Townend and Coleman left frustrated on day one as Blackmore steals the show once again

Meanwhile, It Came To Pass and Maxine O’Sullivan are on course for the Foxhunters Chase on Friday afternoon. 
Townend and Coleman left frustrated on day one as Blackmore steals the show once again

Honeysuckle and Rachael Blackmore congratulated by Paul Townend after winning the Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) .

Honeysuckle and Rachael Blackmore claimed the Champion Hurdle in some style on Tuesday, while there was frustration for local Cork jockeys Paul Townend and Aidan Coleman as they both finished among the placed horses on day one at Cheltenham. 

All the talk of Irish domination was quickly dispelled as the hosts claimed four races on the opening day.

The travelling Irish ended the day with three winners Honeysuckle, Brazil and Statler in the National Hunt Chase which was the finale on day one. The victory of Statler will have given the Mullins and Townend team a boost after a frustrating day. 

We have seen in the past that patience is a virtue around this track so Townend will regroup and prepare for his ride on Energumene against Shiskin in the Champion Chase today.

A single winner on the day for Mullins and De Bromhead while the Gordon Elliot team were narrowly touched off in the mares Hurdle by Maria’s Rock which gave Nicky Henderson a double on the day. 

That double will also give the followers of Shiskin a major boost before his big assignment for owner Joe Donnelly.

Townend was riding Gaelic Warrior in the Boodles Juvenile Hurdle and looked set for victory but was chinned by a shorthead by Brazil and Mark Walsh in a belter of a race. 

Jockey Rachael Blackmore rides Honeysuckle (R) to victory ahead of Aidan Coleman on Epatante (L) in the Champion Hurdle on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, in Cheltenham.
Jockey Rachael Blackmore rides Honeysuckle (R) to victory ahead of Aidan Coleman on Epatante (L) in the Champion Hurdle on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, in Cheltenham.

It was a frustrating day for Townend who was third on Blue Lord in the Arkle Novice Chase while he had a crashing fall from Dysart Dyamo in the Supreme.

Elsewhere, It Came To Pass and Maxine O’Sullivan are on course for the Foxhunters Chase on Friday afternoon. 

A brilliant winner of the race two years ago the O’Sullivan team have been quietly going about their business and are anticipating a big run from their stable star. 

Due to the pandemic Maxine was unable to ride the horse at last year’s festival so she is relishing getting back to scene of her greatest triumph.

Maxine says: “Everything is going to plan so far, and the horse headed over on the ferry on Sunday night and has settled in well. 

"It will be my first time back to Cheltenham since we won the race in 2020 so we are taking it one step at a time, but it is getting exciting now to be nearly at the starting tape.

“The weather conditions are good over here and the drying ground will suit the horse. 

"Obviously, he’s now a twelve-year-old but he seems to retain all of his ability and enthusiasm. 

On a visit to Beale Beach Co.Cork Trainer Eugene O’Sullivan gives his horses a change of scenery at Beale Beach in Co.Kerry including the Cheltenham Christies Foxhunters winner IT CAME TO PASS with Maxine O’Sullivan
On a visit to Beale Beach Co.Cork Trainer Eugene O’Sullivan gives his horses a change of scenery at Beale Beach in Co.Kerry including the Cheltenham Christies Foxhunters winner IT CAME TO PASS with Maxine O’Sullivan

"His form has been poor through the winter but there is no doubt he comes alive in the spring. 

"Hopefully we’ll get in a nice rhythm and come back safely, anything else will be a bonus."

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo WISA

Read all about the monthly winner’s and more.
Click Here

EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more