Cheltenham Festival – Day one in pictures

Rachael Blackmore’s historic Champion Hurdle victory on Honeysuckle was missing only roars of encouragement and cheers of celebration as the 2021 Cheltenham Festival had to get by without crowds, under ongoing coronavirus restrictions. But as equine and human endeavour nonetheless lit up Prestbury Park, here the PA news agency traces a memorable day one of four in pictures:

Few were in attendance, but millions nonetheless shared the jubilation remotely for Unibet Champion Hurdle heroines Rachael Blackmore and Honeysuckle
Few were in attendance, but millions nonetheless shared the jubilation remotely for Unibet Champion Hurdle heroines Rachael Blackmore and Honeysuckle (Michael Steele/PA)

Cheltenham Festival 2021 – Day One – Cheltenham Racecourse
Winners – jockey Rachael Blackmore and trainer Henry de Bromhead have a Champion Hurdle on their CVs, thanks to Honeysuckle (David Davies/Jockey Club)

It was a glory day too for Shishkin and Nico de Boinville as Nicky Henderson's brilliant young chaser stayed unbeaten over fences with a dominant performance in the Arkle
It was a glory day too for Shishkin and Nico de Boinville as Nicky Henderson’s brilliant young chaser stayed unbeaten over fences with a dominant performance in the Arkle (David Davies/Jockey Club)

The turnstiles were motionless as a Cheltenham Festival like no other got under way on Tuesday
The turnstiles were motionless as a Cheltenham Festival like no other got under way on Tuesday (Tim Goode/PA)

Empty bookmaker stalls told their own tale too
Empty bookmaker stalls told their own tale too (Tim Goode/PA)

Cheltenham's regional director Ian Renton was a lone figure, watching the action from the grandstand
Cheltenham’s regional director Ian Renton was a lone figure, watching the action from the grandstand (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Appreciate It and Paul Townend were devoid of company as well as they surged clear to win the opening Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle very impressively
Appreciate It and Paul Townend were devoid of company as well as they surged clear to win the opening Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle very impressively (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Black Tears' Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle win was a Festival first for Denise Foster - who has taken over the running of Gordon Elliott's yard while he serves his well-documented ban. The narrow success was also the first leg of jockey Jack Kennedy's double and one of five Irish successes
Black Tears’ Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle win was a Festival first for Denise Foster – who has taken over the running of Gordon Elliott’s yard while he serves his well-documented ban. The narrow success was also the first leg of jockey Jack Kennedy’s double, and one of five Irish successes (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Favourites largely fared well on the opening day, but Sean Flanagan and Jeff Kidder's shock 80-1 victory in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle was a late leveller for the bookies
Favourites largely fared well on the opening day, but Sean Flanagan and Jeff Kidder’s shock 80-1 victory in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle was a late leveller for the bookies (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

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