Top Five Horses To Take Away From The Festival

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1. Blue Sari

Purchased by JP McManus after his one and only run at Gowran Park in January, Blue Sari ran an absolute blinder behind the Gordon Elliott-trained Envoi Allen in the Champion Bumper on the Day Two curtain-closer.

Still clearly learning all the time, the Willie Mullins' 4yo pulled out under Barry Geraghty for a clearer run on the turn for home, and stormed up the straight to finish an unlucky second.

Both the winner and the second hold unprecedented amounts of ability, and will be two names to keep an eye on in the novice hurdle division when the new season dawns later in the year.

Credit - Racing TV

2. Topofthegame

Topofthegame provided Paul Nicholls with not only one of his highest-profile victories of the week, but also with a future candidate for the Gold Cup, in the same colours as former stable star and winner of the Cheltenham feature - Denman.

Runner up in the Coral Cup at the Festival last year, he finished second on both of his first two outings over fences prior to his date with destiny last week in the RSA; placing behind Defi Du Seuil at Exeter despite yielding a twenty-five length advantage at the start, before finishing next best to La Bague Au Roi at Kempton.

Topofthegame was sent off the third favourite to Santini and Delta Work, and stayed on stoutly up the hill to land the spoils under Harry Cobden.

Credit - Racing TV

3. Sam Spinner

The forgotten horse in the Stayers division - Sam Spinner, ran his heart out in second place for Jedd O'Keeffe in this year's renewal of the three-mile hurdles final, having disappointed for most of the season.

An immaculate season last year finished with a fair fifth in this contest, having been swamped up the straight by the Irish contingent.

The same could not be said this time around, having unseated at both Newbury and at Ascot, before he was well tailed off in the Cleeve Hurdle by eventual winner Paisley Park over the course and distance.

However, he showed glimpses that he is not over and done with just yet, and gave Joe Colliver a great 'spin' out in front, a jockey who was due to be in court to handle claims of drink driving, which were fortunately adjourned.

(Credit Racing TV)

4. Commander Of Fleet

Favourites never seem to fare well in the Albert Bartlett, and that was proved again as Minella Indo - a 50/1 shot for Rachael Blackmore got his nose in front in the gruelling test of stamina over hurdles.

Nevertheless, Commander Of Fleet was certainly one to take out of the race with chasing in mind next term, as he came home a fine second for a trainer - Gordon Elliott, for whom aside from Tiger Roll, found it tough to find a winner for the majority of the week.

For most of these, the three-mile distance was a first, but the 5yo proved a natural up the steep contours at Prestbury Park, and beat twenty horses home bar one.

Plenty more to come this year, if not next.

Credit - Racing TV

5. Anibale Fly

For many of us punters, we can openly say we expected other horses to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, not Al Boum Photo, by virtue of our tips and bets.

A worthy winner of course, but for the second year running, Anibale Fly popped up when deemed unlikely to do so, considering he was sent off at odds of 25/1 in some places.

The term 'outrun his/her odds' is often overused, but this 9yo placed for the second year running, and was charging home after the last.

Add a few extra furlongs, and he could have troubled the winner, which is why it appears also for the second year running, that he looks a worthy advocate for the Aintree Grand National.

Credit - Cheltenham Racecourse and Racing TV

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