Doug Campbell’s 10 Irish Jump Horses to Follow 2020/21
When horses from the list run, they will appear on Our Writer’s Tips page www.theracinghub.com/value-horse-racing-tips
included in the Tote 10 to Follow Jumps 2020/21 competition
1 Captain Kangaroo 5yo gelding
Mastercraftsman x We Can Say It Now
Trainer Willie Mullins
Unraced for John Hammond when based in France, but got off the mark at the first time of asking for Willie Mullins under a good ride by seven pounds claimer Jody Townend – youngest sister of Paul. That success came over an extended two-and-a-quarter miles at Clonmel on Soft Going, in late March, comfortably getting the better of Kilcruit by four lengths – with almost five lengths further back to the Gavin Cromwell trained Western Run in third place.
It may not have been the strongest of races, but Captain Kangaroo did it nicely – giving the impression that there was more to offer if he can stay sound. I say that, as he was taken out of intended races three times back in 2018 when under the care of Hammond, so one can assume that there was an issue of some sort given his belated debut. Captain Kangaroo clearly has ability though, and should stay 2m4f when sent over Hurdles, but also looks quick enough to succeed over the minimum trip. He’s a half-brother to three winners on the level up to ten furlongs and should be placed to good effect by his trainer.
2 Crosshill 5yo gelding
Sholokhov x Rathvawn Belle
Mrs J Harrington
Finished midfield in a pretty decent looking 17 runner Bumper at Fairyhouse at the start of December on his only racecourse appearance, behind the smart Joseph O’Brien trained Eric Bloodaxe, with the future Cheltenham Champion Bumper winner Ferny Hollow a two and a half lengths runner up. Croshill ran a fair race despite his finishing position, travelling quite well and close up as they turned for home, coming under pressure and weakening away inside the final couple of furlongs, to finish some 25 lengths off the winner.
He hung slightly in the home straight, whether that was inexperience or just tiredness – I’m not sure. However, he did show enough to suggest that a race or two can be found with a little more experience under his belt. His sire can throw up a good one as has been shown in the past, with his leading offspring to date being the 2016 Gold Cup winner Don Cossack, while last season’s leading Novice Hurdler Shishkin is also by Sholokhov. Crosshill may never reach the heights of those two, but is in good hands to have any potential developed and will be placed to the best of his ability.
3 Diol Ker 6yo gelding
Martaline x Stiren Bleue
Lightly raced under rules, with just the four starts. Diol Ker made his racecourse debut when finishing 20 lengths fifth to Envoi Allen in a Fairyhouse Bumper back in December 2018. His three outings since over timber in Maiden company has seen him reach a pretty decent standard, with his win (again at Fairyhouse) over 2m4f from the subsequent Albert Bartlett winner Monkfish earning him an official rating of 143. There were seven lengths back to Monkfish that day, and the runner up was comfortably held – so it was probably value for more, so considering Monkfish has progressed to a rating of 152 Diol Ker must have plenty going for him as we go forward.
He is highly regarded by his trainer, and it is easy to see why, with a campaign over fences beckoning this season. He looks every inch a chaser in the making, and if he can transfer that undoubted talent to the larger obstacles then he should have every chance of making his mark. I have no doubts that he will stay at least three miles, and at the time of writing he is a top price of 20/1 for the RSA Chase next March. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that he can develop in to one of the leading Irish contenders for that race.
4 Eskylane 6yo gelding
Flemensfirth x Maple Lady
Smart Bumper form last term in just three starts, finishing a narrow runner up on his debut to Assemble at Fairyhouse before shedding his Maiden tag in a five-runner affair at Navan – easily getting the better of the Willie Mullins trained Don’t Tell Allen by eight and a half lengths. While on his final start Eskylane bettered both of those performances by finishing a very credible fifth of twenty-three behind Ferny Hollow in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival, beaten a shade over six lengths in total.
By Flemensfirth who has been responsible for any number of good performers over the years, including the 2010 Gold Cup winner Imperial Commander and more recently the Colin Tizzard trained Lostintranslation, and from a dam whose sole success from a handful of outings came in a Cork Bumper. Eskylane may not be one of the headline makers from the powerful Gordon Elliott stable, but should hopefully make up into a nice Novice Hurdler over the winter. A Point to Point winner at Broughshane in the Spring of 2019, he should stay two and a half miles comfortably – and possibly further in time, and at £55k is looking a pretty fair buy in the days of regular six figure sales.
5 Fiston Des Issards 5yo gelding
Buck’s Boum x Saboum
Has a proper French NH pedigree, being by the sire responsible for the two-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo – out of an unraced dam whose own sire is the top-class producer Robin Des Champs (Vautour, Quevega, Sir Des Champs, etc). Fiston Des Issards created a very good impression on his sole outing to date when winning a Maiden Point to Point for four-year-olds at Loughanmore, beating Boothill (went on to win a Kempton Bumper on his UK debut) by three-and-a half-lengths. Fiston Des Issards travelled well and took the lead with around seven to jump, and despite running a little green at times always looked the better horse, staying on well from the last to go clear.
It was no great surprise to find him at the Cheltenham Sales just a few weeks later in November, where he created plenty of interest in the ring, with the eventual winning bid coming in at £255k -a fantastic return for connections who had paid just £28k at the Doncaster (stores) Sales just 18 months earlier. It’s a safe bet that Fiston Des Issards can be found winning opportunities in Bumpers, and he should do well in that area, while there is undoubtedly heaps of potential there when faced with obstacles to jump. In time he should be suited to three miles, but there are plenty of races to be won before we get to that stage.
6 Forged In Fire 5yo gelding
Presenting x Green Star
Joseph O’Brien is no longer just the ‘ex-jockey‘ and son of Aiden, but a fully established trainer in his own right and has been for some time now, and a darn good trainer too. With Forged In Fire he has a horse at this stage which is chock full of promise, whose only performance to date saw him beat none other than Ferny Hollow in a Leopardstown Bumper in late December. Those that finished behind that pair are yet to prove up to much, but the first two home that day appear to have a very bright future. Forged In Fire may well need plenty of time before we see him peak, he is a very late (mid-June) foal, and while his debut came just a few days before his ‘official‘ fifth birthday – in real terms he was six months behind age wise. It may have been a wise decision taken that we didn’t see him in action again last season, and a Summer behind him will do him the world of good.
He is a half-brother to the ill-fated three times winner Rhaegar, and a full brother to Stellar Notion who has won six races in total, both of whom stayed three miles. It may be a bit of a softly softly approach this season with Forged In Fire, but it will come as a surprise if he doesn’t find his way to the winners enclosure again, and will no doubt be placed to the best of his ability. Potentially smart.
7 Robin De Carlow 7yo mare
Robin Des Champs x La Reine De Riogh
A really likeable mare with smart form over both Hurdles and Fences, although in fairness is a bit below top grade. That said she has been well placed by her trainer, and has a good win to run ratio, successful in four from eight over timber and three from five over fences. She was last seen back in October 2019 at Tipperary when taking a Grade 3 Novices Chase by half a length from Put The Kettle On – who made giant strides in two starts