Cheltenham Chatter – Football & Racing News – Star Sports

Sports betting PR legend GRAHAM SHARPE brings you his third of four Cheltenham Festival special columns…

BOBBY BEASLEY rode Roddy Owen to win the 1959 Gold Cup, he won the Champion Hurdle on Another Flash in 1961 and the Gold Cup again in 1974, on Captain Christy, but the three time Irish champion jockey nearly succumbed to alcoholism, When he bought a pub after overcoming this threat, he revealed he had defiantly told the optics: ‘You little bastards, you thought you were going to get me, but you didn’t.’

THEN Managing Director at Cheltenham in March 2009, Edward Gillespie revealed his funniest memory of the course – ‘Earlier this season, a racegoer dressed as a jockey rushed into the parade ring at Cheltenham when the mounting bell was ringing, and leaped on to the first horse he came to – I had to be disapproving at the time.’

COMMENTING ON 7/4 Arkle’s victory over Mill House in the 1964 Gold Cup, respected racing historian John Randall declared that the race ‘defies the laws of perspective, the further it recedes into history, the greater it appears.’

‘I THREW A KISS to the heavens because I knew Vinny would be looking down on us’ explained emotional jockey Adrian Maguire after winning the 1992 Gold Cup on Cool Ground. His brother, Vinny, was killed in a hit and run accident.

WHEN HE was found by his owner, Jacques Van’t Hart, he was lying on a thin carpet of wet snow, a barely moving little black shape contrasting with the white background.’ Henrietta recalling the day in January, 1995, when future triple Gold Cup winner, Best Mate, was born in County Meath.

‘THE MOST UNCOMFORTABLE expensive – and successful – sardine convention in the world.’…..Renowned racing writer Alastair Down, on the Cheltenham Festival, in 2005. Some might say little has changed!

‘TO WIN at Cheltenham you need brains. Some horses that have won there are a long way from the brightest. The brains have to come from the men on top. Those guys have plenty of them. They are not the sort of men to follow standards. They set them. They have given the Festival a form of immortality.’…….SIR PETER O’SULLEVAN.

‘WHEN WE put the tongue strap on Persian War, a few people said it was a pity we didn’t put it on the owner,’ Colin Davies, who trained Persian War to win three consecutive Champion Hurdles in the late sixties, suggests that he did not enjoy the best of relationships with owner, Henry Alper.

‘MY LEFT HAND FELL OFF. There was nothing but skin holding it on’……jockey Jamie Osborne on a 1997 Cheltenham fall.

5/1 MONTELADO was the first horse to win consecutive races at the Festival – having won the last race the previous year, 1992, the Bumper, at 8/1, he won the 1993 opener, the Supreme Novices Hurdle.

‘MY WORST was at the Cheltenham Festival when I fell at the first fence and the one coming behind put his hoof on my face. There were 32 stitches, but I rode a winner two days later.’….They made ’em tough when jockey turned novelist Dick Francis was riding.

‘HOW LUCKY I had been to see a load of straw that morning, as I left the yard. My superstition – ‘A load of straw, you draw; a load of hay, you pay’ – had been proved right again.’……..trainer Henrietta Knight, on the day in 2003 when Best Mate won his second Gold Cup.


Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.





Author: Eugene Morris