Friday, 11 May 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2013: Sprinter Sacre Reigns in Queen Mother

Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins set out his Festival stall early in 2013 with a treble on day one. Champagne Fever, the winner of the Weatherbys Champion Bumper in 2012, won the William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, Hurricane Fly regained his title in the Stan James Champion Hurdle, reversing 2012 form with Rock On Ruby, and the admirable mare Quevega won the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle for the fifth year running.

All three were ridden by Ruby Walsh, but Mullins’ son, Patrick, joined the party early on day two, making up 6 lengths on the run-in to win the John Oaksey National Hunt Chase on Back In Focus, also saddled by his father. Mullins Snr. and Walsh added Briar Hill – unbelievably a 25/1 chance – in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper later in the day to their respective totals and that was enough for the pair to take the leading trainer and jockey titles.

Elsewhere, Sprinter Sacre turned the Queen Mother Champion Chase into the anticipated procession, barely coming off the bridle to win by 19 lengths, Solwhit won the Ladbrokes World Hurdle and Bobs Worth won the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup. The hitherto unbeaten Our Conor, trained by Dessie Hughes and ridden by Brian Cooper, was the easiest winner of the JCB Triumph Hurdle for many a year, effortlessly drawing clear in the closing stages to win by 15 lengths.

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