Cheltenham 2022 Round-up: The Festival in Numbers
The dust has settled on what was a remarkable Cheltenham Festival, with some extraordinary performances on the track and we welcomed crowds back following a year behind closed doors in 2021.
We’ve taken a look at the Festival through the lens of the key numbers.
50/1: Biggest Price Winner – Commander Of Fleet
The Coral Cup has served up some shocks in its history and the 2022 renewal was no different. In a mud-splattered affair following torrential rain, it was the Gordon Elliott fourth string piloted by Shane Fitzgerald who came out on top.
With the conditions tough, it paid to be near the front and Shane Fitzgerald had his mount around 5th position throughout. Fitzgerald bided his time before unleashing his challenge down the home straight with only four in contention at that point.
By two out it was down to two to fight it out; Commander Of Fleet and Fastorslow. In a pulsating finish which could have gone wither way Gordon Elliot’s charge was just on top at the line to the delight of jockey Fitzgerald, who simply summed it up by saying “it’s what dreams are made of.”
4/7: Shortest priced winner – Allaho
Allaho was for many the banker of the whole week, and he duly obliged in fine style. A winner in the Ryanair Chase last year he was in no mood to give up his crown.
In truth it was as simple an assignment as they come for Paul Townend, however the jockey would have been feeling the added pressure having fallen at the last fence on another hot-favourite Galopin Des Champs in the opener on Day Three.
However, Allaho’s high cruising speed and precision jumping was too much for any of his rivals. One-by-one they succumbed to a relentless display from the Mullins star. We’re sure to see him next year for a crack at the hat-trick, and who would bet against him?
10: Most Winners by a Trainer – Willie Mullins
Who else? The Mullins machine was in full working order over the Festival registering an encredible 10 wins, in the 28 races available.
It didn’t go to plan early on, with Dysart Dynamo falling in the opener when joint favourite for the Supreme Novices’ hurdle. And he had to wait until the final race on Day One to get off the mark with Stattler in the National Hunt Chase.
He finished the week with a five-timer on the final day to sew up the Top Trainer title. Below are his wins during the week:
5: Most Winners by a Jockey – Paul Townend
Unsurprisingly, Mullins’ stable jockey took the honour of top Festival Jockey with five wins throughout. It could so easily have been six, in a week of highs for his stable the fall of Galopoin Des Champs at the last with the Turners Novices’ Chase at their mercy won’t be easily forgotten.
But that was overshadowed by stunning performances from the likes of Allaho and State Man during the week. He’ll be back next year and will be a strong favourite to retain his crown.
15 : Wins in a row for Honeysuckle
Henry De Bromhead’s star mare confirmed her superiority in the Champion Hurdle Division.
Another fine display at the top-level earned her a 15th consecutive career victory. She was made to work for it by the likes of Appreciate It and Epatante, but her class prevailed in the end.
She deserved every second of the adulation from a raucous Day One crowd and will go into the history books as a two-time Champion Hurdler.
A mouthwatering clash with Supreme Novice Constitution Hill is very much on the cards in the future.
280,627 Cheltenham Festival four-day attendance
If last year’s Cheltenham Festival taught us anything, it was how much the crowd made the event. The stark contrast from the deafly silence in 2021, to the adulant reception given for the likes of Honeysuckle, Allaho and A Plus Tard was wholly welcome.
The demand for tickets could not have been higher, and showed the continued mass appeal of the event, and it’s place as horse racing’s premier Festival in the calendar. A total of 280,627 made their way to Prestbury Park over the four days was a record for the Festival.
Roll on 2023!