While many Cheltenham Festival hopefuls are trained in and around the countryside outside of Swindon, including at the horse racing hubs of Marlborough and Lambourn, the home team was largely outclassed on the track this year. Much has been made of the almost total Irish dominance.
Regardless of where Cheltenham winners come from, the Festival is always the highlight of the jumps season. There is plenty to take out of this year's meeting with an eye on the future, with these races, in particular, proving potentially useful.
Put The Kettle On Triumphs in Champion Chase
Following horses proven over course and distance often pays off, and that was the case for backers of Henry De Bromhead's game mare Put The Kettle On. She came into the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Ladies Day with three wins from three at the track and trip.
Put The Kettle On was out to reverse Leopardstown form with Chacun Pour Soi, who had gone on to land a second Dublin Chase after their Christmas clash. She was not to be denied, however, and got up the famous Cheltenham hill best to prevail by half-a-length over Nube Negra.
Both Chacun Pour Soi, who loomed up to win the race but faded into third close home, and Greaneteen have since come out and won Grade 1s at Sandown and Punchestown respectively. Next year's Queen Mother Champion Chase online horse racing betting is all about ascending two-mile star Shishkin. But it would be foolish to ignore the claims of Put The Kettle On at double-figure odds each-way, with tipsters and prediction tools likely to be recommending the same.
Flooring Porter Floors Rivals from Front in Stayers' Hurdle
Gavin Cromwell made his Cheltenham Festival breakthrough back in 2018 when the ill-fated Espoir D'Allen won the Champion Hurdle. Three years on from that, Flooring Porter jumped well and made all, proving his Leopardstown win over the Christmas period wasn't a fluke.
As a six-year-old, he has the potential to dominate the staying hurdle division in Ireland for years to come. Flooring Porter was too good for dual Pertemps Final winner Sire Du Berlais and the Marlborough-trained Emma Lavelle stable star Paisley Park. Additionally, the latter is now taking longer and longer to recover from his customary flat spot.
Cromwell also had the other Grade 1 staying hurdle winner. Vanillier bounced back from sickness at the Dublin Racing Festival with Cheltenham glory under similar tactics in the Albert Bartlett for novices. Also aged six, it could pay to follow both young, improving horses next season and their trainer may keep the pair apart.
Gold Cup One-two for De Bromhead
Minella Indo was simply incredible!
— CheltenhamRacecourse (@CheltenhamRaces) March 19, 2021
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is always an obvious highlight as the Blue Riband event of National Hunt steeplechases. De Bromhead, who earlier in the Festival won the Champion Hurdle with Honeysuckle, completed a clean sweep of the top three races at the meeting.
Not content with that, he also trained the first two home in the Gold Cup. Minella Indo had been disappointing on his last two starts but, after returning to the scene of his greatest triumph following success in the 2019 Albert Bartlett, he prevailed in a dramatic renewal.
Nicky Henderson pair Champ and Santini pulled up, while De Bromhead duo Minella Indo and A Plus Tard fought out the finish and denied Al Boum Photo a historic Gold Cup hat-trick. With top novice prospects Envoi Allen and Monkfish suffering defeats, Minella Indo could be the favourite to win at Cheltenham again in 2022.