10 to follow for the 2014/15 National Hunt season
From an original list of 50 (see earlier blog for details) I have narrowed it down to these 10 horses to follow during this coming jumps season.
Blakemount – 6 b g by Presenting, Sue Smith
This one is stabled just a couple of miles over the moors from where I live but he will hopefully make a name for himself around the country this year. Won twice over hurdles last year including easy 2m 6f win at Newcastle in December. Injury ruled him out of the Albert Bartlett but he may warrant a trip to the RSA next March if this well bred 6-year-old takes to chasing at the likes of Carlisle, Wetherby and Haydock.
Champagne West – 6 b g by Westerner, Philip Hobbs
Expensive purchase who won 3 times over hurdles including Ascot over 2m 6f. Saw him finish 4th in the Albert Bartlett and he struck me as made for the bigger obstacles so should develop into a top novice chaser for a stable with plenty of ammunition in that sphere.
Cole Harden – 5 b g by Westerner, Warren Greatrex
Gutsy and game as they come he ran well in both the Neptune and the Sefton (2nd to Beat That) having previously won a bumper and 2 novice hurdles. His consistency should be rewarded with a decent hurdles prize before going novice chasing in due course.
Doctor Harper 6 b g by Presenting, David Pipe
Won 4 hurdle race and was 3rd in a hot Sandown novice handicap. Relishes 3 miles. Whether he pursues top class hurdles events or goes novice chasing he looks sure to pay to continue to follow.
Ma Du Fou 4 bb g by Le Fou, Warren Greatrex
His trainer unleashed a number of exciting prospects in bumpers last year including One Track Mind who won on the same Wetherby card back in April. A number of better judges than me were particularly impressed with Ma Du Fou and he looks sure to progress well up the novice hurdle ranks this season.
Ma Filleule 6 gr m by Turgeon, Nicky Henderson
Witness at first hand this mare’s mighty impressive victory in the Topham in April. Looked a natural for the Aintree fences and at only 6 could be still improving. Will no doubt contest some of the top handicap chases and will surely be back at Aintree next Spring (currently 40/1 for the National).
Next Sensation 7 b g by Brian Boru, Michael Scudamore
Bold front running 2 mile chaser who improved markedly last year running very gamely to finish 4th in the Grand Annual at Cheltenham. Could just possibly develop into a Champion Chase contender (50/1) and his enthusiasm for jumping will surely be rewarded again this season.
Present View 6 b g by Presenting, Jamie Snowden
Won 3 chases including the highly competitive 2m4f handicap at the Cheltenham Festival. He looks to enjoy his racing and is well regarded by his regular pilot Brendan Powell. The Paddy Power looks made for him as his first target in what should prove another profitable season for his followers.
Silsol 5 b g Soldier Hollow, Paul Nicholls
Came good late on last season with a unchallenged win at the Scottish National meeting and followed up at Newton Abbot. Not fully exposed and his astute trainer will no doubt place him to maximum effect initially at least in decent handicap hurdles this season.
Taquin Du Seuil 7 bb g by Voix Du Nord, Jonjo O’Neill
Followed up 3 novice chase successes with victory in the JLT at Cheltenham over 2m 4f. Stayed on well up the hill and I think he has a chance of developing into a Gold Cup horse for which he is currently 25/1. The Ryanair would be a safer option in terms of opposition and distance. Fancy Jonjo O’Neill to shake up the big two this season and this one will surely be one of his leading lights.