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2008 Cheltenham Festival

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2008 Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase
2008 Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy

Denis O' Regan and Tidal Bay lead as they clear the water jump before landing the 2008 Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy at Cheltenham Racecourse.

Julian Herbert/Getty Images
A field of 14 horses aged 5 and up went to post in the £170,000 Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase (G1) at 2 miles over 12 fences. 6-1 second choice Tidal Bay stalked the pace of 9-1 Kruguyrova, but despite stumbling at the 4th fence, moved up to second after the 9th fence, and then took over the lead with 2 fences to go. Through the stretch he drew off impressively to a 13 length victory in 4:03.40. It was just 1 1/2 lengths back from Kruguyrova to 7-4 favorite Noland in third.

Winning jockey Denis O'Regan said, "That was amazing, I'm nearly crying. I had a little doubt in my mind earlier in the week about him maybe running in the wrong race, but I must hand it to Howard. He wasn't fluent at one, but jumped absolutely brilliantly when he needed to. I was second in the Coral Cup last year but this is just fabulous."

Trainer Howard Johnson said, "They have been a little bit out of form but some of the horses just weren't good enough. If they aren't good enough, they can't win. I'll keep him going for Aintree but if I'm not happy he'll go out in a field."

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