The dust has now settled on the 2018 Cheltenham Festival, which provided us with some brilliant racing and the coronation of champions. Altior proved himself as the king of the two milers while Samcro showed he’s the real deal, with Laurina another showing she oozes class. There were plenty of horses who were unlucky at Cheltenham though and perhaps slipped under the radar, running much better than their finishing position suggested. We’ve gone back through the four days to find you six horses who we’d be taking forward with a view towards the future. Speaking of the future, we have antepost previews on site to view now as we draw closer to Aintree and they can be viewed now!
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One of last seasons best bumper horses, Western Ryder has been a very mixed novice hurdler, but there was no doubting he was unlucky in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. He was travelling powerfully into the contest when hampered two out, which gave him an impossible task from there on. He rallied gamely and made eye catching late headway into sixth up the run-in, giving the distinct impression he had plenty more to offer. Whether connections step him back up in distance is anyone’s guess, but he remains as a potentially classy hurdler who is yet to quite get the splits.
With only two runs over fences prior to his run in the JLT Novices’ Chase, perhaps inexperience told on the day for Kemboy. He travelled well for much of the race before making a shuddering error at a crucial stage, which ended all chance he had of fighting for victory. He kept on well to gain fourth, but he was clearly value for more and is a very interesting horse with a view to the future, as he’ll only improve with further experience.
The wind surgery that Vision Des Flos had in January has clearly worked the oracle for him as he ran a mighty race in the Ballymore behind Samcro on Day Two. He took over approaching the second last after jumping well in the front rank throughout, only tiring up the hill after going for home early in desperate conditions. The form of this year’s Ballymore looks extremely good and this five year old will make some chaser when he’s sent over the larger obstacles, as he’s got plenty more to offer.
After an eye catching British debut following on from some useful efforts in France, King’s Socks could be seen tanking through the Festival Plate Handicap on Day 3 from an early stage. He was still on the bridle after three out before struggling to get home up the hill, eventually finishing fifth. His mark is likely to be unchanged after that run and he gave the distinct impression he’d be much happier back on a flatter track. A small drop in distance could also work the oracle but regardless of what connections do, he’s got the ability to be a top class handicapper.
Making only her second start in Britain and Ireland, Stormy Ireland was far too lit up from an early stage in the Triumph Hurdle and that gave her a very tough task turning for home. She was only collared just before the last, undeservedly coming down at that flight. With conditions so poor on the Friday, the fact she was able to keep the lead for so long despite being so keen early on is a testament to her potential ability. If she can manage to settle early, at perhaps a flatter venue, she is a potentially very useful horse for the future.
After two impressive victories under rules for his top connections, Santini was always going to struggle to get on terms after being held up a long way out the back in the Albert Bartlett. He made a huge amount of progress on the wide outside approaching the second last, using plenty of petrol to get to that position. He kept on gamely up the hill to only be beaten four lengths, which was a brilliant effort given the circumstances. He remains an exciting prospect after only three runs and could potentially be top-class, so he’s not one to give up on just yet.