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Five to follow from Cheltenham 2017Posted on Monday 20th March 2017 @ 15.59

There were a host of eye catching runners at the Cheltenham Festival but here are five horses from Grade 1 races who should make a future impact.

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BALLYANDY - Supreme Novices Hurdle

It was a week to forget for a few trainers but the two most prominent examples were Colin Tizzard and Nigel Twiston-Davies. Both had leading fancies in valuable races, both came away empty handed, though at least Colin Tizzard went mightily close in the Champion Chase and the Gold Cup. The Twiston-Davies team, in contrast, hit the frame with Wholestone in the Albert Bartlett but that’s about it. Their week was summed up by the run of Ballyandy in the opener as he was stuck on the inside and blindsided going into couple of crucial hurdles. His jockey switched him out halfway through, but by then the damage was done and he never looked like winning. He did, however, plug on very gamely for fourth and a step up in trip and a bit more room to breathe at Aintree cold see a different result.

WICKLOW BRAVE - Champion Hurdle

The former Coral Cup winner was thrown in at the deep end following a lengthy absence. He fluffed the start and was rushed up into a strong position in the hottest part of the race. Unsurprisingly these exertions eventually cost him but he ran significantly better than his final position indicates. Whether he goes to Aintree, Pumchestown or even back to the flat for a summer campaign (he won the Irish St Leger last season of course) he’s one to follow closely this season.

MIGHT BITE - RSA Chase

What can be said about Might Bite that wasn’t uttered in the aftermath? An absolute monster with the engine of a performance sports car but the steering of a Robin Reliant, Might Bite won the RSA by a whisker from Whisper but should have won it by a street. Arguably the worst winning ride at the Festival, Nico de Boinville was either unable or unwilling to control Might Bite’s exuberance and instead took on two keen going front runners with more than a circuit to go. He’s clearly quite a handful and rates an extremely exciting prospect for the King George and Gold Cup.

YORKHILL - JLT Novices’ Chase

Shoulda woulda coulda with this one as he won the JLT in superlative fashion yet would have given Altior a massive run for his money in the more prestigious Arkle on day one. His cruising speed is a joy to behold and Ruby Walsh could barely contain his glee as he sauntered past the equally well-travelling Top Notch. He was sticking his neck out on the run in when his rival laid down a challenge and will be a major player in Grade 1 chases next season.

MEGA FORTUNE - Triumph Hurdle

The Irish form looked strong but it was the British favourite who won the Triumph Hurdle with a pitch perfect performance and ride from Richard Johnson. Mega Fortune set out to make all the running but was hassled for most of the way by the keen going Dinaria Des Obeaux. Whilst she finished out with the washing, Arthur Moore’s runner gritted his teeth and battled on to finish a remarkable second, similar in style to Apple’s Jade the year before. He’ll be a big danger if left to his own devices next time.

Article Posted on Monday 20th March 2017 @ 15.59

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