The 2020 Cheltenham Festival is just a month away and as the excitement builds punters are already on the hunt for form guides and searching for the best betting odds for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The four-day festival at Prestbury Park in Gloucestershire starts on March 10th and boasts an electric atmosphere – commonly known as the ‘Cheltenham Roar.’ The meeting features at least one major race a day, starting with the Champion Hurdle on day one followed by the Queen Mother Champion Chase on March 11th. The meeting ends with the hugely competitive Ryanair Chase before coming to a close with the Blue Riband Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Since we are right in the middle of awards season, we have decided to come up with a Cheltenham Festival spin on the Oscars. Horse racing and award ceremonies have a lot in common, after all. Both feature big characters, drama and a whole load of action. So, get saddled up as we parade around the Winners Enclosure.
The award for ‘Best Picture’ has to go the opening day of the festival in 2015. The four red hot favourites, all trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Ruby Walsh, were destined to scoop the first four Grade One races of the meeting, and it started so well. The build-up was excellent, Douvan and Clan Des Obeaux winning their respective races. Cheltenham legend Faugheen won next to add to the immense suspension. However, just as the bookies looked certain for an almighty bashing, Annie Power, who was well clear of the pack, fell at the last hurdle. This featured some of the best action and drama ever seen at Prestbury Park and we’re baffled that a motion picture is yet to be made.
The award for ‘Best Director’ goes to… Irish trainer Mullins. The 63-year-old has been the leading trainer at the festival a whopping six times in the last 10 years – making him the most successful trainer at the meeting with 32 winners. Mullins had four winners at Cheltenham last year, including his Gold Cup victory with Al Boum Photo, and is expected to win the illustrious title back-to-back.
Best Actor in a Leading Role
There was a lot of competition for this award, but it has to go to, none other than, Best Mate. The Henrietta Knight-trained horse is the last to win three successive Gold Cups – scooping the award in 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
It would be impossible to overlook Walsh for this award. The Irishman has a total of 46 wins at the festival to date – making him the most successful jockey in the meeting’s rich history. In the last 19 years of the festival Walsh has landed the top jockey award 11 times. The 40-year-old has also won the Gold Cup twice, saddling Kauto Star in 2007 and 2009.
Best Live Action Short Film
Best Live Action Short Film goes to Al Boum Photo’s triumphant Gold Cup victory last year. The eight-year-old’s victory marked the end of Mullins’ Gold Cup drought. It was another dramatic victory for the 63-year-old as his ‘best chance’ Kemboy unsaddled his ridder at the first hurdle before Bellshill pulled up and Invitation Only fell – leaving Al Boum Photo as the Irish trainer’s last hope, and the French import pulled through.
Best Costume Design
The award for ‘Best Costume Design’ goes to Rich Rikki. The pink and green polka dot silks are one of the most recognisable in the sport. The silks were worn by Walsh for all of the legendary Faugheen’s wins at the festival, while Douvan, Annie Power and Vautour all raced to glory with the rider wearing the famous pink and green combo. Punters all around Prestbury Park can be seen supporting Rich Rikki’s colours during the festival.