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The Festival 2019 - updated statistics

The Festival™ presented by Magners was staged this year at Cheltenham from Tuesday, March 12 through to Friday, March 15 with a record total attendance of 266,779 over the four days.
 
Ian Renton, Regional Director, The Jockey Club South West, said at the conclusion of The Festival (Gold Cup Day, Friday, March 15): "It's been absolutely wonderful, and the most extraordinary four days of Jump racing. The Thursday, in particular, will live long in the memory of everyone that was here to witness it.
 
"It has been a challenging Festival - in the lead-up we had equine flu, which caused a bit of a stop-start for a few days, and internally we were a little concerned about the forecast for windy Wednesday, which we had been aware of some way in advance. That forced us to spend quite a bit of time thinking of contingency plans. Fortunately, they weren't needed.
 
"In terms of stories surrounding the winners I cannot remember a better Festival. Tiger Roll's win in the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase, his fourth at the meeting, was wonderful, and Altior's victory in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase was a great illustration of an outstanding steeplechaser. For Gavin Cromwell's first Festival win to come in the Unibet Champion Hurdle [with Espoir D'Allen] was quite a rarity.
 
"We have all been waiting for Willie Mullins to win the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, so the victory by Al Boum Photo, who he trains, was a delight for everyone who follows Jump racing.
 
"Finding a personal highlight is not easy, but to see Bryony [Frost] presenting Frodon at the fences in the Ryanair Chase, and watching her proving to be such an accomplished jockey is hard to beat. The way she portrayed herself after the race and her obvious love for that horse was wonderful to watch. Similarly, from Thursday afternoon, the win for Paisley Park in the Sun Racing Stayers' Hurdle, and the dignified way his [blind] owner, Andrew Gemmell, showed his delight, was great for the sport.
 
"The team here at Cheltenham have worked tirelessly throughout, and I hope everyone who has attended has thoroughly enjoyed their visit. I'm looking forward to the 2020 Festival already."
 
DAY/YEAR 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
FRIDAY 71,816 70,684 70,160 70,242 68,957 
THURSDAY 67,821 66,384 66,200 65,544 60,495 
WEDNESDAY 59,209 58,95957,681 57,093 55,359 
TUESDAY 67,934 66,110 66,019 67,700 63,249
Totals   266,779 262,637 260,060 260,579 248,050 
new record figures for The Festival since 2005 when it became a four-day event in bold
 
The Holland Cooper Leading Jockey Award went to Nico de Boinville for the first time. The 29-year-old is first jockey to Nicky Henderson and was only rider across the four days to secure three winners, which were headed by Altior's second successive victory in the G1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase. 
 
2019 was the joint most successful year ever for female riders at The Festival, with four wins. For the first time, all four victories were accomplished by professional female jockeys. 
 
Bryony Frost created history by becoming the first female to ride a G1 chase winner at The Festival, when partnering Frodon to victory in the Ryaniar Chase.
 
Rachael Blackmore, who currently lies in second in the Irish Jump Jockeys' Championship, gained her first and second victories at The Festival, including Minella Indo in the G1 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle. Lizzie Kelly provided the fourth female win this year aboard Siruh Du Lac in the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase.
 
Three more riders celebrated their first success at The Festival this year, amateur Alex Edwards, Jonjo O'Neill jnr and Kielan Woods. 
 
The Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award went to Willie Mullins with four winners. Ireland's champion Jump trainer narrowly edged out Britain's champion Jump trainer, Nicky Henderson, who also had four winners but one less second place. It was a sixth The Independent Leading Trainer Award for Mullins following honours in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
 
Mullins remains the leading trainer of all-time at The Festival with 65 winners - one ahead of Henderson on 64. This year saw Mullins finally land the biggest prize of all at The Festival, with Al Boum Photo taking the £625,000 G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup. 
 
Henderson's four winners in 2019 were headed by Altior, who landed the G1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase for the second year. Altior's victory enabled Henderson to join the late Tom Dreaper as the most successful trainer ever in the two-mile chasing championship with six victories. 
 
Five trainers gained their first victory at The Festival in 2019 - Martin Brassil, Ben Case, Gavin Cromwell, Joseph O'Brien, who enjoyed two wins, and Philip Rowley.
 
The NetJets Leading Owner Award went to J P McManus, who took the honours for the first time after the 2017 and 2018 honours went to Gigginstown House Stud. 
 
J P McManus, who had five winners during the week, remains as the most successful owner ever at The Festival, with 59 victories. Among his successes are a record eight Unibet Champion Hurdles, with his famous silks carried to victory again in the 2019 renewal by Espoir d'Allen.
 
Honours were even in the 888 Prestbury Cup, with the 28 races at The Festival split equally between Britain and Ireland with 14 winners for each country. 
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