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Five Horses And Their Jockeys Who Defied The Odds At The Cheltenham Festival

For one reason or another there have been many shock results at the Cheltenham Festival. Here are five horses and their jockeys who both shocked and surprised the crowds at Prestbury Park.

ARAMON - Supreme Novices Hurdle. 12-1 with William Hill 12/1 William Hill

Richard Guest – Beech Road – 1989 Champion Hurdle

The 1989 Champion Hurdle winner Beech Road and jockey Richard Guest followed a similar path to current champion Buveur D’Air in that they both started the season running over fences, but there the similarity ends. After two falls from two tries over fences, the second of which at one point looked fatal, Beech Road was sent back over hurdles and as an unconsidered 50-1 outsider the horse ran out an easy winner from the fancied pair of Celtic Chief and Celtic Shot. Beech Road ran his last race in 1996 when partnered by Jimmy Frost who’s daughter Bryony rides the fancied Frodon in this year’s Ryanair Chase or Gold Cup.

Graham Mccourt – Norton’s Coin – 1990 Gold Cup

Available at odds of 250-1 in the Cheltenham betting odds on the morning of the 1990 Gold Cup the Sirrell Griffiths-trained and Graham McCourt-ridden Norton’s Coin was sent off an unconsidered 100-1 chance against the legend that is Desert Orchid who had won an epic battle against Yahoo 12 months earlier.

Despite having finished last of six, beaten some 39 lengths behind the great grey in that season’s King George, the son of Mount Cassino shocked the nation by proving too good for the odds-on favourite with the young challenger Toby Tobias splitting the pair.

Tony (Ap) Mccoy – Wichita Lineman – 2009 William Hill Trophy

Tony (AP) McCoy will go down as the greatest national hunt jockey of all time and the record-breaking rider won many races during his career that defied belief but none more so than the 2009 William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase when aboard the Jonjo O’Neill-trained Wichita Lineman. Sent off the strongly fancied 5-1 favourite the JP McManus-owned gelding looked a 1000-1 chance at halfway as the horse made mistake after mistake. Looking well beaten as the race entered it’s final mile McCoy and his willing partner slowly past runner after runner and when seemingly held on the run to the line he asked Wichita Lineman for one last lung-busting effort, snatching a most unlikely victory in the final stride.

Jack Kennedy -labaik – 2017 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

The chances of the Gordon Elliott-trained Labaik winning the opening race of the 2017 festival looked remote to say the least. Ridden by the 17-year-old Jack Kennedy the grey, despite being talented, had shown a stubborn streak on more than one occasion. In fact, prior to going off a 25-1 chance for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle the son of Montmartre’s form figures read – refused, refused, 100 length six of seven at Naas.

On this occasion however the six-year-old was on his best behaviour, always travelling well before taking it up approaching the last and then quickening clear. Labaik reverted back to his old ways next time at Punchestown when refusing to jump off before finishing a distance last of 7. Jack Kennedy is likely to have plenty of fancied mounts at this year’s festival, the best of which is Apple’s Jade in the Mares Hurdle.

Bryony Frost – Pacha Du Polda – 2018 St James’s Place Foxhunters

In 2016 Pacha Du Polda made the national news when finishing a close sixth in the Foxhunters, due to the fact that in the saddle was none other than Olympic Gold Medal-winning cyclist Victoria Pendleton. Twelve months later, this time partnered by the ever-popular Bryony Frost, the pair came home in front at odds of 16-1.

2018 Saw the horse attempt to become only the ninthBryony Frost – Pacha Du Polda – 2018 St James’s Place Foxhuntersdual winner of the race, an unlikely possibility considering the 25-1 chance was ridden by the inexperienced amateur Miss Harriet Tucker. Unfazed by the occasion on her first ride at the festival Tucker drove her mount home despite having dislocated her shoulder during the race.