Thursday 24 August 2017

Cheltenham Festival 1998 – McCoy and Pipe Dominate

In 1997, A.P. McCoy joined forces with reigning champion jump trainer Martin Pipe and in their first full season together rode 253 winners, including five at the 1998 Cheltenham Festival.

On day one, Champleve was all out to hold Hill Society by a short head in the Arkle Challenge Trophy but, later, Unsinkable Boxer won the Gold Card Handicap Hurdle by 4 lengths in a hack canter. McCoy drew a blank on day two, but finished the meeting in style, with a quick-fire treble in the last three races on day three. He won the Grand Annual Chase by 3½ lengths on Edredon Bleu, trained by Henrietta Knight, the Cathcart Challenge Cup by the same margin on Cyfor Malta and the County Hurdle by 1¾ on Blowing Wind, landing a gamble in the process.

Other notable winners included previous Festival winners Istabraq and Florida Pearl, who returned to Prestbury Park to win the Champion Hurdle and the Royal & Sun Alliance Chase, respectively. The ill-fated One Man, trained by the late Gordon Richards and ridden by Brian Harding, won the Queen Mother Champion Chase and Cool Dawn, trained by Robert Alner and ridden by Andrew Thornton, caused a surprise in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, making all to beat Strong Promise by 1¾ lengths at odds of 25/1.

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