It does take me a while to completely clear my head of Cheltenham matters and were it not for the Grand National meeting, I could still be thinking about Prestbury Park well into May.
But before I do yet another review I must just mention the fallout from the National Hunt Chase.
As I was starting this article it was announced that Declan Lavery had been successful in his appeal against his ban for riding in the race. I, like many other fans of the game, believe this is the correct decision.
For what it is worth my view is that those who originally banned him were looking more on how it was perceived to those watching. This seems to happen whenever we are being attacked from outside, only this time the BHA beat any protestors to the punch.
Horses will get tired in these long races and Jerrysback was almost nursed over the last two fences and was reported to be fine the next day.
Another point made was that Lavery, being an amateur, was treated differently than if he had been Ruby Walsh or Barry Geraghty in the same situation. Something to think about I guess. But, thankfully, common sense was to be found on the appeals committee.
Calm and rational
Back to the races and at the risk of repeating myself, and others, here is a more calm and, hopefully, more rational overview of a cracking four days.
Once again previous Festival form was a factor for some of the winners. Obviously Altior and Tiger Roll defended their titles and Benie De Deux may well have done the same had she not tipped up at the last in the Mares Hurdle. But others ran well at Cheltenham last year.
RSA winner Topofthegame was runner up in the 2018 Coral Cup just ahead of William Henry who won the same race this year.
The RSA second, Delta Work, won the Pertemps and runner up, Santini, had been third in the Albert Bartlett in 2018. I am really excited about the first three in the RSA.
Early Doors and Sire Du Berlais were third and fourth in the Martin Pipe last year and both won races this term with the former going two places better in the same race.
Duc De Genievres won the Arkle a year on from running fifth behind Samcro in the Ballymore and Beware The Bear was fourth in the Ultima and won this years version.
Defi De Seuil had an interrupted 2017/18 and his stable was so out of form last term, but he was the Triumph Hurdle winner in 2017 so his JLT win was not such a surprise, especially as Barry Geraghty was very sweet on him.
He beat Lostintranslation, who was only eight lengths behind Summerville Boy in the Supreme in 2018. The form of that race was being doubted mainly due to the winner being beaten by forty five lengths in two runnings this season.
But Mengli Khan was third in what looks a good JLT, Sharjah has won two Grade One hurdles in Ireland and was brought down when Buveur D’air fell in the Champion Hurdle and Us And Them was runner up in the Arkle.
The Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo fell in the RSA last year when in third. I am not sure he would have been better than placed but I doubt connections care about that now. Runner up Anibale Fly was third in the race last year. Next years winner?
It is not an exact science but it seems to pay to look at horses who have at least run at the Festival.
Keep an eye on
A few I will take out of the meeting (apart from the winners) include my selections Glen Forsa, who was out of the race too early in the Arkle so I will follow him and Brewinupastorm looks another to keep an eye on.
Apple’s Shakira was running only her second race this season when sixth in the Coral Cup and she could still have a few pounds in hand.
Forest Bihan ran a stormer off top weight in the Grand Annual and could have a chance to win a race before the end of the season off that sort of mark.