Cheltenham's November Meeting provided three super days of action which had pretty much everything.
The heartstrings were tugged by the impressive Lalor whose turn of foot to move to the front in the Arkle trial coupled with superb leaps at the last three fences captured the imagination.
His reception was nearly equalled a day earlier for a horse that had finished only third. Coneygree put up a superb performance giving weight away all round, showing all his old verve and hopefully he can stay in one piece for the season as the sight of him mixing it with Native River in a Gold Cup would be something to behold.
As regards future clues, if the dry spell persists it would surely be hard for connections of Sceau Royal to resist a crack at the Tingle Creek. He was electric at his fences and proved his ability round Sandown in the Henry VIII last season. He could prove a worthy opponent for Altior, whose tendency to hit a flat spot could potentially be exploited by the nimble and athletic Sceau Royal.
Le Breuil was possibly a shade flattered on the day to finish second to Count Meribel, due to the mistakes of others, but he put up an extremely solid round for a novice and given further and on softer ground there could be a nice handicap in him at some stage of the season.
Amidst the melee of the BetVictor Gold Cup there may have been a well disguised good effort from Ballyandy, who was brought to a standstill in the pile up at the last ditch. He was unlikely to have been involved in the finish given the way front-running tactics favoured the speedy conditions on the sharper Old course but on the New Course for the Caspian Caviar he would look handily treated on the pick of his hurdles form, which saw him win a Betfair Hurdle off 135.
Four selections for Tuesday, starting with:
The step up in trip looks likely to suit Roger Charlton’s gelding who found trouble at Wolverhampton last time. He has taken some time to get his act together and this 2m could see him to even better effect.
Should be better for his recent third at Ffos Las, where he just seemed to lack for fitness in the closing stages. That race has worked out well and off the same mark Eaton Miller can gain his first success.
Has proved consistent and versatile and can return to winning ways having been narrowly beaten at Nottingham last time. Cheekpieces go on for the first time, which may help him sit a little bit closer. That may be important in a race where there is a danger Medalla De Oro could get a soft time on the front end.
Having missed last season through injury it has taken a few runs and a drop in the handicap for William Muir’s charge to find his feet. There were signs last time that he was coming to hand and with the yard going well another drop in the ratings makes him of interest.