Sometimes the big days just do not go to plan, and we’ve looked back at five memorable unlucky losers from the Cheltenham Festival and the woes for some punters.
1 Tied Cottage 1980 Cheltenham Gold Cup
Perhaps the most famous unlucky loser in Cheltenham Festival victory, as Tied Cottage finished in first in the 1980 Cheltenham Gold Cup by an astonishing eight lengths. It was a brilliant performance.
But traces in his urine sample were found containing theobromine, a prohibited substance. This was most likely from food that was accidentally eaten but disqualification was a formality in the situation. However, it is very unlikely that this improved his performance. To add to that misery, the previous year he had fell when leading at the last.
2 Oscar Delta 2013 CGA Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup
Oscar Delta was poised to deliver an upset in the 2013 Foxhunters following a gutsy ride from Jane Mangan. She got to the front and bravely kicked on as they turned for home as the effort from the strong-travelling Salsify appeared to be weakening.
With two big leaps Oscar Delta had just the final few yards in front of glory but, after being spooked he jinxed and forced Mangan out of the saddle with the Foxhunters dream dashed. Salsify went on to win.
3 Annie Power 2015 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle
It was the day of bankers for the mighty Willie Mullins string and it all hinged on Annie Power. Douvan, Un De Sceaux and Faugheen had won and the four-fold which punters believed to be a unstoppable looked set for an enormous pay-out.
She was still in second gear as she breezed into a big lead with the just the last to jump. Roared by the crowd to seal it, she jumped and for a short second looked as if the win was there, but then came the historic moment. She hit the floor leaving Glens Melody to pick up the pieces as Ruby Walsh could only watch on from the floor as a glorious day turned into a nightmare.
Annie Power’s fall reportedly saved bookmakers around £50million in pay-outs, as for Annie Power her luck changed a year later when winning the Champion Hurdle.
4 Benie Des Dieux 2019 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle
The Willie Mullins team and those who love to back his Cheltenham bankers thought there would never be another day like Annie Power’s defeat, but lightning struck twice in just four years.
It was with the same jockey and in the same colours, and just like Annie Power she had her rivals fighting for second as she approached that now famous final flight. But history repeated herself as she slammed to the ground and handing Roksana and Dan Skelton a festival first.
5 Goshen 2020 JCB Triumph Hurdle
One that is certainly fresh in our memories, or perhaps still giving nightmare is Goshen’s final-flight slip in the Triumph Hurdle. He was heavily backed for the Friday’s opener following three spectacular wins and eased into a wide-margin lead with just the last hurdle in sight.
Jamie Moore was lifted in the saddle before Goshen’s two left legs became almost stuck for a few short seconds, unbalancing the horse and sending Moore crashing to the floor.
He should’ve been the star of the festival this year but it ended in the most disastrous fashion – perhaps he can make amends in 2021.