After four brilliant days at the World Cup of Racing the Cheltenham Festival has now come to an end. Nonetheless there was some superb stand out performances that I believe made the festival exhilarating.
The race that everyone had been waiting for all festival was the Timico Gold Cup and the stand out performance was the winner, Sizing John ridden by Robbie Power. This horse was the first ever entrance by trainer Jessica Harrington’s stable and what an entrance it was. Sizing John is known to the racing world as the second best to Douvan who was also a Festival favourite, but after being fed up of always being second Jessica Harrington decided to move this horse up in trip to over three miles and what a decision that was. Sizing john stayed on past favourites Djakadam and Native River to win the Gold Cup emphatically at 7/1.This horse, Jockey and Trainer in my opinion showed the performance of the week.
Another Performance that showed Authority and grace from a beautiful horse was Willie Mullins Un DE Sceaux in the Ryanair Chase. This race was full of many contenders that could have won the race like Uxizandre and Empire Of Dirt but the favourite shrugged them off with ease and showed what force this horse has. Un De Sceaux was ridden by Ruby Walsh on the day he had four winners and silenced the doubters for the Festival. The 7/4 favourite outlined what a strong horse it is and has to be feared for the future to other stables.
The first race on the final day was the JCB Triumph Hurdle and the 5/2 favourite Defi Du Seuil gave an outstanding performance to win it. Trainer Phillip Hobbs and other English Trainers weren’t having the best of festivals but with this winner ridden by champion jockey Richard Johnson it restored some normality to proceedings. There was a lot of hype about this horse before the festival as it was unbeaten and everyone was just waiting to see what he could do and his performance confirmed what a special horse it is. Watch out for this one in the future.
On the Tuesday Altior was one of the festival bankers for many punters at ¼ in the Arkle Trophy and he did not disappoint. The favourite was clear with two fences to go and romped home for Trainer Nicky Henderson to the punters delight. Nico De Boinville gave him a solid ride and showed why he was many peoples banker of the week. This horse still has a lot to give and if so will be frightening in next year’s festival.
My last best performance of the week was on the Thursday in the Stayer hurdle where Nicholls Canyon for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh saw off strong Favourite Unowhatimeanharry with the best performance of the horse’s career. The favourite was 5/6 and was a banker for the day but a brilliant run against the rail by Ruby Walsh bought home Nicholls canyon in style at an outside 10/1 shot. This was just a typical Willie and Ruby combination that not a lot of people saw coming.