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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 March 2008, 17:43 GMT
Cheltenham day 1 as it happened
All the action as it happened from the opening day of the 2008 Cheltenham Festival.

The Alan King-trained Katchit won the day's feature, the Champion Hurdle, leading home a British clean sweep in a race where Irish runners have dominated in recent times.

It was jockey Robert Thornton's second win of the day after also triumphing in the opener on Captain Cee Bee.

Brother and sister Paul and Nina Carberry also added to their Festival successes while there were first Festival wins for Tom Scudamore on An Accordion and Denis O'Regan on Tidal Bay.

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To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Elizabeth Hudson

1740: That's it for the opening day. Remember it's a marathon not a sprint and we will be back on Wednesday to see if Voy Por Ustedes can add to Alan King's successes in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the feature race, amongst other things.

1720 Fred Winter Junior Novices' Handicap Hurdle (2m 110y)
1. Crack Away Jack (Paul Carberry) 14-1
2. Ashkazar (TJ Murphy) 15-8 f
3. Grand Schlem (C Pieux) 12-1
4. Indian Spring (AJ McNamara) 66-1
22 ran. Dist: 2, 5

Crack Away Jack came from last to first to win for jockey Paul Carberry to give his family a second Festival win in quick succession after sister Nina won the previous race.

Emma Lavelle's charge got the better of Ashkazar, who won Saturday's Imperial Cup at Sandown and who would have landed a 75,000 with victory here.

Crack Away Jack, who made a slow start, was given a patient ride by Carberry and travelled well to burst through to take the lead at the last and battle to the line to give Lavelle her first Festival win.

1710: You would probably have got long odds on Nina being the first of the Carberrys to get a winner at the 2008 Cheltenham Festival ahead of brothers Philip and Paul but this was an impressive win for the 23-year-old who notches up her third Festival win in her four visits.

1640 BGC Cross Country Chase (3m 7f)
1. Garde Champetre (Miss N Carberry) 4-1
2. Native Jack (DN Russell) 40-1
3. A New Story (AJ McNamara) 20-1
4. Freneys Well (Mr GM Mangan) 25-1
16 ran

Jockey Nina Carberry claimed back-to-back wins in the Cross Country Chase when Garde Champetre came through well for victory.

The horse, also trained by Enda Bolger, who has a strong record in cross country races, had fallen last time he ran at Cheltenham in December.

But Carberry, who won on Heads Onthe Ground last year, gave the nine-year-old a confident ride, pulling clear on the turn for home and charging for home to beat the veteran Native Jack by 10 lengths.

1620: "There will not be a top-three finish for any Irish horse in any of the blue riband events"
Idn on 606

1610: "He's not the easiest of horses. he's a big baby but has a lot of potential."
An Accordion's trainer David Pipe

1600 William Hill Trophy (3m 110y)
1. An Accordion (Tom Scudamore) 7-1
2. New Alco (DN Russell) 10-1
3. L'ami (AP McCoy) 11-2 fav
14 ran

Tom Scudamore made up for his disappointment on Osana in the Champion Hurdle with his first Festival success on An Accordion.

The David Pipe-trained seven-year-old was always prominent but he was made to work hard as the challengers lined up turning for home.

But he proved the strongest to claim victory by two and a half lengths ahead of New Alco and L'Ami

Afterwards a celebrating Scudamore said the victory was "a long time coming".

1555: After all of the excitement of the Champion Hurdle, the fun continues with the William Hill Trophy. The sun has come out at Cheltenham.

1545: "I've been so relaxed all day as I honestly didn't think he could win. I said to the owners if he was in the first four I would be very proud of him,"
Katchit's trainer Alan King

1533: "I thought five-year-olds couldn't win the Champion Hurdle"
Chance Gardener on 606

1530: Jockey Robert Thornton (known as Chocolate) has now grabbed his second win of the Festival. He describes the horse as "a little terrier".

1522: "This horse (Katchit) is racing's Ricky Hatton. He's as hard as nails and wanted to win so much. You will never get a racehorse try harder than him."
BBC 5 Live's Luke Harvey

1515 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle (2m 110y)
1. Katchit (R Thornton) 10-1
2. Osana (Tom Scudamore) 9-2
3. Punjabi (BJ Geraghty) 25-1
15 ran

Trainer Alan King was left speechless after his charge Katchit battled on bravely up the hill to claim a sweet victory in the Champion Hurdle.

The long-time leader Osana had set a tough early pace but his rivals loomed large by the second-last fence as last year's winner Sublimity challenged but it was Katchit who looked strongest and always looked to have the edge over Osana.

The favourite Sizing Europe was a big disappointment and finished well down the field.

1514: Sizing Europe looks good as he makes his way to the start.

1511: There is strong support for Osana while there has been each-way support for Afsoun, who is a fan of softer ground.

1509: It's getting close to the off time as the horses and jockeys make their way onto the track. Sublimity's trainer John Carr says he is "quietly confident" of his charge retaining his crown.

1455: "Tidal Bay won like an odds-on shot."
Insider on 606

1447: This is a sweet success for O'Regan who was handed a 14-day ban earlier this year after mistaking the winning line at Fakenham and finishing a race a circuit earlier.

1443: "To be fair, the horse was fantastic. It's a great feeling. It's happy days today."
Winning jockey Denis O'Regan

1435 Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase (2m)
1. Tidal Bay (Denis O'Regan) 6-1
2. Kruguyrova (AP McCoy) 9-1
3. Noland (R Walsh) 7-4f
14 ran. Dist: 13, 1

Tidal Bay made up for a second place in the Ballymore Properties Novices' Hurdle at last year's Festival with a comprehensive victory to take the Arkle Trophy.

Denis O'Regan's mount, trained by Howard Johnson took over the lead at the second-last fence from Tony McCoy on Kruguyrova and from then on he powered clear and jumped the last safely for victory.

The mare Kruguyrova ran on well for second but the third-placed finisher Noland, the well-backed favourite was a well-beaten third, just ahead of Thyne Again.

1434: "Noland has sweated up a bit which is a bit of a worry."
Former jockey Peter Scudamore on BBC Radio 5 Live

1430: Noland, from the Paul Nicholls stable, is the strong favourite as the horses make their way to the post for the second race of the day.

1415: "It's nice to come here and train a Cheltenham winner. I'm the most popular man here for half an hour. The horse is named after my grandfather."
Captain Cee Bee's trainer Eddie Harty

1410: "Just look at Tony McCoy's face - he is absolutely gutted. He had the choice of riding Binocular or Captain Cee Bee in the race."
Race commentator Luke Harvey on BBC Radio 5 Live

1400: Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices' Hurdle (2m 110y)
1. Captain Cee Bee (R Thornton) 17-2
2. Binocular (AP McCoy) 8-1 cf
3. Snap Tie (Richard Johnson) 20-1
22 ran. Dist: 2, 4

Captain Cee Bee gives last year's Cheltenham Festival leading rider Robert Thornton the perfect start to the 2008 Festival with victory over Binocular and Tony McCoy in the battle of the JP McManus-owned horses.

It looked like McCoy would win when they jumped the last together but it was Captain Cee Bee, who finished strongest up the famous Cheltenham hill to continue Ireland's strong record in the race.

1402: The wait is finally over - and they're off! Cue the Cheltenham roar.

1358: Nine of the last 16 winners of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle were trained in Ireland - can Muirhead, Captain Cee Bee or Cork All Star continue that record?

1356: Jockeys are making their way to the start.

1351: Punters are starting to finish their drinks and put on their bets and try to get a good vantage point for the opener.

1345: Among the 55,000 strong crowd at Cheltenham is controversial television presenter Jeremy Kyle, who is a recent convert to racing. Speaking to Clare Balding on BBC Radio 5 Live, he thinks that Straw Bear each way in the Champion Hurdle is a good bet!

1341: The tension is starting to really rise at the course. The 22 runners for the opening race are making their way around the parade ring in preparation. And good news, the rain has stopped!

1326: There has been plenty of money for Binocular in the opener. Trained by Nicky Henderson and owned by Irish gambler JP McManus, he could give Tony McCoy his first winner since his return last weekend from a broken back

1322: "I normally manage to sleep in the more inappropriate places so I had no problem sleeping last night. You don't ride any differently because it is the Cheltenham Festival."
Jockey Tom Scudamore on BBC Radio 5 Live

1316: "The Champion Hurdle looks to be wide open. Sizing Europe is the favourite but there are half a dozen horses in with chances."
BBC racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght on Radio 5 Live

1310: Oh dear, let's hope racegoers have got their umbrellas with them - the rain has started again. It's going to make the going that little bit softer. So, what are your predictions for the opening day? Get involved via 606 or text 81111.

1300: Welcome to what many horse racing fans describe as 'the greatest show on earth - not just racing!' The Cheltenham Festival spans four days with 55,000 people making the trip to Prestbury Park on a daily basis.

With 25 races over four days, including the much-anticipated Kauto Star v Denman clash in the Gold Cup on Friday, it promises to be a feast of thrills, spills and action.

Katchit takes thrilling victory
11 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
Cheltenham Festival pictures
11 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
Cheltenham Festival 2008 schedule
28 Feb 08 |  Horse Racing


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