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  Thursday, 7 March, 2002, 16:27 GMT
Bromley's Cheltenham champions
Peter Bromley
Bromley gave his first BBC radio commentary in 1959
Peter Bromley, who retired last summer after 41 years as BBC radio's voice of racing, reveals his favourite Cheltenham Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup performances.


CHAMPION HURDLE

Sir Ken won the Champion Hurdle in 1952, 1953 and 1954, becoming only the second horse to achieve the feat of three successive wins.

He was also fourth in 1955 and is still regarded as the most brilliant hurdler of the post-war era.

Sir Ken's feat was matched from 1968-1970 by Persian War, a brilliant stayer with a very strong finish. In 1971 he finished second to Bula.

The years 1976 to 1981 were dominated by three outstanding hurdlers:

  • Night Nurse, winner in 1976 and 1977, also won the Champion Hurdles of Scotland and Wales and the Irish Sweeps Hurdle.

  •   Bromley's Champion Hurdle Order of Merit
    1 Sir Ken
    2 Persian War
    3 Sea Pigeon
    4 Istabraq
    5 Night Nurse

  • Monksfield, successful in 1978 and 1979 was a small but exceptionally brave horse. Unusually, he was an entire horse, who had not been gelded.

  • Sea Pigeon ran in five Champion Hurdles, finishing fourth in 1977, second in 1978 and 1979 and first in 1980 and 1981.

    A former Flat racer good enough to finish seventh in the 1973 Derby, he undoubtedly benefited from the decision to shorten the Champion Hurdle distance by 200 yards from 1980.

    See You Then was an unsound horse sympathetically trained by Nicky Henderson who also won the Champion Hurdle three times in a row (1985-1987).

    Istabraq, an ex-Flat race horse trained by Aidan O'Brien for JP McManus, has won the last three runnings (1998-2000).

    If he wins for a fourth time he will be difficult to oppose as the best post-war hurdler.


    CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP

    Arkle stands head and shoulders above the rest after his three wins in 1964, 1965 and 1966.

    The 1964 race - in which Arkle defeated the 1963 champion Mill House after an epic battle - and the 1966 running, which Arkle won by 30 lengths, were outstanding in different ways.

    Arkle was undoubtedly the best steeplechaser since the war, and probably of all time.

    Arkle jumps the last on his way to winning the 1965 Gold Cup
    Arkle jumps the last on his way to winning the 1965 Gold Cup

    L'Escargot was the first steeplechaser since Golden Miller to win both the Gold Cup (in 1970 and 1971) and the Grand National (1975).

    The Gold Cups of 1982 and 1983 belonged to trainer Michael Dickinson.

    In 1982, Silver Buck beat stable companion Bregawn, who went on to win in 1983.

    That year, the first five home were all trained by Dickinson - a feat unique in the history of the race.

    In 1984, Burrough Hill Lad's success made Jenny Pitman the first woman to train a Gold Cup winner.

    Dawn Run, the Irish mare ridden by Jonjo O'Neill, was a popular and emotional winner in 1986.

    Dawn Run also won the Champion Hurdle in 1984.

    In 2000, Looks Like Trouble was an outstanding winner in a course record time.

  • Cheltenham stages its big jump race meeting from 12-14 March

    Results and odds

    Special features

    Clickable guides

    Official site
    Links to more Cheltenham Festival stories are at the foot of the page.


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