GBI RACING

Buckets of rain – but a silver lining for some at Cheltenham

Espoir D'Allen and jockey Mark Walsh on their way to winning the Unibet Champion Hurdle on day one of the Cheltenham Festival

Espoir D’Allen’s Unibet Champion Hurdle victory ensured smiles after all for owner JP McManus, despite the early fall of his two-time title-holder Buveur D’Air, and a memorable first Grade One success for trainer Gavin Cromwell. Here, Press Association Sport charts the drama in pictures:

Trainer Gavin Cromwell (left), owner JPMcManus and jockey Mark Walsh after Espoir D’Allen's Champion Hurdle win
Trainer Gavin Cromwell (left), owner JPMcManus and jockey Mark Walsh after Espoir D’Allen’s Champion Hurdle win (Simon Cooper/PA)
Rain, rain: It was a wet start to the Festival for everyone
Rain, rain: It was a wet start to the Festival for everyone (Simon Cooper/PA)
Celebrity Nick Knowles just about managed to keep dry on arrival
Celebrity Nick Knowles just about managed to keep dry on arrival (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Take two: There was a false start to proceedings in the opening Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
Take two: There was a false start to proceedings in the opening Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
Klassical Dream and Ruby Walsh got it right in the Supreme, the jockey's 59th Festival winner
Klassical Dream and Ruby Walsh got it right in the Supreme, the jockey’s 59th Festival winner (Simon Cooper/PA)
Duc Des Genievres and Paul Townend made it two out of two for trainer Willie Mullins with their victory in the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy
Duc Des Genievres and Paul Townend made it two out of two for trainer Willie Mullins with their victory in the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy (Simon Cooper/PA)
It was a day of ups and downs for Willie Mullins, as Benie Des Dieux fell at the last to hand victory instead to Roksana in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle

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