FOR many decades the upper echelons of flat racing were viewed as solely the preserve of the elite and National Hunt racing had a somewhat more egalitarian feel to it and afforded its participants, no matter how small, a far more tangible chance of making an impact on a big stage.

The make-up of both codes has shifted over time and latterly National Hunt racing has seen the emergence of some hugely dominant outfits although as Cheltenham showed there is still the chance for someone like a Paul Hennessy to make a big splash on the greatest stage of all.