The Cheltenham Horse Racing Championship is the second largest in England. It regularly coincides with St Patrick's Day and for four days, the best English and Irish horses compete in races. The championship opens on the first day with a race called "Champion Day", on the second day it is the "Ladies Day", then comes the "St Patrick's Thursday" race, and finally the championship closes with the famous "Gold Cup Day".
Minella Indo won an exciting Cheltenham Gold Cup under Jack Kennedy to deny Rachael Blackmore aboard A Plus Tard in a 1-2 for trainer Henry de Bromhead. The win sealed a historic treble for the Irish trainer, who also took the Champion Hurdle and the Champion Chase. The 9-1 chance Minella Indo won by a length and a quarter with two-time champion Al Boum Photo in third. "I can't believe it. This is what I dreamed of as a kid," said the 21-year-old rider, who has already broken his leg four times in his short career. "It could always be much worse - broken legs and collarbones will heal. It's obviously unfortunate, but you have to keep going. "This is definitely the best day of my life. I know I'm still young, but I guess I've been in the position where I could have won them for a few years, so to get there is great."
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Ravi De Bromhead, who won Wednesday's Queen Mother Champion Chase with Put The Kettle On, was left to rue what he had achieved. "It's all come together here and it's fantastic," said the 48-year-old, who trains at Knockeen, County Waterford. "Winning a Cheltenham Gold Cup is something you dream about. I think I'm still in my hotel, it's Monday night and I'm about to wake up and nothing has started yet. That's where I am right now, it's brilliant."
2018 winner Native River finished fourth and long-time leader Frodon fifth, while RSA Chase Champ winner and 2020 Gold Cup runner-up Santini were stopped. Twelve riders went to the post, with Bryony Frost leading from the front over six-time Cheltenham winner Frodon. The 2019 and 2020 Al Boum Photo winner was one of many smooth journeys, with fellow Willie Mullins-trained Kemboy, as the race developed. Blackmore, who was the first female jockey to win the Champion Hurdle after her victory with Honeysuckle on Tuesday, was another who was going well. Frodo started to fade two fences from home and Minella Indo, second to Champ at Cheltenham last year, hit the front and could not be caught. He's had some horrible injuries over the years, but he's a great Irish talent and really deserves it. Everyone thought Rachael had picked the right horse in A Plus Tard, but Minella Indo works well here.
The final day of the 2021 Festival followed the pattern of the previous three days with Irish horses dominating. In addition to Minella Indo, there were five other Irish-trained wins to leave Ireland 23-5 winners over Great Britain in the battle for the Prestbury Cup. Only Will Biddick-trained Porlock Boy (16-1) in the Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase could deny the Irish another day of success. Blackmore's sixth Festival win came over the De Bromhead-trained 2-1 Quilixios chance in the Triumph Hurdle. But De Bromhead missed out on the leading trainers' trophy after Mullins won a double in the last two races to win on countback. Colreevy (9-4) edged out teammate Elimay to win the inaugural Mares race before Galopin Des Champs (8-1) won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle.