Cheltenham 2016 – can it get any better?

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Annie Power – a cracking mare!


Well I suppose the sun could have shined and it could have been about 15 degrees warmer (like last year) but I’ve never had as good a day’s racing as Day 1 of the 2016 Cheltenham festival!


You would be if you’d followed yesterday’s tips! Taps tipped the winners of the Supreme Novices, the Arkle and the Champion Hurdle and threw in an 8-1 winner in the Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase

I’m opposing my shortlist and going for Minella Rocco here


168 20. BALLYCHORUS Mrs Margaret Mullins Mr Steven Clements
162p 6. MEASUREOFMYDREAMS W. P. Mullins Ms K. Walsh
162p 9. NOBLE ENDEAVOR Gordon Elliott Mr J. J. Codd

Well Ruby Walsh, you’re the measure of my dreams .

Annie Power is only the fourth mare to win the Champion Hurdle and the first since Flakey Dove in 1994.

She was only entered into the two-mile showpiece, at a cost of £20,000, following an injury to last year’s winner Faugheen, a Mullins stablemate also owned by Rich Ricci.

After recording his fourth Champion Hurdle success, an emotional Ruby said:

“She deserved it. She’s a great mare. It was a great performance, she’s just a cracking mare.

I knew halfway up the run-in she would win, it was brilliant – a great feeling.”


Ruby on his way back to the winner’s enclosure on Annie Power


Rich Richie and Willie Mullins, your horse Annie Power, is everything that you could look for. Nothing is less complicated than this wonderful mare!

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With Annie Power in the pre-parade ring yesterday

You might well ask how a man, armed only with an e-ticket for Tattersalls got these scoop photos, don’t underestimate the Pension Plowman’s equine connections!

Annie Power’s principal rival on the day was My Tent or Yours, shown here being saddled by Nicki Henderson

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what a contrast to Annie Power (though My Tent or Yours ran a fine race) and yes- that is Claire Balding watching on!

Not since Dawn Run have we seen such a brilliant Irish Mare and I am very proud and privileged to have been there and in the ring.


But that’s only half the story of yesterday. Thanks to everyone on the bus (and to John T- get well soon buddy!). Thanks to Mark our bus driver and to Sally at the coach company.

I had acute constipation on the way home after downing my last three pints of Guinness too quickly! But I’m ok now and today my attention will be divided. I know there’s a Budget, but there’s a cracking renewal of the Champion Chase as well.

Here is one last photo, not of the horses but of the crowd, who are every bit the star of the show! Look at those photos, taken moments before the start of the Supreme Novices (with the roar about to erupt). Looking at those faces! Is there a better collective study of humanity than the Cheltenham race going public?

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Wisdom or just  humanity laid bare?

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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