I had a great few days at Cheltenham and it certainly made for some interesting news for me to be reporting on.
What everyone realised from day one when the first winner went in at 25/1, then it might be a difficult week to pick the winners and that proved the case.
The first two days Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh couldn’t buy a winner then they won four on the third day – which was a remarkable achievement.
So many big names didn’t come home – Melon didn’t make it, Limini didn’t make it, Cue Card and Native River lost to Sizing John but he could easily come back and defend his crown which I think they will as he is a brilliant horse and one who Jess Harrington will continue to do great things with.
With Douvan, there was clearly something wrong with him – take nothing away from the winner but he was not himself and he is on box rest for 12 weeks or so, so hopefully he was back.
One of the big ones that did win was Altior and even he didn’t win it in the greatest of style but he is a very, very good horse and hopefully he will improve – whether we see the Douvan and Altior clash now next year, we will have to see.
Buveur D’air was a worthy champion but the interesting thing now is the fact Willie Mullins is just not getting things his own way anymore, the way Gordon Elliott is coming on now with the firepower they have got with the Gigginstown stud behind them, they will be a huge force going forward.
Paul Nicholls had just the one winner at the Festival in Pacha Du Polder and I know him well and although he has had a couple of quiet years – he has some very good young horses who have been coming on.
He will definitely have some very good chasers next year and I think next year Paul Nicholls will be the one to watch, he will have some real fire power behind him.
And the trainers title this season still isn’t done and dusted yet, he will be targeting the big races from now until the end of the season and for me I would be following him from now until the end of the season as I think he could still win that and beat Nicky Henderson.