Robbie Power’s Cheltenham Festival 2019 Review

Robbie Power gives us his thoughts on what was an eventful and exciting week at Cheltenham.

My Own Cheltenham
Obviously it was a bit of a disappointment finishing Cheltenham without a winner but I was delighted with the way some of the horses I rode performed. I was especially happy with Lostintranslation and I’m really excited about him. I think he’s a really exciting horse for the future and he put up a brilliant performance in the JLT. He jumped fence to fence but Defi Du Seuil had a bit more gas in him going up the hill.

Going into next season I think the Gold Cup would be the plan for him but we’ll go to Aintree first and take it step by step.

Gold Cup
I think the Gold Cup was a very good race. It was run at a good gallop the whole way and there was no hiding place and you’d have to say the best horse on the day won the race. It was a very good performance from Al Boum Photo and people were talking about Presenting Percy’s unusual preparation for Cheltenham but Al Boum Photo had only one run in Tramore on New Year’s day. It was really bizarre to have your sole run at Tramore before going to Cheltenham for a Gold Cup but he did it and it worked.

Its 18 in a row now for Altior and he’s just an unbelievable horse. He probably didn’t fire to the best of his ability at Cheltenham and some people thought he looked beaten turning in but I never had any doubt once he met the rising ground. He’s a strong stayer and it will be interesting to see if they decide to go up in trip with him next season. I don’t think we’ll see the best of him until he steps up in trip. He’s a very laid back horse and he’s showing all the signs that stamina is going to be his forte.

I think he’ll be a big player in the King George next year.

Success Of Female Jockeys
Bryony Frost and Rachael Blackmore are two very good jockeys and Lizzie Kelly also bagged a winner so between them they had 4 winners which just goes to show that they can compete in the same sport given the opportunity. Rachael is having a great season in Ireland and it was important for her to ride a winner at this year’s festival. If she hadn’t had a winner people would be jumping on the bandwagon. So it was nice for her to be able to lay that one to rest and especially to ride a grade one winner.

National Hunt Chase Controversy
The BHA are making a mockery of themselves and the sport and I thought what Tony Mcoy said in his interview on ITV was true. Declan Lavery and Damien Skehan felt their horses were going well enough to jump the last two fences which they did and they finished 3rd and 4th. Both horses were examined by the Veterinary officers after the race and both were found to be post race normal. The stewards were the only ones who thought they should pull the horses up. You’re taking judgement away from the jockeys.

They’re making themselves into idiots.

The stewards were saying before the race that this was a difficult race for them because they had inexperienced amateur riders going out over fences. Jamie Codd, Barry O’Neill and Derek O Connor jump more fences in a year than Ruby Walsh or Barry Geraghty . They’re amateur in name only and it would be a shame to not have them riding at the festival.

Harry Cobden
I crossed swords with Harry Cobden a lot in England, he rides a lot for Colin Tizzard as well, and hes a very good Jockey. He’s an old head on young shoulders and he’s got the right attitude for the game. He’s taken everything in his stride and he gave Topofthegame a great ride in the RSA. You’ll be hearing a lot about him in the future.

Espoir D’Allen
Espoir D’Allen was a surprise but I wasn’t as surprised as most people. He’s only been beaten once and there was genuine excuses for that. He came in under the radar because he hadn’t taken on any of the big boys. He’d been placed very well by Gavin Cromwell and he went to Cheltenham full of confidence and ran a very good race.

Paisley Park
Paisley Park is what all good Stayers should be. He stays behind the bridle all the way. He looked beaten on more than one occasion at Cheltenham and you think back to Big Bucks who was very similar to him. He still had plenty in the tank coming up to the last fence and in the run in. He’s looking to improve and will probably stamp his authority on the stayers for a long time to come.

Tiger Roll
Tiger Roll is just a legend of a horse and Gordon keeps saying what a pleasure it is to have a horse like him in the yard. On the evidence we’ve seen he’s an even better horse than he was last year and it’s all systems go for Aintree.

Noel Fehily
Noel Fehily announced he’s going to retire during the week and he’s had a fantastic career. He’s a top class jockey in my opinion and one of the best. He ticks all the boxes. He’s a nice man and good horseman.