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Cheltenham Festival 2019: The top five moments from the Festival

| 18.03.2019

What were the best Festival races in 2019?

From Frodon’s fabulous win in the Ryanair, to Paisley Park’s emotional success in the Stayers’ Hurdle and a first Gold Cup for Willie Mullins, it was a Cheltenham Festival to remember.

Here we look back on an incredible four days at Prestbury Park, pick out our top five moments from the Festival in 2019 and look ahead to the future.

Mullins wins his first Gold Cup

Willie Mullins ended 24-years of hurt in the Cheltenham Gold Cup as 12/1 shot Al Boum Photo provided the Irishman his first-ever win the race.

Paul Townend gave the seven-year-old a sterling ride from start to finish to see off favourites Native River, Clan Des Obeaux and Presenting Percy, all of whom failed to fire.

Awesome Altior wins again

The gasps were audible as Altior clattered the water jump in the Champion Chase.  A lesser horse might’ve buckled. Not Altior.

Nicky Henderson’s awesome star recovered to see off gallant challenges from Politologue and Sceau Royal to make it back-to-back victories in the race and 18-straight wins over obstacles.

One more success will see him surpass the world record for consecutive wins he now jointly holds with four-time Stayers’ Hurdle champion, Big Buck’s.

Fabulous Frodon does it for Bryony

Frodon and Bryony Frost go together like Ant & Dec or Morecambe & Wise. You can’t have one without the other. And so they proved once again in the 2019 Ryanair Chase.

The pair have forged an incredible partnership and cemented it even further with their biggest win yet over the 2m 4f.

They took a stranglehold early on and never let go as Frost became the first woman jockey to win a Grade 1 race at the Cheltenham Festival. She’s now 33/1 for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, with Frodon 33/1 for the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Emotional win for Paisley Park

There are stories everywhere you turn when it comes to Stayers’ Hurdle winner Paisley Park.

From Andrew Gemmell, who has been blind since birth to the horse itself, who nearly died two years ago, it’s fair to say this was an emotional victory for all involved.

What a way to do it, too. Emma Lavelle’s charge looked beaten going up the hill but showed a devilish turn of pace to skip away from Sam Spinner and Faugheen.

Not even a blunder at the last could stop him as the 11/8f won by just over 2l.

Tiger Roll lays down National credentials

For many people, Tiger Roll was the banker of the week. The 2018 Grand National winner did not disappoint. He jumped superbly to win the Cross Country by a country mile – or 22l to be precise.

He’ll now go off as favourite for the 2019 Grand National, where he could be the shortest price fav since Shutthefrontdoor in 2015.

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Nick Murphy