Istabraq

According to Timeform, Istabraq was the joint-second highest rated hurdler, alongside Monksfield and behind only Night Nurse, since the respected ratings organisation turned its attentions to National Hunt racing in the early Sixties. Hailed by his trainer, Aidan O’Brien, as ‘a class above everything he raced against’, Istabraq was a four-time winner at the Cheltenham Festival, beating Mighty Moss in a driving finish to what is now the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle in 1997, before winning the Champion Hurdle in 1998, 1999 and 2000 to become the first horse since See You Then in 1987 to win the race in three consecutive years.

Ridden exclusively by Charlie Swan, Istabraq ran in a total of 29 hurdle races and started favourite, mostly at odds-on, for all bar one of them. He fell twice, and was pulled up once, but in 26 completed starts was beaten just three times, including on his hurdling debut, as a four-year-old, at Punchestown in November, 1996. By the end of his career, Istabraq had racked 14 wins at Grade One level and over £1 million in prize money.

A son of champion sire Sadler’s Wells, out of a Secretariat mare, Istabraq was originally owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum and trained by John Gosden, for whom he won a couple of minor races, under Willie Carson and Pat Eddery, in 1995. He was subsequently sold to John Patrick ‘J.P.’ McManus, with a view to joining the late John Durkan, former assistant trainer to Gosden, who had plans to set up as a trainer in his own right. However, Durkan was diagnosed with leukaemia in late 1996, so Istabraq was transferred ‘temporarily’ to Aidan O’Brien, pending his recovery. Durkan was reportedly ‘overjoyed’ when Istabraq won his first race at the Cheltenham Festival but, tragically, died in January, 1998, at the age of just 31, shortly before Istabraq won his first Champion Hurdle.

According to Timeform, Istabraq was the joint-second highest rated hurdler, alongside Monksfield and behind only Night Nurse, since the respected ratings organisation turned its attentions to National Hunt racing in the early Sixties. Hailed by his trainer, Aidan O’Brien, as ‘a class above everything he raced against’, Istabraq was a four-time winner at the Cheltenham Festival, beating Mighty Moss in a driving finish to what is now the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle in 1997, before winning the Champion Hurdle in 1998, 1999 and 2000 to become the first horse since See You Then in 1987 to win the race in three consecutive years.

Ridden exclusively by Charlie Swan, Istabraq ran in a total of 29 hurdle races and started favourite, mostly at odds-on, for all bar one of them. He fell twice, and was pulled up once, but in 26 completed starts was beaten just three times, including on his hurdling debut, as a four-year-old, at Punchestown in November, 1996. By the end of his career, Istabraq had racked 14 wins at Grade One level and over £1 million in prize money.

A son of champion sire Sadler’s Wells, out of a Secretariat mare, Istabraq was originally owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum and trained by John Gosden, for whom he won a couple of minor races, under Willie Carson and Pat Eddery, in 1995. He was subsequently sold to John Patrick ‘J.P.’ McManus, with a view to joining the late John Durkan, former assistant trainer to Gosden, who had plans to set up as a trainer in his own right. However, Durkan was diagnosed with leukaemia in late 1996, so Istabraq was transferred ‘temporarily’ to Aidan O’Brien, pending his recovery. Durkan was reportedly ‘overjoyed’ when Istabraq won his first race at the Cheltenham Festival but, tragically, died in January, 1998, at the age of just 31, shortly before Istabraq won his first Champion Hurdle.

2010 Cheltenham Festival Results

Tuesday, March 16 (Old Course)

1.30pm Spinal Research Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
(Grade One) 2m 110yds £100,000

1 Menorah 12/1
2 Get Me Out Of Here 9/2
3 Dunguib 4/5 Fav

2.05pm The Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase
(Grade One) 2m £150,000

1 Sizing Europe 6/1
2 Somersby 4/1
3 Osana 14/1

2.40pm William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase
(Grade Three) 3m 110yds £80,000

1 Chief Dan George 33/1
2 The Package 9/2 Fav
3 Ogee 8/1
4 Offshore Account
5 The Tother One

3.20pm Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy
(Grade One) 2m 110yds £370,000

1 Binocular 9/1
2 Khyber Kim 7/1
3 Zaynar 15/2

4.00pm Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase
(Handicap) 3m 7f £50,000

1 A New Story 25/1
2 L’Ami 4/1
3 Lacdoudal 28/1

4.40pm David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle
(Grade Two) 2m 4f £90,000

1 Quevega 6/4 Fav
2 Carole’s Legacy 20/1
3 Voler La Vedette 9/4

Wednesday, March 17 (Old Course)

1.30pm 140th Year of the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup
(Amateurs) 4m £75,000

1 Poker De Sivola 14/1
2 Becauseicouldntsee 13/2
3 Prudent Honour 40/1

2.05pm Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle
(Grade One) 2m 5f £100,000

1 Peddlers Cross 7/1
2 Reve De Sivola 15/2
3 Rite Of Passage 7/2 Fav

2.40pm RSA Chase
(Grade One) 3m 110yds £150,000

1 Weapon’s Amnesty 10/1
2 Burton Port 9/1
3 Long Run 11/4

3.20pm Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase
(Grade One) 2m £320,000

1 Big Zeb 10/1
2 Forpadydeplasterer 10/1
3 Kalahari King 9/2

4.00pm Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle
(Grade Three) 2m 5f £75,000

1 Spirit River 14/1
2 Tullamore Dew 80/1
3 James De Vassy 16/1

4.40pm Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
(Grade Three) 2m 110yds £75,000

1 Sanctuaire 4/1 Fav
2 Notus De La Tour 13/2
3 Orsippus 33/1

5.15pm Weatherbys Champion Bumper
(Grade One) 2m 110yds £60,000

1 Cue Card 40/1
2 Al Ferof 8/1
3 Frawley 14/1

Thursday, March 18 (New Course)

1.30pm Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase
(Listed Race) 2m 5f £80,000

1 Copper Bleu 12/1
2 Othermix 50/1
3 The Midnight Club 16/1
4 China Rock 9/1

2.05pm Pertemps Final
(Listed Race) 3m £75,000

1 Buena Vista 16/1
2 Prince Erik 16/1
3 Chamirey 28/1
4 Cross Kennon 16/1
5 Kayf Aramis 22/1

2.40pm Ryanair Chase
(Grade One) 2m 5f £250,000

1 Albertas Run 14/1
2 Poquelin 11/4 Fav
3 J’y Vole 28/1

3.20pm Ladbrokes World Hurdle
(Grade One) 3m £260,000

1 Big Buck’s 5/6 Fav
2 Time For Rupert 16/1
3 Powerstation 33/1

4.00pm Byrne Group Plate Handicap Chase
(Grade Three) 2m 5f £80,000

1 Great Endeavour 18/1
2 Sunnyhillboy 6/1 Fav
3 From Dawn To Dusk 20/1
4 Mister McGoldrick 33/1
5 Gwanako 20/1

4.40pm Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase
(Amateurs) 3m 1f 110yds £55,000

1 Ballabriggs 9/1
2 Faasel 20/1
3 Galant Nuit 11/2 Fav
4 Ma Yahab 14/1
5 Khachaturian 20/1

Friday, March 19 (New Course)

1.30pm JCB Triumph Hurdle Race
(Grade One) 2m 1f £100,000

1 Soldatino 6/1
2 Barizan 14/1
3 Alaivan 9/2
4 Carlito Brigante 7/2 fav

2.05pm Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle
(Grade Three) 2m 1f £75,000

1 Thousand Stars 20/1
2 Arcalis 33/1
3 Dee Ee Williams 20/1

2.40pm Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
(Grade One) 3m £100,000

1 Berties Dream 33/1
2 Najaf 25/1
3 Kennel Hill 66/1

3.20pm totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup
(Chase) (Grade One) 3m 2f 110yds £475,000

1 Imperial Commander 7/1
2 Denman 4/1
3 Mon Mome 50/1

4.00pm Christie’s Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup
(Amateurs) 3m 2f 110yds £40,000

1 Baby Run 9/2 Fav
2 Kilty Storm 16/1
3 Reach For The Top 66/1

4.40pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
2m 4f 110yds £50,000

1 Pause And Clause 14/1
2 Radium 14/1
3 Clova Island 14/1
4 Peveril 5/1

5.15pm Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase
(Handicap) (Grade Three) 2m 110yds £80,000

1 Pigeon Island 16/1
2 French Opera 10/1
3 Consigliere 16/1

TOTAL PRIZE MONEY IN 2010 = £3,415,000

1 6 7 8 9