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Countdown to Cheltenham: The greatest shocks at Cheltenham

| 25.02.2013

The Cheltenham Festival is not one of the most prestigious events on the sporting calendar for no reason. It has seen many great moments over the years and, indeed, many great shocks.

Here we take a look at some of the biggest shocks in the history of the festival, from the horses to the trainers to the stable lads.

The nature of the sport is such that there is always an upset on the cards, so this year’s festival could well throw up a few big winners. Wayward Prince, for instance, previously performing well under a new trainer, could easily upset the apple cart at current odds of 66/1 for the Gold Cup.

There is less than three weeks until the festival gets underway, so let’s remind ourselves why it is considered so special to fans and punters all over the world.

Norton’s Coin wins the Gold Cup at 100/1

1990 saw one of the biggest upsets in the history of the prestigious festival when Welsh runner Norton’s Coin won the Gold Cup at massive odds of 100/1.

It went down in history as one of the biggest shocks in horseracing and attendees that day certainly witnessed one of the most unlikely champions in the history of sport.

Nicky Henderson saddles four winners in a day to break record

Last year’s festival saw history being made, with already successful trainer Nicky Henderson leading four runners to victory on the same day.

It was even more of a shock when you consider that the combined odds of all four horses of those horses winning on the same day stood at 3382/1.

Une Artiste first past the post at 40/1

As part of Henderson’s magnificent day in 2012, Une Artiste won the Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at a price of 40/1, which was an individual shock in itself.

This win made Henderson the most successful trainer in the history of the Cheltenham Festival.

Conor Murphy bags £1 million after Nicky Henderson’s success

Last year was so remarkable that it even saw big, headline-grabbing shocks off the racecourse, with stable lad Conor Murphy winning himself £1 million from an accumulator bet.

Murphy had placed a bet on six horses months before the festival had even started and couldn’t believe his luck when each and every one passed the post in first.

Tied Cottage disqualified for positive doping

One of the most exciting horses on the circuit at the time, Tied Cottage was subject to a controversial disqualification from the Cup at the 1980 Cheltenham Festival.

The illegal substance was found in its feed, but it was later determined accidental so the trainers avoided punishment. Years later, the level of the substance found in the urine sample of Tied Cottage was actually ruled legal.



Mark Bowering