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Buveur d'Air Claims The Champions Hurdle At Cheltenham

14 March, 2018, 04:09 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • Ruby Walsh celebrates winning the 14:10 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase

The Barry Geraghty mount held off a stiff challenge from the Willie Mullins-trained Melon to come home a 6-to-4-on favourite to retain his title.

Douvan and Min, the race's two other genuine contenders, both saw their prices slashed with the bookmakers, but they have begun to drift again this morning in the wake of Nicky Henderson's latest update. It's just been in the back of my mind and has always anxious me.

Altior will be in search of a 12th straight win, a streak that stretches back to 2015, but will likely do so on heavy ground for the first time in his career.

Barry Geraghty waited as long as possible before making his challenge on the victor.

"He's a top-class horse".

"We were anxious last week with the snow that it might even have been cancelled but I think it's going to be busier than ever", he said.

"The second horse is a good horse", said veteran handler Henderson after sending out yet another victor from his Seven Barrows yard near Lambourn, southern England. "He dug deep and scrapped it out".

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Footpad was the most impressive victor of the trio, as he ran out a stylish fourteen length victor of the Arkle. A jubilant Walsh, who returned to riding only a week ago after breaking his leg, punched the air and urged on the packed-out Cheltenham crowd after the win.

The concluding Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase went to Mick Channon's 13-2 shot Mister Whitaker, ridden by Brian
Hughes. Alan King's outsider Midnight Tour took second spot.

The Tom George-trained Summerville Boy claimed the opening race of the festival - the Supreme Novices' Hurdle - at a price of 9-to-1.

Last seen winning the Tolworth at Sandown, he quickened up well to deny Amy Murphy's Kalashnikov in the final few strides.

Favourite Getabird weakened in the run-in and was unplaced.

The Nick Williams-trained Coo Star Sivola (5-1 favourite)
clung on grimly to provide jockey Lizzie Kelly with her first Festival success in the Ultima Handicap Chase.

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