DAY ONE CHELTENHAM REVIEW

I have no doubt that the ground was dangerous at the meeting. It was fast and uneven in my estimation and it certainly was a huge contributing factor to the seven fatalities  and God only knows how many more horses went home sore. I suspect we will hear more in the coming days and weeks about other injuries and hopefully there won’t be too many more problems in future bought on by the atrocious surface. I think the ground and state of the track was a disgrace.

Supreme Novices Hurdle :

ALTIOR was impressive and clocked a very good speed figure of 42. I rated him the danger to Min [39] in my ante post column but he beat the Mullins horse well. For the future I think both of them will be best when sent over much further and indeed I would see them as future three milers. CHABREL [36] appeals as the horse to take out of the race for the immediate future and especially on a flat track. Keep him in mind for Punchestown. BELLSHILL has now disappointed on both visits to  Cheltenham but he could easily bounce back on good ground at any of the upcoming festivals like he did last term and he will be value from a punting point of view.

Arkle Chase :

DOUVAN [44 adjusted] is the real deal and simply blew his rivals away. He set the fractions too slow and Ruby will have learned from this for the future. He can go on to become a champion.

Ultima Handicap Chase :

UN TEMPS POUR TOUT [40]  has now won the twice he has raced over twenty five furlong plus and he looks an ideal candidate for the Grand National next year and any upcoming races over marathon distances.

Champion Hurdle :

ANNIE POWER [47] put up a spectacular performance to romp away with the great race. It is my belief that she would have beaten Faugheen if he had been in the field. I reckon that one of Willie Mullin’s biggest regrets is that he did not run her in the race in 2014 and it is quiet possible that she could have been going for three in a row this time round instead of gaining her first crown. ANNIE is a remarkable mare and the pity is that we will probably never see a showdown between her and Faugheen although it will be interesting what they will do next year if the former champion is fit. Maybe this time they should re route Faugheen to the Stayers World hurdle. MY TENT OR YOURS [44] can count himself unlucky to come up against a machine but he is not one to be trusted to follow this up with the same performance next time up. NICHOLS CANYON [44] stayed on strongly and could have done with slower ground. He looks a bit of a good thing for the Aintree hurdle should he go there. A line can be put through the effort of SEMPRE MEDICI who sprawled at the first and certainly did muscle damage so watch out for him wherever he goes.

OLBG Mares Hurdle :

VROUM VROUM MAG [42 adjusted] looks an absolute beast of a mare and confirmed her status as the second best female currently in training. She had never run on anything other than soft or heavy in her life and to put up such  a high class effort on fast going was remarkable when you also consider that it was only her third lifetime hurdles start on these shores [she did have one in France when second on her racecourse debut at Auteuil in 2014]. VROUM VROUM can go on to do just about anything, she could drop back to the Champion hurdle distance or go out to the Gold Cup trip. The other mare to take out of the event is LEGACY GOLD [39]. She is a bit of a win machine herself and will be very interesting when stepped up even further in trip and on good ground. There was absolutely no fluke about her showing here.

National Hunt Chase :

MINELLA ROCCO [38]  has abundant stamina and also showed courage here having been a long way back and then having to tough it out against the rallying NATIVE RIVER [37]. Both of these will have major claims when graduating into the many ‘nationals’ that are out there nowadays. The demise of PONT ALEXANDRE was heartbreaking, especially when you consider that he was simply cantering at the time and would surely have taken all the beating.

Close Brothers Novice Handicap Chase :

BALLYALTON [39] disproved the idea that they never come back with a gutsy display to repel the difficult to predict BOUVREUIL [38]. The former could be very interesting in the Paddy Power next year while the latter will probably always remain a bit enigmatic but sure to pop up somewhere. BRIDGETS PET [35] seems to love undulating tracks and could easily be dangerous at the Galway meeting in high Summer if turning up there.

 

 

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