With the Cheltenham Festival fast approaching, here is a look at 5 of the best rides from years gone by at the Festival.
1. AP McCoy, Wicheta Lineman, 2009 (William Hill Trophy)
I will happily say this is the greatest ride I have ever seen. Wicheta Lineman was a shoddy jumper and was well beat down the back straight. However, under the 20-times champion Jumps jockey AP McCoy, Jonjo O’Neill’s charge started to stay on turning for home much to the delight of punters. He still had an enormous amount to even after the final fence but stayed on dourly under a never say die MyCoy ride to get up literally on the line from Maljimar. The finest ride of all time, McCoy never knew he was beat and somehow managed to bag the prize for JP McManus. Simply superb.
YouTube: 2009 William Hill Trophy – Wichita Lineman – Racing UK
2. Nico de Boinville, Coneygree, 2015 (Gold Cup)
The sheer tenacity of de Boinville and Mark and Sara Bradstock’s Coneygree means he earns a place on this list. A brilliant front-running ride from de Boinville who attacked Coneygree at his fences before he bravely repelled the challenge of Djakadam and Road To Riches to become the first novice since Captain Christy in 1974 to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup was a truly remarkable achievement, capped by a fine ride.
YouTube: 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup – Coneygree – Racing UK
3. AP McCoy, Edredon Bleu, 2000 (Queen Mother Champion Chase)
His success aboard Wicheta Lineman just edges it for me but this is possibly the second greatest Jumps ride in history as McCoy was hard at work aboard Henrietta Knight’s son of Grand Tresor a long way from home but he would simply not be beaten. Flagship Uberellas’ mistakes two fences from home did him no favours but after being headed by Norman Williamson and Direct Route, McCoy roused Jim Lewis’ gelding for one more effort and he duly responded to win by a short-head in one of the greatest finishes ever witnessed at the Cheltenham Festival.
YouTube: 2000 Queen Mother Champion Chase
4. Jim Culloty, Best Mate, 2004 (Cheltenham Gold Cup)
A quite genius ride from Jim Culloty who steered Best Mate to his third successive Gold Cup success in 2004. Under an all-out ride, Best Mate dug very deep for Culloty in the closing stages to repel the sustained challenge of Sir Rembrandt and join Jump racing history. A quite brilliant horse who struck up a superb rapport by Culloty, who was adored by the public and brilliantly trained by Henrietta Knight who primed him perfectly for the Gold Cup three times in a row, a superb effort.
YouTube: 2004 Totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase
5. Simon Sherwood, Desert Orchid, 1989 (Cheltenham Gold Cup)
The public’s favourite, Desert Orchid or Dessie as he was affectionately known had a liking for Kempton but people always doubted whether he could win the Gold Cup at Cheltenham. However, in 1989 despite looking like he was floundering in the heavy ground, Simon Sherwood managed to get Desert Orchid back into contention with Yahoo and the pair had a superb battle all the way to the line after jumping the last with David Elsworth’s charge getting up in the final strides under a superb ride from Sherwood. He really was the public’s horse.
YouTube: Desert Orchid 1989 Gold Cup – FULL RACE CLIP
What is your favourite Cheltenham Festival ride? Let us know.