You’ve been there, your best mate has been there – everyone has been there. You’ve been sat sitting pretty on a short-priced fav who’s trading at massive odds-on approaching the latter stages only for something to go awry and ruin your week.
Well folks, we’ve decided that you should get your Cheltenham week off to the best possible start, so we’re offering MONEY BACK ON ALL 2nd, 3rd AND 4th-PLACED LOSERS on the opening day of the festival for online customers.
That’s right – just under two weeks to go, you can sit assured that if your selection manages to flop in the run-in and drop even three places in the race, that you get your money back.
Now with that comfort in mind, let’s look back on some of the biggest in-play busts at Cheltenham over the last few years.
Consider this a trigger warning.
The OLBG Mares’ Hurdle, previously known as the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle was first run in 2008, and there probably hasn’t been a more dramatic running of it since. Prior to the race, Jonjo O’Neill’s mare Refinement was generally a 10/1 shot.
Held up in the early stages, AP McCoy slowly began to let her feel her way into the race. She looked outpaced three out, but made rapid headway approaching the last.
She would lead after just sneaking ahead of Donald McCain’s Whiteoak and seemed all but the winner, trading at 1/100 in-play.
However, Whiteoak would inexplicably manage to get her nose back in front at the post – causing one of the biggest in-play busts in Cheltenham history.
Tofino Bay (2013)
Was this Nina Carberry’s darkest defeat or Patrick’s most exhilarating finish? Probably both.
Another 1/100 in-play runner, Gigginstown’s Tofino Bay was an 8/1 shot in the ring as they went to post and travelled into the race like a good thing – outstaying the 9/4 Willie Mullins-trained favourite Back in Focus. Or so it seemed.
Patrick was three lengths down approaching the second-last and Tofino Bay had yet to properly come off the bridle in this four-miler slug on genuinely soft ground.
But after the last, the Bishop of Cashel gelding had no more to give on the flat and was shot down at 1/100 in-play by Patrick for the Wylies.
Any Currency (2014)
The ironically-named Any Currency is next in your hall of nightmares to relive. That is, unless you were on festival favourite Balthazar King for the Cross Country on this particular day.
Philip Hobbs-trained son of King’s Theatre is well-renowned among Festival lovers, but he acted the panto villain on this particular day.
Any Currency has travelled much strong in the latter half of the race and when it became clear that only three horses were left in contention, Balthazar King held the narrowest of leads but was looking in trouble.
After the last, the horses were practically neck and neck with only the 1/50-in-play shot Any Currency looking like having any more to give. But for all the style points for his head carriage, he never once stole the lead off Richard Johnson.
It is in finishes like this that legends are made.
While Whisper has a longer price in-running (1/50) than some on this list, the way in which he lost this race will long stick in the memory.
The RSA looked a very strong race on this given year, with Might Bite (5/2 SP) leading the betting and for good reason. Whisper was a general 9/2 shot but never travelled like the winner of this race when compared to the favourite.
But given Might Bite is a son of Scorpion, there’s always a touch of madness to him. And while he was well clear after the last and seemingly powering home, he began to idle and drift towards the stand willing him to straighten.
Whisper took over and appeared to have capitalise on the manic nature of Nicky Henderson’s stable star. However, Nico de Boinville got a tune out of him to make up the lengths, to win by a nose from a seemingly stationary start.
Annie Power (2015)
Let’s be realistic – you knew this was coming.
We probably don’t even need to remind you what happened here, but feel free to watch this clip to remind yourself.