What Young Stars Could Steal the Show at Cheltenham?

February 26, 2022

What Young Stars Could Steal the Show at Cheltenham?

The Cheltenham Festival is where the best of the best take each other on. However, with a number of races specifically designed for novice horses, we also get to see the big stars of the future take each other on. These are the horses who may find their way back to the festival next season and beyond and could ultimately turn out to be a contender for one of the four championship races in time.

Here we look at three horses, one flat runner, one hurdler and one chaser, who could well be stars of the future to follow, especially if they win their festival race this season.

Wednesday: Facile Vega - Champion Bumper

Willie Mullins has a solid record in the Champion Bumper, and a win for Facile Vega would mean a little more to him, given this horse is out of his former superstar mare Quevega. We have seen Facile Vega on the course twice so far, both at Leopardstown, and both races resulted in a wide margin, comfortable success.

Most recently, he won a Grade Two contest by 12 lengths and didn’t really get out of second gear that day. He is one for the future regardless of what happens at Cheltenham, but a bumper win would set him up for stardom.

Thursday: Galopin Des Champs – Turners Novices’ Chase

Every racing fan is hoping that we get the clash between Galopin Des Champs and Bob Olinger on Thursday in the Turners Novices’ Chase. That isn’t certain to happen, both have other options, especially Galopin Des Champs who could go for the Festival Novices’ Chase on Wednesday.

Regardless of where he runs, Galopin Des Champs looks to be a future Gold Cup contender, and a win here in one of the novice contests would set him up perfectly for that.

He won a handicap at the festival last season, then followed that up with a Grade 1 hurdle win. He’s been perfect in two starts over fences this season, most recently winning a Grade 1 at the Dublin Racing Festival. A win here, regardless of which race that comes in, would likely cement his place as the best novice chaser over any distance right now.

Friday: Vauban – Triumph Hurdle

The final horse to look out for comes on the final day of the meeting, with Vauban running in the Triumph Hurdle. This French recruit was second on hurdling debut, but didn’t jump very well, and was hampered on the run in, going down by only half a length.

On his second start, we saw much better, he won a Grade 1 hurdle by three lengths, to throw his hat firmly into the ring for the Triumph Hurdle. Main danger appears to be Pied Piper, who beat Vauban in that first run, but there is no doubt this horse has improved dramatically since that race, and is fancied to come out on top of the rematch they are going to have.

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