Sunday 29 October 2017

Cheltenham Festival 2003: Nap Hand for Geraghty

The Smurfit Champion Hurdle featured a showdown between Rooster Booster, winner of the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle the previous year and Rhinestone Cowboy, narrowly touched off by Pizarro in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper in 2002, but unbeaten in four subsequent starts over hurdles. However, the showdown never really materialised because Rooster Booster quickened clear in the closing stages to win, impressively, by 11 lengths from Westender, with Rhinestone Cowboy a further 3 lengths back in third.

Moscow Flyer, trained by Mrs. John Harrington, in the Queen Mother Champion Chase was one of five winners for leading jockey Barry Geraghty, while other notable winners included Liberman in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, Baracouda in the Bonusprint Stayers’ Hurdle and Best Mate in the Tote Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Master of Jackdaws Castle, Jonjo O’Neill, saddled three winners, Inching Closer in the Pertemps Final, Sudden Shock in the National Hunt Chase and Spectroscope in the JCB Triumph Hurdle, to become leading trainer at the Festival for the one and only time to date.

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