Cheltenham Festival: The Ultimate Guide - 2021-03-05


The road to the winner’s enclosure


THE 73rd running of the Arkle last year was something of a rarity. The Willie Mullinstrained pair of Footpad and Duc Des Genievres were victorious in the previous two runnings, both scoring as six-year-olds. The success of Put The Kettle On in 2020 made it the first time in history that this age group had won three consecutive Arkles. She also became the first mare to win the race since Anaglogs Daughter in 1980. Mares have not been a regular feature in the race in recent times, with I’m Delilah the last mare to attempt to beat the boys back in 2010. Put The Kettle On’s route to the big day was also unusual. After starting her chasing career in May 2019, she won three further races over fences before finding Robin De Carlow too good in a Grade 3 at Tipperary in October. She was then thrown into better company at Cheltenham in November, where, as the 6-1 outsider of four, she put to the sword talented rivals Al Dancer, Getaway Trump and Rogue Vif in soft ground that looked against her. Henry de Bromhead decided she would be put away until the spring, by which time her exploits had faded from most people’s minds. On the morning of the race there were clearly some who had not overlooked her, as she opened at 25-1 before being supported in the market to be sent off a 16-1 shot. After a false start the race began with a standing start and Fakir D’oudairies, Cash Back and Put The Kettle On were all prominent jumping the first couple of fences. Cash Back took up the running with Put The Kettle On on his outer. All was fairly uneventful until the fourth from home where Maire Banrigh and Brewin’upastorm departed, hampering several horses. As the field approached the third fence from home, Notebook and Fakir D’oudairies stalked Cash Back and Put The Kettle On, with Esprit Du Large in behind. But the complexion of the race soon changed, with Put The Kettle On and Fakir D’oudairies pulling several lengths clear after the fence. As they turned into the home straight, Aidan Coleman on De Bromhead’s mare navigated the shortest route on the rail and the partnership leapt to the front after the second-last and jumped the last two lengths ahead of her equally determined rival, before gamely staying on up the hill to win a war of attrition. Anthony Ive



Cheltenham - The Ultimate Guide

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