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Close Brothers and the Cheltenham Festival

Tuesday 14 to Friday 17 March 2023
Four days, 28 races and 250,000 racegoers

Tune in to ITV for the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle at 4.10 pm on Tuesday 14 March 2023

Race: (Grade 1) 2m 3f 200y

Final entries:

Horse name, country, age, weight, trainer, jockey

1 Brandy Love (IRE) h 7 11 5 W. P. Mullins, P. Townend

2 Echoes In Rain (FR) ts 7 11 5 W. P. Mullins, Mr P. W. Mullins

3 Epatante (FR) 9 11 5 Nicky Henderson, Aidan Coleman

4 Honeysuckle 9 11 5 Henry de Bromhead, Rachael Blackmore

5 Love Envoi (IRE) ts 7 11 5 Harry Fry, Jonathan Burke

6 Marie's Rock (IRE) ts 8 11 5 Nicky Henderson, Nico de Boinville

7 Midnight Ginger 7 11 5 Andrew Martin, James Martin

8 Queens Brook (IRE) 8 11 5 Gordon Elliott, Davy Russell

9 Shewearsitwell (IRE) 8 11 5 W. P. Mullins Ireland Closutton Racing Club Daniel Mullins

10 Theatre Glory (IRE) 6 11 5 Nicky Henderson, Daryl Jacob

Cheltenham Festival 2023

14 to 17 March

2023 Event Schedule

    1.30 pm The Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle Race (Grade 1)
    2.10 pm The Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
    2.50 pm The Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
    3.30 pm The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) 
    4.10 pm The Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle (Grade 1)
    4.50 pm The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Race (Premier Handicap)
    5.30 pm The National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Amateur Riders 'Novices' Chase) (Grade 2) 


    1.30 pm The Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) 
    2.10 pm The Brown Advisory Novices' Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
    2.50 pm The Coral Cup Hurdle (A Handicap Hurdle Race) (Premier Handicap)
    3.30 pm The Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase (Grade 1) 
    4.10 pm The Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase
    4.50 pm The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Premier Handicap)
    5.30 pm The Weatherbys Champion Bumper (A Standard Open NH Flat Race) (Grade 1) 



    1.30 pm The Turners Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 
    2.10 pm The Pertemps Network Final (A Handicap Hurdle Race) (Listed) 
    2.50 pm The Ryanair Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
    3.30 pm The Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle (Grade 1)
    4.10 pm The Cheltenham Plate (A Handicap Steeple Chase) (Premier Handicap)
    4.50 pm The Jack de Bromhead Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2)
    5.30 pm Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup (sponsored by the JRL Group) Handicap Steeple Chase (0-145)

    1.30 pm The JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1)
    2.10 pm The McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle Race (Premier Handicap) 
    2.50 pm The Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Race (Grade 1) 
    3.30 pm The Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
    4.10 pm The St James's Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Steeple Chase
    4.50 pm The Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Steeple Chase (Grade 2)
    5.30 pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle Race (0-145) 

    Close Brothers at the Cheltenham Festival History


    Close Brothers first year at the Cheltenham Festival, sponsoring the 17:30pm Novices Handicap Chase on the opening day of the festival. Won by Ballyalton (IRE).


    The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase this year was a thrilling race, but in the end Tully East came through and won by a cosy length-and-a-quarter.


    Bottom weight Mister Whitaker came out best in the closest finish on day one of the Festival for trainer Mick Channon and jockey Brian Hughes.


    Rachael Blackmore landed her first Cheltenham Festival winner with a superb ride on A Plus Tard to land the 2019 Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase. A Plus Tard’s win was the first of the festival by a favourite, coming just half an hour after the short-priced Benie Des Dieux had fallen when clear at the final fence in the Mares’ Hurdle.


    A switch of race this year saw Close Brothers now sponsoring the Mares Hurdle on day 1 of the Festival. Benie Des Dieux was a strong favourite to take the race but Rachael Blackmore pinched the race with a decisive move around the home bend on board Honeysuckle.


    Due to Covid-19 this year’s Cheltenham Festival took place behind closed doors, with no crowds in attendance. In a thrilling finish, Black Tears ridden by Jack Kennedy and trained by Denise Foster took the race to deny the Willie Mullins trained favourite Concertista.


    Marie’s Rock, who was well in command towards the finish, wins the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle. Ridden by Nico de Boinville and trained by Nicky Henderson.