The excitement is increasing among racing fans as the Cheltenham Festival is nearing. The 4-days racing event will bring top jockeys and horses of the UK and Ireland to compete for the highest horse racing honors. For this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, Presenting Percy, Clan Des Obeaux and Native River are emerging as hot favorites. Native River is the defending champion while Clan des Obeaux won King George VI Chase recently.
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Aldaniti became hugely famous for winning the 1981 Grand National. He was trained by Josh Gifford and owned by Nick Embiricos. In the 1978-79 season, he emerged as a top steeplechaser and finished 3rd in the 1979 Gold Cup while came in second in the Scottish Grand National.
However, his racing career came dangerously close to end after he suffered a serious injury at Sandown in November 1979. That injury kept him off the racecourse for over a year. He made a comeback with a victory at Ascot Racecourse in February 1981. His next target was that year’s Grand National.
Spartan Missile was the top favorite before the race began. Aldaniti got the lead at the 11th fence and didn’t let that lead slip to win the race comfortably by 4 lengths. The top favorite Spartan Missile finished second while Royal Mail grabbed the third spot.
2- Sprinter Sacre
The story of Sprinter Sacre is hugely inspirational. He was a phenomenal racehorse winning one race after the other. However, a heart problem threatened to end his career right when he was in top form, but he made an inspirational comeback soon. His Timeform rating is only behind Arkle and Flyingbolt.
When he started racing, it looked like no horse would be able to beat him on the racecourse. He established an incredible winning streak in 10 races by winning the Arkle Challenge Trophy (2012), Tingle Creek Chase (2012) and the Queen Mother Champion Chase (2013) etc. Right when he was enjoying amazing successes, he was pulled up in the Desert Orchid Chase in December 2013. Later, it was found that he was suffering from an irregular heartbeat.
Though he soon returned to horse racing, he couldn’t achieve the same level of success. Almost two and a half years elapsed before he could win even a single race. However, winning that one race got his former self back. He won at Kempton and then registered his most memorable victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Un de Sceaux was running as the top favorite in that race, but Sprinter Sacre took the race away from him despite making a mistake 3 fences from home. He ended his season at Sandown Park after winning the Celebration Chase in 2016.
3- Sir Henry Cecil
Sir Henry Cecil is considered as one of the greatest trainers in history. He won many important races over a very long career. He won the Epsom Oaks 8 times, the Epsom Derby 4 times, the 2,000 Guineas 3 times and the 1,000 guineas 6 times.
He also had to face some very tough times during his career. During the early 2000s, he failed to win any Group One race for a very long time. And in 2006, it was discovered that he was suffering from cancer. Instead of retiring from horse racing, he continued his career and again started achieving great successes. He trained 55 winners in the year 2011 alone. He also trained the famous Frankel who won him the Greenham Stakes, the St. James’s Palace Stakes and the 2000 Guineas. Sir Henry Cecil died at the age of 70 in 2013.