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Monday, 17 December, 2018

What they said: hype, mental torture, a stroke of luck and money to burn

An emotional Lizzie Kelly after Coo Star Sivola's Ultima Handicap Chase win
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TUESDAY

"I nearly had fisticuffs."
After sending out Summerville Boy to secure his first Cheltenham Festival win in 16 years, trainer Tom George found getting past security and into the winner’s enclosure after the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle a shade aggravating.

"He has brains, he has pace, he has stamina. Qasim Raza looks after him and when he was drifting in the betting last week he said, 'Bigger price, have more money on!'"
Ruby Walsh revealing confidence in Racing Post Arkle winner Footpad was high among those closest to him.

“I’ve had a lot of mental issues coming into this week. I couldn’t stop thinking about how it went wrong last year, but Michael Caulfield has helped me immensely and thankfully everything's fallen into place."
Lizzie Kelly on overcoming her demons and steering Coo Star Sivola to victory in the Ultima Handicap Chase.

Tim Radford (left) celebrates following Mister Whitaker's win

“Who said Mick Channon couldn’t train a jumps horse? What a man! He can score goals but he can also train winners.”
Ecstatic owner Tim Radford praises Mick Channon, better known for his exploits on the Flat and for Southampton, after Mister Whitaker’s win in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase.

WEDNESDAY

"There is still too much hype, but at least he has won at Cheltenham and is going the right way."
Owner Michael O’Leary gradually understanding why his Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner Samcro is so well supported.

Sheer delight: owner Philip Reynolds punches the air in the winner's enclosure following Presenting Percy's RSA Novices' Chase triumph

"Pat is quiet. He's an incredible genius. I know that word is used very loosely but where Pat Kelly is concerned it is fitting.”
Stunned owner Philip Reynolds heaps praise on RSA Chase winner Presenting Percy’s shy, but successful, trainer Patrick Kelly.

"He's one of a kind. I was blown away by how he finished. He finds an extra gear after the last fence. It's incredible. He's some horse. I know everyone loves an Irish banker, how about an English one?”
Jockey Nico de Boinville wonders why Queen Mother Champion Chase hero Altior did not join Samcro in being hailed as a festival banker.

Jockey Keith Donoghue poses after Tiger Roll's victory in the Glenfarclas Chase

"I lost 8lb to ride this horse because my weight hasn't been great recently. It's worth it today. It's a dream come true after last year, missing the winner on Labaik was very hard to take. This might not be a Grade 1 but it's every bit as good to me.”
Rider Keith Donoghue, who took a break from riding due to weight issues, missing the ride on Labaik in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, was thrilled to win on Tiger Roll in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.

THURSDAY

"We're no different than any other parent. To me he's still only a kid. You always get a shock.”
Ted Walsh talks of his torture at watching son Ruby Walsh getting injured the previous day when Al Boum Photo fell in the RSA Chase.

"To come back after 11 months, it's a job done brilliantly. We had a bet on him, more in hope than expectation, but it was a good price."
Tony Bloom, owner of Penhill, Brighton & Hove Albion and a hugely successful punter, did not miss a payday in the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle.

Laurina and Paul Townend destroy the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle field by 19 lengths

“She's special, very special. She's a fine big mare and has a lovely attitude as well, so she's a dream to have. She's hacked up.”
Jockey Paul Townend cannot hide his admiration for runaway Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle winner Laurina.

"That was fantastic, I'm thrilled. I always describe this week as a week of disappointment to my owners as you come here with what you think are really nice horses and then they get beaten."
Missed Approach ensures trainer Warren Greatrex can celebrate, instead of commiserate, with owners Andrew and Alan Turner by winning the Kim Muir Fulke Walwyn Handicap Chase.

"I might buy a house. Gordon said I have to give him a year's notice if I'm going to leave him, so it had better be in Ireland!"
A gobsmacked Camilla Sharples, travelling head lass for trainer Gordon Elliott, after selling her winning point-to-pointer Andy Dufresne for £330,000 at the Cheltenham Festival sale.

'I still love Cue Card completely – I'll look after him just like he'd won'
Cue Card's groom Hameer Singh on his devotion to the popular chaser, who was pulled up in the Ryanair. Singh's devotion was rewarded when his other charge Native River won the Gold Cup.

FRIDAY

Colin Tizzard: claimed the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Native River

"There's so much talent in Ireland. We're very fortunate. A lot of the best horses are being kept in Ireland by people like Rich Ricci, JP and myself. It's a golden era for Irish racing. We have the majority of the best horses, trainers and jockeys – but sadly this will turn."
Michael O’Leary, who ended up leading owner at the Cheltenham Festival, on why Ireland dominated the meeting this year.

"All of us in life get a little bit lucky sometimes. You know what it's like, you go to the dance hall and there's a lovely girl there, normally they walk the other way but sometimes they walk towards you."
Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup-winning trainer Colin Tizzard on how we all need a bit of luck in life.

"It was great and we're proud of him, his jumping was fantastic even considering that ground. You can't say he tried to shirk it today because he had every reason to turn right halfway up that run-in and say, 'Sod this for a game of soldiers, I'm off back'. He never flinched."
Trainer Nicky Henderson proud of his Gold Cup runner-up Might Bite, who showed none of his previous waywardness when chasing home Native River.

A delighted Harriet Tucker poses with the trophy for the Foxhunter Chase

"My shoulder sometimes half-dislocates when I reach it too high and it did it when I was coming to the second-last. I couldn't push it back in, so therefore I couldn't slap him down the shoulder. I was just pushing and screaming and praying that nobody would come and beat me because of the shoulder."
Harriet Tucker recounts her remarkable winning ride on Pacha Du Polder in the St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase.

"He jumped and travelled and going down the hill Harry shouted, 'Steady Bridge' because I was going so well. I didn't want to press on too soon."
Jockey Bridget Andrews reveals boyfriend Harry Skelton offered some helpful advice in the closing stages of the Randox Health County Hurdle. Andrews won on 33-1 outsider Mohaayed, and shared a kiss after the line with an equally delighted Skelton.

Victory parade: Bridget Andrews salutes the crowd as she is led back to the winner's enclosure after winning the County Hurdle on Mohaayed

"This is great, it's brilliant to win it. Willie Mullins is the man so it's nice to train more winners than him. I can't believe we've had eight, I'd have taken one coming over."
Gordon Elliott claims the champion trainer title at the Cheltenham Festival with eight winners, equalling the record of his rival Willie Mullins from 2015.

“Biggest win? It’s my only win!"
Patricia Ryall, a racegoer from Doncaster, who took home £96,266.10 for her £3 Placepot.


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It's incredible. He's some horse. I know everyone loves an Irish banker, how about an English one?
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