HORSES TO FOLLOW 2019/20
ANDY DUFRESNE (IRE) 5 b g Doyen – Daytona Lily Gordon Elliott John P McManus Andy Dufresne was a winner for the National Hunt Horses To Follow last season when winning his only start of the 2018/19 campaign at Down Royal. It was hard not to be impressed with his dominant win over Golden Spread, who went on to win his next two outings in good-style, including a win over the seemingly highly-regarded Mt Leinster, who looked Willie Mullins’ main Bumper horse at one-point last season. Andy Dufresne took a keen hold early-on at Down Royal, but was always travelling very well under Derek O’Connor before staying-on strongly with a furlong to go. I think this son of Doyen will make his mark over hurdles this season and I’ll be disappointed if he isn’t at the Cheltenham Festival. What race that’ll be is hard to say at this stage, but despite being a point-to-point winner, he’s definitely not lacking in speed. He’s an exciting prospect for Gordon Elliott and JP McManus, who both have an exciting bunch of horses for the season ahead.
ARD ABHAINN (IRE) 5 br m Jeremy – Sheer Frustration Gordon Elliott Mrs Maura Gittins This daughter of Jeremy was a game winner of a Lingstown point-to-point last year before subsequently being sold to join Gordon Elliott for £80,000. The price at the time could have looked quite expensive to some, but this daughter of Jeremy looks very well-bought now after landing the K Club NH Flat Race at Punchestown in May, staying-on well to deny the Willie Mullins trained Tactical Move. Ard Abhainn looks a very smart prospect this season for Novice Hurdles and she potentially looks an ideal candidate for the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Either way, she looks to have a very bright future for Mrs Maura Gittins, who sadly lost the top-class Fayonagh a few seasons ago.
BLAZER’S MLL (IRE) 5 b g Westerner – Creation Olly Murphy Mrs J A Wakefield £160,000 Goffs Aintree 2018; This son of Westerner’s rules debut was delayed until February 2019, but he made it worth the wait with a win on her first start for Olly Murphy. He had been entered up quite a bit beforehand, but due to such a dry winter and then the equine influenza outbreak his debut was delayed considerably, but that could also have been a blessing in disguise. This horse made his debut after it was made public that his trainer had needed to vaccinate the majority of his horses due to the new BHA guidelines on the influenza outbreak in the UK, which meant most of his horses had nearly a week off work. I believe Blazer’s Mill was one of the horses caught-up in this and made his debut around the same time so it was pretty impressive that he could make a winning debut over C&D far from ideal. The form is nothing special, but he ran pretty green on times and just looked like he needed the run for him to remember he’s a racehorse. I think this gelding has a nice future ahead of him for Olly Murphy and should make up into a very nice chaser one day, but he should also prove to be an above average hurdler this season as well. I think he’ll prove to be pretty versatile regards ground conditions and will likely need 2m4f+ to be seen at his best over hurdles.
BOLD PLAN (IRE) 5 b g Jeremy – Kings Orchid Evan Williams Mr & Mrs William Rucker I was impressed with the gelding when he won at Taunton last season defeating subsequent Grade 2 winner Southfield Stone pretty readily. He went on to finish second behind a very well-handicapped Poker Play at Uttoxeter on his handicap debut at Uttoxeter, but he kept-on well-enough and was nicely clear of the remainder. Rated 132 over hurdles, I think this son of Jeremy will take his form to a new-level over fences this season and I’ll be disappointed if he can’t improve his current rating over the larger obstacles.
BREWIN’UPASTORM (IRE) 6 b g Milan – Daraheen Diamond Olly Murphy Mrs Barbara Hester I’ve always been a huge fan of this son of Milan as many will know, but I really don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet. He showed a good-level of form over hurdles last season winning at Huntingdon before finishing a good fourth in a messy running of the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury. He finished a good fourth in the Grade 1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, travelling well into contention, but seemingly didn’t quite see out the trip as well-enough up the hill. He bumped into a useful horse at Aintree next time in the shape of Reserve Tank, but ran another good race to finish second. Olly Murphy has said Brewin’upastorm will drop back to 2m this season over fences, which I feel could be a good move as he’s definitely not short of speed. He’s already a point-to-point winner so hopefully he’ll be a Grade 1 horse over fences this season for Olly Murphy and Barbara Hester.
BRIGHT FORECAST (IRE) 5 b g Arcadio – Check The Forecast Ben Pauling The Aldaniti Partnership Bright Forecast had an excellent campaign over hurdles last season for Ben Pauling, winning twice before finishing third in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival behind City Island and Champ. I thought that was a brilliant effort at Cheltenham, staying-on very well up the hill under Nico de Boinville. There’s no doubting that everything this gelding did over hurdles last season would have been a bonus as he looks every inch a chaser and I’m sure he’ll be even better this season over the larger obstacles. I think this son of Arcadio will prove to be a Grade 1 horse over fences this season for Ben Pauling over 3m. The RSA Novices’ Chase looks a likely target at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
CHANTRY HOUSE (IRE) 5 br g Yeats – The Last Bank Nicky Henderson John P McManus £295,000 purchase; Chantry House made a winning start to his career under rules when landing a well-represented Bumper at Warwick in very good-style under Barry Geraghty. Being by Yeats and a point-to-point winner, a NH Flat race over 2m at Warwick was never going to play to his strengths so despite being sent-off the 8/13 favourite, I thought it was an impressive display the way he stayed-on inside the final furlong. Chantry House looks a real ‘chaser in the making’, but he should be more than capable of making his name known in the Novice Hurdle division this season. I think he’ll be seen to best effect between 2m4f-3m on galloping tracks.
CLASSIC BEN (IRE)
6 b g Beneficial – Dark Daisy Stuart Edmunds The Lavendon Partnership Lightly raced staying chaser; Classic Ben showed glimpses last season that he could be a very nice horse for the 2019/20 season in staying handicap chases. He started last season as a Novice, but it wasn’t until February that he got off the mark over the larger obstacles when winning a competitive Handicap Chase at Sandown, landing a gamble in the process. That win came against some experienced horses so it was very impressive he could show them the way home on just his fifth start over fences. His jumping let him down on his next contest at Newbury, but he showed how potentially well-handicapped he is by still being in contention turning for home despite some very awkward jumps. Only a 6yo, there should be plenty more to come from this son of Beneficial this season and I think he’s potentially very well-handicapped off a mark of 133 for Stuart Edmunds in staying handicap chases.
CLOTH CAP (IRE) 7 b g Beneficial – Cloth Fair Jonjo O’Neill Trevor Hemmings Cloth Cap didn’t exactly pull-up any trees over hurdles during the 2017/18 season, but he took his form to a new level over the larger obstacles last season, winning twice before finishing a gallant third in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr. I thought that was a remarkable effort to finish third in a race like that on just his fourth start over fences behind some seasoned professionals. There should be even more to come from this son of Beneficial this season and being trained by Jonjo O’Neill and owned by Trevor Hemmings, I’m sure the main target this season will be to try and get this horse high enough in the weights to have a crack at the Aintree Grand National. He should be a fun horse to follow in all the big marathon contests this season.
DANNY WHIZZBANG (IRE) 6 b g Getaway – Lakil Princess Paul Nicholls Mrs Angela Tincknell This well-named son of Getaway has been minded with a career over in mind and was only seen twice last season over hurdles, winning both races in the style of a horse with a very nice future ahead of him. Like most by the sire, he’s a big, scopey horse that was made to jump a fence and already has a win over Ask Ben (useful hurdler last season for Graeme McPherson) in a point-to-point to his name. He looks a nice staying chaser for the 2019/20 campaign and is in the right hands to reach his potential. It’s hard to know how far he can go, but he has all the right attributes to make a name for himself. He may need some cut in the ground.
EDEN DU HOUX (FR) 5 b g Irish Wells – Maralypha David Pipe Prof Caroline Tisdall Eden Du Houx was a good winner of a Monsgrange point-to-point in 2018 defeating Tactical Move by 4-lengths. He subsequently joined David Pipe, winning both his starts in Bumpers in December, including a Listed contest at Ascot that’s often won by a smart performer. The form of that Ascot race has worked out well with the third (The Glancing Queen) running well at the Cheltenham Festival before landing a Grade 2 NH Flat Race at the Aintree in goodstyle. Eden Du Houx unfortunately didn’t make Cheltenham last season, but that will possibly be a blessing in disguise with his future in mind. There’s no doubt that his long-term future will be over fences, but this son of Irish Wells is in the right hands and should make up into a useful performer over hurdles this season.
EMITOM (IRE) 5 b g Gold Well – Avenging Angel Warren Greatrex The Spero Partnership Ltd Emitom was an absolute star for the 2018/19 National Hunt Horses to Follow, winning fourtimes before finishing an excellent second behind Champ at Aintree, his first attempt at a Grade 1 and 3m. He stayed-on well at Aintree, seeing out the 3m extremely well so that will open plenty of doors for the 2019/20 campaign. Despite winning four-races last season, Emitom still looked a big baby on times and there’s no doubt that we haven’t seen the best of him yet. Emitom is still only a 5yo so I think the temptation to go chasing could be left for another year, but I suppose that decision will be made after assessing how he’s going early-on in the season. Either-way, he remains a horse to stay on the right side of this season for Warren Greatrex, who will have the brilliant La Bague Au Roi to look forward to again.
FAUSTINOVICK (GB) 5 b g Black Sam Bellamy – Cormorant Cove Colin Tizzard Taylor & O’Dwyer This big, scopey son of Black Sam Bellamy was a good second on his sole point-to-point start behind the exciting Andy Dufresne at Borris House before subsequently joining Colin Tizzard for £170,000. He made a very pleasing start to his career under rules when a staying-on second behind the talented and experienced McFabulous at Newbury last March. He was no match for the winner on that occasion, but there was a lot to like about his effort and he was given a lovely educational ride from Robbie Power, who didn’t give him a hard-time. Faustiinovick was bought as a chaser for the future, but he should have more than enough natural ability to win races over hurdles this season between 2m4f-3m. He looks another high-class prospect for connections, who also have leading Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Lostintranslation to look forward to this season.
FEEL MY PULSE (IRE) 5 b g Stowaway – Zenaide Gordon Elliott Gigginstown House Stud Feel My Pulse featured amongst the ‘Point-to-Point Recruits’ last season, but unfortunately, wasn’t seen during the 2018/19 campaign. He won a 4yo Maiden at Lismore that has an illustrious roll of honour with Florida Pearl and three-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate amongst past winners. If this son of Stowaway is half as good as those two mentioned, he’ll have a very good career ahead of him. He was a very impressive winner of his point-topoint, which made Gigginstown House Stud pay £330,000 to get him. This horse looks to have a very bright future ahead of him and should be seen over hurdles this season, but he’ll hopefully be a very nice horse over fences one day.
FESTIVAL D’EX 4 b g Saddler Maker – Une D’Ex Gordon Elliott John F Doyle Festival D’Ex created a very big impression when running away with the Goffs Land Rover Bumper last season at Punchestown, a race that always seems to produce a nice type for the future. Always travelling well; Festival D’Ex made rapid progress two-furlongs out under Jamie Codd before taking the lead and quickening clear inside the final furlong to draw 10lengths clear of some more experienced rivals. It’s pretty difficult to assess the form of that contest, and it’s quite possible it wasn’t the strongest of renewals, but Festival D’Ex couldn’t have done it any easier. Being a son of Saddler Maker (also the sire of Bristol De Mai and Apple’s Jade), he should stay well over obstacles, but he didn’t exactly look short of speed when winning at Punchestown. I suspect we’ll be seeing him making his debut over hurdles over 2m before potentially being seen to best effect over 2m4+ in time, but all that will depend on how he goes early-on in the campaign. He’s a very exciting prospect for Gordon Elliot this season.
FURY ROAD (IRE) 5 b g Stowaway – Molly Duffy Gordon Elliott Gigginstown House Stud Fury Road featured amongst the ‘Point-To-Point Recruits’ last season, but he was never going to be the type that would excel in NH Flat Races. He didn’t do too badly, though, winning nicely at Fairyhouse before running a nice race at Punchestown behind Sixshooter. Like many owned by Gigginstown House Stud, Fury Road was purchased as a chaser, but I think he’s the type that could develop into a high-class staying hurdler this season and I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t win races between 2m4f-3m. I’m sure his connections will be hoping he can develop into an Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle contender this season.
GIN ON LIME (FR) 3 b f Doctor Dino – Quiche Lorraine Henry De Bromhead Robcour This daughter of Doctor Dino made a stunning winning debut at Clairefontaine over the summer for French handler Guillaume Macaire, winning by 9-lengths in emphatic style. She travelled into the race very well, but it was her quick, efficient hurdling that impressed the most. Gin On Lime was subsequently purchased in a private sale by Robcour and looks a very exciting prospect for her new owners for Juvenile hurdles this season. Her form trainer (Guillaume Macaire) has been known to sell some very smart horses to continue their careers in the UK and Ireland, including Laurina.
GET IN THE QUEUE (GB) 5 b g Mount Nelson – Amarullah Harry Fry Paul & Clare Rooney Mount Nelson is most known for his achievements as a Flat sire, but he’s also the sire of two-time Cheltenham Festival winner Penhill. I think he has another smart recruit to the hurdling ranks to look forward to this season with the exciting Get In The Queue. This gelding owned by Paul and Clare Rooney won all three of his starts in NH Flat Races last season by a combined 30-lengths, looking a horse with a very bright future ahead of him. He stayed on strongly to win the valuable Goffs UK Spring Sale Bumper at Newbury on his final outing of the season, giving his rider Noel Fehily a final winner in the saddle on his last ride. Get In The Queue should hopefully develop into a very bright hurdling prospect for Harry Fry this season and is one to look forward to this season. I think he’ll prove relatively versatile in regards of ground conditions.
GRAND MOGUL (IRE) 5 br g Presenting – Oilgarch Society Gordon Elliott John Lightfoot Grand Mogul is a full-brother to Willie Mullins useful performer Brahma Bull, who we probably haven’t seen the best of yet. Gordon Elliott’s son of Presenting ran a promising race in a Punchestown before getting his head in front at the second time of asking when landing a Bumper at Thurles season by 8-lengths. I don’t think that was the strongest of races, but there was a lot to like about that performance and he seemed to impress Jamie Codd, who was quite complimentary about him after the race. I think this horse could be a ‘dark horse’ amongst the Novice Hurdle ranks this season for Gordon Elliott and I think he’ll have no problem staying 3m if needed. He might need a sound surface to be at his very best.
HOLD THE NOTE (IRE) 5 b g Jeremy – Keys Hope Mick Channon T P Radford Hold The Note hails from a stable that doesn’t have many National Hunt horses, but they’ve had plenty of success in recent seasons with the likes of Glen Forsa and Cheltenham Festival winner Mister Whittaker. I think Hold The Note has a pretty similar profile to both those named previously at this stage of his career and has plenty more to come this season. This son of Jeremy showed glimpses of ability last season when landing a Bumper and Novice Hurdle, but I think this gelding has always shaped as if he’ll make a very nice horse once sent chasing. He’ll probably go the handicap route over fences, but it’ll be fascinating to see how far he can progress over the larger obstacles. I think 2m4f-3m will be his trip this season, and despite coping with testing ground conditions, he should be best effect on a sounder surface.
KING ROLAND (IRE) 5 b g Stowaway – Kilitiernan Robin Harry Fry Masterson Holdings Limited King Roland was a very impressive winner of his Open Maiden Point-To-Point at Larkhill last year when under the care of Sophie Lacey, pulling 10-lengths clear in very good fashion. Subsequently joining Harry Fry’s team in a private deal, this son of Stowaway created a very big impression when landing a Bumper at Uttoxeter in December, drawing readily clear to win by 22-lengths. He followed up at Ffos Las under a penalty next time, winning nicely in what looked an above average contest. His connections made a wise call to skip Cheltenham with this gelding with one eye on a Novice Hurdle campaign for the 2019/20 season. Without using the usual NH Racing clichés, this son of Stowaway fits the ‘could be anything’ profile this season and is a potentially very useful recruit to the Novice hurdling ranks. There’s plenty of stamina in his pedigree and being a Point-To-Point winner, he should be seen to best effect between 2m4f-3m this season over timber.
L'AIR DU VENT (FR) 5 b g Coastal Path – Bleu Perle Colin Tizzard Brocade Racing This son of Coastal Path fell when still in contention in his only point-to-point start in 2018 for Denis Murphy, a race that was eventually won by Shishkin, who bolted-up on his first start for Nicky Henderson at the end of last season. Like Shishkin, L’Air Du Vent also fairly bolted-up on his debut under rules when easily drawing clear at Bangor-on-Dee in April under Jonjo O’Neill Jr shaping like a horse with a very bright future ahead of him. L’Air Du Vent hails from a family over winners over hurdles and fences so the best of him it yet to come and he looks an exciting prospect for the connections of Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Native River. His siblings won their races between 2m-2m4f and were relatively versatile regards ground conditions.
McFABULOUS (IRE) 5 b g Milan – Rossavon Paul Nicholls Giraffa Racing McFabulous was a very good horse in NH Flat Races last season for Paul Nicholls, winning at Chepstow before winning very well at Newbury under a penalty in what looked to be a very useful contest on paper. This son of Milan went on to land a Grade 2 Bumper at Aintree on his final start of the campaign, a race that often throws up a very nice horse for the future. Being a by Milan and a half-brother Grade 1 winning chaser Waiting Patiently, McFabulous should make up into a very smart horse over hurdles this season for Paul Nicholls, who looks to have an exciting bunch of horses to go to war with for the season ahead. I think McFabulous will be best suited by 2m and looks pretty versatile regards ground conditions.
MIDNIGHT RUN (IRE)
5 b g Well Chosen – Knockamullen Joseph Patrick O’Brien Gigginstown House Stud Midnight Run is a full-brother to smart bumper/2m6f hurdle winner Carefully Selected. Like his full-brother, Midnight Run has made a promising start to his career, winning nicely on his debut at Galway before chasing home subsequent Champion Bumper winner Envoi Allen in the Listed “Future Champions” Flat Race at Navan in December. Given a short-break, he bounced back to winning ways with a good performance at Naas defeating Column Of Fire by over 3-lengths. This son of Well Chosen was campaigned like a horse for the future last season and I think he could develop into a very useful staying Novice Hurdle prospect this season for Joseph O’Brien. He could develop into an Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle type at the Cheltenham Festival.
NEVER ADAPT (FR) 4 ch f Anabaa Blue – She Hates Me Nicky Henderson John P McManus Never Adapt was a very impressive of her only start in France for Guillaume Macaire, winning effortlessly by 10-lengths at Compiegne. Subsequently purchased by JP McManus, Never Adapt made a promising start to her career on these shores when finishing third in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham behind two more experienced rivals. It was a remarkable effort looking-back as she ran very freely down to the post and then took a very strong hold under Barry Geraghty, bolting to a 10-lengths lead early-on. With her antics beforehand and during the race taken into account, it was incredible how she stayed-on to regain third up the hill, especially after making a bad mistake at the second last. There’s no doubt this filly has a huge amount of natural ability, but she’ll need to learn to settle if we’re going to see the best of that ability, but she’s in the right hands and hopefully we’ll see the best of her this season.
NEWTIDE (IRE) 6 br g Getaway – C’Est Fantastique Kim Bailey Lady Dulverton Newtide has a very good campaign over hurdles last season for Kim Bailey, but there’s no doubt this son of Getaway has always looked a real chaser in the making. Testing ground conditions and a big-weight couldn’t stop him winning on his final start last season, winning very easily at Ffos Las in what looked a competitive contest beforehand. Rated 138 over hurdles, I think that’s a rating this gelding can exploit over the larger obstacles this season and I’ll be interested to see how far this horse can progress in staying chases this season. He’ll want 3m+ on Soft ground to be at his best this season.
OVERTHETOP (IRE) 5 br g Flemensfirth – Dawn Bid Olly Murphy What The Elle £150,000 Cheltenham Dec 2018; brother to bumper/useful 2m7f hurdle winner On Raglan Road. Overthetop was a comfortable winner of a Bumper at Warwick last season for Olly Murphy, beating Induno by just over 2-lengths. The race didn’t go completely to plan for this son of Flemensfirth, but his natural ability allowed him to come out on top. Overthetop looks another exciting point-to-point recruit for Olly Murphy to go to war with this season and should make a lovely novice hurdle prospect. He should start off over 2m4f and may need some cut in the ground.
PIC D’ORHY (FR) 4 b g Turgeon – Rose Candy Paul Nicholls Mrs Johnny de la Hey Pic D’Orhy was a very smart horse in France last year for Francois Nicolle, beating the very the very talented Grade 1 winner Goliath Du Berlais easily on two occasions. Subsequently joined Paul Nicholls’ team at Ditcheat, this son of Turgeon was set a very stiff task on his British debut when running in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival after a 131-day break. He was slightly disappointing there, but I feel the fact his connections allowed him to take his chance that day tells you he’s a very highly-regarded horse. It’s never easy for these juveniles in their second season, but this gelding has had plenty of experience from his days in France so that wouldn’t worry me. Pic D’Orhy made a bad mistake on his only chase outing in France, unseating his rider at the second fence, but I’m sure Paul Nicholls will waste little time in getting him over a fence in the near future. He remains a very exciting prospect and is one to keep on your side throughout the 2019/20 NH season.
PRECIOUS CARGO (IRE) 6 b g Yeats – Kilbarry Classic Nicky Henderson Thomas Barr Precious Cargo joined the team at Seven Barrows for the 2018/19 season having previously been in the care of Lucinda Russell. This son of Doyen won his first two outings over hurdles last season in very good-style before finding Grade 1 Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree a step too far on his third and final start of the season when finishing sixth behind Felix Desjy. He was sent-off a 4/1 shot at Aintree, which was short-enough on what he’d achieved compared to some of his rivals, but I thought he shaped a lot better than his finishing position suggested on that occasion. He raced pretty keenly early-on and sat off the pace before picking-off a few of his rivals turning for home, but he just couldn’t sustain his effort after hitting the second last hurdle and wasn’t given a hard race after that. He’s a big, powerful gelding that has always looked as if chasing would be his game and I think he’ll take his form to a new level this season over the larger obstacles for Nicky Henderson, who claimed “He could be a Cheltenham horse this time next year” after winning at Sandown last season. 2m-2m4f should be his trip this season.
4 ch g Martaline – Panzella Nick Williams Gascoigne, Brookes & Barker Prudhomme is a half-brother to Pont Alexandre, who was a very smart Grade 1 winner for Willie Mullins a few seasons ago. It’s unlikely Prudhomme will follow in his footsteps, but he looks a very useful prospect in his own right. This son of Martaline ran on strongly to win a decent enough NH Flat Race at Ffos Las last April by 5-lengths under Lizzie Kelly. Prudhomme hails from the same connections as two-time Grade 2 Hurdle winner and Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle winner Agrapart, who is also a son of Martaline. Prudhomme looks a useful prospect for Nick Williams this season and hopefully will progress into a smart recruit to the Novice Hurdle division. He should 2m4f with some juice in the ground could be his ideal conditions this season.
REMASTERED (GB) 6 ch g Network – Cathodine Cayras David Pipe Brocade Racing Remastered was only seen three-times last season for David Pipe and Brocade Racing, but on each occasion, he showed us he was a horse with more than a fair amount of ability. He was an impressive winner of a Novice Hurdle at FFos Las on his seasonal return on Heavy ground, winning by 7-lengths despite taking a keen hold early. This son of the late Network was last seen finishing a good second to the highly-progressive Dashel Drasher, who won four-times in 2019 for Jeremy Scott, and remains a horse to keep on the right side of. Remastered looked a big, raw horse last season over hurdles and shaped like a horse that looked made for chasing. He strikes me as the type that’ll progress nicely over the larger obstacles this season and should stay 3m. He seems to handle very testing ground conditions extremely well so he might be best seen with ‘Soft’ or ‘Heavy’ in the ground description. I think he’ll be able to build on his achievements over hurdles this season where he achieved a mark of 133.
RESERVE TANK (IRE) 5 b g Jeremy – Lady Bellamy Colin Tizzard The Reserve Tankers I try not to include horses that have already shown their hand at the highest-level, but I couldn’t leave Reserve Tank out of this year’s renewal of the National Hunt Horses to Follow list after his excellent campaign over timber last season, which included Grade 1 wins at Aintree and Punchestown over 2m4f. I thought he was given an enterprising ride by Robbie Power at Aintree, which could have been taken as a ‘fluke’ at the time as he’d not shown anything on his previous starts to suggest he was up to the task, but he confirmed there was no fluke about that victory when landing the Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown in game fashion. I think the fact this son of Jeremy won two-Grade 1’s over hurdles last season can only bode well for his career over fences as he looks every inch a chaser. He’s clearly going to rank high amongst the Novices this season, but whether he ends up in the JLT or RSA is hard to say at this stage, but he does look like he’ll stay well. I think he’ll be given a similar campaign to Lostintranslation, who done well for connections last season.
SHISHKIN (IRE) 5 b g Sholokhov – Labarynth Nicky Henderson Mrs J Donnelly It was hard not to be impressed with the gelding when making a winning debut at Kempton last season in the same bumper that Mister Fisher won the previous season. This son of Sholokhov drew effortlessly clear inside the final furlong under Nico De Boinville won win by an eased down 8-lengths. The form of that race wouldn’t excite you, but you’d have to be impressed with the way he travelled then drew readily clear. Shishkin is in the right hands to develop into a useful recruit to the Novice Hurdle division this season, but being a point-to-point winner, we’ll probably see the best of him over fences in the future. I think 2m4f+ on a sound surface will likely be his optimum conditions over hurdles this season on what we’ve seen of him so far.
SILVER HALLMARK (GB)
5 bg g Shirocco – Gaye Sophie Fergal O’Brien Mr & Mrs William Rucker Silver Hallmark is a half-brother to the il-fated Gayebury, who was a useful hurdler for Evan Williams. This son of Shirocco made a pleasing start to his career under rules for Fergal O’Brien when finishing a staying-on third behind subsequent Grade 2 Bumper winner McFabulous at Newbury. I thought that was a very good effort from this horse and there was a lot to like with the future in mind. Silver Hallmark should develop into a useful prospect for his connections this season in staying novice hurdles. It’ll be interesting to see how far he can progress throughout the campaign.
THOMAS DARBY (IRE) 6 b g Beneficial – Silaoce Olly Murphy Mrs Diana L Whateley Thomas Darby had a good season over hurdles, winning twice before finishing a gallant second behind the very talented Klassical Dream in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. I thought it was a wise move by his connections to give him the rest of the season off after a relatively busy campaign as I feel he was always going to be a better horse over fences. He’s got the size, scope and pedigree (half-brother to smart chase performer Muirhead) to excel over the larger obstacles this season. Thomas Darby is undoubtedly an exciting prospect for fences this season and I suspect he’ll start off over 2m, but I feel he’ll have no problem staying 2m4f if he settles during his races. He seems happiest on a sound surface.
THYME HILL (GB)
5 b g Kayf Tara – Rosita Bay Philip Hobbs The Englands And Heywoods Thyme Hill ended the 2018/19 as the leading Bumper horse in the UK after finishing an excellent third in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival. Sent-off an unfancied 20/1 shot, he was always prominent and kept-on well inside the final furlong, but couldn’t match the pace of the first two home on the day. He was returning off the back of a 115-day break on that occasion, which isn’t ideal even if it was by design or not so I’d be hopeful there’s even more to come. He’s bred to do well over obstacles so I think this son of Kayf Tara should make into a very useful Novice Hurdle prospect this season for Philip Hobbs, who had another relatively quiet campaign last season, but I’m hoping this exciting prospect can do him proud during the 2019/20 season.
TREVELYN’S CORN IRE) 6 b g Oscar – Present Value Paul Nicholls Chris Giles Trevelyn’s Corn ran a nice race on his debut for Paul Nicholls last season, finishing fourth at Ascot and probably would have been a lot closer if it wasn’t for an awkward jump at the last. He built on that experience to win effortlessly on his next start at Wincanton by 7-lengths. He was set a stiff enough task on his next start when running in the Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree. He was slightly disappointing there, but the experience at Grade 1 level wouldn’t have been lost on him with this season in mind. This son of Oscar was bought as a chaser in the making and I’m hopeful as I’m sure his connections are that he can do well over fences this season. He looks to have the necessary size and scope to do well this season in staying novice chases.
POINT-TO-POINT RECRUITS 2019/20
BARBADO’S BUCK’S (IRE) 4 b g Getaway – Buck’s Blue €210,000 Punchestown May 2019; brother to bumper/2m5f hurdle winner Barbados Blue, half-brother to bumper/2m3f-3m winner More Buck’s; dam French 2m3f hurdle winner, halfsister to outstanding staying hurdler Big Buck’s. This of Getaway ran a nice race when second behind Skatman in a 4yo Maiden at Dromhane last April. I thought the 5lb he was conceding was the difference that day, but it was a likeable performance from Barbado’s Buck’s. Like his relatives More Buck’s and Big Buck’s, he will join Paul Nicholls and looks an exciting recruit.
BRAVEMANSGAME (FR) 4 b g Brave Mansonnien – Genifique Bravemansgame created a very big impression when winning his point-to-point by 8-lengths at Lingstown for Donnchadh Doyle. This son of Brave Mansonnien changed hands for £370,000 and will join Paul Nicholls team in Ditcheat for the 2019/20 season and is owned by John Dance. He looks an interesting prospect for NH Flat Races this season, but he was undoubtedly bought as a future chaser.
DEPLOY THE GETAWAY (IRE) 4 b g Getaway – Gaelic River This son of Getaway was a 20-lengths winner of his point-to-point last February at Tallow for Donnchadh Doyle. He was always travelling nicely and went clear two fences from home before making a bad mistake at the last, but it didn’t stop him making a very taking debut. Subsequently bought for £200,000, Deploy The Getaway is believed to be in training with Willie Mullins and owned by Cheveley Park Stud, who also have Malone Road and Envoi Allen to look forward to this season. Deploy The Getaway looks the type that’ll do well in bumpers this season.
FAROUK D’ALENE (FR) 4 b g Racinger – Mascotte D’Alene Farouk D’Alene was another horse that won a 4yo Maiden very easily for Donnchadh Doyle last campaign, quickening up well to win by 18-lengths at Belclare. Subsequently sold to join Gordon Elliott for £260,000, this son of Racinger looks a very useful prospect for the upcoming season and looks to have more than enough ability to do well in bumpers this season.
FERNY HOLLOW (IRE) 4 bb g Westerner – Mirazur Ferny Hollow landed a 2m4f 4yo Maiden at Knockanard for Colin Bowe by 15-lengths before subsequently being sold for £300,000. I loved the way this son of Westerner went further clear after the last fence in his point-to-point success and looked a horse with a very nice future ahead of him. Like Deploy The Getaway, Ferny Hollow is owned by Cheveley Park Stud and will be trained by Willie Mullins. He looks an exciting horse for the future.
GRANDADS COTTAGE (IRE) 4 ch g Shantou – Sarah’s Cottage This son of Shantou was good winner of a 4yo Maiden at Portrush at the end of March winning by a 6-lengths in a quicker time to the previous division that was won by the more experienced Vandemere. This gelding is a full-brother hurdle/chase winner Super Duty and looks to have plenty of ability based on his easy point-to-point victory. Grandads Cottage made £200,000 at Aintree last April and is another expensive point-to-point recruit to join Olly Murphy. He’s undoubtedly a horse for the future, but I hope to see him in a bumper at some point during the 2019/20 season.
ISRAEL CHAMP (IRE) 4 b g Mlan – La Dariska This son of Milan was an easy winner of a 4yo Maiden at Monksgrange last March for Mary E. Doyle, pulling 12-lengths clear of On The Bandwagon. He always travelled well and was clear throughout before keeping on well to the finish. Israel Champ is believed to have joined David Pipe after that impressive victory and looks an interesting horse for bumpers this season.
LETS GO CHAMP (IRE) 4 b g Jeremy – Dark Mimosa Lets Go Champ created a very good impression when winning at Barlemy in May for Donnchadh Doyle. The winning margin didn’t reflect his dominance over his rivals as he made two mistakes at the final two fences, but was always in command of his rivals. He was bought by Roger Brookhouse for £375,000 at Goffs UK Spring Sale in May, but his trainer wasn’t decided at the time. This son of Jeremy is another exciting prospect for the future.
MY WHIRLWIND (IRE) 4 b f Stowaway – Garranlea Maree My Whirlwind created a very good impression when landing a 4yo Mares Maiden by 4lengths at Ballycahane last March. She was always travelling nicely throughout before keeping on well to the line. That impressive win wasn’t missed at the Sale at the Cheltenham Festival, topping the sale at £400,000 to join Nicky Henderson’s team at Seven Barrows. This daughter of Stowaway is a real beauty and I look forward to seeing her in a bumper at some point during the 2019/20 campaign.
PAPA TANGO CHARLY (FR) 4 ch g No Risk At All – Chere Elenn Papa Tango Charly impressed when landing a 4yo Maiden at Liscaroll at the end of March. It was in fact the same 4yo Maiden Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Denman won fourteen years ago. With that in mind and the fact he represented the same connections that unleashed a horse called Samcro in recent seasons meant this son of No Risk At All made a mouthwatering £440,000 at the Goffs UK Aintree Sale. This horse has joined Jonjo O’Neill at Jackdaws Castle and looks a very exciting prospect for the future.
POWER OF PAUSE (IRE) 4 ch g Doyen – Shady Pines
Power Of Pause quickened clear like a very smart horse when landing a 4yo Maiden at Punchestown by 6-lengths in February. This son of Doyen made £180,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham Festival Sale and will join Willie Mullins for the upcoming season. Doyen does well with his bumper horses and I suspect we’ll be seeing this horse early-on in the campaign. I won’t be surprised if he develops into a Champion Bumper contender.
SPORTING JOHN (IRE)
4 bb g Getaway – Wild Spell Sporting John kept-on well to land a 4yo Maiden at Borris House for Mattew Flynn O’Connor with subsequent winner Vandermere back in third. This son of Getaway fetched £160,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham Festival Sale 11-days after that victory. I thought he looked a real staying chaser for the future when winning his point-to-point so I’m not sure we’ll be seeing the best of him in bumpers this season.
THE BIG BREAKAWAY (IRE) 4 ch g Getaway – Princess Mairead The Big Breakaway was yet another impressive 4yo Maiden winner for Donnchadh Doyle last season when winning at Quakerstown. His rider actually put up 1lb overweight on that occasion, but it didn’t stop this son of Getaway winning easily by 10-lengths. The Big Breakaway is a half-brother to very smart chaser Kildisart and has joined Colin Tizzard for €360,000. Like his half-brother, I think this horse will be a chaser for the future, but I think he has more than enough to win a bumper this season.
WIDE RECEIVER (IRE)
4 b g Sholokhov – Sagarich This son of Sholokhov (sire of Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack) was impressive when landing a 4yo Maiden at Cragmore in February, winning easily by 8-lengths. Subsequently joining Gordon Elliott’s team for a mouth-watering £410,000, this gelding looks another point-to-point recruit with a lot of star quality about him and looks a very nice prospect for the future. Many horses by this sire are more hurdle/chase prospects than bumper prospects, but I hope to see Wide Receiver at some point during the season ahead.