Gary Sears: Seven NH Handicap Prospects
AR MEST (Trainer Gary Moore) 5yo gelding
Runs (jumps) 7, wins 1, 2nd 0, 3rd 2
Will start the season on a fair mark thanks to being dropped 4lb for a well beaten effort at Sandown when thought to be over the top and could be the type for a decent handicap possibly at Sandown where his trainer seems to target.
BARNEY DWAN (Fergal O’Brien) 8yo gelding
Runs (jumps) 18, wins 5, 2nd 2, 3rd 3
Three miles on decent ground is ideal and every chance he can pick up a big handicap
GOWITHTHEFLOW (Ben Pauling) 5yo gelding
Runs (jumps) 4, wins 1, 2nd 2, 3rd 0
Lightly raced and plenty of scope to make into a decent horse. Ran well for a long way at The Festival and should get three miles.
LORD NAPIER (Peter Bowen) 5yo gelding
Runs (jumps) 6, wins 3, 2nd 0, 3rd 0
Shaped really well in the Swinton over a trip probably too short and back up to an intermediate trip has the scope to make a decent handicapper though a chance he will go over fences.
O O SEVEN (Nicky Henderson) 8yo gelding
Runs (jumps) 20, wins 6, 2nd 3, 3rd 3
Never got his ground last season but as a result has dropped in the weights. Shaped on occasions as though retaining his ability and more than capable of picking up a big handicap if getting decent ground.
SIMPLY THE BETTS (Harry Whittington) 5yo gelding
Runs (jumps) 6, wins 2, 2nd 1, 3rd 1
Strong traveller who has won both times he has had good ground and a mark of 130 looks very fair.
TURTLE WARS (Nicky Henderson) 5yo gelding
Runs (jumps) 4, wins 1, 2nd 0, 3rd 1
Ran well for a long way in the EBF Final before seemingly failing to stay and a mark of 122 surely underestimates him.
Doug Campbell: 50 National Hunt Horses To Follow 2018/19
DOUG CAMPBELL’S 50 NH HORSES TO FOLLOW RUNNERS: THURSDAY 18 APRIL
Cheltenham 2.05 Posh Trish
Cheltenham 3.15 Cap Soleil
1 Acey Milan… 4yo G (Anthony Honeyball)
Progressed nicely last season in Bumpers last season following a runner’s up spot in a Juniors race at Exeter in October on his debut. Was successful in his next three, at Wincanton – Cheltenham and Newbury, on the latter occasion in impressive fashion coming home eleven lengths clear of his nearest pursuer, the Lucy Gardner trained Woulduadamandevit.
Acey Milan caught the attention of many that day, including the bookmakers who marked him down as a leading contender for the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham festival, for which he would eventually start a well backed 9/2 favourite. Although he ran well at Cheltenham, he found a trio of Willie Mullins trained horses (Relegate – Carefully Selected and Tornado Flyer) too good on the day.
Acey Milan looks a nice prospect for Novice Hurdles, most likely starting off over two miles but certainly worth a try at further as he gains experience.
2 Anemoi … 4yo G (Harry Whittington)
Took a Junior Bumper at Huntingdon in fair style on his debut in January, despite looking as though the outing would do him no end of good, but ran no better than OK on his only other start three months later when nine lengths fifth of fifteen at Ayr behind Sebastopol.
His cause probably wasn’t helped by him taking a keen hold that day, and in time may prove to be a better performer than we saw at Ayr. He’s sure to be found opportunities in novice company over timber, and has been described by his trainer as very relaxed and an out and out galloper, so may not be at his best on the sharper tracks.
3 Ballyoptic … 8yo G (Nigel Twiston Davies)
A useful novice hurdler the season before last, Ballyoptic transferred that form to a similar level over the larger obstacles, with the bonus that he appears to be a better jumper of fences than hurdles. He’s a typical chasing type that his trainer loves to have in the yard and he has more than paid his way.
Winner of two of his six starts over fences including a Grade 2 contest at Wetherby in February, he also ran second to Black Orton in a three-runner race at Cheltenham beaten four lengths, a fair fourth in the RSA Chase won by Presenting Percy, and ended his campaign by being touched off by a nose in the Scottish National won by Joe Farrell.
Ballyoptic acts well on a sound surface, and is also equally at home when the mud is flying. He’s thoroughly genuine and is likely to be aimed at the staying handicaps this season.
4 Black Op … 7yo G (Tom George)
Successful in two from five starts over hurdles, a wide margin winner in maiden company, and narrow victory in the Grade 1 Mersey Novices Hurdle at the Aintree Grand National meeting. He was also runner up to the exciting Santini trained by Nicky Henderson at Cheltenham in late January, and chased home Samcro in the Ballymore at the festival.
I’d imagine a novice chase campaign will be on the agenda this season and Black Op is one of a number of potential smart recruits in that sphere. He stays at least 2m 5f very well and is worth a try at further at some stage. Should be up to winning his share with all roads hopefully leading back to Cheltenham next March.
5 Brewin’Upastorm … 5yo G (Olly Murphy)
Took a 4yo Maiden Point to Point at Quakerstown in good style in the spring of 2017, before joining Dan Skelton’s yard for £250k via the Tattersalls Ireland Sale.
Unraced for Skelton, and for reasons unknown he joined his current trainer in November of last year, and went a small way to repaying that lofty purchase price when collecting a Hereford Bumper in January on his debut under rules, easily accounting for Portrush Ted by nine lengths.
His only other start last season came when running fourth in the Listed Bumper at Newbury in February, won by the smart Acey Milan for which Brewin’Upastorm was sent off a 3/1 joint market leader. Those two outings will have done the horse no end of good, and it’s safe to say that improvement should be forthcoming as he gains experience.
Brewin’Upastorm should have little difficulty in staying 2m 4f and should be up to winning over hurdles in novice company this season.
6. Cap Soleil … 5yo M (Fergal O’Brien)
A wonderfully consistent mare who is yet to finish outside of the first two in three Bumpers and four starts to date over hurdles. She ended her campaign last season by running second in the Mares Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, albeit at a distance of some eighteen lengths behind the top class Laurina.
It was a decent effort after looking a little outpaced with two to jump, but she stayed on well up the hill and got the better of the battle for minor honours over the outsider Champayne Lady and the well fancied second choice of punters – Maria’s Benefit.
Cap Soleil certainly wasn’t stopping at the end of the race and gives the impression that there is more improvement to come when stepped up to two and a half miles (she has won at 2m 3f on heavy) and there needs to be if she is to become a serious contender for the OLBG Mares Hurdle in 2019. Regardless, she should continue to pay her way for her cake loving trainer.
7. Casse Tete … 6yo G (Gary Moore)
Was more miss than hit last term, winning just one of his five starts and finishing out of the frame – and convincingly beaten on the other four occasions. However, if you look more closely at those four defeats it may just be possible to identify some reasoning behind them.
He may just have been a little too highly tried on at least three of the starts, all of them in Grade 3 company – at Cheltenham in January behind Frodon, and at both the Cheltenham Festival behind Coo Star Sivola, and the Aintree Grand National meeting behind the well handicapped Thomas Patrick.
With the latter two starts both coming over 3m 1f but with unproven stamina above 2m 5f or so. He also looked much in need of his seasonal debut and didn’t jump as well as he can on that outing.
If his sights can be lowered a bit then I do feel he can get back on the winning trail under suitable trip and conditions. He acts well on Good to Soft / Soft and at his age still has plenty of time on his side.
8. Cedar Valley … 4yo F (Philip Hobbs)
Got off the mark at the first time of asking when taking a Bumper at Taunton on very testing going in second week of March by six lengths from the David Pipe trained Mechelen. That performance was enough for connections to decide to pitch her in at Aintree the following month in the Grade 2 contest for Mares.
Although only ninth of the twenty runners that day Cedar Valley was far from disgraced in finishing ten and a half lengths behind the winner Getaway Katie Mai.
She travelled well, close up off a steady pace but was caught a little flat footed and was pushed along before they turned for home. Like many of her age, and those competing in Bumpers she still has some strengthening up to do, Cedar valley also gave the impression that at least another half mile will be within her capabilities as she gains experience. Will be a surprise if she can’t win a novice hurdle or two this season.
9. Champagne Well … 5yo G (Fergal O’Brien)
Successful at the third time of asking in a Maiden Point to Point for five-year-olds at Rathcannon in April for Roisin Hickey, before being sent to the Goffs Punchestown Sales later in the month, where he was picked up by Fergal O’Brien for 40k euro – which in today’s climate is not overly expensive.
O’Brien had a fine season last term with the likes of Colin’s Sister – Poetic Rhythm and Cap Soleil to name just a few and Champagne Well is sure to be placed to the best of his ability. May well take in a Bumper or two before a campaign over timber, and could well be open to improvement – particularly when asked to race over further than the minimum trip.
10. Claimantakinforgan … 6yo G (Nicky Henderson)
A winner of two races from five during his novice campaign over hurdles last season, with some pretty decent efforts in defeat in the others including five-and-a-quarter lengths fifth in the Supreme Novices at the festival won by Summerville Boy. He was also a fair Bumper performer back in 2017, winning one with also placed efforts behind the likes of Fayonagh, Lalor and Black Op.
It’s likely that Claimantakinforgan will be sent over fences this season, and he looks the type to do well in that sphere, and he’s certainly in the right hands.
He has yet to be tested over further than 2m 1f under rules but did win a Point to Point over 3m as a youngster in Ireland. 2m 4f over fences should be within his capabilities which gives him long range targets such as the JLT Novices Chase as well as the 2019 Arkle Trophy over the minimum trip.
11. Countister … 6yo M (Nicky Henderson)
Decent efforts in four starts over hurdles in novice company since arriving from France, winning twice at Doncaster and Sandown following a fair second to Cap Soleil at Newbury on her UK debut in November.
She ended her campaign with a trip to the Cheltenham festival, where she ran a respectable fifth in the mares’ novice hurdle beaten a total of twenty-seven-and-three-quarter lengths behind easy winner Laurina.
Countister should continue to pay her way, either in handicap company over timber or in novice chases should connections decide to send her over the larger obstacles. She appears to act on most types of going with the possible exception of extremely testing, and to date is unproven beyond 2m 1f.
12. Danny Kirwan … 5yo G (Paul Nicholls)
Created a very good impression when taking a Point to Point at Lisronagh towards the end of October 2017, and it wasn’t long before he was transferred to ten times champion trainer Paul Nicholls for a career under rules.
Danny Kirwan was spoken of in glowing terms by his new handler on the lead up to his debut in a Kempton Bumper in February, and he didn’t let connections down.
Travelling well throughout he made smooth progress before taking up the running approaching the final furlong and only needed to be pushed out to beat the Nicky Henderson trained Pym by a couple of lengths. His only other outing last term saw him start favourite for the Grade 2 Bumper at Aintree, in which he appeared to run somewhat flat and he came home well beaten. I am as sure as I can be that he is much better than that.
Danny Kirwan is a tall, lengthy and attractive individual – who in time should make a nice chaser. For the immediate future however, he is likely to be sent hurdling and should have little difficulty staying at least 2m 4f. I eagerly await his return to action.
13. Deyrann De Carjac … 5yo G (Alan King)
Disposed of the maiden tag over hurdles at the third time of asking, when sauntering home by twenty lengths at Warwick in May. Prior to that run he was a fair runner up to the useful Brahms De Clermont, which followed a hurdling debut that saw him run third to the progressive Kalashnikov.
Deyrann De Carjac’s official rating over hurdles at present is one of 126, which looks a fair and workable mark. He’s sure to be placed to the best of his ability and will hopefully be able to bag a race or two over the course of the season. He is yet to encounter soft conditions and has only raced over trips in the region of two miles
14. Didero Vallis … 5yo G (Venetia Williams)
Bits of placed form in Junior Bumpers in France back in 2016, before being purchased for €130k at the Arqana sales that November by the Ricci’s. Didero Vallis was successful on his debut for Willie Mullins last year in a Maiden Hurdle at Downpatrick over 2m 3f, but it soon became clear that he wasn’t to be one of the stable’s leading lights.
Four further placings followed in five races, resulting in a none too spectacular rating of 127 by the end of the season.
He once again found himself at the sales, this time at Goffs Spring Horses In Training sale in May, where he was picked up for £46k by Venetia Williams. Hopefully that will prove a worthwhile investment by his new handler, and I’m fairly confident that he can be placed to win in the right grade. Didero Vallis appears best at trips in the region of 2m 4f at present and acts on both a sound surface and a soft one.
15. Didtheyleaveuoutto … 5yo G (Nick Gifford)
An attractive and athletic son of the late leading sire Presenting – who is responsible for numerous good N.H performers, with the mighty Denman probably the most famous and successful one. Didtheyleaveuoutto won his first two Bumpers at Lingfield and Ascot, on the latter occasion in a Listed race in December.
He was then rested to be aimed at the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham festival, where he could only manage fourteen lengths tenth of twenty-three runners behind the Willie Mullins trained Relegate.
Success in novice company over hurdles should come quite naturally, and he should prove above average at least in that sphere. He’s a nice prospect and one that I am sure his trainer is looking forward to seeing back in actions during the 2018/19 campaign.
16. Diese Des Bieffes … 5yo G (Nicky Henderson)
Fairly useful over hurdles last season, winning three times in novice company from six starts, with his most recent success coming at Cheltenham in April when getting the better of Theclockisticking by two lengths, but with more in hand than the winning margin suggested.
That win put Diese Des Bieffes on an official mark of 141, and you would expect – given his age – and only seven racecourse appearances behind him, that he should be open to further improvement over timber.
However, connections may well decide to send the youngster over fences, for which he should make an impact in novice company. Whatever is decided, the son of Martaline should continue to progress, and more than pay his way. He stays 2m 4f well and his best form so far has come on good ground.
17. Duhallow Gesture … 6yo M (Anthony Honeyball)
A Point to Point and Bumper winner in Ireland before joining current connections for £100k in the spring of 2017, she immediately went some way to repaying that faith when collecting a Listed Bumper at Huntingdon on Boxing Day in fair style, beating the Kim Bailey trained Diamond Gait by a shade over two lengths.
Her only other start last term saw her run a very respectable third in the Mares Bumper at the Aintree Grand National meeting, behind the exciting Getaway Katie Mai & Midnightreferendum beaten around four lengths in total.
Duhallow Gesture looks a late maturing type and her best days should still be ahead of her, and a step up in trip may also bring about some improvement. She is a likeable daughter of King’s Theatre and a half-sister to four other winners, and should have little difficulty in making her mark over hurdles this season.
18.Embole … 4yo G (Dan Skelton)
Can be quite keen in his races, and benefitted from a wind operation in January when winning at Wincanton the following month, readily coming seven lengths clear of Sao by the winning line.
He failed to get competitive when finishing twelfth in the Fred Winter at the festival, but fared much better on his final start – finishing third in a handicap up at Ayr’s Scottish National meeting. Embole is far from being a star, but should have enough ability to pay his way in handicap company. He is currently rated at 128 which will hopefully prove workable for his talented trainer.
19. Enniscoffey Oscar … 6yo G (Emma Lavelle)
Whatever he achieved over hurdles maybe a bonus, as Enniscoffey Oscar has given me the impression that he is more of a chaser in the making. A winner of two of his eight starts over hurdles last term, over 2m 5f in December and an extended 3 miles the following month (both races at Doncaster) gave his owners – The Pick N Mix Partnership their share of enjoyment.
He’s by Oscar who has been responsible for numerous good horses over the years, Our Duke – Rock On Ruby – Gods Own – Big Zeb and Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere to name just a few, and I’m fairly sure that the plan will be to send Enniscoffey Oscar over the larger obstacles this winter.
Two and a half miles will be an absolute minimum requirement, and he has every chance of staying further than 3 miles. Should be found suitable opportunities to add to his tally.
20. Esprit De Somoza … 4yo G (Nick Williams)
Ran no sort of race when down the field in the Juvenile Handicap at the Cheltenham Festival behind Veneer Of Charm, but prior to that had been runner up to The Russian Doyen at Taunton and had also won a small field Juvenile Hurdle at Huntingdon by five lengths – beating the useful Philip Hobbs trained Gumball, in receipt of eight pounds.
Esprit De Somoza gave the impression that he should benefit from a summer behind him, and looks on a feasible mark (133) for a handicap hurdle campaign this term.
He appears suited by some give in the ground, with his Huntingdon win coming on soft, and should be up to finding a race or two when conditions are in his favour. Maybe also worth a try at further than two miles with a bit more experience behind him
21. Faustinovick … 4yo G (Colin Tizzard)
Runner up, beaten six lengths by Andy Dufresne in a 4yo Maiden at Borris House in March, giving the impression that the experience would do him no end of good. The winner himself paid a visit to the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham Festival Sales a few days later, and no doubt buoyed by the success created plenty of interest, with the hammer falling to a final bid of £330k to Gordon Elliott.
Connections of Faustinovick then took the decision to enter him for the Goffs UK Aitree Sales, taking place after racing on the first day of the Grand National meeting. £170k was the price paid – not bad for a £26,000 purchase at a stores sale less than a year earlier.
Faustinovick is a son of Black Sam Bellamy who is likely to start off in Bumpers and should have little difficulty being placed to win in that sphere, he also looks the sort to progress when sent over hurdles, be it this season or next.
22. Finley’s Eyes … 5yo G (Dan Skelton)
Failed to get off the mark in three attempts in the Spring, but showed enough on his final outing when runner up to Telegraph Place at Warwick to suggest that he is up to winning in ordinary company over hurdles, particularly if learning to settle better during his races.
He’s a half-brother to the stable’s multiple winner Listen To The Man who stays 2m 4f well, but for the forseeable future maybe best kept at trips of around two miles given his inclination to take a strong hold.
Appeared to benefit from the application of a hood, and could be worth a try in blinkers to prevent him from getting too lit up. He certainly has the ability to win in the right grade.
23. Flying Tiger … 5yo G (Nick Williams)
A useful Juvenile in 2017 winning twice, including a surprise success in the Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival. Failed to progress last term, but was highly tried on a couple of occasions behind the likes of Champion Hurdler Buveur D’Air in the Fighting Fifth and Elgin in the Kingwell at Wincanton in February.
Looks to still retain ability however and may just need his sights lowering a bit over hurdles before returning to the winners enclosure again, on the other hand he may be worth trying over fences at some stage this season. Flying Tiger should be up to winning in Novice company and has yet to race beyond 2m 1f since arriving from France back in 2016.
24. Gaelik Coast … 4yo G (Donald McCain)
Won his Maiden Point to Point at Castletown in fair style, travelling well towards the rear before making smooth headway to lead with three to jump and keeping on well to finish four lengths ahead of his nearest pursuer Highway Companion at the winning line.
The form may not add up to a huge amount, but it appeared enough for his new trainer to pay £110k at the Aintree sale in April – a £70k increase on his price from the previous June.
I’d imagine he will start off in Bumpers in the North for McCain, but may be given some hurdling experience in the second half of the season. He should stay at least 2m 4f in time, and is very much a dark horse at this stage.
25. Kateson … 5yo G (Tom Lacey)
Collected a Chepstow Bumper on his debut in October despite looking somewhat green at times. Four subsequent outings failed to produce another success, but the son of Black Sam Bellamy did finish runner up on three of those occasions, most notably on his final start of the season in a Grade 2 event at Aintree’s National meeting, beaten a shade over three lengths by the smart Portrush Ted.
I don’t think it will be too long before Kateson loses his maiden tag over hurdles, and we should hopefully see some progress when he tackles distances in excess of the minimum trip. His Chepstow win came on a sound surface, but he also proved effective under testing conditions last season.
26. Lostintranslation … 6yo G (Colin Tizzard)
A lightly raced son of Flemensfirth who only made his debut under rules in October last of last year, but progressed nicely throughout the campaign. Runner up on his first two outings to Dynamite Dollars at Chepstow, and to Claimantakinforgan at Newbury was followed by success in a Maiden Hurdle back at Newbury over two miles and half a furlong in December.
He then disappointed on heavy ground at Haydock the following month, before running a very respectable seventh in the Supreme Novices at the festival behind Summerville Boy beaten a shade over eight lengths.
Lostintranslation ended his season with his best performance to date at Aintree, when just touched off over 2m 4f by the smart Black Op trained by Tom George. It is over that sort of trip (and possibly further) that I can see further progress, and Lostintranslation looks a potentially useful novice chaser in the making. He acts well on soft, but at this stage I would still have slight reservations if the ground came up extremely testing.
27. Louis Vac Pouch … 6yo G (Philip Hobbs)
Successful in one of four starts over hurdles last season when taking a Pertemps qualifier at Aintree in November by just over two lengths to Forza Milan. Found the thirteen pounds rise in the handicap a bit too much in the two races that followed, finishing only midfield in the Final itself, and was tailed off beating only three home back at Aintree in April.
I would think that a Novice Chase campaign would be the plan this winter, and he should be found suitable opportunities in that sphere. Louis Vac Pouch stays three miles well, and is twice a winner on soft and also twice a winner on a sound surface.
28. Meep Meep … 5yo M (Tom Lacey)
Did well to win a Chepstow Bumper on her debut in late March, coming home almost four lengths clear of the Emma Lavelle trained Viva Vittoria, but bettered that effort just three weeks later when contesting the Grade 2 Mares Bumper at the Aintree Grand National meeting, putting all her best work in late on to be a very credible fourth to Getaway Katie Mai – just four-an- a-quarter length off the Irish mare at the post.
Meep Meep looks far from the finished article and even at this early stage of her career gives me the impression that she requires a sterner test of stamina. She has a nice jumping pedigree being by Flemensfirth out of a Supreme Leader mare, and is a half-sister to a winner over three miles.
Both her races to date have come on soft going, and she should have little difficulty being placed to win in Novice company over hurdles under suitable trip and conditions.
29. Mercy Mercy Me … 6yo G ( Fergal O’Brien )
Strikes me as a late maturing type and one that is open to improvement as he gains experience. Mercy Mercy Me was successful in a Sandown Bumper in November, coming home three and a half lengths clear of Classic Ben (twice a winner over hurdles since) and was the rested for four months to be aimed at the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals.
He was far from disgraced in both contests, finishing nine-and-ahalf lengths eighth to Relegate at Cheltenham and seventh of twenty behind Portrush Ted at Aintree beaten a total of sixteen and a half lengths, that gap would surely have been less but for failing to gain the clearest of passages and stumbling with around five furlongs to run.
A hurdling campaign is likely to be on the agenda this term and in time should make a chaser one day. Mercy Mercy Me has every chance of staying 2m 4f and may always require some juice in the ground.
30. Midnight Shadow … 5yo G (Sue Smith)
Ended last season by causing a 25/1 surprise (had been as big as 100/1 in a place In the morning) in the Scottish Champion Hurdle (Limited H’cap) making the most of his low weight and getting the better of Claimantakinforgan and Chesterfield in a driving finish.
A Novice Chase campaign has already been spoken of as a possibility for the 2018/19 season, and he may just be the type to run up a sequence in the North before maybe having his sights raised later in the season.
Who knows he may even improve enough to take in some of the better class of races, and although it’s far too early to suggest it but a visit to Prestbury Park next Spring may not be beyond hope. Likely to prove best at around two miles for the time being.
31. Minella Bobo … 5yo G (Rebecca Curtis)
One of four to make the list from the Aintree sale in April, the sale on the Thursday after racing on the first day of the National meeting is fast becoming a useful source for buying a potentially useful recruit, with the top class Samcro being the biggest name to emerge from there back in 2016.
Minella Bobo fetched a £100k for his vendor with the hammer falling to the talented Welsh Handler Rebecca Curtis. He was the winner of his Maiden between the flags in fair style by a couple of lengths from Liosduin Bhearna, and looks the type to go on to be a nice jumper with some more experience behind him.
In the immediate future though he is likely to take in a Bumper or two and should be placed to the best of his ability. Unlikely to be rushed and very much a dark horse at this stage.
32. Mister Fisher … 4yo G (Nicky Henderson)
Collected a Maiden Bumper at Kempton in March in good fashion, giving the impression that he would have little difficulty in staying further when asked to do so (the race has also thrown up a couple of winners since). He was then sent to Aintree for the Grade 2 event that went the way of Portrush Ted, but could only manage to finish thirteenth of the twenty starters.
In fairness the race probably came a bit too soon for him – just four weeks on from that debut. A summer behind him can only do him good and I would expect to see him contesting Novice Hurdles in the near future. Mister Fisher should pay his way over timber this winter and is likely to be open to improvement when stepped up to 2m 4f.
33. Momella … 6yo M (Harry Fry)
A lightly raced mare with just the five starts under rules, winning three of them and finishing in the frame in the other two. Two of those successes cam in novice company, while the third came in a handicap at Cheltenham in December from a mark of 134.
Momella was then rested after December with a loftier target for the Spring, and she certainly didn’t disgrace herself when raised to Grade 1 company in the Betway Mersey Novices Hurdle at Aintree, running a very decent third to another pair included in the fifty – Black Op and Lostintranslation, beaten just three and a half lengths in total.
Momella stays at least 2m 5f and could be worth a try at three miles at some stage this term. Winner of a Point to Point back in February 2017 when trained in Ireland, she may also be worth a pop over the larger obstacles over the coming months. A nice mare.
34. Needham’s Gap … 4yo G (Gary Moore)
Another Point to Point recruit to make the fifty for the season. Needham’s Gap won his sole start in a Maiden for four-year-olds at Courtown in April, staying on well in the latter stages to beat Colin Bowe’s Southern Sam by three lengths. He’s a son of Flemensfirth out of an unraced mare by St Leger winner Milan, and may require a bit of a trip when sent over obstacles.
However, that’s not to say he shouldn’t be up to winning a Bumper or two before that day arrives. Needham’s Gap was a 36k euro foal, with that price rising to 68k euro at the age of three, with Gary Moore having to go to 120k euro to secure the gelding at Punchestown in April. Very much a dark horse at this stage, but one that will hopefully go at least some way to recouping that purchase price.
35. Onboard … 3yo G (Nigel Hawke)
Probably one of the riskier inclusions in the fifty, but certainly in the hands of a trainer that can spot a bargain. Onboard is unraced and was a Juddmonte Farms cast off at the Goffs Horses In Training sales back in the spring, fetching just £12k – which is loose change in today’s market for one with such a pedigree.
He’s by four times G1 (Incl’ Prix Du Jockey Club and Arc) winner Dalakhani who has been responsible for a number of good horses over the years, out of Prince Khalid’s mare Emplane who herself has produced the Group 3 Winner Early March and Group 3 and USA Grade 2 winner Aviate.
Onboard is bred to appreciate middle distances on the flat, so one would expect him to have little trouble staying two miles over hurdles. Would not need to be anything out of the ordinary to recoup that sales price for connections.
36. On The Blind Side … 6yo G (Nicky Henderson)
Unbeaten in three starts over hurdles prior to Christmas, including a brace of Grade 2 contests at Cheltenham and Sandown, but had to miss the festival in March due to a setback when being prepared for a crack at the Ballymore Novices Hurdle.
He lost his unbeaten record at Aintree in April when only sixth behind Black Op in what looked a pretty warm Mersey Novices Hurdle, but in fairness to the horse he may not have been absolutely cherry ripe following the interrupted preparation in the couple of months prior, and but for a mistake two from home may have finished a little closer.
He remains an exciting prospect and I would expect a novice chase campaign to be on the agenda, with hopefully all roads leading towards a possible crack at the JLT contest next March for which he is quoted a general 16/1 chance. A very likeable individual.
37. Posh Trish … 5yo M (Paul Nicholls)
A likeable mare that should jump fences one day, Posh Trish won two of five Bumpers last term – at Aintree in October (on disqualification) and at Cheltenham the following month, she was also third in a listed contest at Sandown in March.
Her other two outings may appear a little disappointing, down the field at Ascot in December in the race won by Didtheyleaveuoutto and when only tenth behind Getaway Katie Mai at Aintree’s National meeting.
I wouldn’t be too disheartened with the last run, being it at the end of the season, and my own feeling is that she is already in need of a step up in trip. She still looks a horse of potential, and 2m 4f over hurdles should pose no problems at all.
38. Pym … 5yo G (Nicky Henderson)
Won a Bumper at the Scottish National meeting of 2017, despite looking a little weak and immature. Pym was then off the track for some ten months before running a fair second at Kempton to the highly thought of Danny Kirwan from the Paul Nicholls stable.
His only other outing saw him contest a Bumper at Aintree, where he probably underperformed somewhat – finishing only ninth of twenty, some 18 lengths behind the winner Portrush Ted. He’s a son of Stowaway and a half brother to three winners – nothing of note, but looks the type to make his mark in novice company over timber. He should stay 2m 4f in time and I don’t think we have seen the best of him yet.
39. Quoi De Neuf … 4yo G (Evan Williams)
Won his Maiden Point at Ballysteen in April in good style by nine lengths from Howling Man, held up and travelling well towards the rear of the field, before making progress after four out, he always appeared to be going best in the latter stages and comfortably pulled clear.
Just a few days later Quoi De Neuf found himself at the Goffs Punchestown sales, his win must have caught the attention of potential buyers as the hammer eventually fell at 180k euro to Evan Williams to be trained from his base in Llancarfen, Vale Of Glamorgan.
By Anzillero – a son of Law Society, responsible for the useful Chaser Valseur Lido, out of a mare that has produced three other winners. Quoi De Neuf is likely to be brought along steadily this term in Bumpers, but his long-term future is surely one when faced with obstacles to jump. Sure to be placed to the best of his ability and one to keep an eye on during the season ahead.
40. Roksana … 6yo M (Dan Skelton)
A more than useful daughter of Dubai Destination who has won three of her five starts over hurdles in a progressive manner, but arguably her best performance came when runner up in a Grade One contest at Aintree in April behind the high-class Nicky Henderson trained Santini, beaten just a length and a half.
Roksana has won over 2m 3f and the Aintree race was over three miles and half a furlong. There’s plenty to like about her and she tends to finish her races off well, and despite flashing her tail after the last at Aintree showed no signs of stopping.
Roksana should continue to pay her way if kept over hurdles, but I’d imagine connections will pop her over fences at sometime this term and I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t make her mark. She acts on just about any going with the exception of anything quicker than officially Good.
41. Samarquand … 4yo G (Harry Fry)
Winner of his only start to date when narrowly collecting a Wincanton Bumper towards the backend of the season, battling on well in the final quarter of a mile to get the better of the Evan Williams trained Bold Plan by a neck, with over six lengths back to the third home. Samarquand should make up in to a novice hurdler this season, but it’s possible that he may take in another Bumper before being popped over timber.
He’s a half-brother to the useful Warriors Tale trained by Paul Nicholls, and should stay further in time, but in the immediate future he should be up to winning over the minimum trip. He’s by the sire Malinas who is responsible for the likes of Medinas, American and Black Thunder, and it will be disappointing if he can’t win a race or two over the course of the season.
42. Santini … 6yo G (Nicky Henderson)
Santini looks potentially one of stars in the making for the staying division for Novices over fences this winter. Up there with the best of the three miler novices over hurdles last season, winning three from four starts, with his only defeat coming when third of twenty in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham festival.
He’s an attractive well mad son of Milan, who acts very well on soft and heavy underfoot conditions and may not want the going to be too lively to be seen at his best. While you may not get rich backing this fella throughout the season, his progress should be monitored keenly, with all roads hopefully leading towards a crack at the RSA Chase back at Cheltenham in March.
43. Sebastopol … 4yo G (Tom Lacey)
First foal of a six times winning mare (3 flat and 3 hurdles) and by Ascot Gold Cup winner and leading stayer Fame And Glory. Sebastopol took a Maiden Point to Point at Larkhill in January by fifteen lengths, and followed that up with a success in a Bumper up at Ayr, beating Black Pirate (two time Bumper and PTP winner) by a shade under four lengths, with five other previous winners also behind him that day. Sebastopol appeared a little weak despite his win at Ayr and better days surely lay ahead.
May well take in another Bumper but also looks more than capable of paying his way in Novice Hurdles over the winter. Should also stay further than the minimum trip with a bit more experience behind him.
44. Seddon … 5yo G (Tom George)
An attractive, lengthy gelded son of Stowaway who took a Musselburgh Bumper on his debut in good style by five lengths from Chanceanotherfive who had won his previous two contests. Seddon’s only other outing last season came in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival, finishing midfield of the twenty-three runners, just over fifteen lengths behind the winner Relegate.
It was a big ask for the horse on only his second start, and just thirty-eight days after his debut, and in fairness probably did as well as one could expect. A summer behind him can only do him good and he should be up to winning a Novice Hurdle or two this season.
Both his starts to date have come on soft conditions, and I wouldn’t be too concerned about him acting on slightly better ground either. Like many of these lightly raced Bumper performers Seddon is quite possibly better than his form to date indicates.
45. Sevarano … 5yo G (Oliver Sherwood)
A son of Shantou that was successful on his racecourse debut at Kempton in February, coming home seven lengths clear of Rhythm Is A Dancer ( a winner since ) , travelling strongly inside the final quarter of a mile and never looking in any danger. He must be fairly well regarded as connections sent him to Aintree for his only other start in the Grade 2 contest at the National meeting.
For such an inexperienced horse he ran a fair race to be fifth behind Portrush Ted, only weakening inside the final furlong to be beaten some fourteen lengths. He looks the type to make a hurdler in the immediate future, and should also jump fences one day. I will be somewhat surprised if he can’t be found winning opportunities over the winter months.
46. Simply The Betts … 5yo G (Harry Whittington)
Got off the mark at the fifth time of asking over hurdles when quickening clear in the latter stages at Warwick in a maiden, impressively coming home eight lengths clear of Amoola Gold.
It wasn’t the strongest of contests, but there’s little doubt that he appeared well suited by the sound surface that day. Given suitable underfoot conditions he could just be a step ahead of the handicapper (currently rated 130).
Simply The Betts has raced exclusively at around the two miles trip, and that maybe where his immediate future lies, although he could be worth a try at slightly further on a track where the emphasis is on speed rather than stamina.
47. Supremely Lucky … 6yo G (Dan Skelton)
Landed a gamble on his only start to date under rules when taking a Chepstow Bumper in February, beating the Nigel Twiston – Davies trained Kapgarry (winner of a PTP a month earlier) by two lengths, needing only to be shaken up approaching the final furlong to come clear.
The form of the race may not amount to a great deal, but the son of Milan gave the impression that there was better to come with more experience behind him.
Supremely Lucky should have little difficulty staying 2m 4f and while clearly no world beater, should be placed to win races in his own grade. Acts well on a soft surface.
48. Tara West … 4yo F (Anthony Honeyball)
Won her four-year-old Maiden Point at Loughanmore at the end of March, travelling well and battling on in game fashion in the latter stages to get the better of Little Light by a head.
Connections then decided to send the daughter of Kayf Tara to the Aintree Sales the following month where she attracted enough interest for the hammer to fall at £100k, with Anthony Honeyball being the successful bidder.
Her dam has produced five winners to date, and I have every confidence that Tara West will be the sixth. She’s unlikely (not impossible) to be seen over hurdles this season, but should possess enough to collect a Bumper or two over the winter months. Very much a dark horse at this stage.
49. Vision Des Flos … 5yo G (Colin Tizzard)
A wide margin winner of an Exeter Novice Hurdle in February, and two runner-up spots in Grade One company – to Lalor at Aintree, and to Draconien at Punchestown – marked Vision Des Flos down as a pretty decent young horse last season.
He’s effective at the minimum trip, stays at least 2m 4f and copes well with typical winter going. He looks a chaser in the making, and would probably have little trouble running up a sequence in the West Country before possibly being aimed at some of the better quality races for Novices.
Vision Des Flos is closely related to the Ryanair Chase winner of 2018 – Balko Des Flos, and while it is far too early to suggest that he will scale the same heights as him – I’d be more than hopefully that he will end his campaign as a useful first season chaser.
50. Western Ryder … 6yo G (Warren Greatrex)
An attractive son of Westerner and very useful Novice Hurdler, although a little behind the absolute best. Twice a winner last term – at Chepstow in November, and at Cheltenham the following month when beating the smart Lalor by a couple of lengths.
Ran a fair sixth in the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the festival in March, and also ran a respectable fifth behind Black Op in a Grade One contest at Aintree – beaten a shade over six lengths.
Should make up in to a nice Novice over the larger obstacles this season, his sire has produced the likes of Total Recall, Champagne West, Empire Of Dirt and Arkle winner Western Warhorse. Western Ryder stays 2m 4f and is best served by some give in the ground. Sure to be well placed by his talented handler.
DOUGLAS CAMPBELL 10 To Follow – 2018 Flat Season
DOUG CAMPBELL’S FLAT HORSES TO FOLLOW MONDAY 5 NOVEMBER
Kempton 7.00 Cogital
1 Almoghared – 3yo C (Dansili x Ezima) John Gosden
Unraced at two, this colt boasts a very nice pedigree being a half-brother to the top-class filly of 2014 – Taghrooda (Sea The Stars). Middle distances should suit and I would imagine his trainer will try and find a nice ten furlong maiden somewhere before hopefully moving on to something better. I await his racecourse debut with keen interest as too I’m sure many others will.
2 Astrologist – 3yo C (Sea The Stars x Jumooh) Clive Co
Looked a little weak and immature on his debut at Newmarket when beating only one horse home in a field of nine over a mile in the first week of October, but showed the benefit of that run just eleven days later when beaten a neck by Blazing Thunder over an extended mile at Nottingham. Should improve for a step up in trip and looks more than capable of collecting a maiden before a handicap campaign over trips in the region of ten to twelve furlongs.
3 Cogital – 3yo C (Invincible Spirit x Galaxy Highflyer) Amanda Perrett
A half-brother to the smart Aiden O’Brien trained two-year-old from a few years back Oklahoma City (Oasis Dream), Cogital himself is also by a top class sprinter in the shape of Invincible Spirit. He is yet to make his debut but hails from a stable not renowned for rushing its youngsters.
Cogital is likely to start off over trips in the region of seven furlongs but should stay a little further as he gains experience. His pedigree suggests that there are races to be won with him and will hopefully reward his followers and connections over the course of the season.
4 Elector – 3yo C (Dansili x Enticement) Sir Michael Stoute)
Winner of his only start last year when taking a seven furlongs contest at Ascot in early September on going officially described as soft. It looks reasonable form and there should be more to come from Elector over the months ahead.
Owned by her Majesty The Queen, and out of the Royal mare Enticement who was trained to Listed success by Sir Michael back in 2009, he should have little difficulty staying a mile and a quarter. Unlikely to be rushed by his trainer but hopefully further successes await this promising sort.
5 Extra Elusive – 3YO C (Mastercraftsman x Nessina) Roger Charlton
Created a favourable impression when collecting a Novice Stakes over a mile at Newbury in late October on his only outing last term. Only needing to be pushed out to come home almost three lengths clear of the John Gosden trained First Eleven.
Extra Elusive should benefit from a winter behind him and in time may well prove to be considerably better than the bare form of the race suggests. A step up to ten furlongs should also bring about some improvement and he looks a colt to keep on your side during 2018.
6 Fajjaj – 3yo C (Dawn Approach x Pleasantry) Hugo Palmer
Did well to win on his debut over seven furlongs at Ascot in early September despite showing signs of greenness. Probably found the step up to Group 3 company a little too much just nineteen days later, but ran respectably nonetheless in coming fourth behind the smart Elarqam beaten a total of four lengths.
Promises to stay further and appears open to improvement when given the opportunity to do so. Fajjaj is in very good hands to have his talent developed to the maximum.
7 Herculean – 3yo C (Frankel x African Rose) Roger Charlton
Winner of his only start last term when getting the better of another potentially useful performer in the shape of Wadilsafa trained by Owen Burrows, over seven furlongs at Ascot in September. Possesses a lovely Juddmonte Farms pedigree through and through and is a full brother to the smart filly Fair Eva.
Will stay at least a mile and it will be a major disappointment if Herculean fails to progress at three. Looks an exciting prospect for the season ahead.
8 Pretty Baby – 3yo F (Orpen x Premiere Danseuse) William Haggas
Beaten just half a length on her debut at York in September, Pretty Baby showed the benefit of that outing a month later when comfortably landing odds of 1/5 over six furlongs at Chelmsford – beating the David Simcock trained Musical Theatre by three and a half lengths.
She looks the type that may do better at three and will hopefully prove her worth with her inclusion in the list. Distances of up to a mile should suit her best and Pretty Baby is sure to be placed to the best of her ability.
9 Roaring Lion – 3yo C (Kitten’s Joy x Vionnet) John Gosden
Proved himself to be one of the best two-year-old colts this side of the Irish Sea during 2017, winning three of his four starts and finishing a narrow second to Saxon Warrior in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster. Held in the highest regard by his trainer his early season target is likely to be the colts first classic at Newmarket in early May.
Roaring Lion shapes as though further improvement may come over ten furlongs, although at this stage I would have some reservations about him staying the Derby trip of a mile and a half. A very talented colt nonetheless and connections have plenty to look forward to.
10 Veracious – 3yo F (Frankel x Infallible) Sir Michael Stoute
The second offspring of Frankel to make the list, and even at this early stage of his stallion career it is clear that he is passing on not only ability, but also good looks to his sons and daughters. Veracious got off the mark at the second time of asking when easily taking a seven furlongs maiden by four lengths from the Godolphin owned Winter Lightning, with plenty more in hand than the winning margin suggested.
Should appreciate the step up to a mile and may well take in one of the trials races in the spring to see if they have a filly worth taking to Newmarket for the Guineas. At this stage though there are plenty worse 25/1 chances for the fillies classic than this girl.
© The Racing Hub 2018