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Cheltenham Memories: Legends of the turf feature in our next edition

| 25.02.2015

In a countdown of the biggest moments in the biggest week of jumps racing, you’d think some of the best known names would be commonplace in our list.

And as we go through numbers 11 to 15, there are certainly a quartet of racing elite that will have readers recalling those halcyon days when their equine heroes stole the Cheltenham show.

Here are our next five Cheltenham Memories…

  1. 15. Oscar Delta throws it away – 2013

With just 150 yards of the famous Cheltenham hill left to climb, the 2013 Foxhunter Chase looked to be at the mercy of Oscar Delta and Jane Mangan.

But as the pair passed the dolled off area of the run in the 10-year-old jinked to the right, giving his jockey little chance of staying in the saddle.

While it would have been gutting for connections of the 20/1 shot, backers of defending champion Salsify were left grinning, as the favourite took full advantage.

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  1. 14. The Fly silences the Cheltenham doubters – 2013

His record at Leopardstown might be impossible to crab, with 21 victories at the Dublin track, but many people still believe Hurricane Fly does not get on with the make-up of the Cheltenham track.

But as he rounded the home turn in the 2013 Champion Hurdle, he was poised to silence those doubters once again.

After winning the race two years previously, Willie Mullins’ superstar turned on the style again to see off defending champ Rock on Ruby and become the first horse in 38 years to regain the title.

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  1. 13. Clash of the titans in the Gold Cup – 1964

Had he not been around at the same time as Arkle, Mill House would without doubt have been the horse of his generation.

Imagine the buzz then when two of the best equine superstars of all time clashed in the showpiece event at the Cheltenham Festival.

Only four went to post, but as they went down the back straight for the second time it quickly became a straight match.

The horse simply known as ‘Himself’ showed why he is revered as the best ever as he pulled away after the last fence, to deliver another blow to his old enemy.

  1. 12. Jockeys in the Pertemps Final have a memory lapse – 2011

After Hadden Frost and Buena Vista scooted clear to make all in the 2010 Pertemps Final, you’d have thought the rival jockeys would have kept more of an eye on the horse and his 2011 jockey Conor O’Farrell.

However, running off a mark 5lbs higher, David Pipe’s horse was allowed to take it up from the front, and barely saw another runner as he ran out a second straight renewal.

It wasn’t great for the horse’s career though, as he didn’t win a subsequent race.

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  1. 11. Istabraq confirms his legendary status

Having won on his three previous visits to the Cheltenham Festival, two of them in the Champion Hurdle, it was perhaps no surprise that Istabraq was sent off an 8/15 favourite for the 2000 renewal.

The Aidan O’Brien chestnut travelled, as he often did at Prestbury Park with real verve and jumped every hurdle in sublime style.

With the likes of Hors La Hoi III, Blue Royal and Katarino blazing away in front on the downhill section of the track, Charlie Swann was biding his time.

Coming up the last hurdle, those famous green and gold silks took to the front and powered clear much to the adulation of the Cheltenham crowd.

All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.