The Kim Muir has been one of the hardest races of the Festival to predict, with 10 double figure price winners in the last 16 years, although favourites have landed the last two renewals.
With only amateur jockeys allowed to ride in the race, the jockey’s form and ability can often be as important as the horse’s.
2017 Domesday Book (USA) 40/1
2016 Cause of Causes
2015 The Package
2014 Spring Heeled
2013 Same Difference
2009 Character Building
2008 High Chimes
2007 Cloudy Lane
2006 You´re Special
2003 Royal Predica
2002 The Bushkeeper
2000 Honey Mount
1999 Celtic Giant
1998 In Truth
1997 King Lucifer
1996 Stop The Waller
1995 Flyer’s Nap
1994 Fighting Words
2012 Kim Muir Challenge Cup Review
Punters got it spot in for the third successive year with 13/2 favourite SUNNYHILLBOY staying on well for a comfortable four and a half length success over Becauseicouldntsee, who himself was strongly fancied – perhaps this is no longer the bogey race at the Festival for backers?!
The result was far from known at the top of the hill, though, with several horses still in contention and jumping well, including the eventual runner-up. He was the first to go for home but Mr A J Berry had the move covered on the winner, and they forged clear on the run-in.
Outsider Exmoor Ranger (33/1) kept on well to be third, with Willie Mullins' Up The Beat (8/1) rewarding his each-way backers in fourth. Incredibly, 21 of the 23 runners completed the course, with just one faller (Midnight Appeal) and one pulled-up.
2011 Kim Muir Challenge Cup Review
Cheltenham Festival punters landed a monumental gamble when Junior landed the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase.
The David Pipe-trained superstar was heavily backed and was sent of the 100-30 favourite for the 24-runner handicap. He powered up the hill under the hands of Jamie Codd to win by an astonishing 24 lengths from stablemate Faasel (20-1) who was also runner-up in the race in 2010.
Deal Done was third at 20-1, with Galaxy Rock fourth at 18-1.
2010 Kim Muir Challenge Cup Review
With the amateur jockeys going off at a break neck pace, and there being little let up in the gallop throughout, the field was well strung out at the death.
The winner, BALLABRIGGS, travelled really well from the off and took up the running, still going easily, turning for home. He looked likely to run out a clear winner at that stage, but earlier exertions in chasing the pace started to take their toll and he was all out to hold on in the end. Nevertheless, this was a fine performance under top weight and he looks set to be aimed at the Grand National next season. He couldn't be in better hands when it comes to preparing a horse for that great race.
The enigmatic Faasel was closing the winner down fast at the line. He has clearly been freshened up by a change of scenery and has often shown his best at these championship contests, where the fast run contests really suit him. He seems to have been around forever, but is still only nine and so should have more races in him. He is at his best on a sound surface.
Both Galant Nuit and Ma Yahab, who were outpaced mid race, benefitted from the contest falling apart in front of them to claim third and fourth respectively. The former, in particular, is probably more at home over further.
Khachaturian was the one primarily responsible for the breakneck gallop and he went clear when he flew four out. However, he soon started to pay for his early exertions and a mistake at the last led to him losing four places on the punishing run in. All the same, this was a very brave effort and he may prove even better on a flatter surface.
Isnt That Lucky was seemingly distracted by Khachaturians final fence blunder and took a heavy fall. He may well have been placed and, provided the fall doesnt leave a scar, he could still win a decent race as he has always looked like a horse with plenty of potential.
2009 Kim Muir Challenge Cup Review
The Kim Muir saw CHARACTER BUILDING register a deserved, and long overdue, big race success in some style.
Despite the fact that ten rivals were within a couple of lengths of each other at the second last, there was only ever going to be one winner from that point on as the grey nine year old was travelling so much easier than anything else.
He can be slightly quirky, but he seems to love this place (he was second in the National Hunt Chase in 2007) and he’s well suited by this drying ground. A crack at the National looks on the cards and he’d be a serious player there if he got his favoured conditions.
Petty Star was second for the in-form Venetia Williams. He’s been in cracking form since joining her yard and this was another fine effort as he was nicely clear of the third.
Newbay Prop filled that spot, snatching the position in the shadow of the post from the game Bowleaze, who’d been up with the pace throughout and lead from the second last until the final flight.
Butler’s Cabin ran a great National trial in fifth. The 2007 National Hunt Chase winner travelled well for much of the race and this should have put him spot on for the big one in April, albeit that he no longer looks particularly well handicapped.
Last year’s winner,High Chimes, was nearly a stone higher in the weights this time around and so did well to finish sixth. He enjoyed returning to some better ground.
The very well backed Poker De Sivola could only manage seventh, for a stable that does so well with its chasers here. He made a couple of mistakes, but was full of running three out, and was ridden to hold every chance at the second last. However, he could find no extra from before the last and faded on the run-in. even this drying ground probably wasn’t lively enough for him.
2008 Kim Muir Challenge Cup Review
Twenty four set out, but only eleven finished and with those that were able to safely negotiate the three miles one and a half furlongs strung out all across Gloucestershire, this clearly turned into a war of attrition on a surface being softened all the time by the rain.
Conditions clearly suited HIGH CHIMES down to the ground and having gone clear entering the straight he never looked like being caught despite tying up on the run in. With only seven previous starts under rules to his name, there is further improvement to come and he looks sure to be aimed at the top staying handicaps next season.
Openide seems to save his best for this track and he ran his usual Jekyll and Hyde race here as he dropped himself out of contention before rallying for pressure and flying up the run in. A mistake at the last cost him any chance of getting to the winner.
Last year’s Coral Cup winner, Burntoakboy was third on ground that didn’t suit him. The same is true of Noir Et Vert, who put up an eye catching effort in fourth. He’s only seven and could develop into a really good staying chaser on his favoured decent going.
Fourth in the Foxhunter Chase at last year's festival, Oscar India was in the process of running well again when taking a tired and heavy fall at the second last. He was beaten at the time, but can win more races.
A number of these were let down by their jumping not least Officer De Reserve, Jaunty Times and Newbay Prop, with the latter never recovering from his mistake at the ninth. All three were eventually pulled up.
2007 Kim Muir Challenge Cup Review
Another winner at the first attempt for a young trainer as CLOUDY LANE’S victory provided Donald McCain with just about the only thing that eluded his famous father Ginger during his distinguished career – a Festival winner.
It was fine effort too from the seven year old novice who could be a National horse in the making. He had disappointed on his previous start, but heavy ground was to blame there and the faster conditions here clearly suited him.
He was running on empty at the death, having been close to a searing early pace set by Lord of Illusion and Nadover. In fact, the five horses who were in front coming to the last were all going up and down on the spot on the run in and it was left to the flying Parson’s Legacy to grab second. He would probably have been in front in another 50 yards and it was an extraordinary effort given how far behind he was turning for home. Parson’s Legacy is another who likes good ground and he also runs well here.
Cheeky Lady (3rd), Ponmeoath (4th) and Darby Wall (5th) all travelled well throughout the race and looked the likely winner at one stage or another. Cheeky Lady probably needs a bit further and was just outpaced when it really mattered.
By contrast, after travelling best of all, Ponmeoath just got outstayed. He too is a novice and is, therefore, open to bags of improvement. Darby Wall is another who seems to save his best for Cheltenham.
Paul Nicholls’ trio of runners finished sixth, seventh and eighth, whilst the well fancied Liberthine disappointed again in this race and is yet to prove her stamina at this trip.
2006 Kim Muir Challenge Cup Review
As always, the Kim Muir was run at a fierce pace and, as a consequence, very few horses ever got competitive.
YOU’RE SPECIAL was one of those who was bang there throughout and seldom looked in danger after he took the lead on the second circuit. He relishes decent ground and has run well at Cheltenham in the past. He is likely to be aimed at some of the top staying handicaps in the future.
The horse provided jockey, Richard Harding with his first Festival success, emulating his older brother, Brian, who won the 1998 Queen Mother Champion Chase on One Man.
The second, Mon Mome, had previously seemed to prefer soft ground, but he improved for conditions here and ran a big race for a novice.
Nina Carberry was third on Undeniable who is nothing if not game and consistent – he has now finished in the first five in all of his last 18 races.
Previous Festival winners Liberthine and Another Rum were both disappointing. The former never got into the race and is surely better than she showed here, whilst the latter probably needs further.