Doug Campbell’s 50 Jump Horses to Follow 2020/21

Doug Campbell’s 50 Jump Horses To Follow 2020/21

When horses from the list run, they will appear on Our Writer’s Tips page

 horses included in the Tote Ten to Follow Jumps Cometition 2020/21

1 Adjali 5yo gelding

Trainer Nicky Henderson

Has been highly tried at times since making a winning in this country back in December of 2018, running behind the likes of Fakir D’oudairies and Pentland Hills. His campaign last season was limited to just the two outings, finishing just under eight lengths sixth of fifteen behind Gumball in a Listed Handicap at Ascot at the start of November, before finishing down the field in the County Hurdle won by Saint Roi at the festival. In between those two runs Adjali underwent wind surgery, and while it maybe a little premature to suggest that the operation was a success – it may also be a little early to write him off.

He has drifted back from a peak rating of 147 as a juvenile to a mark some ten pounds lower, which to me makes him an interesting contender for a handicap over timber before a possible switch to the larger obstacles. Adjali was useful in France prior to arriving at Seven Barrows, and has done all his racing at around the minimum trip – but could be worth a try at slightly further. He acts well with give in the ground.

2 Allenby 5yo gelding

Philip Hobbs

Looked a little backward on his only outing last term when finishing 21 lengths eighth of fourteen behind the eye-catching Dan Skelton trained Wilde About Oscar in a Warwick bumper on the final day of 2019. It wasn’t the biggest of surprises that we didn’t see him out again – given the premature end to the season, and a summer behind him can only do him good.

Allenby is by the late former Champion NH sire Presenting, out of an unraced mare by the top-class French jumps sire Robin Des Champs – so is certainly bred for the winter game. I’d imagine that he will take in another bumper or two, before being switched to hurdles, and he should in time stay 2m 4f. He’s in good hands to have any natural ability developed and can be found opportunities within the right grade.

3 Annie Mc 6yo mare 

Jonjo O’Neill

Took well to fences last season, rattling off a three timer in small fields at Wincanton – Wetherby and Bangor, before finishing down the field behind Samcro and alike in the Marsh Novices Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. In fairness to her the Cheltenham race looked a pretty hot contest, and she was probably biting off more than she could chew.

She should however continue to pay her way over the winter months in the new season, with more opportunities now for the fairer sex. Annie Mc is a likeable mare who stays two and a half miles well, but is yet to prove conclusively that she stays much further and is ideally served with the word “soft” appearing in the going description.

4 Ask For Glory 6yo gelding 

Paul Nicholls

Ask For Glory is very lightly raced under rules with just the four outings, plus a winning appearance in a 4yo Maidens Point in Ireland back in the Spring of 2018. He won a Chepstow bumper on his debut for Nicholls with any amount in hand by thirteen lengths from Imperial Esprit and Fanancier, before being pitched in at the deep end in the Champion Bumper at the festival of 2019 – finishing only ninth behind Envoi Allen. Ask For Glory then had wind surgery in the Summer of last year, before returning to action over hurdles in November finishing fourth of sixteen beaten around four and a half lengths behind Son Of Camas at Newbury.

That outing was over an extended two miles, and it was evident that his future was to be over further. It proved to be the case, when on his only other start Ask For Glory trotted up over two miles five and a half furlongs at Wincanton beating six ordinary looking rivals without hardly coming off the bridle. There will be plenty more to come from him, including improvement in his jumping and I am sure his trainer is greatly looking forward to him during the course of the new season. He will jump fences one day, and given that he will be seven in the New Year the temptation must surely be there to make it sooner rather than later, despite his inexperience. Whatever the decision I am sure that this £280k purchase will continue to add to his tally.

5 Bond’s Lover 5yo mare

Nicky Henderson

Hinted at some ability when finishing fourth in a Liscarroll Point to Point for 5yo Mares in the Spring of 2019, before joining the Seven Barrows team for the following season. Bond’s Lover was sent straight over hurdles by her new trainer, and she repaid his faith by winning on her debut over an extended two and a half miles at Newbury in mid-January, with a little more in hand than the winning margin of a neck – from the Warren Greatrex trained Martha Brae, suggested.

We didn’t see her again, but the runner up progressed to a mark of 127 over timber – suggesting that the form was fair, but far from spectacular. It was a good first effort by Bond’s Lover, and there should certainly be more to come as she gains experience. She stayed the trip on Heavy Ground quite strongly at Newbury, and is likely to stay further in time. It will be interesting to see what plans her trainer has in mind for the daughter of Flemensfirth, but it will come as a shock if she cannot add to that success over the winter months. Bond’s Lover clearly acts well on a testing surface.

6 Boothill 5yo gelding

Harry Fry

Runner up in a brace of 4yo Maiden points in October if 2019 when trained in Ireland by Colin McKeever, before joining Harry Fry the following month for £125k. A shade over three thousand was repaid, when Boothill made a winning start under rules, when taking a Kempton bumper in February – beating the Nicky Henderson trained Bothwell Bridge (who had the benefit of a previous run) by over four lengths, with Valleres – who had won between the flags on his only other appearance, some five lengths further back in third.

Boothill has a NH pedigree being by Presenting – out of a mare by Accordion, who has produced a winner over hurdles and fences (albeit at an ordinary level) and should progress when faced with obstacles to jump. He saw the trip out well at Kempton, in fact indicated that there could be better to come when faced with a stiffer test of stamina. Whether he goes straight over hurdles or takes in another bumper remains to be seen, however he should have little trouble in adding to his tally over the winter months.

7 Cill Anna 5yo mare

Paul Nicholls

Didn’t cut much ice in a couple of bumpers in October and November, but has looked very much a progressive mare since being switched to timber and stepping up in trip. Cill Anna has won her last three from four starts over hurdles, ending with a success in a Listed race for Novice Mares at Doncaster over an extended three miles – narrowly getting the better of the Noel Williams trained Ziggy Rose, and hopefully the improvement hasn’t stopped just yet.

She clearly needs an absolute minimum of two and a half miles, and acts very well under testing conditions. At Doncaster she looked a stayer with a future, although there is still some improvement to come in the jumping department. A likeable type that should continue to pay her way.

8 Connie Wilde 5yo mare

Lucy Wadham

A 44 lengths seventh of eight in an Ascot bumper on her only racecourse appearance to date hardly seems the best of recommendations as a horse to follow. However, not only did Connie Wilde look much in need of the experience that day, but she is also bred to be suited by much further. She is by Oscar, a stallion that is responsible for any number of good horses, Rock On Ruby – Paisley Park – Peddlers Cross – Our Duke – Lord Windermere and Lisnagar Oscar to name just a few, and from a mare that has produced Kimberlite Candy and Hawkes Point who have both won over three miles five furlongs, and a trio that also won over trips in the region of three miles – including the useful Alfie Sherrin.

Connie Wilde is likely to need time, but will hopefully prove up to winning over hurdles when faced with a sufficient test of stamina. It is impossible at this stage to know her optimum going requirements, but a number of her relatives did go well on a soft surface.

9 Copperhead 6yo gelding

Colin Tizzard

Progressed well over fences last season, winning three from five contests, rising from a mark of 125 and ending the campaign rated among the best of the staying Novices on an official rating of 153. Copperhead was most impressive when taking the Grade Two Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot in mid-February by a margin of seventeen lengths from the Kim Bailey trained Two For Gold, thus prompting his trainer to aim him at the RSA Chase at the Festival.

Like a number of Tizzard horses, Copperhead appeared to underperform and fell at the last when well behind the principals. Up until Cheltenham Copperhead seemed a good jumper of a fence, he stays well and he is best served by soft underfoot conditions. He would be an interesting contender for The Ladbrokes Trophy at the end of November, for which he is a generally quoted 16/1 chance at the time of writing.

10 Coquelicot 4yo filly

Anthony Honeyball

Runner up in a brace of junior bumpers at Warwick and Newbury towards the end of 2019, prior to winning three on the spin at the two miles trip in the first three months of the New Year. The latest win coming in Listed Grade at Kempton – beating Step To The Top in game fashion by a shade over two lengths, despite still showing some signs of greenness. A Summer behind her should do her no end of good, and her trainer should have no difficulty in finding winning opportunities for her over hurdles.

Coquelicot is by Soldier Of Fortune out of the Peintre Celebre mare Moscow Nights – whose best foal to date is the smart but ill-fated flat performer Heartbreak City who won the Ebor in 2016, and also twice over timber for Tony Martin. She has yet to race on anything quicker than Good to Soft, and for the time being maybe best kept to trips in the region of two miles.

11 Crypto 6yo gelding

Venetia Williams

Crypto retains his place in the fifty, despite not threatening the judge in two outings last season. His seasonal debut came following a 300-day break, when he finished 27 lengths fifth of ten behind the smart bumper performer Ask A Honey Bee at Haydock, and In late February making his first start over hurdles Crypto finished fourth at Ludlow behind Proton – beaten around eleven lengths.

The latter was not a run without promise, and he should be able to win in Novice company with a little more experience behind him, before hopefully moving on to something better. He is a half-brother to six winners and is worth a try at further than the minimum trip at some stage. It will be disappointing if he cannot repay some of that lofty £200k purchase price over the winter months.

12 Didonato 5yo mare

Alan King

Didonato looked a little short of pace in a trio of bumpers last season, but the second and third runs suggested that she should be up to winning when sent over hurdles. She ran an OK race at Ludlow – a track that may not have suited her, when finishing six and a half lengths fourth behind Fontaine Collonges, and bettered that effort at Newbury when third behind Nicky Henderson’s Gran Luna at the end of February.

Didonato is a daughter of Milan, and a half sister to a brace of winners – albeit at an ordinary level. She is well made and strong in appearance, and has the hallmarks of a jumper, she also gave the impression that a stiffer test of stamina will suit her over hurdles and 2m 4f should well be within her compass. Didonato appears well served by some give in the ground.

13 Earl Of Harrow 4yo gelding

Warren Greatrex

A three times winner over middle distances on the level, rated in the mid 70’s at his best. Earl Of Harrow has had just the two starts over hurdles, showing promise on his debut when finishing a length and three quarters second to the Jonjo O’Neill trained Extreme Force at Catterick at the end of January, prior to looking a little outclassed when a shade over twenty lengths fifth behind Solo in the Grade 2 Adonis Hurdle at Kempton the following month. Some improvement should come with experience, and Earl Of Harrow will hopefully prove up to winning in Handicap company with another couple of runs under his belt.

He is by the St Leger winner of 2006 – Sixties Icon, the year that the final Classic was run at York, and is a half-brother to a couple of winning hurdlers over trips of 2m4f and 2m5f so is definitely worth a try over further than the minimum trip in time. His flat successes came on good to soft and good going, while he appeared to act well enough on Soft on his Hurdling debut.

14 Emitom 6yo gelding

Warren Greatrex

Emitom has done nothing but improve in seven starts over hurdles, winning four times and capped last season’s shortened campaign with a fine fourth in the Stayers Hurdle at the festival won by Lisnagar Oscar – whom he actually beat on his debut over timber over 2m4f back in November 2018. There have been other solid efforts too, with a win over the expensive purchase Interconnected and a runner up to Champ at Aintree in the Spring of 2019.

Emitom appears better at the longer trip of three miles nowadays and if he stays fit and healthy then surely all roads will lead to another crack at the stayers’ crown in March for which he is a general 25/1 chance at the time of writing. However, he should jump a fence at some stage in the future and I think that option will be kept open by his talented handler for as long as possible, and it is no great surprise to see him quoted in some lists for the RSA Chase. A really likeable type that is ideally suited by plenty of give in the underfoot conditions.

15 Farrants Way 6yo gelding

Ventia Williams

Looked a little slow in three bumpers during the 2018/19 season, and was off the track for 353 days before making a successful hurdling debut on his only start last term in the first week of March. Farrants Way clearly appreciated the step up to three miles one and a half furlongs when taking a Maiden Hurdle at Hereford, grinding out a four and a half length win over the Nigel Hawke trained Some Detail. It was a pretty decent first effort over timber, and further successes can come his way under suitable underfoot conditions should connections decide to keep him over the smaller obstacles. However, he has the makings of a Chaser and should progress further if sent over fences.

Farrants Way is a half-brother to three winners – including the useful Space Cadet who stays at least 3m 4f, he acts very well with plenty of give and is one to keep an eye on when the emphasis is on stamina. It would be nice to think that he could develop in to a candidate for a race like the National Hunt Challenge Cup at the 2021 Festival.

16 Fiddlerontheroof 6yo gelding

Colin Tizzard

A number of Colin Tizzard’s runners appeared a bit below par at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival. Fiddlerontheroof in particular was a bitter disappointment in finishing a tailed off eleventh of twelve finishers behind Shishkin in the Supreme Novices Hurdle. He’s surely better judged on his performances in the lead up to Cheltenham, the best of which came when taking the grade One Tolworth Hurdle – when giving the useful Jeremy’s Flame seven pounds and a six-lengths beating.

He’s now rated 152 over hurdles which may make things difficult for him this season, as I’m not convinced he will prove up to taking on the best timber toppers. A switch to fences seems a more likely possibility, and winning opportunities should come his way. A testing surface suits him well and he appears to stay up to 2m 4f.

17 For Langy 5yo gelding

Philip Hobbs

A winner on the flat and also over hurdles when trained in France, before fetching €150k at the Arqana Summer Sales of 2019. For Langy has had just the one start for his new connections, finishing third of twelve beaten a total of eleven and a half lengths behind his stablemate Masters Legacy at Taunton in January. He was entitled to need that UK debut run, having not raced since June – however we did not get the chance to see him again before the season was called to a halt in March.

For Langy will start the new season on an official rating of 128 over timber – a mark that should see him competitive from. I imagine he is likely to start off at around 2m4f, but he should also stay three miles with a little more experience under his belt. He doesn’t appear too ground dependent, although he may not want underfoot conditions to be too quick. Hopefully For Langy will prove to be a step ahead of the handicapper and pay his way over the winter months.

18 Gran Luna 4yo filly

Nicky Henderson

Gran Luna is by the Juddmonte Farms bred Group 1 winning sire Spanish Moon, and is the first foal of the French bred mare Coppena (by Balko). She got off the mark at the first time of asking when taking a mares’ bumper at Newbury at the end of February, beating the Paul Nicholls trained Whiskey Lullaby by three quarters of a length, with another of the fifty Didonato a further two and a half lengths back in third place. Gran Luna falls in to the bracket ‘’could be anything‘’, she looked a strongly made sort at Newbury – just the type to make up in to a hurdler, and it is a safe bet that she will prove well above average.

With more opportunities available these days for the fairer sex, she will be well placed to the best of her ability by the Champion Trainer, and I will be amazed if she doesn’t win a race or two. It’s far too early to identify her ideal ground, but she had no difficulties with the soft conditions on her only start to date. The Mares Novices Hurdle at the Festival may not be an unrealistic long-term target.

19 Hoi Polloi 5yo gelding 

Emma Lavelle

A strong looking son of Shantou, out of a three times winning King’s Theatre mare. Hoi Polloi took a Kempton bumper back in February on his only start to date, despite not gaining the clearest of passages in the final couple of furlongs. winning with more in hand than the two and a half lengths margin from Diamond River suggest. Hoi Polloi has the makings of a novice hurdler and is in good hands to have his potential developed. He’s a half-brother to the useful Eyes Of A Tiger, who was twice a winner over timber – and has also won twice over the larger obstacles.

It’s difficult at this stage to know for sure what sort of level he can reach, but one would hope that he will be above average. I would imagine that trips up to two and a half miles would be his optimum at this stage, and he showed a nice turn of foot at Kempton which will hopefully stand him in good stead in the future. I’m looking forward to seeing him return to action.

20 Hurricane Mitch 5yo gelding

Harry Fry

A relatively cheap purchase in today’s climate at €18k from the Tatts (Ire) Stores Sales in May 2018. Hurricane Mitch began in some small way to repay that purchase price, picking up around £668 when finishing runner up to Runswick Boy in a Wincanton bumper in January. We didn’t get to see him in action again last season, which may not be a bad thing – as a Summer behind him should do him the world of good. Some improvement should come with experience, and while he may not make any headlines, he should prove up to winning races over the winter months. Hurricane Mitch is a half-brother to the stable’s useful handicapper Black Mischief (by Black Sam Bellamy) and should stay at least two and a half miles in time.

21 Israel Champ 5yo gelding

David Pipe

Finished a disappointing well beaten seventeenth in the Champion Bumper behind Ferny Hollow at the festival in March, after making much of the running until weakening out of contention in the final half mile. He may be better judged on his two victories prior to that run, winning a Listed bumpers at Ascot on Heavy ground in December and at Cheltenham (soft) a month earlier. Israel Champ is a fair size and strong in appearance, and has the hallmarks of a jumper (should make a chaser one day).

Novice hurdles are likely to be the plan, and he may well be the type to run up a sequence before being raised in class. 2m 4f should be within his compass with a couple of more races under his belt, and I’m sure that connections will be hoping he proves good enough over timber to earn another visit to Prestbury Park next March. He’s a likeable son of Milan that we haven’t heard the last of him just yet.

22 Itsnotwhatyouthink 5yo gelding

Nick Gifford

Itsnotwhatyouthink will go into the record books as the final ride as a jockey for the two times Grand National winner Leighton Aspell. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to prove a happy ending for Aspell, with his mount running a respectable race to finish a very credible three lengths runner up to the Olly Murphy trained Jetaway Joey in a Fontwell bumper in late February, despite running a little green at times. Itsnotwhatyouthink is bred to be a jumper, being a son of Westerner – and is the first offspring of a daughter of Oscar, whose sole success over timber came over 2m 6f. He is unlikely to be rushed, but should be found winnable opportunities in ordinary Novice company over the coming months, and will stay further than the minimum trip in time.

23 Karl Philippe 5yo gelding

Fergal O’Brien

By the American bred sire Kentucky Dynamite, who raced in France for Alain De Royer Dupre, winning in Group 3 company – but essentially was a mile to ten furlongs performer, while his dam Kaer Gwell – also trained in France by Robert Collet,  was less successful – with only a runner up spot to her credit from ten races back in 2002. Kaer Gwell did however become a successful broodmare, with her 2007 offspring – the Francois Cottin trained Le Tranquille winning twice over hurdles, and four times over fences (including a Grade 3 for four-year olds) – amassing over half a million pounds in win and place prizemoney.

Karl Philippe did well to win a Hereford bumper on his only start to date, despite looking a little immature and racing green at times, but was clearly much the better horse on the day, beating Party Fizz by ¾ length with a further eight lengths back to Frankie Baby in third. He looks sure to progress with a Summer behind him and it shouldn’t be too long before he adds to his winning tally.

24 Land Of Winter 4yo gelding

Rae Guest

Only a fairly ordinary level of form on the flat, with his sole success from eleven starts coming over fourteen furlongs at Southwell. Land Of Winter showed definite ability in two runs over timber in Maiden company early in 2020, with a length and a half third to Baboin at Uttoxeter, and then just before Lockdown was beaten a similar distance when runner up to the Kim Bailey trained Rhosneigr at Huntingdon.

He will start the new season on a mark of 118, one that hopefully his trainer can find winning opportunities from, and while it is highly unlikely that he will be winning at any of the big meetings – he should with a bit of luck pay his way over the winter months. He acts well on rain softened ground and being by Camelot is worth a try at further than two miles.

25 Linelee King 5yo gelding

Olly Murphy

Runner up on his debut under rules at Chepstow in October, before getting off the mark in good style in a Sedgefield bumper during the second week of January – beating Blazing Port (winner of his only previous start) by a comfortable five and a half lengths. Linelee King bit off more than he could chew when tackling the Festival Champion Bumper in March, beating only one rival home behind Ferny Hollow when a 100/1 longshot.

He looks the type to make a novice hurdler this season, and like many should jump a fence one day. I feel he will also benefit from a step up to 2m 4f and Linelee King should be up to winning a race or two if not aimed too highly. He also appears suited soft underfoot conditions. Definitely more to come from this son of Juddmonte Farms bred stallion Martaline.

26 Marown 6yo gelding

Nicky Richards

Unbeaten in three starts to date – a Newcastle bumper in the Spring of 2019, a maiden hurdle at Ayr on the second day of 2020 and novices’ hurdle also at Ayr shortly before racing was suspended. Both runs over timber were over an extended two and a half miles on soft ground, which Marown clearly appears to relish. His most recent start particularly caught the eye, where he stayed on well approaching the last to come home almost ten lengths clear of Aloomomo following a lengthy duel up the home straight.

Those wins have earned Marown an official rating of 130 over hurdles, which is a mark that may be attractive enough if there was a race under suitable conditions in the early stages of the new season. However, he strikes me as a three-mile chaser in the making and a career over fences surely beckons. He’s an exciting prospect and could be the sort to cherry pick some novice events in the North to gain some experience, before being raised in grade for a crack at something better.

27 McFabulous 6yo gelding

Paul Nicholls

Made giant strides over hurdles early in 2020, with wins at Market Rasen (2m4f 110yds) and at Kempton over 2m 5f. On the second occasion collecting a big prize in a competitive Grade 3 EBF Novices Handicap, travelling well throughout and pulling away in the latter stages to win by six and a half lengths from the 133 rated Sevarano.

That success resulted in a hike in the official ratings to a mark of 145 which is likely to mean if he stays over hurdles this season, then he will be aimed at some of the better class staying events. He is a very likeable type that will stay three miles, and may always just benefit from some give in the ground. McFabulous is a half-brother to two winners – the ill-fated two times winner Walking In The Air, and the Ruth Jefferson trained high-class chaser Waiting Patiently.

28 Mossy Fen 5yo gelding 

Nigel Twiston-Davies

Progressed well over hurdles last term, winning three from five including a five runner Grade 2 contest at Warwick in January. That win was enough for his trainer to give him an entry in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Starting at 33/1 he didn’t disgrace himself, finishing fifth of the twelve runners – beaten around 23 lengths behind the very classy Envoi Allen, but in all honesty, everything played second fiddle to that particular horse on the day.

Mossy Fen has plenty of time on his hands, and I think a switch to the larger obstacles would benefit him more than staying over hurdles for another season. Two and a half miles is an absolute minimum requirement for him and he should have no trouble staying three miles plus (has already a win over 2m 7f to his credit), he also goes particularly well on Soft going. More success surely awaits.

29 Nells Son 5yo gelding

Nicky Richards

Beaten by the minimum margin on Heavy ground in a Doncaster bumper at the end of February on his only racecourse appearance, it was a good effort considering the winner Kearney Hill had the experience of three previous runs – including a win at Musselburgh just a few weeks earlier. Shortly after the Doncaster run Nells Son received the unkindest cut of all and it was no great surprise that we didn’t see him again.  I imagine that he may take in another bumper, before embarking on a campaign over hurdles in the north. A Summer behind him will do him the world of good, and a step up in trip is likely to bring out some improvement. I will be disappointed if he can’t get off the mark at some stage of the season.

30 Night Edition 4yo gelding 

David Pipe

The Pipe family have traditionally done well with a lot of their French imports over the years. Night Edition is another ex-French trained to make it to Pond House. Looking in need of his UK debut in December, Night Edition ran a fair race to be fourth at Taunton behind Blacko ( a winner again next time out ), and then showed steady improvement in three further runs, winning a maiden hurdle at Ludlow on his third start – before a very good second in the Boodles sponsored Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham, beaten a length by the Gordon Elliott trained Aramix.

Night Edition is an attractive, athletic sort who appears best served by Soft conditions, and will hopefully continue to pay his way, he travels well during his races and doesn’t mind having to battle – his last three starts have seen no more than a length separate himself from his nearest rival. He will start the season from a mark of 137 over hurdles.

31 Ocean Wind 4yo colt

Roger Teal

What a fantastic buy Ocean Wind has proved for connections. A Godolphin castoff, picked up unraced for just £9000 at the Tattersalls Mixed Sales in July 2019, he immediately repaid his new owners’ faith by taking a junior bumper at Huntingdon four months later – not what his previous owners had originally expected from him. Next time out he ran a close second to the useful Warren Greatrex trained Audacity in a Listed bumper at Cheltenham, before getting back on the scoresheet with a comprehensive eight lengths success from Brief Ambition at Newbury, picking up a decent prize in the process.

Ocean Wind ended his campaign with a credible sixth behind Ferny Hollow in the Champion Bumper, thus more than doubling his purchase price in prizemoney won. There’s no reason to suggest he can’t make his mark in novice hurdles this season, and that may well be in the early stages, as it was noted that Ocean Wind had a pipe opener on the flat – running a respectable third in a Lingfield Maiden in the first week of August.

32 Osprey Call 5yo gelding

Noel Williams

Took a six runner Lingfield bumper in November on his debut, beating the Fergal O’Brien trained Courtandbould by a length, form which is not looking too bad with O’Brien’s charge having won two from two novice hurdles over the Summer – at the time of writing. On his only other start Osprey Call still looked a little green when finishing eighth back at Lingfield, hanging left up the home straight. Hopefully that was just signs of inexperience, because he looks to have the ability to win a race or two over timber if not aimed too highly by his capable handler. Costing just €5k as a 3yo, which is loose change in today’s economic climate – but it goes to show there can be the odd bargain found out there.

33 Pic D’Orhy 5yo gelding

Paul Nicholls

Retains his place in the fifty from last year, deservedly so following his 33/1 success in the Befair Hurdle at Newbury in February. That win prompted Nicholls to give it serious thought to entering his charge in the Champion Hurdle, however it proved to be his final outing of the season. Pic D’Orhy has had eleven career starts, of which only three have been in the UK since arriving from France in January 2019. He was very useful when trained by Francois Nicolle, but appears even better now in the care of the Ditcheat handler.

I believe the plan at this stage is to go Novice Chasing, and there will be worse long range 25/1 chances on offer for the Arkle Trophy, however he should stay an extra half mile which would also give his trainer the option of the Marsh Novices Chase over the longer trip, so it may be best to wait and see what the long term target will be. A really nice sort that looks set to win races over the larger obstacles.

34 Protektorat 5yo gelding

Dan Skelton

Protektorat has won just one of his nine races over hurdles, which may not be the best of strike rates, but he has also ran with plenty of credit in defeat in some fairly decent races, with three seconds and a third to his credit. His sole success came on New Year’s Day at Cheltenham, getting the better of Imperial Alcazar by a head following a battle up that famous hill. He was disqualified on the day, with the stewards citing interference after he drifted right on the run to the line, however connections appealed and the judge’s decision was overturned.

Protektorat had two visits back to Prestbury Park following that win, finishing third behind Harry Senior towards the end of January, and a tenth of 25 in the ultra-competitive Coral Cup at the Festival. He stays at least 2m 5f and is worth a try at further, he is now rated 143 over hurdles which I feel will have connections considering a campaign over fences. Whatever the plan turns out to be, Protektorat should be up to adding to that tally in the future.

35 Rapper 6yo gelding

Henry Daly

A useful staying handicap hurdler last season, winning at Market Rasen in November, and finishing runner up at Cheltenham to Skandiburg – beaten a shade under two lengths, at the start of January. His season finished back at Cheltenham in March when finishing seventh of 24 behind Sire De Berlais in the Pertemps Final, some seventeen and a half lengths behind the winner. I’m guessing that his trainer will be considering a campaign in Novice Chases, and Rapper should be placed to best effect to have his talents developed in that sphere. He acts well on both a Soft surface and on Good ground, and may well stay further than three miles.

36 Sir Psycho 4yo gelding 

Paul Nicholls

Progressed nicely as a Juvenile last season, winning three times from six starts, improving his rating from an opening mark of 117 to one some thirty pounds higher by the time of the Cheltenham Festival, in  which he ran a very respectable fifth in the Triumph Hurdle – beaten under five lengths behind the Willie Mullins trained filly Burning Victory. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that he got beaten in his first Handicap, but Sir Psycho clearly improved with experience during the second half of the season.

His 31 lengths annihilation of Bullionaire at Exeter on New Year’s Day over 2m1f indicated that he should have no trouble staying two and a half miles, and while he may not be top class – there should still be some nice prizes to be won with him. He appears to act on any going, he’s thoroughly genuine and he has won for three different jockeys already (Harry Cobden – Bryony Frost and conditional rider Bryan Carver). Hopefully he will prove worth following again over the winter months.

37 Sir Valentine 7yo gelding

Nigel Twiston–Davies

A useful Handicapper on the flat a few years back – rated 88 at his peak, with his sole success from six starts coming over a mile and a half at Kempton. Sir Valentine was off the track from May 2017 until returning to action in October of last year when making his debut over timber at Chepstow. He ran a decent race that day and would possibly have finished in the frame, but for falling at the final flight. He immediately made amends on his next outing four weeks later, winning over an extended two miles at Newbury – by almost three lengths from Young Lieutenant.

Further placings followed at Wetherby and Ascot, before running a career best fourth in the ultra-competitive Betfair Hurdle early in February, beaten just three quarters of a length and two short heads behind Pic D’Orhy – Ciel De Niege and Remiluc. He possibly may have finished runner up had he not been slightly hampered at the last, but it was a sterling effort nonetheless. Only ninth in the County Hurdle on his final start, but still appears on a fair mark of 133 and will hopefully get back on the winning trail before too long.

38 Some Detail 6yo gelding

Nigel Hawke

Not the most obvious of contenders for a Horses To Follow list, and is unlikely to appear at any of the big festivals this season, that said he did appear at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, when a well beaten seventh behind Envoi Allen in the Champion Bumper – starting as a 100/1 longshot. These days Some Detail is essentially a staying hurdler, with trips of 3m+ appearing to be required. In five starts over timber he has recorded three seconds and a third placing and will start the new season on a mark of 123.

‘Bread and Butter‘ Handicaps against similar types will be on the agenda over the Winter, he’s genuine – he stays well and he appears to act on most goings. Some Detail deserves to pick up a small race at some stage during the months ahead, and I wouldn’t bet against his trainer finding such a race for his charge.

39 The Big Breakaway 5yo gelding 

Colin Tizzard

Another to retain his place in the fifty from last season. The Big Breakaway created a good impression on his first two starts over hurdles, winning his maiden at Chepstow over two miles three and a half furlongs in November by eight lengths from Blackjack Kentucky, before taking an EBF Novices event the following month at Newbury over a furlong further by seven lengths from Papa Tango Charly. Those two performances prompted his name to go into many notebooks for one of the Novices Hurdles at Cheltenham. As it happened, he lined up for the Ballymore, won by the unbeaten Envoi Allen, it was a clean sweep for the Irish with Envoi Allen’s stablemate Easywork finishing just over four lengths back in second, and the Willie Mullins trained The Big Getaway a further three-and three-quarter lengths back in third.

The Big Breakaway ran fourth beaten a total of fourteen and a half lengths. Hardly disgraced as the winner is absolutely top class, but slightly disappointing nonetheless – even taking into account that the stable’s runners appeared somewhat flat at the meeting. The Big Breakaway remains a very promising individual, he’s very lightly raced under rules with just the three runs – he also won a 4yo Maiden Point in Ireland in the Spring of 2019. Just like his half-brother Kildisart he should jump fences one day but whatever route connections decide to take this season he should add further to his winning tally, he should also stay three miles.

40 The Mick Preston 4yo gelding

Nigel Twiston-Davies

Coped very well with the soft underfoot conditions when taking a Hereford bumper in December in good style by nine lengths on his only start to date. Looks sure to progress with a Summer behind him, and without doubt will stay at least two and a half miles. He’s by Shirocco, who is responsible for the likes of Annie Power, Minella Rocco and Rock The Kasbah to name just three, and out of an unraced Kayf Tara mare, so I would suggest he is very much bred for the winter game. A dark horse worth keeping an eye on.

41 The Wolf 6yo gelding 

Olly Murphy

Showed some ability for Warren Greatrex back in the 2018/19 season, and improved last season for current trainer Olly Murphy to win twice over hurdles – at Fakenham over 2m 4f and at Newcastle over a couple of furlongs further. The Wolf was also runner up in a fair Handicap at Newbury in Late December beaten a shade under two lengths behind Dorking Boy. He also ran a respectable race for a 100/1 chance when upped in Grade to contest the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle over three miles at Cheltenham in March, finishing seventh of the nineteen runners beaten some eighteen and a half lengths behind the winner Monkfish.

Now rated 136 over hurdles, a mark which I feel he would still be competitive from in staying Handicaps over the smaller obstacles, but he is also at the stage where I think is right to be tried in Novice company over fences. Should be winning again soon, whatever decision is taken by connections.

42 Third Wind 6yo gelding 

Hughie Morrison

Another son of Shirocco to make the list, and trained by someone better known as a trainer on the flat. However, Morrison’s National Hunt runners need to be given serious consideration with a five-year strike rate of around 21% based on 103 runners in that period. His bumper runners alone have produced 7 winners from 27 starters for a very respectable 26% at the time of writing.

Third Wind provided his handler with three successes during 2019 at odds of 9/1 11/2 and 1/2 and also ran a very credible fourth behind Sire De Berlais in The Pertemps Final back in March of this year. Whether he stays over hurdles remains to be seen, his one attempt over fences in the early stages of last season was inconclusive when well beaten behind Deyrann De Carjac, but he will at least retain his Novice status. A likeable sort that should continue to pay his way.

43 Third Time Lucki 5yo gelding 

Dan Skelton

Collected bumpers at Market Rasen and Huntingdon following a promising third at Ascot on his debut at the start of November. However, he bettered those efforts on his final start with a solid fourth placing behind Ferny Hollow in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, beaten a total of six lengths. He is by the high-class German bred sire Arcadio, out of an unraced mare by Definite Article.

Third Time Lucki is a smooth travelling sort, and his two wins to date were carried out in quite a professional manner – which is not always the case for such inexperienced types. He acts well on soft underfoot conditions, and should be placed to good effect over the winter. Third Time Lucki should also stay further than the minimum trip with a little more experience behind him.

44 Thyme Hill 6yo gelding 

Philip Hobbs

Thyme Hill progressed very nicely over hurdles last term, winning three on the spin between October and December – including the Grade One Challow Hurdle at Newbury, getting the better of the Nicky Henderson trained The Cashel Man by a length and a half. Cheltenham in March was then the obvious target after that, and connections chose to rest him until then – with a choice of either the Ballymore Novices Hurdle over 2m 5f or the Albert Bartlett over 3m. The latter named contest turned out to be where he lined up, no surprise really after Envoi Allen was confirmed for the Ballymore.

Thyme Hill ran very well, but came off worst in a four-horse war up that famous hill – and was beaten only a length and a half in total. It was also noted that he got short of room three out and didn’t have the clearest of runs having jumped the last, I don’t think it cost him the race however and there are positives to take out of it. Monkfish, Latest Exhibition and Fury Road the first three home are all solid performers. Looking forward I imagine we will see Thyme Hill over fences this season, he’s very genuine, he stays well and he is far from ground dependent. All good attributes to have for the new season.

45 Torpillo 5yo gelding

Nigel Twiston- Davies

Four times a winner over hurdles since arriving from France a couple of years ago, and achieved a similar level of form over fences when winning at Warwick in November, accounting for Mister Fisher by three lengths. Torpillo was highly tried on his next two outings, finishing a well beaten fourth in Grade One company behind Esprit Du Large at Sandown, and when fifth of six in the Kingmaker Novices Chase back at Warwick won by Rouge Vif.

On his final stat of the season at Cheltenham Torpillo was stepped up to two and a half miles for the first time, the previous furthest he had tried was 2m 1f when winning in France as a 3yo. He raced keenly towards the leaders in the early stages, and stayed prominent until weakening from two out to finish tenth of the twenty runners behind Imperial Aura. He’s worth another try at the trip, maybe on a flatter track before deciding if he failed to stay, and if his sights are lowered just a touch I think Torpillo may well be up to winning a Handicap over fences. He appears best served by a soft surface and has also won on Heavy.

46 Wagner 5yo gelding

Anthony Honeyball

Won a Garthorpe Maiden Point in the Spring of 2019 for Josh Guerriero, before joining current connections for £50,000 for a career under rules. Wagner immediately showed some promise by running third in a maiden hurdle at Taunton won by the Harry Fry trained Shall We Go Now, beaten under two lengths in total. He then laughed at his four rivals coming home eighteen lengths clear of his nearest challenger Hit The Rocks at Fontwell in the second week of March, with a similar distance back to the third horse home The Topp Notes.

That success has earned Wagner a rating of 124, which may turn out to be quite reasonable, it couldn’t have been easy for the official assessor to weigh up such a lightly raced promising individual. Wagner is a stronger traveller, and doesn’t look short of speed, but should also stay further as he gains more experience. The wind operation he had back in January looks to have been a success and I’m sure that there is plenty more to come.

47 Whiskey Lullaby 5yo mare

Paul Nicholls

Runner up in a Mares Maiden Point to Point at Toomebridge in October of 2019 on her only start for Colin Bowe, before joining Paul Nicholls at Dicheat. Whiskey Lullaby was limited to just the one outing for Nicholls last season, once again finishing runner up – this time in a bumper at Newbury in late February. The winner that day was another of the fifty, the Nicky Henderson trained Gran Luna who got the victory by three quarters of a lengths – with a further two and a half lengths back to a third member of the list Didonato) filling the third spot. As you can gather it was a bumper which I think may throw up a number of future winners.

Whiskey Lullaby is strong in appearance and should make a jumper, she may well take in another bumper before embarking on a campaign in novice hurdles for the fairer sex, and while it is far too early to predict what level she will reach, it will be disappointing if she cannot be winning her share. For the time being Whiskey Lullaby is likely to prove best up to 2m 4f, her half-brother – the smart performer Petit Robin won three times over hurdles and four Chases at trips ranging from two miles up to two miles three and a half furlongs.

48 Windswept Girl 5yo mare

Anthony Honeyball

Did well to win a Taunton bumper by thirteen lengths on her only racecourse appearance to date, as she strikes me as more of a staying type and should definitely appreciate a step up to 2m 4f when sent over hurdles. She is by the popular NH sire Getaway – who is responsible for Nicky Henderson’s classy mare Verdana Blue, and from a dam by Old Vic who managed to win six times over trips up to 2m 6f. The Taunton race probably lacked strength, but that said Windswept Girl did it nicely enough and should be placed to the best of her ability by her capable handler. Maybe the type to run up a sequence in the West Country before being tested at a higher level.

49 Zambella 5yo mare

Nigel Twiston-Davies

Fetched 100k euro at the Arqana (h-i-t) Sales back in May 2019, following wins at Fontainbleu and Compiegne. Zambella has also shown definite signs of ability in three starts in the UK without getting her head in front. Her UK debut saw her unseat her rider two out at Wetherby behind Lady Buttons, it is unlikely that she would have won but may have finished second or third, her next outing saw Zambella finish a ten and a half lengths fourth of five behind Quel Destin in a Listed hurdle at Sandown, while her final start of the season saw improvement to finish four and a half lengths fourth of six in the Grade Two Kingwell Hurdle behind Song For Someone in February.

Zambella appreciates plenty of give in the ground, and there is room for improvement in the jumping department also, she is also worth a try at 2m4f. Starting the season on a mark of 137, it will be disappointing if she can’t get her head in front where it matters at some stage.

50 Zarafshan 4yo gelding

Emma Lavelle

Was a useful Maiden on the Flat in Ireland, with his best performance coming when a three lengths runner up to Sir Dragonet at Tipperary in April of 2019. Zafarshan showed steady, if somewhat unspectacular improvement over hurdles since falling on his debut at Sandown in January, and ran a fair second at Stratford on his final outing of the season when beaten a shade over two lengths behind The Pink’n.

It is interesting to note that Zarafshan was gelded shortly after the season had ended, and a Summer of rest can only do him good. An opening official mark of 122 looks workable to me now that he can take on Handicap company, and still being a Maiden leaves that option open also should his connections choose to do so. He stays at least two-and-a-quarter miles and possibly may need some give in the ground to perform to the best of his ability.

© Doug Campbell and The Racing Hub 2020