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Cheltenham Festival 2022: Honeysuckle and Rachel Blackmore win Unibet Champion Hurdle and Stattler wins Ukraine Appeal National Hunt

Live Reporters: Lowri Jacob & Jamie Cameron

3:30 : Honeysuckle remains unbeaten and takes the Unibet Champions Hurdle

Racing golden duo Honeysuckle and Rachel Blackmore are 15/15 wins. After winning last year behind closed doors, they are finally able to hear the roar of the crowd.

At the final turn Honeysuckle, Epatante and Zanahiyr were all level, but Blackmore was able to stride clear of the rest.

Honeysuckle took the final jump well and Epatante didn’t and that was the race.

Final standings, Honeysuckle in first, Epatante second and Zanahiyr in third.

Blackmore said: “It’s incredible walking out there in front of the stand, it’s such a special place. She [Honeysuckle] decides when she’s happy to go and I haven’t stopped her from doing that yet.

“The work that goes into her at home in unbelievable. We’ve got a massive team of staff and they deserve all the credit as well.”

Kenny Alexander, winning owner, told BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra:

“She did it. There were a few doubters but she has done it today. I wasn’t here last year, but an amazing thrill.

“If you don’t get nervous today, what is the point in owning them? I always get nervous. Today we were well revved up. It is rock and roll.

“I’ve got my wife here. First time at Cheltenham. Very, very special day. I am glad all the crowd here as well. A dream horse.”

5:30 : Stattler wins Ukraine Appeal National Hunt

Outsider Stattler ridden by Patrick Mullins stormed away in the Ukraine Appeal National Hunt to win comfortably in the final and the longest race of the day.

Beatthebulet and Run Wild Fred opened up a gap in the starting stages, Run Wild Fred got himself into a fantastic rhythm and remained out front for a while. With five from the finish city started to close up and Vanillier started to make a move up field.

As the race began to close it became close between Run Wild Fred (the favourite) and stapler, but as they went into the final fence it was Stattler who had the lead.

Final standings as Stattler wins, Run Wild Fred came in second and Vanillier in third.

4:50 : Brazil wins the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

Brazil ridden by Mark Walsh overtook Gaelic warrior late on to snatch victory unexpectedly in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

Gaeliac Warrior had led for the majority of the race, as they turned for home he was leading Brazil by a length in his first run in Britain. But Brazil starting to push for the lead and HMS Seahorse also put himself in the mix. But it was Brazil who took it in the end.

Final standings as Brazil took first, Gaelic Warrior took second and Bell Ex One took third.

4:10 : Marie’s Rock wins the Mares’ Hurdle

Marie’s Rock ridden by Nico de Boinville and trained by Nicky Henderson takes the Mare’s Hurdle in dramatic style. The horse was in third place at the final fence but powered down the final straight to take victory and complete a double for the Henderson-de Boinville team.

And for the second time in history an English trained horse has won the Mares’ Hurdle.

De Boinville said: “The racing manager sent me a text saying we want a bit more of what I showed in the first race when we went in that one and he filled me with confidence.

“She’s such a gutsy mare, she didn’t find her stride last year but she’s come into her own today. That was fantastic.”

It looked like Rachel Blackmore and Telmesomethinggirl were about to make their way towards the front but was brought down by Indefatigable at the penultimate hurdle.

And the race finished with Marie’s Rock in first, Queens Brook in second and Mrs Milner taking third.

Paul Porter, part of the winning syndicate for Marie’s Rock, told BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra: “That was amazing – you join syndicates for days like today.

“I’ve travelled down from Cumbria today and I’ve got friends up there in the stands. My voice has gone!

“What a journey back to Cumbria after this!”

2:50 : Corach Rambler rode by Derek Fox wins the Ultimate Handicap Chase

Corach Rambler bursts through the middle of Gericault Roque and Oscar Elite to take victory. Gericault Rolt led for most of the race but Corach Rambler came from nowhere in the final straight.

At the final fence Gericault Roque led and it looked like Oscar Elite would sneak through for the win. But after the final fence the Scottish horse came through to much surprise of the crowd.

Despite looking like they had bagged the victory Gericault Roque ran home in second place and Oscar Elite took third.

Fox said: “I got left at the start. But he has loads of ability. Delighted.

“I just had to keep trying to find my way. He is a very clever horse. He has been brilliant for me.”

Trainer Peter Scudamore told BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra:

“We got lucky today – it was a magnificent ride by Derek. I hate dropping horses in, but I felt he came better of a good pace. He does nothing but he’s got a load of speed.

“It’s not a bad omen for Ahoy Senor tomorrow!”

Victory for Corach Rambler means it is currently 3-0 to British horses over Irish horses so far today.

2:10 : Edwardstone rode by Tom Cannon wins the Arkle Chase in the second race of the Cheltenham Festival

Alan King’s Edwardstone takes the Arkle Chase, pulling away down the straight as Cannon takes his first ever Cheltenham win.

With three fences to go Riviere D’Etel and Magic Daze were out front, and Edwardstone started to make his way to the front.

Come the penultimate fence Magic Daze had dropped out of the front free, and the favourite (Edwardstone) was able to take second.

On the final fence Cannon put in a very measured jump and powered clear, with both Riviere D’Etel and Magic Daze out of the top three and Gabynako and Blue Lord taking their places.

After the race, Cannon said:

“We had a couple of hairy moments, especially at the fourth jump. I’ve got a better relationship with him than any human being. He wears his heart on his sleeve, jumps well and goes out and does his thing.

“The breeders have stuck by me and told me to enjoy myself. All boats rise on a high tide and I am lucky I am one of those boats.”

Speaking to ITV trainer Alan King said, “I was trying to get my binoculars in focus and I thought had he gone or not!

“He has a huge amount of ability but it hasn’t happened overnight. He has got far more relaxed now and he is a very good horse.”

Despite a few nasty falls, all horses are in good condition. Unfortunately Shallwehaveonemore sustained a fatal injury in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

1:30 : Constitution Hill won the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the first race of the Cheltenham Festival

Constitution Hill rode by Nico de Bonville and trained by Nicky Henderson wins the first race at Cheltenham Festival. Constitution Hill now has three out of three wins over the hurdles.

With two flights to go the front three had a big advantage, with Jonbon, Constitution Hill and Dysart Dynamo pulling ahead. Dysart Dynamo went down and unseated his jockey, Paul Downend, and Constitution Hill was able to pull ahead.

After the final hurdle Constitution Hill steamed ahead towards the finish line for a comfortable victory, in one of the quickest wins at Cheltenham Races finishing in three minutes and 44 seconds beating Shishkin’s four minutes and seven seconds in 2020.

Jonbon came home in second place and Kilcruit finishing in third.

Speaking to ITV Sport, De Boinville said: “I didn’t have much choice but to go early, he was travelling so well.

“They’ve got a really hard gallop. I’m glad that Paul [Townend]’s okay. Delighted for the owner, who’ll be absolutely ecstatic. It’s a great way to start the week.”

Winning owner Michael Buckley said: “That was pretty amazing, I have to say. He’s a very, very good horse.

“To do it like that on this stage – it was a shame that Willie’s horse [Dysart Dynamo] fell but he’d have needed to be good to beat us. I’m shaking like a leaf.”

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