Doug Campbell: 50 National Hunt Horses To Follow 2019/20
When horses from the list run, they will appear on Our Writer’s Tips page
1. Aggy With It 5yo ( M ) Trained By Dan Skelton
Hinted at some ability on her debut at Aintree in October when fifth of twelve behind Briery Express in a Mares Bumper, a contest which produced a few future winners. Her only other outing came some five months later when she collected a four-runner event at Market Rasen, by five lengths from the Amy Murphy trained Roaring Fury – winning with any amount in hand without ever coming off the bridle. Aggy With It may well go straight over timber this term, and should be well placed to collect a race or two. She’s untried on anything other than Good ground to date, and should stay further than the minimum trip over hurdles with some experience behind her.
2. Angels Breath 5yo ( G ) Trained By Nicky Henderson
When starting the long task of compiling this list – shortly after the end of last season – Angels Breath was probably the first horse that sprung to mind from last term. A Point to Point winner back in the Spring of 2018, before joining the Nicky Henderson stable later in the year, bringing with him a fairly tall reputation. He didn’t disappoint on his debut at Ascot in December, where he comfortably beat the useful Danny Kirwan by four and a half lengths – in a race in which only four flights of hurdles were jumped. That run marked him down as a potentially smart performer in the making, and he soon appeared in the long-range lists for some of the Novices events at the Cheltenham festival in March. His road towards Cheltenham did not go straight to plan due to some postponements, and his trainer was forced to run him just two and a half weeks before a crack at the Supreme Novices Hurdle, in which he finished seventh behind Klassical Dream beaten around twenty-two lengths. Angels Breath was somewhat outpaced coming down the hill, but didn’t stop trying and made a little progress late on. He looked to be crying out for a step up in trip, and rather than put him away for the season after the interrupted preparation Henderson decided to send him to Aintree a few weeks later. Although he ran ok in the Mersey Novices Hurdle to be third, beaten by two solid performers in the shape of Reserve Tank and Brewin’upastorm, his cause was not helped by pulling hard during the race, that said he finishing his race off well enough and he remains a horse with plenty of potential for the years ahead. He looks a Chaser in the making, and Henderson may well decide to send him over the larger obstacles this season. But whatever his fate I feel he will require a minimum of 2m 4f to be seen at his best, and should not be ground dependent.
3. Ask A Honey Bee 5yo ( G ) Trained By Fergal O’Brien
Winner of a 5yo Maiden Point at Ballynoe at the fourth time of asking, following three respectable finishes (3rd , 3rd and 4th) on his first three starts, on each occasion showing a likeable attitude. He was picked up at Goffs UK Spring Sale in May by his current trainer for £38k, not a considerable sum in today’s equine climate. However that will hopefully prove to be money well spent. Ask A Honey Bee may not be a world beater, but should be placed to win within the right grade. He may well start off in a Bumper or two to gain some experience, but will stay further when sent over hurdles, and should repay his trainer’s confidence during the course of the season.
4. Ballymoy 6yo ( G ) Trained By Nigel Twiston–Davies
A more than useful hurdler, winning six of his ten starts since making his debut under rules two years ago, and last season improved his official rating from one of 139 up to a peak of 152 with successes at Chepstow, Haydock and Ascot. His season was cut short in February following a disappointing run at Fontwell in the Grade 2 National Spirit Hurdle, where he was never really travelling and finished a well beaten last of six. Something was clearly amiss, and hopefully he can return this season and soon be back to winning ways. Ballymoy stays at least two and a half miles, and is worth another try at around three, as his only previous start at the trip was pretty inconclusive. I imagine a Novice Chase campaign will be on the agenda for this son of Flemensfirth, and Ballymoy has the ability to reach a fair standard in that sphere.
5. Barbados Buck’s 4yo ( G ) Trained By Paul Nicholls
The 4yo Maiden Point at Dromahane on the 28th April may well turn out to be a pretty decent contest, I’m sure Paul Nicholls will be hoping so anyway as he now has the winner and runner-up in his care. Barbados Buck’s had to play second fiddle to Skatman that day, beaten around two lengths, but stuck to his task throughout – only losing out after jumping the last. He’s by Getaway out of the French bred mare Buck’s Blue (by Epervier Bleu) and is a half-brother to a couple of winners, the best being the useful Peter Bowen trained chaser More Buck’s. Barbados Buck’s a €210k buy is likely to start off in Bumpers, and whether he is sent over hurdles this season only time will tell. I am sure that one day he will also jump fences.
6. Beaufort West 5yo ( G ) Trained By Colin Tizzard
Beaufort West has yet to win a race after five starts under rules (a Bumper and four Maiden/Novice Hurdles), plus one outing in a Point to Point when trained in Ireland. However, he has shown definite signs of ability and shouldn’t remain a maiden for much longer. His best efforts to date have proven to be a three lengths fourth place to Bright Forecast at Newbury in November, plus a runner-up spot to Winston C in a Class 3 event – beaten a length-and-three-quarters at Sandown in February. Beaufort West’s final start of the campaign came when outclassed and never competitive in the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, eventually pulling up after the second last flight when tailed off. He will start the new season on a mark of 129 over timber, a rating from which he should be found suitable opportunities from – he acts on soft going, and has not raced on anything fast than good to soft. Beaufort West should stay at least 2m 4f in time.
7. Blazer’s Mill 5yo ( G ) Trained By Olly Murphy
We didn’t see much of this son of Westerner last term, just the once in fact when comfortably taking an Intermediate Bumper at Fontwell over one mile five and a half furlongs, despite racing green at times and showing clear sign of inexperience. He was wisely put away following that run with the future in mind, as surely his best days lay ahead. His only other appearance came when runner up in a 4yo Maiden Point at Tyrella, in March of 2018 – beaten just a length by Birchdale, a horse which is now rated in the mid 140’s over timber. Blazer’s Mill looks the type to make a decent Novice Hurdler this season, and will stay two and a half miles plus. He maybe the type to run up a sequence before being raised in class, and it would come as no great surprise if he developed in to a festival candidate.
8. Bobhopeornohope 4yo ( G ) Trained By Kim Bailey
Created a fair impression when winning at Dromahane in April on his only start to date, so much so that trainer Kim Bailey had to part with £105k at the Cheltenham sales just twelve days later to secure him. That wasn’t a bad return for vendors Monbeg Stables, who had acquired him for just €15k some ten months earlier. Bobhopeornohope is very much a dark horse at this stage, who I imagine would start off in Bumpers – a sphere in which his new trainer does fairly well in, with a strike rate (at the time of writing) of around 20% over the last five seasons. Sure to be found suitable opportunities, and a horse whose progress I will be following throughout the course of the season.
9. Bright Forecast 5yo ( G ) Trained by Ben Pauling
Made giant strides in four starts over hurdles last season, winning a Maiden at Newbury over two miles in November, a Novices race at Leicester over just shy of two miles, was then runner up to the smart Nicky Henderson trained Mister Fisher in a Grade Two Novices event at Haydock, before ending his season with a solid third place at the Cheltenham Festival in the two miles five and a half furlongs Ballymore Novices Hurdle, beaten two lengths and two and a quarter lengths by City Island and Champ. Bright Forecast look every inch a chaser in the making, and I will be very surprised if he fails to reach a decent standard over fences. I think he will be better served by at least 2m 4f than shorter and will be worth a try over further in time as he gains experience, giving him the options of both the JLT Novices Chase and the longer RSA Chase should he prove good enough. A really nice sort to go in to the winter of 2019 with, Bright Forecast acts on both good ground and soft underfoot conditions.
10. Catch The Swallows 5yo ( G ) Trained By David Pipe
First foal of an unraced mare by Shamardal, and sired by the former Aiden O’Brien trained Masterofthehorse (By Sadler’s Wells), whose best performance on the racecourse came when third in the 2009 Epsom Derby behind Sea The Stars & Fame And Glory – with the future three times Group 1 winner Rip Van Winkle just behind him in fourth place, bloodlines that you would normally associate with top class racing on the flat. Masterofthehorse himself is a full brother to the Epsom and Irish Oaks winner of 2006 Alexandrova. Catch The Swallows was originally purchased for just €10k at the Goffs Landrover (stores) sale in June of 2017 with that figure rising to £60k at the Aintree sale in April the following year, after a runner-up spot in a four runner Maiden Point at Dromahane. He got off the mark at the first time of asking for Pipe in a Bumper at Bangor in January, beating the Venetia Williams trained Frenchy Du Large by a shade over a length, giving the impression that the outing and a possible step up in trip can only do him good. The form of the Bangor run may not amount to much, but he should be placed to win again over the months ahead.
**Catch The Swallows did have wind surgery before his debut under rules.
11. Chuvelo 4yo ( G ) Trained By Donald McCain
Caught the eye on his only start last season when a narrow runner up in big money Bumper at Fairyhouse in the third week of April, losing out close home to the promising Joseph O’Brien trained Uhtred. The following week Chuvelo found himself at the Tattersalls Cheltenham Horses in Training sales, with the winning bid of £100k being made by Donald McCain. Chuvelo is a son of the 2001 St Leger winner Milan, who is responsible for any number of decent National Hunt performers – including Santini, One For Arthur, Jezki and Brewin’upastorm to name just a few. He looks a ready made winner of a Bumper for his new handler, and should also be found winning opportunities when sent over Hurdles. He should have little trouble staying at least two and a half miles.
12. Clondaw Castle 7yo ( G ) Trained By Tom George
Won a couple of small field Novice Chases at Leicester & Huntingdon in the early part of 2019, but found the step in to Grade 1 company at Cheltenham and Aintree a little too much at this stage of his career. He’s not overly raced for a horse of his age, with just the twelve starts under rules, plus two in the Point to Point fields. He’ll start the new season on a mark of 144 over fences, and I am confident that his trainer will find opportunities for him in handicap company during the months ahead. He’s untested over much further than two miles under rules, but his Point win was over three, and I would imagine he maybe given a try over 2m 4f at some stage. Clondaw Castle appears to act on most types of going, and hopefully there will still be some improvement to come.
13. Collooney 5yo ( G ) Trained By Olly Murphy
A lightly raced son of Yeats that will begin his 2019/20 campaign on a reasonable looking mark of 124 over hurdles. Collooney won a novice event at Bangor in January, landing odds of 1/3 in workmanlike style by around half a length from the Venetia Williams trained Pink Legend. That win was sandwiched between placed efforts at Plumpton and Wincanton, and his season ended with a fair effort when third on his handicap debut and first try at 2m 4f behind the improving Earlofthecotswolds, beaten around a length and a half. Although his hurdles win came at an extended two miles (he also won a Maiden Bumper at just shy of 1m 6f), I feel that further progress may well come over further as he gains experience. He may just be a step ahead of the handicapper, and further successes will hopefully follow.
14. Crypto 5yo ( G ) Trained By Venetia Williams
Cost just 21k euro as a three-year-old at the Goffs Landrover (stores) Sale of 2017, with that price rising to one of £200k at the Cheltenham Festival (Mixed) Sale back in March, not a bad return of investment by any standard. That huge leap was mainly down to an impressive racecourse debut for Micky Hammond in a Newcastle Bumper, where Crypto ran right away from his field – winning by sixteen lengths, with any amount in hand. The form may not amount to a great deal, but he couldn’t have done things more impressively, and he looks sure to progress. Crypto is a half-brother to six winners, and is now in the care of Venetia Williams who should have little difficulty in finding suitable opportunities, be it in Bumpers or over hurdles. He should also stay further than two miles as he gains experience.
15. Deise Aba 6yo ( G ) Trained By Philip Hobbs
Already boasts fairly useful form after just three starts over hurdles last season, winning in Maiden company in November over two miles three and a half furlongs, and finishing fourth against Novices in February and March – ending his season with an official rating of 135. His final run came over just shy of three miles at Chepstow, beaten a total of just under six lengths behind the David Pipe trained New Age Dawning, after becoming a little outpaced in the home straight. I tend to put it down to inexperience rather than not staying the trip, in fact he may well be open to further improvement at the distance with a few more races under his belt. He should have little difficulty jumping a fence, and should be placed to win his share. I fully expect him to end the 2019/20 campaign with a higher rating over the larger obstacles than his current hurdles mark.
16. Dickie Diver 6yo ( G ) Trained By Nicky Henderson
Posted three solid runs over consecutive months, between January and March, culminating with fair fourth beaten a total of eleven lengths in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle at Cheltenham behind shock 50/1 scorer Minella Indo. He won his Maiden very easily in February over two miles three and a half furlongs at Chepstow, beating Kingsplace with the minimum of fuss, but essentially looks a stayer in the making. Dickie Diver won a four-year-old Maiden Point to Point back in December 2017, and looks sure to be sent over fences this winter. I know at the time of writing that March is a long way off, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he developed in to a contender for the RSA Chase, for which he is currently quoted at a best price of 33/1. He’s a very nice individual.
17. Earlofthecotswolds 5yo ( G ) Trained By Nigel Twiston–Davies
A shrewd purchase at just £19k at the Goffs UK Spring (Stores) Sale of 2017. Earlofthecotswolds has already done connections proud, by winning a Bumper (from three starts) and also three races over hurdles (from six starts) along with a brace of runner-up spots over timber – improving his official rating from 117 to one of 133 by the end of the season. He’s by the under used German bred stallion Axxios, who is also responsible for the smart staying chaser Callet Mad – which coincidentally is also trained by Twiston – Davies. Earlofthecotswolds is not the most fluent jumper of a hurdle at times, but does gallop relentlessly – as shown when making all on his final start of the campaign at Market Rasen over an extended two and a half miles. He looks a chaser in the making, and I would suspect that the plan will be to go over the larger obstacles sooner rather than later. ‘The Earl’ has won on good ground, and also on a soft surface, and should continue to give his owners plenty of enjoyment over the winter months. Worth a try at three miles at some stage.
18. Easter Gold 5yo ( M ) Trained By Lucy Wadham
A lightly raced mare with just the five outings to date, four Bumpers and a Maiden Hurdle. Easter Gold finished a narrow second on her racecourse debut in the Spring of 2018, beaten just a head by the Suzy Smith trained Rosy World at Uttoxeter on heavy going. She failed to build on that on her next three starts, but didn’t run too badly on her hurdling debut – finishing fourth of ten behind Alan King’s Hotter Than Hell, staying on from two out without ever troubling the leaders. That run was over 2m 4f, a trip which may prove the minimum of her requirements. She won’t be winning at any of the big festivals, but I will be disappointed if a small race or two cannot be found for this daughter of Kapgarde, and hopefully at rewarding odds given that she is not trained from one of the more fashionable yards.
19. Enemy Coast Ahead 5yo ( G ) Trained By Tom George
You couldn’t fail to be impressed by the performance of Enemy Coast Ahead on his only start last season. Making his debut in a Stratford Bumper in March, he travelled well throughout off a steady pace and only needed to be shaken up in the home straight to readily pull ten lengths clear of his nearest rival In Rem, trained by Nick Williams. The winning margin didn’t really do him justice – and the quality of opposition would not have been the strongest, but there certainly looks to be plenty more to come over the months ahead. Enemy Coast Ahead could well take in another Bumper, but gave me the impression that successes in Novices Hurdles should also come his way. Looks a very good purchase for connections at just €10k.
20. Exelerator Express 5yo ( G ) Trained By Neil Mulholland
Didn’t run too badly on his only start last season, when a five lengths runner-up to Prudhomme in a Ffos Las Bumper in the first week of April, despite taking a keen hold during the race and looking if the outing would do him good. That said, he didn’t give up on his task and stayed on in the latter stages to snatch that second place close home, after looking for much of the final furlong that third was the best he could hope for. Exelerator Express should be up to winning your average Bumper before being sent over timber, where he should find opportunities in Maiden/Novice company. His half-brother is a two times winner in France over two miles one and a half furlongs, and Exelerator Express will probably be best served by two miles in the immediate future, although I wouldn’t rule him out staying further as he gains experience.
21. First Lord De Cuet 5yo ( G ) Trained By David Pipe
Got off the mark at the second time of asking under rules, when collecting a Plumpton Bumper in March, winning with any amount in hand by thirteen lengths from Mr Harp. That win followed on from a promising debut three weeks earlier, when runner up at to the Alan King trained Perfect Predator – beaten a shade over a length. First Lord De Cuet was put away for the season after the Plumpton success, and that may well prove to have been a wise move with the future in mind. He looked far from the finished article, and there is simply no point in rushing him. I imagine he will go straight over timber this season, and as long as he stays fit and healthy then there is no reason to think he wouldn’t make his mark as an above average hurdler. Winner of a 4yo Maiden Point in the Spring of 2018, First Lord De Cuet should stay 2m 4f comfortably, and will have no trouble jumping a fence one day.
22. Garry Clermont 4yo ( G ) Trained By Jonjo O’Neill
I was at Bangor the day that Garry Clermont made his debut in a Maiden Point for 4yo, 5yo and 6yo’s in the third week of February, and one couldn’t fail to be impressed by his fifteen lengths success (value for much more) from Dee Star and Eeze A Saint – who both went on to record wins in the following weeks. It wasn’t the biggest of surprises to see him feature in the mixed sales at Cheltenham a few days later, where connections saw their original investment of €24k turn in to a return of £150k, with the successful buyer an owner with Jonjo O’Neill. Three months later Garry Clermont began to repay the faith of his new owner and trainer, by beating a useful looking field in an Aintree Bumper in game fashion, scoring by half a length with ears pricked from Dino Boy. He’s a French bred gelding, and first foal of the Califet mare Kalidria Beauchene, and should have no trouble staying two and a half miles. Garry Clermont has done well to date in the infancy of his career, and future success looks almost assured.
23. Getariver 6yo ( M ) Trained By Dan Skelton
Unbeaten in three outings to date, a 5yo Mares Maiden Point when trained in Ireland, and a brace of Bumpers – Ludlow 1m 6f and Newbury 2m 1/2f – for her current trainer. Getariver has raced quite keenly on both her starts under rules, and is likely to be open to plenty of improvement when she learns to settle better. Her sire Getaway is responsible for the likes of Verdana Blue, Talkischeap, Getaway Trump and Getabird to name a few, while her dam – a mare by Presenting, has produced two other winners. Getariver is likely to go straight over hurdles, and is in the right hands to have talent nurtured to achieve her full potential. She will probably start off at around two miles, but further progress could come when given a stiffer test of stamina. I know March is still around seven months away, but it would be nice to think that Getariver may develop in to a candidate for Mares Novices Hurdle at the 2020 Festival. She is untried on anything more testing than Good to Soft.
24. Get In The Queue 5yo ( G ) Trained By Harry Fry
Unraced for Jonjo O’Neill before joining the Harry Fry stable in the autumn of 2018. Get In The Queue is unbeaten in three Bumpers, winning minor events at Uttoxeter in December and Exeter a couple of months later, before taking a rise in grade for his third success in a big money contest at Newbury, on each occasion winning with more authority than the winning margins of nine lengths, sixteen lengths and four and a half lengths may suggest. He looks ready-made for a campaign in novice hurdles for the new season, and should have the speed for the minimum distance – but also gave indication that he has every chance of staying further when asked to do so. Get In The Queue may not want the going on the quick side, and clearly goes well when there is give in the ground, and I imagine that I won’t be alone in including him in a ‘ Horses To Follow ‘ list for the season.
25. Itchy Feet 5yo ( G ) Trained By Olly Murphy
Has already achieved a good standard over hurdles In five starts, ending the last campaign rated as high as 150. Itchy Feet won his first two outings, beating Peterborough in decisive fashion at Southwell and the useful Grand Sancy in a four runner affair at Kempton. They were his only two successes last term, but a fair second to Elixir De Nutz followed at Cheltenham in November when trying to concede him five pounds. Itchy Feet was then rested until a crack at the Supreme Novices Hurdle on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, in which he ran very well to come a five lengths third to Klassical Dream. The run was probably even better than it appeared, as Itchy Feet was found to have broken a blood vessel on his return, he may not have won but a sterling effort nonetheless. On his final start at Aintree he was let down by his jumping at times, and Itchy Feet could only managed fourth in a field of seven behind Felix Desjy. That said he remains a horse of plenty of promise, and it maybe that he will be sent over fences at some stage this season. Whatever the plan I will be disappointed if he can’t return to the winners enclosure at some stage.
26. Johnbb 5yo ( G ) Trained By Tom Lacey
Ran as if something possibly could have been amiss on his final start of four last term, comfortably being left behind by Duarigle and She Mite Bite at Sandown over 2m 4f in February. Immediately prior to that run Johnbb had taken a Maiden Hurdle over an extended two and a half miles in game fashion by a neck from the Nicky Richards trained Glinger Flame (now rated 135 – following three successes in novice company in the Spring). Johnbb is no world beater, but could well be on a fair mark of 125 for the new season, and will hopefully return to action fit and well. He is worth a try at three miles at some stage, and has gone well on Good to Soft and also soft going in the past, but interesting to note that he was withdrawn when the ground went heavy at Carlisle last season. Should be found opportunities in none too demanding handicaps.
27. King Roland 5yo ( G ) Trained By Harry Fry
A €22k foal, rising to €40k as a 3yo, which is beginning to look a bit of a bargain. King Roland is unbeaten in three starts to date, a Larkhill P2P in the Spring of 2018, and a brace of Bumpers last winter. The first of those Bumper wins came at Uttoxeter in December in impressive fashion, travelling well throughout – leading on the bit with half a mile left to run, and readily pulling clear inside the final two furlongs, to eventually finish twenty-two lengths clear at the line from his nearest rival. The race may not have been the strongest of contests, but the fourth home (beaten some 42l) the Neil King trained mare Slaine has gone on to win three times overs hurdles during the Summer, and at the time or writing is rated 119 – so the race does at least have some substance to it. King Roland’s second Bumper win came at Ffos Las in February, beating Stick With Bill by a length, but with more authority than the margin may suggest. He appears a natural for a Novice Hurdles campaign, and should be placed to win his share. His wins came on Good to Soft, and Heavy conditions, and the son of Stowaway will stay further than the minimum trip in time.
28. Legende Du Minuit 5yo ( G ) Trained By Harry Fry
An unraced son of Midnight Legend, out of the Glacial Storm mare Chilla Cilla, making him a full brother to the Jamie Snowden trained three times winner Midnight Chill. Legende Du Minuit was a £58k purchase at the Goffs UK Spring (Stores) Sale of 2017, and at this stage is very much a dark horse. He should stay 2m 4f in time, but his immediate future is likely to be in a couple of Bumpers to gain some experience, before embarking on a career over jumps. It is impossible at this stage to hazard a guess on what level of ability that he may possess, but he is in good hands and has a NH pedigree, so one would be hopeful that a race or two can be found for him. He is owned by the Eyre family, who also own Sir Ivan, a useful performer at his best with the stable.
29. Lets Go Champ 4yo ( G ) Trained By Tom George
Created a very favourable impression when taking a Maiden Point for four-year-olds at Bartlemy on 12 May, beating the Colin Bowe trained Full Back by a length and a half, despite mistakes at the final two fences. Just ten days later (like many lightly raced successful Irish Point to Pointers) Lets Go Champ found himself at the sales, this time it was the Goffs UK (h-i-t) and unsurprisingly he created plenty of interest, with the final bid being one of £375k by Roger Brookhouse. Quite often these days such lofty prices are becoming more of the norm for similar unexposed promising types, and buyers pockets are required to be much deeper than needed a few years back, that purchase price however was dwarfed the following day when Darren Yates paid £620k for Interconnected, an incredible price for a gelding that at this stage is still pretty much unproven. That said horses don’t know how much their owner has paid for them, and I’ll be surprised if Lets Go Champ doesn’t have a successful career under rules. His full sister – the Gigginstown owned Scarlet And Dove won her Bumper at Limerick, and Lets Go Champ could well take in a Bumper or two, whatever route connections choose it shouldn’t be long before he starts repaying that purchase price back. Will stay at least 2m 4f in time.
30. Lisnagar Oscar 6yo ( G ) Trained By Rebecca Curtis
Has already achieved a fair standard over hurdles, ending the season rated 141, having won two and also finishing runner-up twice from six starts last season. The wins came at Chepstow in January over two miles three and a half furlongs – beating another of this season’s fifty (Dickie Diver) by a head in a driving finish, and the following month when impressively beating Ask Ben by an easy looking ten lengths at Haydock over three miles and half a furlong. The latter win prompted connections to have a crack at the Albert Bartlett at the festival in March, and he didn’t disgrace himself in finishing fifth – beaten over fifteen lengths behind the shock 50/1 scorer Minella Indo, with Dickie Diver on place and around five lengths in front of him that day. At Aintree a few weeks later he once again ran well, but found Champ and Emitom three lengths and seven lengths too good. Lisnargar Oscar is an attractive individual who looks every inch a chaser in the making, and I will be surprised if he doesn’t go straight over fences this term. He stays three miles well, and will probably start off low-key to gain some experience before being raised in class. A likeable type that will continue to pay his way for his talented handler.
31. Mister Coffey 4yo ( G ) Trained By Nicky Henderson
Readily took a Huntingdon Bumper for Harry Whittington on his only start last term, always travelling well before leading six furlongs out, and only needing to be pushed clear to score by a very comfortable looking eight lengths from Kap Auteuil. It was a visually impressive performance, although what he beat that day is open to debate, but it was eyecatching enough for Tom Lacey* to part with £340k at the Spring sales in May. At this stage all you could say is that he is a horse with potential, but I have little doubt that he will be placed to win races during the course of the season. He is a son of Authorized, and should make a novice hurdler – hopefully one of above average ability, and he may well be best at trips in the region of two miles for the immediate future.
*Mister Coffey subsequently moved from Tom Lacey’s yard to Nicky Henderson
32. Mister Fisher 5yo ( G ) Trained By Nicky Henderson
A more than useful hurdler who is rated in the mid 140’s, but could well be the type to be even better over fences. His two wins from five starts over the smaller obstacles came at Kempton in December, and at Haydock the following month. The latter success earning him a crack at the Supreme Novices Hurdle on the opening day of the festival in March, but in fairness he fell short of the required standard for the two-mile Novice Championship, eventually finishing mid way down the field of sixteen, some twenty-four lengths behind the winner Klassical Dream. On his final start Mister Fisher was pitched in to handicap company, in the valuable Swinton Hurdle in May – for which he started a well backed 4/1 favourite. He didn’t jump as fluently as he could, and it is possible that he may have been passed his best for the campaign, he eventually finished seventh of seventeen beaten around seven lengths behind the 20/1 winner Le Patriote. Mister Fisher would probably need to improve at least a stone on his hurdles form to become a serious candidate for top honours in the two miles Novice Chase division, and it potentially looks a pretty decent season this time around so it will be no easy task for him. However I feel he can progress over fences, and it wouldn’t be the biggest of shocks if he was to line up in the 2020 Arkle Trophy, for which he has a top long-range quote of 20/1. He is likely to always prove better suited to some give in the going, and was once withdrawn on officially “Good” underfoot conditions. A nice type who should continue to do well, and two miles appears to be his trip for the time being.
33. Mustang Alpha 4yo ( G ) Trained By Jamie Snowden
There can’t be too many times that trainer Jamie Snowden has spent a six figure sum on a horse that he has in his yard, but that’s the case with Mustang Alpha who set him back £135k back in May. The gelding was a comfortable winner on his only start – a four year old Maiden between the flags at Bartlemy, where he came home six lengths clear of his nearest rival – Straw Fan Jack, but was value for considerably more. It may not have been the strongest of races but I’ve every confidence that he will get off the mark under rules and prove a better performer than his three half siblings who could only manage one place between them in sixteen career starts. Mustang Alpha should be up to winning a Bumper, and is likely to stay further than the minimum trip when tackling hurdles. His best days surely are ahead of him.
34. Now Is The Winter 5yo ( G ) Trained By Ben Pauling
Gamely collected an ordinary looking Maiden Bumper at Stratford in March on his debut under rules, making all the running at a fairly steady pace, but kept finding more in the final couple of furlongs when challenged. It wasn’t the strongest of contests but the runner-up that day – the Olly Murphy trained Fitzroy, should also be up to winning races over the months ahead. Now Is The Winter is a son of the late sire Fame And Glory who was top class on the track, and also comes from a good family, while his dam is a daughter of Supreme Leader, so I’m hoping that there could be further progress to come when faced with hurdles to jump. It’s far too early to suggest optimum ground conditions, but he certainly coped well enough on good ground at Stratford, and as for his best trip – I think he will start off over hurdles at the minimum, but could well stay further with a few races under his belt. Should be placed win again if not aimed too highly.
35. One Touch 5yo ( G ) Trained By Ben Pauling
Hinted at only minor ability in a couple of Bumpers for Michael Scudamore at the backend of 2018, but left that behind when joining his current trainer in the Spring, winning on his debut for the yard in a sixteen runner Bumper at Chepstow, coming home almost three lengths too good for the Johnny Farrelly trained Gastara. One Touch is a strong well made sort, that should make in to a hurdler this winter, he wasn’t stopping at Chepstow and should stay at least 2m 4f. In fact he did win a Point in April of last year when in the care of Francesca Nimmo over 2m 5f, so in time may get as far as three miles. Both his wins to date have come on Good to Soft, and he has yet to be test on anything softer. It looks a fairly safe bet that One Touch will be found winnable opportunities this winter.
36. Overthetop 5yo ( G ) Trained By Olly Murphy
Won a 4yo Maiden P2P in Ireland in the first week of December, before joining trainer Olly Murphy shortly after. Overthetop was then off the track until late April, but immediately began to repay the £150k purchase price – albeit in a small way, when taking a Warwick Bumper by two and a half lengths from David Pipe’s Induno. Not many of those that finished behind him that day have ran since, but the fourth home The Swagman did collect a Newton Abbot Bumper on his next start. Overthetop stayed the trip strongly at Warwick, and will have no trouble with an extra half mile when faced with hurdles to jump. He’s a likeable son of Flemensfirth, and could well be quite a bit better than we have seen from him to date.
37. Penny Mallow 5yo ( M ) Trained By Venetia Williams
Narrowly took an ordinary looking seven runner Bumper at Fakenham in mid February, when getting the better of Trailboss by a neck, after leading for most of the last three-quarters of a mile, and staying on gamely when headed with around a furlong to run. It was a very pleasing first effort, even though the race lacked strength, and the only winner to come out of the race since is the runner-up – who took a 1m 4f Handicap at Doncaster on the flat in June. Penny Mallow had one further outing last term, when raised in class for a much more strongly contested Class 2 event at Cheltenham in April. She travelled quite well in second place for much of the race, but began to be ridden as they came down the hill, and as the field quickened on the turn for home she looked tapped for toe, and eventually weakened out of contention to finish seventh of fifteen – almost twenty-four lengths behind the winner Mystic Dreamer. Penny Mallow should prove good enough to win over hurdles, her trainer also trains her full sister Kapga De Lily for the same owners. It’s too early to determine her optimum trip, but game me the impression that she is worth a try at further than two miles at some stage.
38. Pic D’Orhy 4yo ( G ) Trained By Paul Nicholls
Pic D’Orhy was pitched in at the deep end for his British debut when asked to contest the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival ( his first run for some four months ), it was a big ask and he managed to beat only four horses home in the field of fourteen – some twenty-one lengths behind the winner Pentland Hills. That proved to be his only outing for the campaign, and I have no doubt that it was a wise move by his trainer, with an eye to the future. Pic D’Orhy is an attractive & athletic looking individual, and was a useful performer in his native France winning three times over hurdles as a 3yo, twice defeating Goliath De Berlais early in his career – who has since gone on to develop in to a Grade 1 winning performer over fences. He will start the new season with an official rating of 146, and winning opportunities should be found for him from that mark. I will be amazed if he doesn’t prove considerably better than his Triumph showing.
39. Pileon 5yo ( G ) Trained By Philip Hobbs
Ran well when a length and a half runner-up in a 4yo Maiden Point in Ireland in early December, before joining his current trainer shortly after. Pileon was then off the track for 105 days, but got off the mark at the first time of asking under rules, when collecting a Bumper at Exeter in the Spring – comfortably getting the better of Story Of Friends by four and a half lengths, with a neck back in third place the Paul Nicholls trained Southfield Harvest. Both the runner-up and the third have hone on to win since, so the race does have a little substance to it, even though only six went to post. Pileon is by Yeats, who can often be an influence for stamina, and Pileon gave me the impression that he should be suited to racing over further than the minimum trip with some more experience under his belt. May not make any headlines, but should certainly prove capable of getting off the mark over hurdles.
40. Reserve Tank 5yo ( G ) Trained By Colin Tizzard
Made giant strides in the second half of last season over the smaller obstacles, winning at Sandown in February over two miles, before stepping up in trip to record wins at Kempton in March over five furlongs further, and then in April & May registering successes in Grade 1 company at both the Aintree and Punchestown festivals, ending his season rated as high as 151. A career over fences is likely to beckon – sooner rather than later, and Reserve Tank looks to have plenty going in his favour. He acts on genuinely Good ground and has also won on Soft, he has the build to make a chaser, and he is stabled with a trainer that has had successes at the highest level. All roads are likely to lead to Cheltenham in March if all goes well, the JLT Novices Chase would be a possible long-term target, and I’m confident that he will be tried over further which would also give his trainer other options if he stays. A thoroughly nice type.
41. Santini 7yo ( G ) Trained By Nicky Henderson
A very smart hurdler as a Novice, winning in Grade 1 company at Aintree, as well as finishing third in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival behind Kilbricken Storm and OK Corral. Went in to last season with a bit of hype surrounding him as a potential leading first season staying chaser. He got off the mark at the first time of asking at the start of December at Newbury, beating the useful Rocky’s Treasure by four lengths. Santini then appeared to find the Kempton track a little to sharp, when third behind the ultra game mare La Bague Au Roi and Topofthegame in the Kauto Star Novices Chase on Boxing Day, beaten around three and a half lengths, but proved he was capable of mixing it with the best of the youngsters over the larger obstacles. Things didn’t go smoothly in the run up to Cheltenham, and around ten days or so before his intended crack at the RSA Chase he tore a shoe off in some work – it appeared touch and go it he was to line up. Santini did recover sufficiently to take part, and he ran well in defeat, losing out in a close battle up the hill by half a length to Topofthegame, with the leading Irish novice Delta Work back in third. That proved to be his final start of an interrupted campaign. Santini is still quite lightly raced for a horse of his age, with just the seven starts under rules, so you could be fairly confident that there would be more to come from him if he stays healthy. A logical target for the first half of the season would be the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury towards the end of November, for which he features prominently in the long range lists at around 10/1, while looking further down the line to March, Santini is quoted at a best price of 12/1 at the time of writing for the Gold Cup, which doesn’t appear too unreasonable either. Remains a horse of great potential.
42. Seemingly So 6yo ( G ) Trained By Olly Murphy
Won a Novice Hurdle at Market Rasen over two miles two and a half furlongs on his first start of the season, beating another of the fifty (Earlofthecotswolds) by a length and a half, that success proved to be his only one from four outings last term, but did run a respectable forth in handicap company back at the track in February, when ‘The Earl’ got his revenge over a couple of furlongs further. His final start of the season proved somewhat disappointing when stepped up to three miles at Ayr, Seemingly So didn’t jump as fluently as you would expect and only managed seventh place in a field of eleven behind Arthurs Secret. He was unraced after February, for reasons unknown, but looks on a reasonable enough mark of 118 – having been dropped two pounds for that run, and should hopefully prove up to winning again over timber. Should connections decide to send him over fences, I feel he should also be up to winning if not too highly tried. He stays at least 2m 4f and is worth another try at further, Seemingly So is effective on both Good going and also a Soft surface.
43. Skatman 4yo ( G ) Trained By Paul Nicholls
Won his Four Year Old Maiden at Dromahane at the backend of April, getting the better of Barbados Buck’s by a couple of lengths and went in to some notebooks as a result of that win. Four weeks later he created plenty of interest at the Goffs UK Spring Sales, with the winning bid being made by Tom Malone on behalf of Paul Nicholls. Skatman is likely to be found winning opportunities in Bumpers before being sent over hurdles, and will stay at least 2m 4f when he gains further experience. Like many of these ex Point to Pointers he should also make up in to a chaser in due course. His development will be monitored with great interest.
44. Tara West 5yo ( M ) Trained By Anthony Honeyball
A Point to Point winner back in the Spring of 2018, Tara West looked a bit of a late developer in two outings last season, firstly in a Ffos Las Bumper when third behind Prudhomme from the Nick Williams yard, and Neil Mulholland’s Exelerator Express only losing out on second spot in the final strides. For her second outing Tara West was sent over hurdles, and also upped in trip to just shy of three miles. She finished fourth of six beaten almost ten lengths in total behind Eva’s Oskar, in what can only be described as a fairly ordinary Maiden. That run came around five weeks after her rules debut, and it is difficult to say whether she didn’t stay or possibly she needed more time between her races. However, I feel she has the ability to lose her maiden tag over timber, and may well be open to some improvement in time. I’d be confident enough to say that she stays two and a half miles, and she could well be worth another try over the longer trip at some stage.
45. Tedham 5yo ( G ) Trained By Jonjo O’Neill
Made steady progress in three outings towards the backend of 2018 in Novice and Maiden company over hurdles, including a fair second to the smart Getaway Trump, before getting off the mark in handicap company in January over two miles five and a half furlongs at Wincanton – beating Tight Call by a length-and-three-quarters, with a further two and a half lengths back to Wicked Willy back in third, there were also a few other previous winners behind him that day, which gave the success a bit more of a solid look to it. On his next & final start of the season some three months later Tedham was made favourite in the competitive 2m 4f Grade 3 Handicap on the Friday of the Grand National meeting at Aintree, he could only managed seventh place – almost fourteen lengths off the winner Three Musketeers from the Gordon Elliott stable. He raced quite keenly that day and also made a couple of mistakes, and I got the impression that it wasn’t his true running. Looking ahead Tedham still appears on a winnable mark of 131 over timber, but could also be worth trying over fences at some stage this season. He’s a likeable type that should be winning again over the winter, and is best served by 2m 4f and further.
46. The Big Breakaway 4yo ( G ) Trained By Colin Tizzard
Another once raced ex P2P performer to make the list. The Big Breakaway was a huge purchase at €360k at Goffs Punchestown sales in May, on the back of an eye-catching ten lengths success in a 4yo Maiden at Quakerstown. He also has a pedigree to back up that debut being by the popular sire Getaway, and is a half-brother to the Ben Pauling trained smart chaser Kildisart (by Dubai Destination), who was successful in Grade 3 company at Aintree in the Spring, and also ran a fair fourth behind Defi Du Seuil in the JLT Novices Chase at Cheltenham. Will most likely start off in Bumpers, but should make his mark over hurdles when the time is right. A dark horse at this stage, but an exciting prospect nonetheless.
47. The Brass Man 5yo ( G ) Trained By Tom George
Took a Point to Point Bumper at Tipperary over 2m 2f back in May in game fashion on his only start under rules for Mags Mullins. He was always travelling well, and led coming in to the home straight, responding well when challenged by the runner-up Jack Thunder with around a furlong left to run, to pull two and a half lengths clear at the line. The Brass Man gave me the impression that he may be suited to a step up in trip, so it possibly won’t be ideal if dropped back in distance for a UK Bumper. If sent straight over hurdles, he should comfortably stay 2m 4f, he’s by Milan out of a Supreme Leader mare so is bred to be a jumper. Now in the care of Tom George, I will be following his progress with great interest. He has a very likeable attitude and is sure to be found suitable opportunities.
48. The Glancing Queen 5yo ( M ) Trained By Alan King
The Glancing Queen looks a smashing mare for a Novice Hurdles campaign this season. Trainer Alan King has already gone on record to say that he thinks the world of her and it’s not difficult to see why. Winner of a 4yo Mares Maiden Point to Point in the Spring of 2018, The Glancing Queen went on to record two successes in Bumpers last season, ending with a win at Aintree in a Mares only Grade 2 event at the Grand National meeting. Prior to that she run a highly respectable fifth in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, beaten a shade over seven lengths behind the top class Envoi Allen. She has won on Good ground, and is also well served by soft underfoot conditions. I’ll be very surprised if The Glancing Queen doesn’t prove up with the best of her sex as a Novice over timber this season – certainly from this side of the Irish Sea, and she should also hold her own with the boys. Likely to start off over two miles, but should find another half mile within her compass in time.
49. The Russian Doyen 6yo ( G ) Trained By Colin Tizzard
Twice a winner over hurdles as a Novice, and matched that tally in four outings over fences last season, with victories in small fields at Exeter and Newbury, and ended his campaign with a respectable fourth place in the Close Brothers Novices Handicap at the festival in March – albeit some twenty-four lengths off the winner A Plus Tard. The Russian Doyen is effective between two miles and two and a half, and appears equally at home on good ground and a soft surface. He goes in to the new season on a mark of 140, a rating from which winning opportunities can be found, and hopefully he will prove worthy of his inclusion in the fifty.
50. Vision Du Puy 4yo ( F ) Trained By Dan Skelton
Ex French trained filly that won her only start over hurdles in her homeland in October of 2018, when easily taking a conditions event at Auteuil by fifteen lengths under a hands and heels ride. That success made Vision Du Puy’s purchase price as a yearling of just €17k back in 2015 looking like a huge bargain in today’s market. The filly was later sold privately after her win to leading owner J P McManus, and JP saw a small return on his investment on her UK debut when Vision Du Puy was sent on the long journey (around 368 miles) from Skelton’s Warwickshire base up to Perth late in April. Despite not jumping fluently at times, she got the better of an experienced Gordon Elliott trained mare – who had won two races – by just under three lengths, in the process landing odds of 4/9, with daylight back to the third horse home. Vision Du Puy is clearly useful already, yet could be considerably better with a few more races under her belt, and it’s difficult to say how far she can go. But with her trainer’s attitude of ‘ have horse – will travel ‘, then surely winning opportunities can be cherry picked before being tested with a raise in class. A young filly that we probably haven’t heard the last of.
When horses from the list run, they will appear on Our Writer’s Tips page http://www.theracinghub.com/category/horse-racing-value-tips/
© 2019 Doug Campbell and Theracinghub.com
Gary Sears’ 15 for the jumps
A Plus Tard (Trainer Henry De Bromhead)
Have rarely seen a horse come up the hill like he did at Cheltenham in March and although a bit disappointing at Punchestown afterwards he may be more of a speed horse/better left-handed and could be one for the Ryanair Chase.
Dlauro (Joseph O’Brien)
Very impressive on his rules debut, travelling strongly and picking up in the style of a top-class horse. Likely to go novice hurdling.
Ettila De Sivola (James Ewart)
Had a light season last term with his trainer indicating he would come into his own over fences. Got a very low mark and could be a money spinner up north over the bigger obstacles.
Exceeded Brief (Henry De Bromhead)
Very promising on his rules debut at Naas, making a big mid race move before weakening and although beaten on two subsequent runs wasn’t disgraced. Trainer usually quick to send his horses chasing.
Imperial Aura (Kim Bailey)
Plenty of scope to progress this season and did well on his reappearance at Chepstow last weekend after chasing a fast pace. Worth following whether kept to hurdles or if going chasing.
Interconnected (Nicky Henderson)
Ran really well on his rules debut at Newbury when second to a good horse and looked the sort to progress considerably. Not sure whether he’s had/got a problem as isn’t in trainers stable tour on ATR website.
Janika (Nicky Henderson)
Ran four fine races when moved to Henderson from France and up to a mark of 162 so handicaps are probably out but more than capable of doing well in graded races. Jumps really well.
Linlee King (Olly Murphy)
Saw a recording of his point-to-point win last February and looked very impressive. Obviously completely unexposed but he just looked a good horse.
Lostintranslation (Colin Tizzard)
A superb jumper, was very impressive upped to 3 miles at Aintree and one for the big staying chases hopefully culminating in a crack at the Gold Cup.
McNamaras Band (Philip Hobbs)
Won really well at Chepstow in March and although still a novice until the end of the month looks to have got a very fair handicap mark.
Oscar Wilde (Sue Smith)
The type to improve a fair bit this season, especially over further and a mark of 111 means he can start off in moderate handicaps.
Saint Leo (Sandy Thomson)
Started his UK career with a mark of 145 but now down to 130 following a winless season. However only got his favoured soft ground once (falling when looking likely to go close at Ayr) and one to note when getting his ground.
Santini (Nicky Henderson)
Ran a great race in the Sun Alliance following an interrupted preparation and given a clear run at things all roads lead to the Gold Cup.
Thyme Hill (Philip Hobbs)
Ran really well in the Festival bumper last term and made a winning hurdles debut at Chepstow last weekend, jumping ok and staying on strongly. Plenty more to come.
Walk Away (Henry De Bromhead)
Seems very highly regarded and was pitched into Grade 1’s at the end of last season. Wasn’t disgraced but chasing is his game and could go far.