CHELTENHAM 2013: Rueing a nearly day at Festival

Yesterday was a nearly day, as Jetson and Bostons Angel both ran their hearts out to be third and fourth.

Jetson was very unlucky in the Pertemps Final. He got shuffled back at the top of the hill and had that not happened, I think he would have won. At exactly the same time, Holywell made his move and it was just too much for Jetson to make up.

He made a bloody good attempt at it though, showing how much he relished the good ground by absolutely flying up the hill to grab third, just two lengths off the winner. It was a tremendous effort but there is no doubt that it was very bittersweet.

He is very lightly raced so we will see him a few more times before the season is over. There might be a three mile handicap hurdle at Aintree and Punchestown will come into the equation too. If the ground stays good there’s plenty to look forward to with him.

The cross-country course just had a patch around the front of the track that was tackier than any of the rest of it and you could see Bostons Angel struggling with it every time they came around that section.

It’s a pity really, as he travelled and jumped so well. He made one bad mistake as they were winding it up on the final circuit that might have cost him third but he flew the last couple and really stuck his neck out to be fourth.

We’ll see how he comes out of it now but I would definitely be looking at going to Aintree for the Grand National with him. I think he is the right sort of horse for that race.

It was great to see the Irish tally hitting 10 yesterday. The first four in the cross-country race were Irish-trained and you’d have to be delighted for Peter Maher. I was particularly pleased for Barry Cash. As a jockey coming to the very end of his career, to get a winner at Cheltenham is brilliant.

Speaking of jockeys, I’m sure everyone will join me in wishing Davy Russell and particularly John Thomas McNamara well. Davy is fine. He had a punctured lung and is having that treated. JT suffered very bad injuries, though, that led to him being airlifted from the track. Our thoughts are with him.

Today is all about the Gold Cup and Nicky is very happy with Bobs Worth. He has done everything that has been asked of him on the track and has great form at Cheltenham.

I wouldn’t be concerned about him not having run since beating Tiday Bay so impressively in the Hennessy at Newbury on December 1. Nicky is a past master at winning big prizes without a prep run. Just think of See You Then.

Long Run should run well too and I wouldn’t rule Sir Des Champs out at all. It will be interesting to see who gets that ride now that Davy is out. But Bobs Worth is the one to beat.

It could be a very good day for Nicky and I can tell you that he is very sweet on Rolling Star in the Triumph Hurdle. Very sweet.

Having said that, I like Our Conor. His form in Ireland is very good. He certainly looks the best of ours and is the one to beat in my view.

Back to Nicky, and he has six going in the Grand Annual, which is a memorial to his father.

If it rains sufficiently overnight, he reckons Tanks For That could be his best shout but if it stays dry, Anquetta might be perfectly suited off 10-8. Alderwood will surely go very close for Tom Mullins and JP McManus.

JP might have bagged his first winner by then with At Fishers Cross in the Albert Bartlett although I know

Willie thinks Ballycasey is one of his best. I just think At Fishers Cross has a great attitude and he has won twice at the track. That’s a major positive.

It just goes to show how difficult it is to have a winner at the festival when Gigginstown and JP are still waiting to strike. You wouldn’t have predicted that after three days. So in that context, to bring three horses and to have them all placed is very satisfying.

You’d like to be winning but it’s great for the horses to show that they deserve to be there and that you were right to bring them.

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