Potential Shock Winners at Cheltenham Festival 2022
One of the reasons people love horse racing is the unpredictability of the sport, which has a long history of unfancied jockeys and horses coming together to race to victory.
As one of the sport’s most prestigious and popular events, the Cheltenham Festival, has contributed to this history – each March event typically brings with it several unexpected victories. Shock wins are a big part of why the festival is so popular with the many fans who enjoy betting, as these wins come with big payouts.
The festival is one of the most eagerly anticipated horse racing events of the year, with national coverage on TV and radio channels. Additionally, sites such as Racing TV provide live streams, replays and Cheltenham betting offers that can be used throughout the event.
Everyone loves an underdog story, so fans at home and in the stadium this year will be hoping to see some shock winners to match some of the previous ones who have captivated spectators.
Previous Cheltenham Shock Winners
Listing all of the shock winners from the festival’s history would be impossible, thanks to the sheer number that there has been. However, for fans, there are some that spring to mind immediately.
1990 Gold Cup winner Norton’s Coin, who was confidently ridden to victory by Graham McCourt, is certainly one of them. The gelding was first to the post, despite being rated at 100/1 before the race.
Four years later Arctic Kinsman surprised fans both at the racecourse and at home when he won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle as a 50/1 outsider.
More recent surprise wins include Cue Card at 40/1 in the Champion Bumper in 2010, whose win by over 8 lengths surprised experts and fans.
Espoir D’Allen won the Champion Hurdle in 2019 in stunning fashion when he took advantage of falls from his opponents to take the victory. He was an outsider at 16/1, but the victory was more impressive because of the way it was achieved.
Al Boum Photo – Gold Cup
Trained by renowned national hunt trainer Willie Mullins, Al Boum Photo is in fine form leading up to Cheltenham Festival. Although he has only raced twice since last year’s Gold Cup, where he placed third, he has performed admirably in both races.
He finished second at Punchestown, losing narrowly to Clan Des Obeaux, before taking an eight month break. He returned in January this year to win at Tramore ahead of a field of four.
Despite his great recent form and last year’s strong performance, he has been quoted as high as 10/1 for the Gold Cup, which says less about his chances and more about the quality of the field.
Fakir D’Oudairies – Ryanair Chase
Fakir D’Oudairies, a 7-year-old gelding trained by Joseph O’Brien, has a perfectly respectable track record in the sport. He has won at some of the UK’s most iconic racecourses including Aintree, Ascot and Cheltenham.
However, he’s never won a race at the festival, which may be the reason for his long odds – that are as high as 12/1 for the Ryanair Chase.
He has finished second twice at the festival, though, in the 2020 Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase and the 2021 Ryanair Chase. O’Brien will be hoping they can go one better this year.
Quilixios – Champion Hurdle
Since making his debut in 2020, Quilixios has built a strong reputation as a runner to watch out for. He is trained by the legendary Henry De Bromhead and partnered Grand National winner Rachael Blackmore to victory in the 2021 Triumph Hurdle. This was his 5th consecutive win, leading many to believe he was on his way to legendary status.
His next race was a disappointing one as he and Blackmore only managed to finish 7th from a field of 9 at Punchestown. The pair bounced back from this disappointment admirably with a 2nd place finish at Naas. He also finished runner-up in Limerick in December, under Darren O’Keeffe.
Quilixios has run only once so far this year, reuniting with Blackmore to finish 3rd at Gowran Park. The pair are expected to join forces once again for the Champion Hurdle, but Quilixios is quoted as high as 50/1 for the race.
Many fans are baffled by such long odds, but they could be down to the fact that he’s one of the youngest runners on the field. However, he boasts great speed and controlled jumping, so he’s sure to be a threat.