We spend all year talking about the Cheltenham Festival and it seems to disappear in the blink of an eye. It never fails to deliver, and the talk has already started about next year and the Gold Cup has not been run yet.
Klassical Dream left a huge impression on me winning the Supreme on Tuesday and although he looks like a top-notch chaser of the future, he destroyed a good field of novices and it looks like there may well be a vacancy at the top of champion hurdle division.
Klassical Dream impressed me in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle
Topofthegame and Santini look set to challenge the old guard whatever wins the Gold Cup and I was gutted to hear that Henderson’s runner lost a shoe in the RSA.
However, I have to concede that Topofthegame did not put his head in the air the way I expected him to, so the result was a very fair one.
A Plus Tard showed it is possible to get a horse brilliantly well handicapped in plain sight of the handicapper when bolting up in the Close Brothers and provided Rachael Blackmore with a fantastic first Festival winner.
I really hope she could win the Irish championship, although that is beginning to look a tough ask, but I have little doubt she will soon.
Anyway, we need a winner or two on Friday before we start worrying about next year!
Sir Erec was a striking winner of a Grade One in February
I decided this one was unbeatable in this division after I saw him jump the last at Leopardstown in a style reminiscent of Istabraq. He lengthened away from his opponents at the last hurdle after comfortably leading them all the way and just looks so comfortable in his jumping role.
He was placed in a Group Two on the flat and he is different class to those that we have seen here and if there is a danger, it will come in the shape of Pic d’Orhy who has experience at a high level in France and is rumoured to be better than the admirable Quel Destin.
He may be a massive price but his trainer Ben Pauling has his team in excellent form for Cheltenham and this race is often one that throws up a result.
He ground out a 22-length victory last time in a Grade Two at Doncaster over this trip. He ran disappointingly on his only run on soft ground on the flat and has shown signs of temperament in the past, but I believe Pauling might have straightened him out and Nadaitak is worth a small bet.
I have made no secret of my regard for this horse as both a Gold Cup contender given soft ground, which it is, and a Grand National contender. His two runs this season have been encouraging but clearly have been warm ups over inadequate trips and this is the first real target.
He was staying on very well to be third next year and might arrive here in better heart than either of those who beat him. Presenting Percy could be brilliant, but maybe wants quicker ground and has had a most unorthodox preparation.
Kemboy seems to have been overlooked for a very impressive win over Christmas and might be the other bit of value left in the market.
As we have seen this week, handicap blots are feasible at Cheltenham and this could be one, and another five-year-old in a handicap chase this week.
It has probably helped that Paul Nicholls felt he never had the horse right before he ran at Wincanton last time as he arrives here off a rating of 148, which looks lenient.
It was clear he was expected to be right for Wincanton as he was backed off the boards and won in the style expected.
He is one of very few potential improvers in this.