Ten Festival losers to keep an eye on... steam ahead for White Star Line
Every bookmaker knows Sprinter Sacre will win many more races after his dazzling performance at the Cheltenham Festival last week. Here are 10 more horses, all beaten at Prestbury Park, that might prove more profitable to follow.
White Star Line
Trainer: Dessie Hughes
Unlucky to bump into an improver as freakish as Hunt Ball in the Pulteney Novices' Handicap Chase on the first day of the Festival, seeing off the rest decisively after travelling and jumping well under a fine waiting ride from Bryan Cooper. That was only the eight-year-old's fourth start over fences and his relish for the strong gallop already qualifies him as a likely sort for top handicap chases over the same course next season.
Kicking King's six-year-old brother duly proved well suited by a faster surface when third in the National Hunt Chase, jumping superbly for Nina Carberry and keeping on stoutly. Admittedly well positioned in a race run at a fairly sedate gallop – watch out for Daffern Seal, who kept on well from the rear for sixth – his bold style makes him eligible for a John Smith's Grand National preparation next year.
Had most of the Coral Cup field in trouble as his rider kicked for home a long way out, but those tactics seemed to backfire as he faded into seventh on the hill. He was stepping up five furlongs in trip, after all, though perhaps an interval of only 11 days since a Newbury comeback simply proved inadequate. Either way, he can be a force off his new mark.
Only a winner could have done more to consolidate his trainer's reputation last week, New Year's Eve in particular looking an outstanding prospect when just outstayed in the bumper. On the face of it, this was the stable's most disappointing runner – just 15th in the Coral Cup – but he was recovering impressively from traffic problems when making a mistake at the sixth. Few miles on the clock, especially at this kind of distance.
Useful on the Flat and looked better than his rating as he broke clear of the field, travelling strongly, in the Fred Winter Juveniles' Handicap Hurdle. It proved an awfully long way home, however, and the petrol ran dry after the final flight. Not beaten far into fourth, even so, and likely to last home better for more patient tactics or a sharper test.
Yes Way Hosay
Failed to meet his reserve when sent through the ring last May, but his small Irish stable will surely be receiving agreeable offers now that this real chasing type has run so well in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper. A winner at Wexford last autumn, his only previous start under Rules, he still looked green into the straight but came powering home for fifth. Built and bred to keep improving.
Enjoying a much better preparation for the John Smith's Grand National this time round, and can duly be expected to make more of an impact at Aintree next month. That would not be terribly difficult, admittedly, as he got no farther than the second last year – but he certainly looked in fine fettle when second in the Fulke Walwyn-Kim Muir Chase, jumping boldly under a positive ride. With only 10st 3lb at Aintree, he has all the right attributes.
Up the Beat
Was making only his fourth start over fences in the Fulke Walwyn-Kim Muir Chase, and shaped as though he has a good deal more ability than his present rating allows. Dropped right out despite a fairly undemanding gallop, he closed very smoothly even as the race developed ahead – an effort that duly took its toll on the hill, where he flattened out into fourth.
Laid out for the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Hurdle in masterly fashion and backers will still be wondering how they failed to collect. Tanking when sent into the lead between the last two, he lost momentum over the final flight and was just worried out of it on the hill. May yet find compensation over the sharper track at Aintree, but his build promises even better in time over fences.
Oiseau De Nuit
Gets on well with Steven Clements and still in with a shout of repeating their success a year previously in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase when brought down five out. As thing turned out, they would never have beaten Bellvano – under ride of the season by Paul Carberry – but he ran well off this kind of mark at Aintree last year and is likely to do so again.
Chris McGrath's nap
Bow To No One (4.35 Warwick)
Looks dangerously handicapped after learning the ropes over shorter distances. Provided that experience produces some improved jumping, this trip can summon upon the stamina she has shown on the Flat.
Islesman (8.25 Kempton)
Highly effective round here and, from the rails draw and with an encouraging record when fresh, worth chancing off a mark clearly within his competence.
Where the money's going
Synchronised, the Gold Cup winner, was restored as 8-1 favourite by Coral after being left in the John Smith's Grand National at yesterday's forfeit stage.
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