Cheltenham's first big meeting of the new season has come and gone but there were a few horses that I won't be forgetting in a hurry.
Naturally when watching National Hunt racing these days, any performance of note immediately leads to thoughts of the Festival in March. Some say it's a bad thing, others feel it's good. I sit firmly in the latter camp simply because those four days give context to all other events during the season yet doesn't detract from the significance of the really major races such as the Hennessy and the King George.
So on the back of what we saw last weekend here are three horses that may be worth following for the rest of the season and could conceivably end up at the Cheltenham Festival.
On Friday the Steel Plate and Sections Novices Chase produced a flimsy jumping test with the removal of six fences because of a low sun, nevertheless some good horses lined up for it and I'm certain that, although only 3rd, Urban Hymn remains a young staying chaser of serious potential.
He was a classy hurdler, finishing 7th in the Albert Bartlett at the Festival and started his chasing career with an excellent 2nd over an inadequate two miles at Carlisle, but given that he was a winner over a mile further during his hurdling career, the step up in trip last Friday should have suited.
However I was a little surprised that his rider, Brian Hughes, didn't make it more of a test and in the end he was beaten by two speedier types in Champagne West and Colour Squadron. Urban Hymn jumped soundly and it was another promising effort and there will be a big day ahead this season.
I felt the winner of Saturday's Paddy Power Gold Cup was not given enough credit in light of some tremendous efforts from the placed horses, notably runner-up John's Spirit. Yes Caid Du Berlais was getting plenty of weight from those closest in behind him but he palpably relishes Cheltenham.
In two other starts there he has been 2nd in the Fred Winter and 3rd in the Martin Pipe. Something like the Byrne Group Plate in March looks right up his street.
Finally on Sunday Vaniteux had to given best to Garde La Victoire in the Greatwood Hurdle, but he moved through the race like a very good horse who will be better on slightly quicker ground.
In addition, having watched his run behind Vautour last March and his win at Aintree afterwards, I think he lengthens and doesn't quicken and the slow pace in the Greatwood wouldn't have suited him. I don't think he has too much to find to be a realistic Champion Hurdle contender and given a strong pace and better ground I think he can run well on the opening day of next year's Festival.
But that's all a long way away, closer to hand is the Betfair Lancashire Chase on Saturday and I will be backing Taquin Du Seuil who will love the ground and is open to more improvement this season.
If you're following me in, good luck!
Rishi is a sports broadcaster who has covered some of the greatest events across many sports including the last three Olympic Games in Athens, Beijing and London for the BBC. He has also presented or reported on golf, snooker, cricket, eventing plus many more and in the last few years I have covered the Ryder Cup, US Masters, The Open, The Cricket World Cup, Snooker World Championship and Eventing at Badminton and Burleigh.
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