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Cheltenham Festival: Day one recap

Espoir D’Allen threw up the biggest surprise of the Cheltenham Festival thus far, winning the Champion Hurdle despite being a 16-1 longshot.

Trainer Gavin Cromwell secured a first win at the Festival, while highly-fancied Buveur D’Air fell at the third hurdle.

Melon (20/1) and Silver Streak (80/1) will have brought in the money for hopeful punters, as they finished in second and third, respectively.

In the day’s other races, Klassical Dream (6/1) won the Supreme Novices Hurdle, and Duc Des Genievres (5/1) came out on top in the Arkle Chase. Both horses, incidentally, are trained by Willie Mullins. But Mullin’s hopes of a three-peat came to an agonising end as the favourite Benie Des Dieux fell at the final hurdle in the Mares Hurdle.

Mullins’ day ended in solemn circumstances as he lost Ballyward in the National Hunt Challenge Cup for amateur riders.

The frontrunner fell at the 17th jump, and had to be euthanised.

The race was won by Le Breuil, who finished half a length in front of Discorama.

Beware The Bear (10/1) won the Handicap Chase, while A Plus Tard (5/1) took the Novice Handicap.

Moving onto Ladies Day on Tuesday, it has been confirmed the day’s races will go ahead after passing an early inspection. Stay tuned for more Cheltenham Festival coverage.

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