Connect with us

Races

The April Meeting: Three Familiar Faces From Cheltenham’s Penultimate Fixture

Three previous April Meeting victors who have also landed Festival glory during their career

Published

on

Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival - Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham, Britain - March 13, 2019 Nico de Boinville in action before winning the 2.50 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle on William Henry Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

The focus of the racing world is on the Grand National this weekend, but Cheltenham’s April Meeting is now less than a week away.

Following on from the Cheltenham Festival of last month, the two-day spring fixture is hosted for the first time in two years after last season’s card was cancelled due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.

Cheltenham Racecourse Hill and Stand
The April Meeting is the first piece of action at Cheltenham in the wake of the Festival

Once again, the card will be hosted behind-closed doors with all hopes on a crowd return lying on next season’s October Showcase opener.

The Grade 1 action may cease, but there’s still some cracking action at Prestbury Park under the glorious post-Easter sun at the April Meeting.

We take a look back at three previous runners at the meeting four months deep into the year who have gone onto land success at the March showpiece at a later stage in their career.

Will we witness a potential Festival successor across the 14 contests during next week’s renewal?

INDEFATIGABLE | 2019

Paul Webber’s mare breezed to Listed victory in Gloucestershire two years ago under Gavin Sheehan.

Having finished a very creditable fifth in the Mares’ Novices’ a month before, the daughter of Schiapareilli went four places better on her Cheltenham return and coasted home by ten lengths from second placed The Cull Bank.

WATCH: INDEFATIGABLE IS AN EASY WINNER AT THE APRIL MEETING UNDER GAVIN SHEEHAN [CREDIT: RACING TV]

She went onto finish second once again at the track in December behind subsequent Coral Cup heroine Dame De Compagnie, before achieving Festival glory of her own in the Martin Pipe.

DAME DE COMPAGNIE | 2018

The aforementioned Nicky Henderson star once tasted an April Meeting victory herself back in 2018 when also landing the Mares’ Listed race.

Nicky Henderson reading a racecard at the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
Nicky Henderson’s Dame De Compagnie is a three-time winner at Cheltenham, including at the April Meeting

Despite a heavy defeat in the Supreme Trial in the November, she ran back to form at Ascot before proving too strong for a field of her own sex.

She wouldn’t been seen again for 19 months when finishing sixth in the Greatwood, with that run proving pivotal to her International Meeting gold medal four weeks on.

WATCH: BARRY GERAGHTY STEERS DAME DE COMPAGNIE HOME IN THE 2020 CORAL CUP AT CHELTENHAM [CREDIT: RACING TV]

At the Festival, she secured her finest hour under usual rider and the now retired Barry Geraghty, landing the Coral Cup as a 9/2 favourite in what proved to be a hugely fruitful day for owner JP McManus.

She saw off the 2021 Mares Hurdle victor Black Tears in the process, albeit that rival heavily overturned the form with the Lucarno eight-year-old in March.

WILLIAM HENRY | 2017

Another Henderson representative, albeit no longer, but William Henry once landed April stardom under Davy Russell as an 8/15 favourite.

He’d finished second at the track behind Wholestone in the Classic on Trials Day previously and made the most of his freshness from bypassing the Festival to secure the odds for punters and connections with relative ease.

WATCH: WILLIAM HENRY LANDS THE CORAL CUP AT THE 2019 FESTIVAL TWO YEARS ON FROM HIS APRIL MEETING GLORY [CREDIT: RACING TV]

It would take one effort more than the two previously mentioned before him, having finished fourth in the Coral Cup in 2018 off a mark of 151, but off the same weight twelve months later, he pipped Festival legend Wicklow Brave at the post under Nico de Boinville.

The 2021 renewal of The April Meeting takes place between Wednesday 14th and Thursday 15th April, with this year’s Race Night being hosted on Friday 30th April.

Dominic Chapman is senior content writer at Low6 with a passion for horse racing. He provides a NAP and NB every day throughout the week on selected National Hunt and Flat cards in both Britain and Ireland. Additionally, he hosts the Paddock Picks Podcast with former Welsh Grand National-winning pilot, Charlie Poste - the pair interviewing and discussing current racing topics with a special guest every week.

Advertisement