cheltenham blues, we look back at the most dramatic races of Cheltenham 2017.

 

Might Bite – RSA Chase

Might Bite snatches victory from the jaws of defeat!

Credit: ITV Racing

This would have been one of biggest collapses in the history of the Cheltenham Festival. Might Bite cleared the last fence in total control of the race, but the 8 year old then completely lost focus giving stablemate Whisper the lead in the final furlong.

Nico De Bonville managed to correct Might Bite’s line and rally to win by the smallest of margins.

De Bonville said that “without the loose horse he would not have won” and “We’ll see (about Might Bite being a Gold Cup horse), we might have to iron out a few issues, but he’s definitely got the ability.”

 

Special Tiara – Champion Chase

Although many might remember this race more for the disappointing performance of the injured Douvan, punters shouldn’t forget the barnstorming finish that played out after the 1-5 favourites chances had ended.

The race opened up for the front-running Special Tiara who looked to have broken away from the chasing pack before Fox Norton laid down a challenge after the final fence.

Special Tiara led the whole race but Fox Norton gave him a heck of a fright on the run up to the line. However, Special Tiara showed strength and resilience to hold on to his lead.

Jockey Noel Fehily said immediately after the race, “Unbelievable. He’s such a great ride, he’s everything a two-mile chaser should be. He’s a very good horse.”

 

Pacha Du Polder – Foxhunter Chase

The 16/1 outsider fought off challenges from a number of rivals including strong favourite On The Fringe and stablemate Wonderful Charm who came second completing a 1-2 for the delighted Paul Nicholls.

The daughter of Grand National winning jockey Jimmy Frost, Bryony Frost expertly guided Pacha Du Polder to victory.

Bryony reflecting on the dramatic finish said “To jump the last and know you’re still travelling – and he tried all the way. I saw the head of Wonderful Charm and all I could think was ‘don’t deny me today!’”

 

Un Temps Pour Tout – Handicap Chase

An amazing performance off top-weight, Un Temps Pour Tout, now holds the rare accolade of being a back-to-back winner of the Ultima Handicap Chase!

Coming out of the leading group of four, Un Temps Pour Tout and Singlefarmpayment left the rest of the field in their wake after the final flight.

The end of the race was one of the most pulsating of the whole festival, the two were in and out of the lead in the final furlong with Un Temps Pour Tout edging it in a photo finish.

Both owner David Pipe and jockey Tom Scudamore were full of praise for each other. Tom Scudamore said “Pipe’s a genius, nothing more needs to be said” and Pipe reacted to the win by saying “I’m absolutely thrilled and Tom has given him an amazing ride”.

Apple’s Jade – Mares Hurdle

Apple’s Jade went above and beyond expectations by overcoming the more fancied Mullins’ pair of Limini and Vroum Vroum Mag. The five-year-old’s victory was the second of a treble for trainer Gordon Elliott on day one.

Any of the top three could have claimed the prize in the home straight but Apple’s Jade managed to find that extra power to pull away for her rivals and take the title in a breath-taking finish.

The victory was all the more surprising because Limini triumphed easily over Apple’s Jade in Punchestown in their last race before Cheltenham.

Jockey Bryan Cooper, the winner of the 2016 Gold Cup, said that Apple’s Jade was “as tough as nails” and a lot of credit had to go to trainer Gordon Elliott for the win.