Four Flat breds who could make their mark at the home of jump racing
Zoe Vicarage examines the pedigrees of a quartet of leading festival contenders
The Cheltenham Festival has produced its fair share of shocks over the years, including when a horse or two that had a pedigree tailor-made for the Flat became a champion over jumps.
Think three-time Champion Hurdle hero Istabraq, a son of the great Sadler's Wells and a close relation to Derby winner Secreto, and the evergreen Cause Of Causes, who is a half-brother to another Classic winner in Kris Kin.
Here are four Flat-bred individuals who look worth keeping a close eye on at this year's festival.
Khan he do it
Mengli Khan showcased his jumping credentials to great effect when running out an impressive five-and-a-half length winner of the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle in December. The son of Lope De Vega transferred to Gordon Elliott's stable after the trainer and Mags O'Toole went to 155,000gns to secure him at the 2016 Tattersalls Autumn Horses In Training Sale.
He had previously gone through the Newmarket ring at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in 2014, when his quality Flat pedigree saw him fetch 150,000gns from Rob Speers.
Bred by the renowned Ballylinch Stud, he is the sixth foal out of the Danehill mare Danielli and is a brother to Group 2 scorer Very Special, as well as being a half-brother to the ill-fated Fillies' Mile and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf heroine Chriselliam.
Danielli is herself a half-sister to 1995 joint champion two-year-old filly Priory Belle, whose biggest success came when landing the Moyglare Stud Stakes, and fellow Group 1 winner Eva's Request. The pair are out of the Group 3-winning Taufan mare Ingabelle.
With a pedigree that has produced a plethora of top-class horses, Mengli Khan could be about to provide the family with another day to remember.
Could Frankel make his mark at Prestbury Park?
Solo Saxophone caused a stir when he made his debut for Dan Skelton back in December as he became the first jumps winner sired by Frankel, who is better known for supplying top-level performers Cracksman and Soul Stirring on the Flat.
Bred by famed County Kildare nursery Moyglare Stud, Solo Saxophone is the out of the Grade 3-winning Seeking The Gold mare Society Hostess and from the family of Melbourne Cup hero Media Puzzle and four-time Group 1 scorer Refuse To Bend.
He had shown fair form on turf for Dermot Weld and Moyglare Stud when finishing in the frame on four occasions, but proved he was much better suited by the jumping game when proving a class above his rivals when an impressive winner of a Catterick juvenile hurdle in December. He followed up that success with victory in a similar contest at Wetherby.
Sourced for €62,000 at last year's Goffs Horses in Training Sale, Solo Saxophone boasts a pedigree with plenty of speed and stamina. With the four-year-old colt engaged in the Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle on Wednesday, it would be a real turn up for the books if Frankel supplied a Cheltenham Festival winner before he'd got on the scoresheet in the Classics.
Sundae out to be the cherry on top for Galileo
Coolmore's perennial champion sire Galileo has already proved his talents in the jumps sphere having supplied two Grade 1-winning Cheltenham Festival scorers in Triumph Hurdle hero Celestial Halo and Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle scorer Windsor Park.
In Supasundae, the Flat supremo has a live chance of registering a third Grade 1 festival winner when the eight-year-old takes his chance in the Sun Bets Stayers Hurdle on Thursday.
Already the winner of the Irish Champion Hurdle and last year's Coral Cup, Supasundae was bred by leading Flat nursery Newsells Park Stud, who also supplied last year's Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle winner Penhill.
He is out of the winning Danehill mare Distinctive Look, a half-sister to six Group winners including Enable's sire Nathaniel, Great Heavens, Changing Skies, Playful Act and Percussionist.
With elite form already in the book and a regal pedigree behind him, Supasundae looks to hold every chance of providing his sire with yet another top-flight winner.
Redicean out to give Cheveley another big jumps win
Eventful is how you could sum up the sales history of Redicean. Having first been sold by his breeders Cheveley Park Stud for 50,000gns as a foal in 2014, the son of Medicean has been back through the ring twice more, fetching 34,000gns as a yearling and - having won twice on the Flat - 85,000gns when bought by Highflyer Bloodstock and Alan King as a three-year-old.
Redicean announced his claims for Friday's JCB Triumph Hurdle with a facile seven-length victory in the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton to take his record to three from three over hurdles. It was after that victory that owners of Cheveley Park Stud, David and Patricia Thompson, swooped to buy back the horse they bred in a private sale that can only have come at quite a price.
By Medicean, Redicean is the first foal out of the placed Galileo mare Red Halo and boasts Grade 1 winner Luas Line and the Group scorers Lost In The Moment and Panama Hat further back in his pedigree.
This is not the first time that the Thompsons have made a high-profile purchase ahead of a major jumps fixture - they famously secured 1992 Grand National hero Party Politics just days before his success in the Aintree showpiece. They will be hoping that lightning can strike twice with this exciting prospect.
WATCH Leading bloodstock agent Tom Malone joins Martin Stevens and James Thomas to discuss his experiences of riding at the festival, the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham Festival Sale and his hopes for this year's meeting.
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