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National Hunt Eyecatchers For March

All eyes were on the Cheltenham Festival in March and we look at the horses that caught the eye during the four-day meeting as some horses put in some tremendous performances in some top class races.

Cinders And Ashes (Supreme Novices' Hurdle)

Donald McCain's Cinders And Ashes produced a magical performance to lift the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham and propelled himself to the head of the first season novice hurdlers.

He travelled like a dream throughout the contest and even though he clattered a couple of hurdles during the race, the way he quicked up the hill showed that he is a classy animal and if kept over hurdles will be a major player in the 2013 Champion Hurdle.

Sprinter Sacre (Arkle Challenge Trophy)

Seldom do you see a Championship novice contest won on the bridle, but that was exactly Sprinter Sacre did, as he stormed to a mind-blowing success in the Arkle Challenge Trophy.

Sent off a short-priced favourite for the 2m contest, Barry Geraghty oozed confidence aboard Nicky Henderson's speedster and when he was left in front when Al Ferof made a mistake down the back straight, Geraghty merely cajoled him clear of Cue Card to win with aplomb.

He has already been installed as a short-priced favourite for the 2013 Queen Mother Champion Chase and rightly so, as he could well dominate the 2m chasing division for years to come.

Bobs Worth (RSA Chase)

Grands Crus went into the race looking to cement his place as the leading staying novice chaser, but Bobs Worth produced a magical performance to fend off the equally-as-eyecatching First Lieutenant in a cracker.

As Grands Crus struggled to go the pace in the closing stages, Bobs Worth was gradually stoked up by Barry Geraghty and after the last managed to get the better of his Irish adversary and will now be a staying chaser to watch out for in the 2012/2013 jumps season.

Simonsig (Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle)

Another Nicky Henderson who scorched the Cheltenham turf and this time it was hurdler Simonsig that was simply glorious as he ran away with the Neptune on the second day of the Festival.

Travelling like a dream for the race, he pulled clear turning for home and in a matter of strides put huge distance between his rivals and if sent chasing will be a notable contender in the 2013 RSA Chase for the Seven Barrows team.

Sir Des Champs (Jewson Novices' Chase)

Willie Mullins made no secret about how high he regards Sir Des Champs and the Co. Carlow inmate showed why his handler was so bullish about him as he stormed to success in the Jewson Novices' Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

In a duel with the equally eyecatching Champion Court in the closing stages, Sir Des Champs duly pulled away from his rival in the closing stages and was going further and further away in the final moments of the race.  Already likely to step up in distance, bookmakers have slashed his price for the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup and he will be one to follow for next season.


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