Willie Wumpkins won which Cheltenham Festival race three times?
For the record, Willie Wumpkins actually won four times at the Cheltenham Festival during his career. His first win came, as a five-year-old, in the Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle, nowadays known as the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle for sponsorship purposes, in 1973. At that point, Willie Wumpkins was trained in Ireland by Adrian Maxwell, but was subsequently transferred to his aunt, Jane Pilkington, a permit-holder based in Gloucestershire; much later in his career, he would find fame thanks to his exploits in what was the Coral Golden Hurdle Final and what is, nowadays, the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle.
Regardless of its title, since its inception in 1974, the three-mile contest has always been one of the most competive handicap hurdle races of the season. Nevertheless, in 1979, as an eleven-year-old, Willie Wumpkins defied odds of 25/1 to win under leading amateur rider Jim Wilson, the son-in-law of his trainer. Not only that, but he returned to the Cheltenham Festival in 1980 to win the same race again, as a twelve-year-old and, again, in 1981, as a thirteen-year-old. Unsrprisingly, nearly three decades after winning for the third time, Willie Wumpkins remains the most successful horse in the history of the Pertemps Network Final.