Five horses to take out of the Festival - look to Tiger Roll for the ultimate prize
21 March 2017
The Cheltenham Festival provided its usual blend of the spectacular, the overrated and the disappointing. Finding horses to follow with credible targets is not easy, but in a general sense here are five that I thought were worth keeping an eye on.
This horse was given a sympathetic ride in the RSA Chase. He had fallen in a schooling session in Ireland prior to this race and Ruby Walsh seemed keen to get him settled behind in the early stages in order to get him jumping slickly.
This worked as he travelled and jumped well, without ever quite threatening to get involved. This will have done his confidence the world of good and he is a staying novice to be with going forward.
I opposed him in my Cheltenham lays column but he disappointed in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle. He was already beaten when unseating at the last flight of hurdles. He is not one to give up on, however. Trainer Gordon Elliott has made no bones about how highly he regards this horse, but on this occasion he got the trip wrong. Death Duty palpably failed to stay and was beaten just after being hampered at the second last. He is a strapping sort who will be a good chaser, but for now a drop back in trip will see him back in the winners' enclosure over hurdles.
This filly also ran in the Albert Bartlett where things simply didn't go her way after a bad early mistake. Held up by Ruby Walsh, she clattered the second hurdle after which he gave her plenty of time to regain her equilibrium. She travelled strongly and made significant late gains but after that early error just couldn't get involved. She is undoubtedly better than the bare result and may also benefit from a drop in trip. She would be something to bet on against her own sex over 2m 4f.
It may seem a little bizarre to follow him after his run in the Gold Cup in sixth. I thought he ran really well, however, and he has certainly looked to be a different horse since a wind operation.
He has had his issues since winning the Stayers' Hurdle at the Festival in 2014, but has so much ability and must have had a problem for him not to have run well for a while. Now we know he has had his wind sorted it is just a question of him regaining his confidence and I think his run on Friday indicated he was on his way back. Look out for him next month in the Randox Health Grand National, for which he was one of 79 to go forward on Tuesday. Longer term, he could be a horse for the Cross-country.
This horse was an amazingly impressive winner of the National Hunt Chase. He made a host of errors, yet every time he belted a fence he was quickly back on the bridle. In fact not only did he travel well after mistakes he absolutely tanked through the race. He is a remarkable talent, having won a Triumph Hurdle at two miles and now the National Hunt Chase at four. Going forward, he just could be a Gold Cup horse. It's a long shot but at around 50-1 there are worse each-way ante-post pokes out there.