Each week I will highlight several national hunt horses to follow. These will include a few who have shown promise on the track and some likely types yet to race this season.
Tolkeins Tango: This bumper winner has obvious ability but hasn’t shown too much over hurdles. But there were a few signs at Exeter last Sunday that he is getting his act together and should be noted next time.
Nuts N Bolts: Lucinda Russell is having a marvellous season and this scopey seven year old is on an upward curve after two victories. He looks more than good enough to win again.
The Tracey Shuffle: David Pipe thinks a lot of this talented seven year old and he ran very well at Ayr before being outpointed by Tap Night. That experience should do him the world of good and he is one to make hay in the spring.
Debrief: A strong week for the list with wins for Centasia (highighted last week), Get Back In Line and Uglybug. The latter was a 7/1 winner at Ffos Las last Saturday. But the main highlight was the victory of Medinas in the Welsh Champion Hurdle. Sausalito Sunrise and Unique De Cotte both ran well and are surefire future winners. Here are this week’s additions…
Edmund Kean: David Pipe ran four in the novice hurdle at Ffos Las last Saturday and they all ran well. Edmund Kean really caught eye staying on into fourth and looks like a lovely long-term prospect.
Custer of the West: This former bumper winner ran a nice race at Doncaster on Monday. He was on the heels of the leaders and bang in contention before tiring over the last two. Once he gets good ground, and around 2m to 2m 2f, he will win races.
Terre Du Vent: A good flat horse in France she has been highly tried over hurdles so far. Ran very well behind a Henderson hotpot on Monday and looks a shoo-in next time out. Could be lethal on good ground.
Centasia: David Pipe is keen on this new recruit who could make her debut for him shortly. She won her only race for Seamus Durack and has been working well.
Whisper: Was far from disgraced behind At Fishers Cross and The New One and looks another lovely prospect for the Henderson juggernaut.
Garryleigh: An Irish point winner who has had his problems but is expected to pay his way when he hits the track.
Valdez strolled home at Plumpton while Suntiep showed that he’s an out-and-out stayer winning in Ireland for Willie Mullins. Cause of Causes showed great tenacity to win at Navan and is bound for the Betfair Hurdle. There were also highly promising runs from Karinga Dandy, Palus San Marco and Sausalito Sunrise. Here are this week’s additions to the list…
Duke’s Affair: Jeremy Scott was thrilled with this five-year-old’s bumper debut when third at Chepstow and expects him to pick up a similar race.
Dalavar: Is better than his bare form may suggest and ran his best race so far at Newbury yesterday. Well worth noting if pitched into a handicap.
Annacotty: Martin Keighley has some nice young horses and this Irish point winner is among them. Could run in a bumper shortly before going novice hurdling.
Closing Ceremony: An unraced full brother to Highland Lodge who has been pleasing Emma Lavelle. Should be out soon.
O’FAOLAINS BOY followed up his bumper win by making a winning hurdling debut under AP McCoy at Chepstow on Saturday. He looks a fine future chasing prospect. Another winner was Salden Licht who reversed the form with Vulcanite at Plumpton on Sunday and looks every inch a Jewson horse! Sammys Gone jumped much better on his second start but was nailed on the line at Wincanton on Saturday. He looks a very useful staying prospect. Diocles made an eyecatching chasing debut over two miles and will be more effective over further, and there was a smashing debut by Karinga Dandy at Sedgefield over Christmas. Follow him next time. There are three additions to the list this week…
ARABIAN HEIGHTS is also highlighted in today’s Dark Horses column. This former Mark Prescott-trained flat horse made an eyecatching hurdling debut behind Poet at Newbury and looks certain to pay his way over hurdles. He runs today at Leicester.
GET BACK IN LINE: Was no match for stable companion Mr Watson at Plumpton on Sunday, but he travelled nicely through the race and stayed on under tender handling to come second. He looks a winner waiting to happen.
BOBBYJACK: This attractive bay gelding looked all over the winner in a two-mile bumper at Lingfield on the all-weather before being chinned on the line. He clearly has plenty of ability and should have no trouble winning a bumper or two before going hurdling.
Weekly debrief: Two excellent winners for the list in the past seven days. The previously headstrong Tenor Nivernais was a 7/1 winner at Bangor where he settled nicely and came through to win going away. He remains a very nice prospect. And Kashmir Peak, also 7/1, lowered the colours of hotpots from the Nicholls and Henderson yards at Doncaster and firmly entered the Triumph picture. Ted Walsh’s Champagne James was a good second at Navan last Sunday where he wasn’t suited by the slow pace. Interestingly, he is still prominent in the betting for the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.
Two additions to the list this week:
Sammys Gone was novicey on his debut for Philip Hobbs but still won with plenty in hand at Hereford. If he brushes up his jumping he could be very useful.
Uglybug: Would probably have belied his 50/1 SP if he had not have fluffed the last at Hereford on Sunday. A big, imposing gelding who travels well, he should be closely watched next time and should definitely jump a fence in time.
Debrief: O’Faolains Boy followed up his highly promising debut by winning a bumper at Chepstow, foiling a gamble on a David Pipe debutante. 13/8 was fairly generous. Salden Licht made a decent chasing debut and was outpaced by Vulcanite close home. He made two mistakes but should have learned a lot. Softsong was tilting at windmills at Sandown but ran ok while in the same race Monte Cavallo travelled nicely but didn’t find much at the business end. Forcing tactics might prove more rewarding. Salmanazar was second at Warwick and a novice hurdle victory is only a matter of time, while in the same race Cyrien Star built on his debut by coming a useful fourth.
Not so much a list this week but just the one horse…
Palus San Marco: Travelled like the winner on his juvenile hurdling debut at Warwick until getting tired close home. Better ground should see this former Peter Chapple Hyam flat horse have no trouble win a race or two over jumps.
Debrief: Three winners for the list in the past week: Our Conor, Scholastica and Two Rockers. The latter made a winning hurdling debut and looks a lovely long-term prospect. There was a promising run by Hell’s Spirit on his hurdling debut while Bakbenscher didn’t appear to stay 3m and could be deadly when reverting to 2m 4f on soft ground. Here is this week’s list…
O’Faolains Boy: Third in a warm Newbury bumper, this fine-looking Oscar gelding pulled well clear of the fourth and looks highly promising.
Kenai Peninsula: Relished the soft ground to win a novice hurdle at Taunton. Looks a stayer in the making and is in the same ownership as former Welsh National winner Halcon Genelardais.
Suntiep: Has had problems but made a belated winning debut in a Limerick bumper for Willie Mullins. He looks a real stayer and obviously has an engine, and looks to have a bright future.
Lotus Pond: No match for Red Devil Boys at Doncaster but stuck to his task well and is a typical Trevor Hemmings stamp of a horse: big and scopey. Should win a bumper before going hurdling, but chasing looks his game.
A good week for the list. Both Many Clouds and Clondaw Kaempfer were impressive winners while Fair Trade was second on his debut. Katkeau and Tenor Nivernais both ran ok with the promise of more to come.
Fergall: This five-year-old looked a much improved performer when almost springing a 40/1 shock at Ascot. He bowled along in front and only found one too good. A fine prospect.
Salden Licht: A classy hurdler who finished in front of Binocular and Peddlers Cross at Aintree on his last run. He’s had 18 months out but is primed to go novice chasing and looks an exciting recruit.
Bakbenscher: A talented individual who ran nicely on his reappearance after a spell on the sidelines. He goes well on soft and could pay his way either in handicap hurdles or if he returns to fences.
Diocles: Donald McCain is sweet on this six-year-old who is set to jump fences after picking up a couple of hurdles last term. A good prospect in 3m novice chases.
Unique de Cotte: A new recruit for David Pipe, he won twice in the French provinces and has been working well. Could be anything.
Valdez was a nice winner for the list last week and looks destined for greater things. There was also a good hurdling debut from Scholastica at Lingfield, who was third after running a bit keen and Sire De Grugy only found Captain Conan too good at the Open meeting. But the most eye-catching of the eyecatchers was Creepy who ran a lovely race in Coneygree’s race at Cheltenham on Sunday. Here is this week’s list:
Lovcen: This may seem unoriginal but Lovcen makes the list because he is now set to go novice chasing. He has run two solid races over hurdles under top weight but the handicapper has killed him. So Alan King is sending him chasing and he if he jumps well he looks like a candidate for the RSA or one of the handicaps at the Festival.
Softsong: This is a winner waiting to happen. He did well to get so close to Valdez last week and when he learns to settle a little better he could be very good.
Cause of Causes: Ran a blinder in the Racing Post Hurdle and Gordon Elliott has another horse who could do some damage in major handicaps.
Tenor Nivernais: Talented but headstrong over hurdles, this five-year-old trained by Venetia Williams is poised to go chasing and could be useful if calming down a bit.
Fair Trade: This fella was 10th in the 2,000 Guineas in 2010 but is now set to go hurdling with Alan King. Could be very interesting if he takes to the winter sport and the early schooling reports are encouraging.
Katkeau: Bought after winning a hurdle at Auteuil in France, David Pipe thinks a lot of this chap and he could run in either novice or handicap hurdles.
Kashmir Peak: A consistent performer on the flat in Ireland, this juvenile won like a decent animal at Market Rasen and looks like he has much more to offer. His trainer won the Triumph last season with Countrywide Flame and this chap looks more than useful.
Our Conor: Another eyecatching juvenile who own with plenty in hand at Navan last Sunday. Hardly came out of second gear and Dessie Hughes is certain to get the best out of him.
Champagne James: Ted Walsh has a nice horse here as Champagne James did it impressively in a hot little bumper at Navan. Given a confident ride he won cosily and this four year old looks to have a future.
Present Lodger: Lucinda Russell thinks a bit of this point winner who should be out soon and could be up to winning a bumper.
Karinga Dandy: Another one bought out of the pointing field who has been impressing at home. Sue Smith will send this chap straight over hurdles, probably over 2m 4f.
Salmanazar: Really caught the eye at Exeter both in the paddock and on the track in a decent novice hurdle. Obviously needed the run and faded late on, but showed enough to suggest he will win races.
From last week’s list Raya Star made a sparkling return (8/1) to win a Listed hurdle at Ascot under a welter burden, while in the same race Monte Cavallo also ran a cracker. He just needs to settle a little better. Here is this week’s list…
Tough Trade: Was well backed in a Carlisle bumper and tanked into the race. Although he had no answer to Donald McCain’s classy victor, he looks like a winner waiting to happen.
Hell’s Spirit: Anthony Honeyball’s Oscar gelding travelled kindly in the Ascot bumper won easily by Puffin Billy. He lost his position turning in but stayed on again. He was well supported in the market and is obviously well thought of.
Forrester’s Folly: On the surface his form figures look uninspiring but this fellow works like a good horse at Alan King’s yard. Ideally he needs 2m 4f and decent ground and could pop up at a nice price if things drop his way.
Cyrien Star: Henry Daly’s gelding made an encouraging debut in testing ground at Statford, only giving way two furlongs out behind more experienced rivals. He looks to have a race or two in him.
Two Rockers: A point winner in Ireland, this big, scopey five-year-old looks every inch a chaser in the making. In the meantime he is one to watch in staying novice hurdles.
From last week’s list Valdez hit the crossbar at Wincanton and looks a shoo-in next time. Here is this week’s list…
Prince Buster: Ran very well at Worcester last week and looks to be on a winnable mark.
Scholastica: Tom Symonds singled this one out during a recent interview elsewhere on this site. This mare had solid bumper form last season and should be closely watched.
Bold Henry: Ran very well on his chasing debut in a good race at Exeter despite being quite keen. Looks a very useful prospect over 2-2m4f.
Many Clouds: Touched off by Grand Crus’ brother Gevrey Chambertin at Aintree but is a good traveller and looks sure to pay his way in novice hurdles.
Clondaw Kaempfer: Produced a highly impressive hurdling debut and looks like he has the potential to go right to the top.
Hot Whiskey: Harry Redknapp looks to have a nice prospect here. This ex-Irish point to pointer is a scopey individual and was a promising fourth at Wincanton. He should know more next time
Monte Cavallo: Has run well on the flat twice recently but looks a very useful hurdling prospect for Rebecca Curtis. He could be up to winning a decent handicap. Will lack nothing in fitness.
Raya Star: Progressive last season and signed off by winning the Scottish Champion Hurdle. He is set to go novice chasing and could be the real deal. May have a run or two over hurdles first but has a touch of class.
From last week’s list The Jugopolist ran ok at Cheltenham until tiring turning for home. But there was a striking chasing debut from See What Happens at Wetherby. He jumped beautifully and probably just needed the race as he got run out of it close home. Here is this week’s list…
Medinas: Formerly a smart bumper horse, he ran a blinder at Cheltenham last Saturday just finding Bondage too good, the pair pulling miles clear. Medinas could pay to follow either over hurdles or especially if he goes chasing.
Sire de Grugy: Slightly predictable one this after his lovely chasing debut at Kempton on Sunday. This one has a real engine. He jumped well enough and could be a real force in 2m novice chases.
Creepy: In what was an above average bumper at Cheltenham, Creepy travelled kindly and stayed on well to be fourth. An earlier bumper winner at Fontwell, Martin Keighley’s four year old was carrying a penalty so it was a very useful performance. One for novice hurdles.
Valdez: Alan King rates this fellow as among his best novice hurdlers. A dual bumper winner, he has the scope to jump fences later on but could be a crack novice hurdler this campaign.
Pirates Cay: Another King horse and a new arrival from Ireland after winning a point-to-point. He should pay his way in staying novice hurdles but chasing will be his real game later on.
Tiqris: Philip Hobbs is sweet on this son of Midnight Legend who was an expensive purchase at the Brightwells sale in April at Cheltenham. Second in a bumper and previously a point winner, he looks a surefire winner in novice hurdles.
Sausalito Sunrise: Another Hobbs inmate who has been doing everything right at home and is one to look out for in bumpers or novice hurdles.
The Jugopolist: Won pulling double at Uttoxeter 2m 4f under conditional Patrick Corbett. A scopey sort who looks more than capable of winning again in better company.
Dark Spirit: Travelled well at Ludlow last week but was hampered turning in and never quite got to the leader. Only four but looks progressive and not too badly handicapped.
Maderson Blue: The 7lb claimer on this chap lost an iron early in the race but recovered and the horse crept closer to finish on the heels of the leaders. Should go well next time.
Troyan:Was well backed to win a bumper last week and was confidently ridden. Looks capable of defying a penalty.
Pacha du Polder: Paul Nicholls is sweet on this fellow who is fairly unexposed and has even mentioned a possible tilt at the Hennessy.
Manyriverstocross: Very useful hurdler who is on the way back after a long spell out.
See What Happens: Attractive and scopey type in two novice hurdles last season, winning at Carlisle. Martin Todhunter has given him plenty of time but he looks all over a chaser and could be highly promising if he takes to the big ones.