5 Horses To Follow From The Cheltenham Festival

Saint Calvados wins at Naas under Gavin Sheehan

It may seem like a long time ago already, but Cheltenham Festival was just a month ago. Our experts have been reviewing every race and have picked out five horses which are worth keeping a close eye on when racing does return.

Aspire Tower / Henry De Bromhead

Despite jumping poorly, his performance in the JCB Triumph Hurdle was something else after racing keenly for most of the journey. The incident-packed contest saw clear leader Goshen dramatically throw his chance away at the final flight but Aspire Tower kept on well up the run-in to fill the runner-up berth behind Burning Victory. With his jumping sure to be improved hailing from these quarters, wins at the highest level look likely this season.

Column Of Fire / Gordon Elliott

Having opened his account over hurdles at Punchestown in January, Column Of Fire looked en route to victory in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle only to fall at the final flight after looming up to challenge travelling ominously well. On that evidence, he looks one to keep on the right side in valuable handicaps over 2m4f and further this season.

Monalee / Henry De Bromhead

A gallant fourth in the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup behind Al Boum Photo, this 9yo is one to keep on the shortlist for Grade 1 staying chases later this term. He raced freely under Rachael Blackmore in the early stages on his latest start but saw out the longer trip well when keeping on well from the last to finish just under two lengths adrift of the Willie Mullins-trained dual Gold Cup hero. The Grade 1 Savills Chase over three miles at Leopardstown next Christmas looks a likely target.

Saint Calvados / Harry Whittington

Narrowly denied by Min in the Ryanair Chase after a crucial mistake at the final fence, this 7yo should have better days ahead for connections. The four-time winner over fences relishes testing ground and with underfoot conditions in his favour over the winter months expect this gelding to resume winning ways.

Thyme Hill / Philip Hobbs

Having started favourite for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle it wasn’t to be for his supporters when only fourth to a trio of Irish-trained challengers including winner Monkfish. However, his passage at the business end didn’t help and he was short of room before the final obstacle and again on the uphill climb to the finish. With better luck in running, it might have been a different story and he should hopefully make amends this season.

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