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Lucky Loaders Lane To Cheltenham Review: “He’ll be a horse I’d want to keep on side next season.”

Overall, it wasn’t a bad Cheltenham from my ante-post column considering we only started at the end of January. State Man, Jasmin De Vaux, and Golden Ace were all good results for us, and we managed to beat the final SP.

It was unfortunate we didn’t get to see the big match between Constitution Hill and State Man, as I was one of the few in the latter camp when I put him up at 11/4. After the news that Nicky Henderson’s stable star wouldn’t run in the Champion Hurdle, State Man was made the clear odds-on favourite, and therefore the value had gone. Even though he was the most likely winner, I wasn’t keen to get stuck into him again at the short prices.

When it comes to the actual race itself, I don’t think it was a vintage one. State Man was very workmanlike in beating Irish Point and Luccia, and he didn’t need to be at his best to take the prize. He’s a horse that is very professional, and it was good to see him get his day in the sun.

With the positive news coming out from Seven Barrows this week about Constitution Hill, maybe we’ll get to see the rematch at Punchestown next month.

Moving on to the Champion Bumper, I thought Jasmin De Vaux was a very good winner, and I think it’s a race that will workout well. As I mentioned in my antepost column, I thought he had a bit of an X-factor the day he won at Naas, even though it was hard to gauge the level of form. For me, he was a classic case of trusting your eyes and ignoring everything else, such as the times and sectionals, which can sometimes overcomplicate race analysis.

It will be interesting to see what Willie Mullins does with him next season, you could see him running in the Supreme or the Gallaghers and being a true force wherever he turns up. He’ll be a horse I’d want to keep on side next season.

However, our best result from the column was Golden Ace winning the Mares’ Novices Hurdle advertised at 11/1. Going into the race, all the talk was about Brightersdaysahead, as she had been the hype horse on the preview circuit after Gordon Elliott said it was his best chance of a winner at Cheltenham. 

Ultimately, she came up short in second, as she just didn’t quite have the class of Golden Ace, who travelled powerfully on the bridle and then cleared away with a nice turn of foot. Sometimes the Irish don’t always hold the trump card, and this was a good example.

Next season, I’m not sure what Jeremy Scott will do with his rising star. She has a flat pedigree and looks speedy to me. Maybe having a crack on the Flat with some of those Royal Ascot races or staying handicaps like the Ebor or Cesarewitch could be on the agenda.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the column over the past several weeks. You can find all my racing thoughts and previews on Rhino, and we’ll have more jump meetings to get our teeth stuck into with the likes of Aintree, Punchestown, Fairyhouse, and Ayr all still to come.

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