The Names To Know For 2016's Cheltenham Festival
After this year's event attracted record crowds of spectators and saw four underdogs win the four biggest races, the 2016 Cheltenham Festival cannot arrive soon enough. In some ways it almost feels like a new chapter in Cheltenham history has begun, with a few decorated champions fading away for various reasons and a batch of exciting new competitors ready to challenge for glory. Next spring, we'll begin to see how this new chapter is going to develop.
According to Betfair's horse racing section, which will feature up-to-date information closer to the event, the Cheltenham Festival in 2016 will begin slightly earlier than usual, getting underway on March 8. Otherwise, there aren't many changes in store. Opening day will still be a Tuesday, followed in sequence by Ladies Day, the customary St. Patrick's Thursday, and finally Gold Cup Day heading into the weekend. But if the schedule and style of the events will be similar to what fans have come to expect, some of the names at the top of the betting cards appear bound to change.
So here are some of the names you should be keeping track of in the build-up to next year's festival.
Arguably the most impressive of 2015's signature competition winners, Faugheen took the Champion Hurdle in style on opening day. And unlike some of the other 2015 winners, this one appears to be a near lock to enter 2016 as a favourite. It's worth noting that Faugheen has gotten even better following his incredible Cheltenham showing. Per a post-race article in The Guardian, the champion's more recent win at Punchestown was as strong a performance as legendary trainer Willie Collins had ever seen from him.
Un De Sceaux
If it truly is a new chapter for Cheltenham and a new group of top contenders is ready to take centre stage, Un De Sceaux just may lead the pack. Another horse run by Willie Collins, Un De Sceaux dominated his appearance at Cheltenham this year, winning the Arkle Trophy and setting up for what most believe will be a run at the Champion Chase in 2016.
Arctic Fire is a stablemate of Faugheen's, and another horse expected to do big things in the years ahead. At 6 years old, he was the 2015 runner-up in the Champion Hurdle (to Faugheen), and was also firmly in the mix at Punchestown. It certainly looks as if Arctic Fire is a firm step behind Faugheen, but he may end up competing in a few major events with a chance at a podium finish in all of them.
Annie Power will be the biggest name looking to prevent a changing of the guard at Cheltenham's big races. She was a disappointment in 2015, even suffering a major fall that drastically altered a race outcome. Although, Mirror reported following the fall that Annie Power sustained no serious injuries, and if good health holds she'll be back vying for titles as a potential favourite in 2016.
Thoroughbred Greats hosts a few websites dedicated to famous racehorses with complete biography, race record, and information on owner, jockey, trainer. Check them out:
NEW SITE! Ghostzapper - 2004 Horse of the Year and record breaker!
Man o' War - Arguably the greatest racehorse of all time!
Seabiscuit - The American Legend who defeated the odds!
Cigar - America's Horse who went on a 16 race win streak!
Regret - The first filly to win the Kentucky Derby!
Ruffian - The big filly who ran against the boys, but who had a terrible tragedy.
I have also written a few blog posts on some racehorses. These blogs don't contain as much information as the websites above:
Gander - A look back at Gander's smashing riderless "win" in the 2002 Saratoga Breeders Cup Handicap!
Behrens - Behrens memorable run in the 1999 MassCap @ Suffolk Downs.
Captain Bodgit - The formidable closer who came close in 2 legs of the 1997 Triple Crown!
Real Quiet - My personal favorite, one horse who came within a nose of a Triple Crown victory in 1997!
123bet Horse race betting - The home of live horse race betting in America
Twitter: Follow @TBGreats