Grade 1 treble for Kayf Tara; one each for Heron Island, High Chaparral, Montjeu, Network, Presenting, Robin Des Champs, Shirocco, Sholokhov, Sir Harry Lewis, Voix Du Nord and Walk In The Park
FRIDAYDon Cossack justified favouritism with defeat of Djakadam and Don Poli in the Grade 1 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup. The Gordon Elliott-trained son of Glenview Stud stallion Sholokhov (by Sadler's Wells) was bred by Gestut Etzean. His flat-winning dam Depeche Toi (by Konigsstuhl) is a half-sister to the classic-placed German stakes winner Dapprima (by Shareef Dancer).Ivanovich Gorbatov made it two from three over obstacles with victory in the Grade 1 JCB Triumph Hurdle. The Aidan and Joseph O'Brien-trained son of Montjeu (by Sadler's Wells) was bred by the partnership of Lynch Bages and Camas Park Stud, he is out of Northern Gulch (by Gulch) and is a half-brother to the Group 2 Richmond Stakes winner Hamoody (by Johannesburg). Most of the other stakes and pattern winners in the family achieved that feat in the USA.Unowhatimeanharry won the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (registered as the Spa Novices' Hurdle) over three miles, his fifth win from five starts this season. The Harry Fry-trained son of Irish Derby hero Sir Harry Lewis (by Alleged) was bred by R J Smith. He is out of Red Nose Lady (by Teenoso) who won four times over hurdles and is a half-sister to the multiple scorer Colquhoun (by Rakaposhi King).Superb Story won the Grade 3 Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle over two miles 179 yards, a first blacktype success for the son of Drakenstein Stud stallion Duke Of Marmalade (by Danehill). Trained by Dan Skelton and bred by Mrs Gilles Forien, the five-year-old is out of Yes My Love (by Anabaa), which makes him inbred 3x3 to Danzig (by Northern Dancer), and his dam is a half-sister to the 10 furlong listed scorer Wedding Night (by Valanour).Solar Impulse sprang a 28/1 surprise in the Grade 3 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup, a first blacktype success for the Paul Nicholls-trained son of Castle Hyde Stud stallion Westerner (by Danehill). Bred by Paul Nataf, he is a half-brother to the Grade 1-winning French chaser Halley (by Loup Solitaire) and his dam Moon Glow (by Solar One), who won five times under National Hunt rules, comes from the family of the Grade 1 winner Top Of The Sky (by Kahyasi) and of Grade 2 scorers Don't Be Shy (by Trempoino) and Kruguyrova (by Muhtathir).
THURSDAYThistlecrack justified favouritism in the Grade 1 Ryanair World Hurdle, the feature event of Day Three of the Festival. Bred by Robin and Scarlett Knipe and trained by Colin Tizzard, the eight-year-old is a third Grade 1 winner of the week for Overbury Stud stallion Kayf Tara (by Sadler's Wells). He is a half-brother to the Grade 2-placed novice hurdler West Approach (by Westerner), who is an outsider for tomorrow's Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, and his dam is the successful staying chaser Ardstown (by Ardross).Black Hercules won the Grade 1 JLT Novices' Chase (registered as the Golden Miller Novices' Chase) over two and a half miles, taking his record over fences to three wins from four starts. The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old, who was bred by Spencer Hawkins, is a son of the late Arctic Tack Stud stallion Heron Island (by Shirley Heights). He is out of Annalecky (by Bob's Return), his half-brother Hedgeinator (by Beneficial) made a winning debut in hunter chases just last month, and their dam is a half-sister to the Grade 2-winning hurdler Indian Scout (by Phardante).Vautour won the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase (registered as the Festival Trophy Chase) over two miles, four furlongs and 166 yards, a fifth win at the highest level for the Willie Mullins-trained gelding and his second of them over fences. Bred in France by the partnership of Haras de Saint Voir and Patrick Joubert, the son of Glenview Stud stallion Robin Des Champs (by Garde Royale) is the best among several winners out of the 20-times scorer Gazelle De Mai (by Dom Pasquini). The mare is a blacktype-winning full-sister to the listed chase scorer Lord Pasquini.Limini won the Grade 2 Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle (registered as the Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle) over two miles, 179 yards, extending her unbeaten record under National Hunt rules to three. A daughter of Coolmore Stud's Peintre Celebre (by Nureyev), the Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old was bred by Sir Edmund Loder. She is out of Her Grace (by Spectrum), who is a half-sister to the Group 1 Irish Oaks heroine Vintage Tipple (by Entrepreneur), and so comes from the family of Vintage Crop (by Rousillon).
I reviewed Limini's pedigree in detail in the 6th February 2016 edition of The Irish Field.Empire Of Dirt sprang a 16/1 surprise in the Grade 3 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate over two miles, four furlongs and 166 yards, a third blacktype success over fences for the €325,000 Tattersalls Ireland Derby Sale graduate. Trained by Colm Murphy and bred by Sean Harnedy, the nine-year-old is a son of Castle Hyde Stud stallion Westerner (by Danehill). He is a half-brother to the ill-fated Grade C-winning chaser Panther Claw (by Old Vic), his dam Rose Of Inchiquin (by Roselier) won the Grade 2 Lismullen Hurdle and she is a half-sister to the Thyester Chase scorer Be My Belle (by Be My Native).
I reviewed Empire Of Dirt's pedigree in detail in the 28th February 2015 edition of The Irish Field.Mall Dini won the Listed Pertemps Network Final over three miles, a second win from eight starts over hurdles for the dual point-to-point scorer. Trained by Patrick Kelly and bred by Patricia Furlong, the son of Grange Stud stallion Milan (by Sadler's Wells) is a half-brother to two winners. His unraced dam Winsome Breeze (by Glacial Storm) is a direct descendant of the 1969 Irish Grand National heroine Sweet Dreams (by Arctic Slave).
WEDNESDAYSprinter Sacre easily won the Grade 1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, the feature race on Day Two of the Festival. The son of Haras d'Enki stallion Network (by Monsun) is trained by Nicky Henderson and he was bred in France by Christophe Masle. He is the best of several winners out of the AQPS mare Fatima III (by Bayolidaan) and I reviewed his pedigree in detail in the 2nd January 2016 edition of The Irish Field.Yorkhill maintained his unbeaten record with his defeat of Yanworth in the Grade 1 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle (registered as Baring Bingham Novices' Hurdle) over two miles, five furlongs. The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old was bred by Patrick Keating and he is a son of Glenview Stud's multiple champion sire Presenting (by Mtoto). His dam Lightning Breeze (by Saddlers' Hall) is half-sister to several notable horses, including The Listener (by Roselier).
I reviewed Yorkhill's pedigree in detail in the 9th January 2016 edition of The Irish Field.Blaklion won the Grade 1 RSA Chase over three miles, a third win from six starts over fences for the son of Overbury Stud stallion Kayf Tara (by Sadler's Wells). Bred by Mary Morrison and trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, the seven-year-old is out of Franciscaine (by Legend Of France) and he comes from the family of the multiple Group 1 star The Wonder (by Wittgenstein).
I reviewed Blaklion's pedigree in detail in the 13th February 2016 edition of The Irish Field.Ballyandy got his nose in front on the line to pip Battleford in the Grade 1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper. A second Grade 1 winner of the day for Overbury Stud stallion Kayf Tara (by Sadler's Wells), the Nigel Twiston-Davies trained five-year-old was bred by Pleasure Palace Racing. He is out of Megalex (by Karinga Bay) and he is a full-brother to the Grade 2 bumper winner Megastar.
I reviewed Ballyandy's pedigree in detail in the 20th February 2016 edition of The Irish Field.Diamond King won the Grade 3 Coral Cup over two miles, five furlongs, a fourth win from nine starts over hurdles for the Gordon Elliott-trained gelding and his first blacktype success. Bred by Cleaboy Stud and a son of the late Ballylinch Stud ace King's Theatre (by Sadler's Wells), the eight-year-old is a half-brother to a winner, his dam Georgia On My Mind (by Belmez) won over hurdles and over fences in France, and her siblings include Change Partner (by Turtle Island), a listed chase and dual listed hurdles scorer at Enghien.Diego Du Charmil won the Grade 3 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle on his debut for the Paul Nicholls stable. The son of Haras du Grand Chesnaie stallion Ballingarry (by Sadler's Wells) was bred in France by Guilhaine Le Borgne, he is out of Daramour (by Anabaa Blue) and he is a half-brother to the Grade 2-winning hurdler Days Of Heaven (by Saint Des Saints). His dam is a half-sister to the blacktype-winning French chaser Klassical Way (by Septieme Ciel).
TUESDAYAnnie Power was an impressive winner of the Grade 1 Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy, only the fourth mare to win the race. The brilliant chesnut is trained by Willie Mullins, she was bred by Eamon Cleary and she a daughter of Glenview Stud stallion Shirocco (by Monsun). She is a half-sister to the blacktype-winning chaser Head Waiter (by Lend A Hand), she is a three-parts sister to the flat listed scorer Air Trooper (by Monsun), and their dam is the Group 3 winner Anno Luce (by Old Vic). Her grandam is the German champion Anna Paola (by Prince Ippi).Altior got the 2016 Cheltenham Festival off to a flying start with an impressive victory in the Grade 1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle over two miles, 87 yards. The Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old is a son of the late dual Derby hero High Chaparral (by Sadler's Wells), he was bred by Paddy Behan, and he is unbeaten in five starts over obstacles. The €60,000 Goffs Landrover Sale graduate is out of the Grade C-winning hurdler Monte Solaro (by Key Of Luck), he is a half-brother to the blacktype-winning mare Princess Leya (by Old Vic), and the talented flat horses in his family include leading juvenile Nomination (by Dominion).Douvan won the Grade 1 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase. The Willie Mullins-trained six-year-old, who was bred by SARL Haras de la Faisanderie, is a son of the now Grange Stud stallion Walk In The Park (by Montjeu). He is out of Star Face (by Saint Des Saints) and he comes from the family of the Grade 3 winner and successful National Hunt sire Discover D'Auteuil (by Mistigri).
I reviewed Douvan's pedigree in detail in the 17th January 2015 edition of The Irish Field.Vroum Vroum Mag won the Grade 1 OLBG Mares' Hurdle (registered as the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle Race) over two and a half miles, a first victory at the highest level for the prolific blacktype winner. Bred by Count Antoine-Audoin Maggier and Antonia Maggiar, the Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old is by the late Voix Du Nord (by Valanour) and she is out of Naiade Mag (by Kadalko), which makes her a half-sister to the blacktype-placed Brise Vendeenne (by Dom Alco). She is an AQPS mare from the immediate family of Grade 1 scorer and last year's Grade 3 Grand National runner-up Saint Are (by Network).
I reviewed Vroum Vroum Mag's pedigree in detail in the 13th December 2014 edition of The Irish Field.Un Temps Pour Tout won the Grade 3 Ultima Handicap Chase over three miles, one furlong, a fourth blacktype success for the son of Glenview Stud stallion Robin Des Champs (by Garde Royale) and his first one over fences. Trained by David Pipe and bred by Felix Talbot, the seven-year-old is out of Rougedespoir (by Bonnet Rouge), an unplaced mare whose dam is a half-sister to the Grade 1 Champion Chase hero Voy Por Ustedes (by Villez).Minella Rocco won the Listed 146th Year of the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup over a few yards short of the four miles, giving Glenview Stud stallion Shirocco (by Monsun) a double on the first day of the Festival. The Jonjo O'Neill-trained six-year-old was bred by the partnership of Eclipse Bloodstock & C & G Hadden, he is out of Petralona (by Alleged), and so is a half-brother to the ill-fated Grade 1 Champion Bumper runner-up Pressgang (by Unfuwain) and to the smart dual-purpose horse Big Moment (by Be My Guest). His dam is a full-sister to Eva Luna, the pattern-winning dam of Brian Boru (by Sadler's Wells) and Sea Moon (by Beat Hollow) and grandam of the Derby and Arc hero Workforce (by King's Best).Ballyalton won the Listed Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase over two and a half miles, a first blacktype success for the son of regally-related long-time Knockmullen House Stud stallion Pierre (by Sadler's Wells). Bred by Peter Doyle and trained by Ian Williams, the nine-year-old is out of Almilto (by Mandalus) and he comes from the family of the Grade 1 bumper and hurdles star Refinement (by Oscar), a mare who was placed three times at the Cheltenham Festival.