I would like to thank Doug for using this blog to detail his 50 NH Horse to Follow for the 2022/23 Season. An exceptional amount of work and information. Best of luck for the season ahead. For more info follow Doug on Twitter: @DCsportsvalue 1) Ajero – 7yo G ( Trained by Kim Bailey )
A useful handicap hurdler, winning five of his ten outings over timber. It is interesting to note that those five successes all came on sharpish right handed tracks (Ludlow – Kempton – Market Rasen – Huntingdon & Taunton ) , where the emphasis is based more on speed than stamina, in fact his only start on a left handed track over hurdles came when a well beaten seventh at Aintree in the Spring of 2021 – although he may well have been a little over the top for the season. Ajero had his attentions turned to the Flat in April of this year, and at the time of writing has finished fourth in each of his four starts – best of which when a six lengths runner up to Candleford in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot, earning him a very useful rating of 91. Best served when the going is none too testing ( although has won on Soft in a small field over hurdles ) and will start the new NH season from a mark of 135. He should prove up to winning more races.
2) Alto Alto – 5yo G ( Trained by Chris Gordon )
Has shown steady improvement in four starts over hurdles, winning at Plumpton in a five runner Maiden during the first week of April. But it was his final start twenty days later on Bet365 Gold Cup day that really caught my eye. Finishing a shade under five lengths third of the twelve runners that day behind Knappers Hill and Boombawn was no bad effort – considering that Alto Alto already appears screaming for a stiffer test of stamina than the two miles of that contest. He should comfortably stay another half mile as he gains experience, and I will be somewhat disappointed if he doesn’t prove on the right side of the handicapper from his current official mark of 110. One to keep an eye on in handicaps.
3) Aubis Walk – 6yo M ( Trained by Nicky Richards )
May well have won both her Point to Points had she not ran out two from home on her debut at Tattersalls Farm during the first week of November when short of room and still travelling well. She made amends eight days later when taking a Maiden for five year old mares at Quakerstown, winning easily by eight lengths – and giving the impression that there was more to come. It came as no surprise to see her fetch a six figure sum at Goffs UK sales at Yorton the following month, when Honeysuckle’s owner Kenny Alexander paid £120k for her. One run for her new owner saw Aubis Walk run a nine and a half lengths second to the Gordon Elliott trained Burn The Evidence, over an inadequate looking two miles late in April. Aubis Walk can be expected to improve with time, given that she was a fairly late foal ( May 21 ) – and progress is likely to be seen when faced with a stiffer test in stamina. She could well be the sort to run up a sequence on the Northern circuit.
4) Authorised Speed – 5yo G ( Trained by Gary Moore )
Won just one of his five Bumpers last season, but performed with plenty of credit on the other four occasions, with arguably his best effort coming when finishing a ten and three quarter lengths fifth in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival. Authorised Speed was the first home of the GB runners that day, with the winner Facile Vega looking a hugely exciting prospect for the Willie Mullins camp. Starting at odds of 50/1 that day – Authorised Speed never looked like winning, but stayed on at the one pace in gritty fashion up the hill on going that was pretty testing. He should have little difficulty being found winning opportunities in Maiden / Novice company over timber this season, and is sure to be placed to the best of his ability by his very capable trainer.
5) Autumn Return – 5yo M ( Trained by Ruth Jefferson )
Autumn Return became the fifth winning Bumper performer in the last five years for trainer Ruth Jefferson, that may not sound particularly good – but it is very respectable given that she has only had eighteen individual runners in that sphere. That win came at Ayr in April, almost three months after picking the mare up for £55k at the Tatts Cheltenham H.I.T Sales in January. Autumn Return was a winner of a 5yo Mares Maiden Point in Ireland for previous connections shortly before the sales, and looks the type to pick up a race or two over hurdles over the course of the new campaign. She’s a half sister to three other winners, and I imagine she will start off over two miles – but have little doubt that another half mile will be within her capabilities with a bit more experience under her belt.
6. Beauport – 6yo G ( Trained by Nigel Twiston – Davies )
Has already proved a more than useful hurdler, rising from a mark of 122 as a Novice in the Spring of 2021 to one some twenty six pounds higher by the end of last season. In five starts last term Beauport finished runner up three times – including in a Grade 3 Handicap at Sandown over just shy of three miles, before picking up a valuable prize at Uttoxeter over 2m 4f. His final start of the season saw him finish a respectable fourth over an extended three miles at the Aintree Grand National meeting, beaten around seventeen lengths by the well handicapped Party Business. I imagine the plan will be to send him Novice Chasing this season, and I will be very disappointed if he doesn’t get on the scoresheet. He will need a minimum of two and a half miles and will probably be best served by three. He acts very well on a soft surface and goes particularly well for jockey Jordan Nailor.
7) Blackcauseway – 6yo G ( Trained by Nigel Twiston – Davies )
Winner of a Point to Point for 5yo’s at Kirkistown last November, before joining current connections the following month for £100k from the Tatts Cheltenham horses in training sales. Blackcauseway hasn’t quite lived up to that price tag just yet, but showed some ability nonetheless in maiden company over hurdles in the Spring, finishing third at Warwick over 2m 5f, and surprisingly when dropped back to two miles for his final run when finishing runner up to Boreen Boy at Uttoxeter. He’s rated 108 over timber – a level at which he quite possibly can find a race or two. However I do expect to see him over fences sooner rather than later. There’s stamina in his pedigree, in fact he’s a half brother to the 2015 Scottish National winner Wayward Prince, and he may well be a future 3m+ chaser. In the immediate future a return to two and a half miles should prove beneficial and I don’t think we have seen the best of this chap just yet.
8) Bold Reaction – 5yo G ( Trained by Nicky Henderson )
Looked in need of the run when narrowly touched off by Prairie Wolf at Doncaster towards the end of January, on his debut under rules, but put that to right eight weeks later in good style at Kelso beating the previous winner Ontherouge by a comfortable looking three and a half lengths. It looked a decent enough Bumper at Kelso, as you would expect with over £15,600 going to the winner – and Bold Reaction may turn out to be a smart one when sent over hurdles this term. I imagine that he will start off over two miles and should have little trouble staying two and a half. A strong travelling sort, who is not short of pace – he looks an exciting prospect for the season ahead. Looking further down the line he should jump fences, but there are races to be won over hurdles before then.
9) Bolton – 4yo G ( Trained by Rebecca Menzies )
Ran a very encouraging race when beaten a total of a length in third place in a Junior Bumper at Newcastle on his racecourse debut in December. Just twenty days later – on Heavy going at Wetherby, Bolton shed his maiden tag when quickening with around two furlongs to go, and pulled readily clear to get the better of Burrow Seven by seven and a half lengths – with a further four and a half back to Ceolwulf in third. The form of the contest may not be anything special, but Bolton showed a likeable attitude in both his races which bodes well for the future, and he should be found opportunities to win in maiden / novice company when sent over hurdles. One to keep an eye on around the Norther tracks and will hopefully progress as he gains experience. Maybe best at trips around two miles for the immediate future.
10) Butch – 5yo G ( Trained by Olly Murphy )
Put up a pleasing first effort at Huntingdon in the first week of March, when a half length runner up to the Fergal O’Brien trained Crambo – who had already won over the same Course & Distance on Boxing Day. Butch has a nice NH pedigree, being by Kayf Tara out of an unraced Presenting mare that has already produced a couple of winners – including the Murphy trained three times winning ( to date ) mare Eavesdropping. Butch gave me the impression that he has the ability to win a Bumper himself, but maybe the decision will be to go straight over hurdles – only time will tell. I have every confidence that he can progress with time, particularly when faced with a stiffer test of stamina. It’s far too early to suggest any going preferences, but he certainly appeared to cope well with Soft conditions at Huntingdon. Quite possibly a winner waiting to happen.
11) Camprond – 6yo G ( Trained by Philip Hobbs )
Quite experienced for a horse of his age, with nine races taken in on the Flat, and another thirteen over hurdles. Camprond capped a fine season last term with victory in a handicap hurdle over 2m 3f at the Punchestown Festival at the end of April, that followed a solid effort when finishing a shade over ten lengths fourth in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham behind Commander Of Fleet. In total Camprond has won five times over timber, finished runner up three times and finished third twice – earning a rating of 147 for the start of the new season. I’d imagine he will be schooled over fences and may well be sent novice chasing in the coming months. He stays at least 2m 4f and is best served by Good and Good to Soft underfoot conditions, and should continue to pay his way.
12) Chapel Green – 5yo G ( Trained by Lucinda Russell )
Ran a respectable fourth in a Wetherby Bumper during the first week of February, finishing a shade over seven lengths behind the winner – the Dan Skelton trained Don Hollow. Travelling quite well, before appearing a little one paced with around a quarter of a mile to run and weakening inside the final furlong. Chapel Green didn’t really build on that effort on his only other run last season, some fifty one days later in late march when a sixteen lengths seventh of eleven at Hexham behind Ruby Island – again looking a little one paced when the tempo quickened inside the final half mile. Maybe not the most obvious of candidates for a horses to follow list, but I do believe he has the ability to win in ordinary company when sent hurdling with a few more races behind him. A Summer behind him should also help with trips of two to two and a half miles suiting in the immediate future.
13) Chasing Fire – 5yo G ( Trained by Olly Murphy )
Winner of a Maiden Point to Point for four year olds in Ireland last October, in good style by six lengths from Record High ( since gone on to win a Fontwell Bumper for Suzy Smith on his only start under rules ) before joining current connections for £170k at the Tattersalls Cheltenham Sales the following month. Chasing Fire himself was successful on his only outing to date under rules, taking a Wetherby Bumper in promising style by two lengths from John Quinn’s Imperial Merlin ( a winner next time out ) , and it’s a safe bet that Chasing Fire will add to his tally over the course of the season. He may well take in another Bumper for some further experience, however it would be also no great surprise to see him go straight over hurdles either. Distances up to two and a half miles should be ideal for the time being, and I’m also confident that he will jump a fence one day. Trainer Olly Murphy may well have a pretty useful horse on his hands with this one.
14) City Chief – 5yo G ( Trained by Nicky Henderson )
Showed himself to be an improving young staying hurdler last season, finishing runner up at both Ascot & Doncaster over trips in the region of 2m 5f, before getting off the mark in a four runner maiden hurdle over three miles one and a half furlongs at Hereford during the second week of March. He followed that success up with a win at Ayr at the start of April over an extended three miles, and ended his campaign with a very respectable fifth in a decent Handicap at the Punchestown Festival. City Chief will start the new season from an official rating of 134 over timber, which would make staying handicaps up to the end of the year tempting targets. However, I’m sure that connections will be mulling over the prospects of sending him over the larger obstacles sooner – rather than later. If that proves to be the case, then I would imagine that the Brown Advisory at Cheltenham would be the aim should he prove up to it. Improvement would be required before then, but at odds of around 40/1 at the time of writing there would be worse longshots than him to tuck away for March.
15) Coin Basket – 5yo M ( Trained by Milton Harris )
Looks a very reasonable buy in this day and age at £32k from Tatts Cheltenham Sales back in January. Coin Basket got off the mark at the first time of asking for her new connections – taking a Mares Bumper for Maidens at Fakenham in the third week of April, beating Pure Theatre by a short head following a sustained battle in the final three furlongs or so. The overall form of the race may not amount to too much, but she showed a likeable attitude and will hopefully progress as she gains experience, particularly when faced with a stiffer test of stamina over hurdles. Coin Basket also showed signs of ability when runner up in a Maiden Point to Point for four year olds when trained in Ireland, and may jump fences herself one day. Two and a half miles could prove a good starting point this term and she should add to her Bumper victory without too much trouble for her very capable trainer.
16) Coniston Clouds – 6yo G ( Trained by Nicky Richards )
Made a belated first racecourse appearance back in March when finishing a four and a quarter lengths runner up in a five runner Carlisle Bumper. I thought he travelled quite well that day, before a lack of experience may have told inside the final couple of furlongs and the Nigel Twiston – Davies trained Imperial B G stayed on the better to get the victory. It wasn’t a bad effort as the winner had already had the benefit of two previous runs. Coniston Clouds is unlikely to be making any headlines this season, but should be placed to the best of his ability and that one run suggested that he should prove up to winning in Maiden or Novice company over hurdles in the North. He should also be up to jumping fences one day with more experience behind him.
17) Doddiethegreat – 6yo G ( Trained by Nicky Henderson )
Named in honour of the legendary former Rugby Union player Doddie Weir, to raise awareness of his foundation in support of Motor Neurone Disease of which Weir has been living with for some years now. Doddie – the equine version is unbeaten in three starts to date, a pair of Bumpers and an impressive first appearance over hurdles, when coming home twenty two lengths clear from Pontresina, over 2m 5f at Kempton in November – despite showing some signs of greenness in the latter stages. He wasn’t seen again after Kempton, but hopefully there isn’t any lasting issues, as he looks a horse with plenty of potential. Whether he remains over hurdles remains to be seen, but I have little doubt that he can in time prove even better over the larger obstacles. A really nice individual.
18) Flaming Ambition – 5yo G ( Trained by Gary Hanmer )
Winner of a Maiden Point ( 2m 5f ) back in the Spring of 2021, and showed steady improvement in three starts over hurdles for current connections, winning the middle one of them in maiden company at Warwick at the end of March – getting the better of the Olly Murphy trained Benign Dictator by a comfortable looking five lengths. It was noted that he jumped out to the right at Warwick, and also when runner up at Southwell on his final start so it may just be possible that he could benefit from some sort of headgear. Flaming Ambition can continue to progress, and will hopefully be found a handicap from his current mark of 122, and was ridden on each occasion by the seven pounds claimer William Shanahan. Could be worth a try over an easy three miles.
19) For Gina – 4yo F ( Trained by Lucy Wadham )
Hinted at a little ability, despite only finishing seventh in both her Bumpers to date. The Newbury race on her debut may in time turn out to be an above average race, and the winner – Chris Gordon’s Presenting A Queen would follow up that win victory at Plumpton a few weeks later. For Gina appeared a little outpaced on both occasions so can only benefit from a stiffer test of stamina when sent over hurdles, which is hardly surprising as she is a half Sister to a horse that stayed 3m+. She looks another that will benefit from a Summer behind her and is in good hands to be placed to the best of her ability. Will be a tad disappointed if she cannot be competitive over two and a half miles in ordinary Maiden / Novice company in the near future.
20) Gelino Bello – 6yo G ( Trained by Paul Nicholls )
Progressed nicely last season over hurdles winning three of his six starts – a Maiden at Aintree in October over 2m 4f, a Novice event over half a furlong further at Newbury in March, and on his last outing when stepped up in trip and class to take the Grade 1 Sefton Novices Hurdle over an extended three miles at the Aintree National meeting. Connections are already looking forward to sending him over fences in the Autumn, and there’s no reason to think that he can’t prove at least equally as good over the larger obstacles. I’m guessing he may start off over two and a half miles, but it is more than likely his future will be over the longer trip – with the Kauto Star Novices Chase at Kempton being a possible target over the Christmas period. If all goes well then I’m sure a trip to Cheltenham in March will also be on the agenda.
21) Gitche Gumee – 4yo G ( Trained by Alan King )
Gitche Gumee became the first winning offspring from the first crop of the young French Sire Clovis Du Berlais, when taking a Kempton Bumper during the third week of March, in fair fashion staying on inside the final furlong to get the better of the Amy Murphy trained Kaleb by two and a half lengths, a nose back in third spot was Chris Gordon’s Diamond Egg who himself shed his maiden tag on his next start when collecting a Huntingdon Bumper by almost four lengths. It’s very early days, so difficult to assess how far he can go, but I have little doubt that he can be found winning opportunities when sent over hurdles. Gitche Gumee also gave me the impression that he will stay further than the minimum trip in due course, his sire stayed around 2m 4f while his sire’s Half Brother Caid Du Berlais stayed distances up to three miles.
22) Good Risk At All – 6yo G ( Trained by Sam Thomas )
Good Risk At All’s final run of five last season has to be deemed a bit of a disappointment, finishing a well beaten sixth over 2m 4f in the Mersey Novices Hurdle at Aintree behind the Gordon Elliott trained Three Stripe Life. Hopefully it will just be a case of being a little over the top for the campaign, as his four races prior to Aintree had a progressive look to them. He finished runner up at Chepstow on his seasonal debut in November, before a six lengths second behind Jonbon at Newbury, and filled the same position when a neck behind Barichello in a Handicap at Warwick in January. He then put up his best performance of the season in February at Ascot over two miles three and a half furlongs, winning a handicap easily by nine lengths from Christopher Wood with a yawning thirty four lengths gap back to the third. Whether he stays over hurdles or is sent over fences in the immediate future remains to be seen, but hopefully it won’t be too long before he returns to the winners enclosure. Ideally served by soft ground.
23) Gowel Road – 6yo G ( Trained by Nigel Twiston – Davies )
Gowel Road has won on a good surface, but is probably better suited to some give in the ground. He’s an easy horse to take a liking to and usually gives his best. A winner of three of his ten starts over hurdles, along with two runner up spots and a third placing, he looks a nice type to take into the new season with a Novice Chase campaign in mind. Gowel Road stays at least 2m 5f and is worth a try at 3m at some stage and is sure to be placed to the best of his ability by a trainer who has probably forgotten more about the game that a lot of trainers will ever learn. I’ll be more than a tad disappointed if he cannot pick up a race or two over the Winter months.
24. Hartur D’Oudairies – 5yo G ( Trained by Dan Skelton )
Winner of a French Bumper for three year olds back in November of 2020, before later being sold privately to leading owner JP McManus to join Skelton. Hartur D’Oudairies was off the track for a year after that win, but wasted no time getting off the mark over hurdles on his first outing for his new connections, taking a fifteen runner novices event over two miles at Warwick. On his only other start for Skelton around three and a half weeks later he finished last of five behind Jamie Snowden’s Datsalrightgino, beaten around eight and a half lengths in total. My first impression was it was a disappointing run, but maybe the run came a little too soon after his UK debut, and in hindsight despite there being only the five runners that day it has turned out to have been a pretty fair contest – with the 1-2-3 now rated 129 – 129 & 128, with the fourth placed Socialist Agenda rated in the mid 120’s. Hopefully he can bounce back, and I would be fairly confident he can improve with a bit more experience behind him.
25) Hullnback – 5yo G ( Trained by Fergal O’Brien )
Posted a smart level of form in three Bumpers last season. Winning on his racecourse debut at Chepstow in November, before a fair fifth in a Listed contest three months later at Newbury, and finished his campaign with a solid runner up spot in a Grade 2 race at Aintree on Grand National day – beaten two lengths by the Neil King trained Lookaway. Hullnback looks the type to make a hurdler, in fact he’s a half brother to two winners over timber – including the lightly raced Mahon Point who is also trained by O’Brien. I’d also expect him to be suited to a step up in trip in the not too distant future, and he is certainly in good hands to have his talent nurtured. I’ll be surprised if he can’t pick up a novices race or two over the course of the season.
26) Hymac – 6yo G ( Trained by Harry Fry )
Showed definite signs of ability in a brace of Maiden Point to Points for five year olds when trained in Ireland, finishing a ten lengths runner up on his debut at Necarne in a race won by Git Maker – who has since gone on to join Jamie Snowden, and at the time of writing has won three from four over hurdles and is rated 124. His second outing saw him just touched off in a driving finish at Loughbrickland, going down by a short head to Gaelic Park – a Bumper winner on his debut for Charlie Longsdon. Hymac wasted no time himself under rules, taking a Newton Abbot Bumper in the Spring on his first start for Harry Fry, beating the Paul Nicholls trained Sandalwood readily by four lengths – with more in hand than the margin may suggest. Hymac should have little difficulty in winning in Maiden / Novice company when sent over hurdles, and is another that is likely to be suited by further as he gains experience.
27) Idem – 4yo G ( Trained by Lucinda Russell )
I doubt the name of Idem will appear in too many of the horses to follow lists that pop up on social media and various racing sites, written and compiled by keen amateur followers of the sport. However, he caught my attention in two starts last term and I for one will be following his progress with interest. There was much to like about his debut in an Aintree Bumper in November, where he finished a two and three quarter lengths second to the Milton Harris trained Legionar, with almost four lengths back to Harry Fry’s Bo Kaap in third. He had taken a keen hold that day, but was still going well two furlongs out before being outpaced by the winner inside the final furlong. His other run – almost five months later at Ayr, saw Idem finish a respectable third to Autumn Return ( an Irish Point winner in January ) and Magic Wave who had finished runner up in a Doncaster Bumper four weeks earlier. Idem is sure to benefit from a Summer behind him, and can be found opportunities in the North in the right grade when sent over hurdles. He’s a French bred gelding, and cost connections a reasonable looking 26k euro at Arqana in the Summer of 2021.
28) Il Ridoto – 5yo G ( Trained by Paul Nicholls )
Ex French trained gelding, who got off the mark on his second start for Nicholls at the age of four when taking a Handicap Chase at Newbury in November. He was highly tried after that win – including when pulling up behind Edwardstone on his very next outing, and when finishing midfield in the Grand Annual Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. However, he did run a very respectable third of five up at Ayr in the Future Champions Novices Chase behind Do Your Job when stepped up to two and a half miles. It is over that trip that I think his future may be, and for such a young horse will hopefully still be open to improvement. He acts well on a testing surface and should be able to pick up a handicap from his current official mark of 140.
29) Kyntara – 6yo G ( Trained by Kim Bailey )
A Heavy ground winner of a Bumper back in February 2021, Kyntara had four runs over hurdles last season – finishing runner up three times ( Warwick – Chepstow and Southwell ) following a third place at Lingfield on his seasonal debut. He started well fancied on each occasion, in fact was a beaten favourite at Odds On three times from those four outings. I understand that the plan is to send Kyntara over fences this season, and I have every confidence that can get off the mark over the larger obstacles. He appears ideally suited to a testing surface – Kyntara also won a Point to Point on Soft to go with his Bumper success, and should be best served by distances of two and a half to three miles.
30) Lady Adare – 6yo M ( Trained by Harry Fry )
Winner of a Bumper for Micky Hammond back in the Spring of 2021 before joining Harry Fry for £82k following the Tatts Cheltenham Sales a few weeks later. Lady Adare is unbeaten in three starts for Fry also, a Maiden Hurdle at Uttoxeter and Novice events at Newcastle and Taunton earning the mare an official rating of 130 for the start of the new season. The latest success came over 2m 3f – winning easily by sixteen lengths from Peerless beauty, and I don’t see any reason why she shouldn’t stay a little further too. Lady Adare should continue on an upwards curve, and her trainer could well have another very good mare to go alongside his festival winner Love Envoi. All her four wins to date have come on going described as Good to Soft, and she may well always prove best suited to some give underfoot.
31) Lassue – 6yo M ( Trained by Fergal O’Brien )
Won at the third time of asking for O’Brien when stepped up to 2m 5f, taking a Maiden Hurdle at Ludlow in February. It wasn’t the strongest of contests, but she won with more in hand than the four lengths margin suggested having been eased down in the latter stages – with only three of the eight runners completing the course. Third placed that day Foxinthebox trained by Olly Murphy would go on to shed his Maiden tag a couple of outings later, so at least the form has a little substance. Lassue earned an opening handicap mark of 112 which strikes me as quite reasonable, and given that win was only on her third career start under rules one can expect some further improvement. Prior to joining her current trainer Lassue was also successful in a 2m 4f Point to Point from two starts between the flags, and similar trips should prove a good starting point this term – she may even stay three miles with a little more experience under her belt.
32) Leave Of Absence – 5yo G ( Trained by Chris Gordon )
Hinted at a little ability in a 4yo Maiden Point to Point at Turtulla last November, finishing third – around eleven lengths behind Making Country. Joined his new trainer shortly after and wasted little time finding his way to the winners enclosure on his first two outing, a Kempton Bumper during the second week of February and a five runner Bumper on the 2nd April. On the back of the Kempton success Leave Of Absence made a swift return to action a week later in the race after the Grand National – finishing a fair third behind Lookaway and another of the fifty – Fergal O’Brien’s Hullnback. Leave Of Absence should be up to winning over hurdles in Maiden & Novice company during the months ahead, and will be placed to the best of his ability by a trainer that has a respectable strike rate of around 15% across the board with his hurdlers & chasers. Yet to race on going any worse than Good to Soft.
33) Love Envoi – 6yo M ( Trained by Harry Fry )
Love Envoi retains her place in the fifty from last season, after a fantastic campaign – winning five times over hurdles, capped by a battling success in the Mares Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival by a length and a quarter from the Henderson trained Ahorsewithnoname, with a length and a half back to Willie Mullins’s Grangee in third. Her only defeat came at Punchestown – finishing an eight lengths runner up to Brandy Love. Love Envoi appeared beaten fair and square, but I doubt that the winner is eight lengths the better horse, after all the going may not have been as soft as ideal for Harry Fry’s mare and the run had came on the back of quite a long season. I imagine her season will be geared towards retaining her crown at Cheltenham, and given her favoured soft ground conditions would have to be a strong contender again if in the same sort of form. At the time of writing she is a best price of 14/1 ( Unibet ) and that to me looks very fair indeed.
34) Master Chewy – 5yo G ( Trained by Nigel Twiston – Davies )
Ran as if the outing would do him plenty of good when narrowly touched off on his debut under rules in early February, going down by a neck in a Chepstow Bumper to the Neil King trained Sporting Ace ( a winner on hurdling debut next time out ) , but failed to build on that on his only other start around seven weeks later – finishing fourth of five to Issuing Authority at Uttoxeter. In fairness the two miles trip of the Bumpers looked an insufficient test for him. At least another half mile will hopefully see him in better light over hurdles and he can start paying back that expensive purchase price of £300k. Master Chewy coped very well with Soft conditions and may always be best suited to some give. I will be somewhat surprised and disappointed if he can’t get on the scoresheet before too long. He should also jump a fence one day.
35) Monmiral – 5yo G ( Trained by Paul Nicholls )
Proved a very smart Juvenile Hurdler during the Spring of 2021, particularly when taking the Grade 1 Doom Bar Juvenile race at the Aintree Grand National meeting in good style by seven and a half lengths from Adagio. Monmiral finished lame on his reappearance when only fifth of six behind Not So Sleepy in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle, and was given time off until February when he finished a slightly disappointing eleven lengths fourth behind Botox Has over 2m 3f in the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell. His third and final start of the campaign saw a respectable run behind Epatante , finishing a fourteen lengths runner up to the former Champion Hurdler. Connections had been toying with sending him over fences last season, and that looks certain from the offset in the Autumn. Monmiral acts well when there is give in the ground, and there is plenty to look forward to with him in the coming months. There’s no reason to think he won’t prove equally as good over the larger obstacles. The Turners Novices Chase at Cheltenham could well be the long term aim for which he is currently a best price of 33/1 ( Bet365 ) …. A nice prospect.
36) Nells Son – 7yo G ( Trained by Nicky Richards )
Another to retain his place in the fifty from last season. Nells Son rewarded his followers with two successes from five starts over hurdles, including when taking the Grade 2 Premier Novices Hurdle at Kelso in March at the tasty odds of 16/1. I believe the plan is to send him over fences in the near future, and he looks just the type to make his mark in the North. Best served by a rain softened surface – Nells Son stays at least 2m 4f, and given that he has only had eight career starts to date could well still be open to further progress. An honest and talented individual that I’m sure will give connections plenty to look forward to over the winter months.
37) North Lodge – 5yo G ( Trained by Alan King )
Looks a lovely young horse, and doesn’t have many miles on the clock – having had just the four career starts to date, but boasts a very decent level of form already – winning twice, including a Grade 2 Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham over 2m 4f at the end of January, and lost out on a bob of heads to Nells Son in another Grade 2 up at Kelso a few weeks later. Cheltenham would have come a little too soon for North Lodge, but connections decided to have a crack at one of the Novices events at Aintree, and North Lodge ran with plenty of credit to finish a staying on third to Three Stripe Life & Might I beaten a total of eight and a half lengths – but did gain revenge over Nells Son who finished around thirteen lengths behind him in fourth. There’s every chance that he will stay three miles in time, and he should also make a nice chaser, but whatever plan is taken this season he should certainly continue on an upwards curve.
38) Our Jester – 6yo G ( Trained by Hughie Morrison )
Won two of his five Bumpers last season at Ascot & Lingfield, and also finished runner up twice, but a case can be made to suggest that his final run was the best – when finishing a fourteen lengths seventh of twenty behind Facile Vega in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival, such was the depth of the race. Our Jester has since been kept ticking over on the flat during the Summer, and at the time of writing has finished runner up at Bath & Ffos Las, fourth at Haydock and third at Chepstow in four middle distance / staying contests. He looks just the type to pick up a race or two when sent over hurdles, and is in good hands to do so – with his trainer currently on a strike rate of 16 from 56 ( 28.5% ) over the last five years with his hurdlers. He may prove best over trips close to two miles for the time being and acts well on decent ground, however his Cheltenham run was on Heavy so he may not be totally ground dependent.
39) Ree Okka – 6yo G ( Trained by Harry Fry )
Winner of a Maiden Point to Point at Broughshane back in the Spring of 2021, before joining Harry Fry. Ree Okka was sent straight over hurdles rather than going down the Bumper route – winning two of his four starts over timber at Chepstow ( 2m 3 1/2f ) & Kempton ( 3m 1/2f ). He slightly disappointed when he was sent to Sandown to contest a Grade 3 Handicap on his final start of the season during in the first week of February, finishing a twenty one lengths seventh behind Green Book after being supported into favouritism. However, that run can be forgiven as after the race he was reported to have shown mild signs of heat stress. Ree Okka remains a horse of plenty of promise, and I imagine he will be sent over fences this term. He’s a real likeable type, he stays three miles well and is probably best served by a rain softened surface. I have every confidence that he can get back to winning ways over the course of the season.
40) Saint Segal – 4yo G ( Trained by Mrs Jane Williams )
Can take quite a hold in his races, but proved himself a useful juvenile hurdler last season, winning two of his four starts at Bangor & Warwick, as well as running a fair second to Porticello in the Grade 1 Finale Hurdle at Chepstow towards the end of December. He ended his season with a midfield finish in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap won by Brazil at the Cheltenham Festival, but any chance was spoilt by pulling too hard. Saint Segal clearly has ability, and should win more races – he can progress further particularly if learning to settle better. For the time being trips in the region of two miles should be ideal, and maybe best on a sharper track when the emphasis is less on stamina. Will hopefully pick up a handicap or two for connections and his followers in the coming months.
41) Saligo Bay – 4yo G ( Trained by Gary Moore )
Saligo Bay is another that can over race at times, but showed a consistent level of form in six starts last season over hurdles, winning once and finishing runner up on four occasions. His local track of Plumpton appears to suit his style of racing, and he should be up to picking up a small handicap this term from his current official rating of 109. One thing he doesn’t lack is experience, having also raced nine times on the flat. He won’t be winning at any of the big festivals, but usually gives his best and acts on both a sound surface and Soft going.
42) Scene One – 6yo G ( Trained by Lucy Wadham )
Belied odds of 80/1 to run a fair third on his racecourse debut – and only outing to date, behind a couple of useful novices in the shape of Gelino Bello and Peking Rose. That race came at Newbury during the first week of March over an extended two and a half miles. Although he was beaten nine lengths and six that day there were certainly positives to take from the performance. Travelling well towards the rear under Bryony Frost, he made smooth headway on the turn for home and took third place after the second last. He wasn’t given a hard time once the first two had gone away, but stayed on at the one pace under a gentle ride to comfortably hold those in behind. Scene One could well stay further as he gains experience, but I imagine will return at a similar trip to the Newbury race. He appeared to cope well with the soft conditions, and will hopefully reward connections patience having been purchased as a three year old store back in 2019. An interesting dark horse for the Winter months.
43) Skytastic – 6yo G ( Trained by Sam Thomas )
Ran well until turning for home in the Sefton Novices Hurdle at the Aintree Grand National meeting, but a mistake three out put paid to any chance and he was soon back peddling – eventually finishing a remote tenth. It maybe that he didn’t stay the three miles trip, but I’m prepared to reserve judgement until a later date. Prior to that run Skytastic was unbeaten in four, a pair of Bumpers back in 2020/21 and twice over hurdles in early 2022 earning an official rating of 134 by the end of the campaign. I’m sure the plan will be to send him over fences this season, and Skytastic is built to be a chaser with a lovely long stride. He’s proven at around two and a half miles, and as I indicated is worth another try at three – with his best form to date coming on Good to Soft & Soft. It shouldn’t be too long before he’s back winning again.
44) Tanganyika – 4yo G ( Trained by Venetia Williams )
Ex French trained gelding, won a three year old hurdle at Compiegne on his racecourse debut back in the Spring of 2021 before twice being beaten at Auteuil a couple of months later. Tanganyika has had just the one start for Venetia Williams, finishing a twenty six lengths third of six at Haydock behind Porticello & Skycutter during the third week of February. I’m not sure why he didn’t race again last season after Haydock, but he did strike me as one that may need more time and also a stiffer test of stamina as he gains that experience. He has yet to race on anything other than Heavy Going, and I imagine may always need some give, but I’d be more than hopeful he will be found winning opportunities to get off the mark in this country. He will start the new season from an official mark of 120.
45) The Bogmans Ball – 5yo G ( Trained by Fergal O’Brien )
Got off the mark at the second time of asking when taking a Market Rasen Bumper during mid April, around four and a half months after a debut fifth place at Exeter. It looked a fair effort as he had taken a keen hold that day, and also looked a little flat footed with a couple of furlongs to run, but he rallied in game fashion to get up by a neck to beat Amy Murphy’s The Plumber. The Bogmans Ball is a half brother to six individual winners – best of whom is the former David Pipe trained mare Gaspara, who was successful in the 2007 Imperial Cup and followed up that win by taking the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival just three days later. He should have little trouble shedding his maiden tag over hurdles, and could make up into an above average novice over timber. I have no doubt that The Bogmans Ball will stay at least two and a half miles.
46) Threeunderthrufive – 7yo G ( Trained by Paul Nicholls )
A smart Novice Hurdler a couple of seasons back, and ever better Novice Chaser last term. Threeunderthrufive has won four of his six starts over the larger obstacles at Exeter – Cheltenham – Doncaster and Warwick, however fell a little short when given his chance at the festival – finishing around eighteen and a half lengths sixth behind L’Homme Presse & Co in the Brown Advisory. He starts the new season from a rating of 151 which gives us an idea of what type of races he will be aimed for, with the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury towards the end of November a fairly obvious target during the first half of the campaign. Threeunderthrufive stays three miles well, and whilst there are no guarantees he does give the impression that there is every chance that another couple of furlongs should be within his compass. A really nice sort, who acts on both Good and Soft underfoot conditions.
47) Twinjets – 5yo G ( Trained by Milton Harris )
Winner of a Maiden Irish Point for four year olds in late December, before joining his new trainer around a month later for what now looks a very reasonable £45k from the Tatts Cheltenham H.I.T Sales. Twinjets got off the mark for Harris at the first time of asking, when collecting a modest looking five runner Bumper at Hereford in easy style by twelve lengths from the Olly Murphy trained Bobby Socks. He followed that up at Haydock in a better looking race by six and a half lengths in comfortable fashion, beating Letterston Lady – with almost three lengths back to the third place Duhallow Tommy, and the remaining six runners strung out like a line of washing. Twinjets is sure to be placed to the best of his ability and will have no trouble staying at least another half mile over hurdles. He may well prove quite a bit better in time than the bare for of those two Bumpers.
48) Walking On Air – 5yo G ( Trained by Nicky Henderson )
Absolutely hacked up at Newbury during the third week of January in a Novices Hurdle over an extended two miles on his first start over timber, winning with any amount in hand by thirteen lengths from Hecouldbetheone – who had won his previous race, and would also go on to win next time out by a wide margin at Plumpton. Walking On Air skipped the Cheltenham Festival – most likely through lack of experience, but took his chance at Aintree in the Mersey Novices Hurdle over 2m 4f, where he was pulled up before three out after racing somewhat green and making a few jumping errors. That said he remains a horse of great potential with more experience behind him, and is well regarded at home. I’ll be amazed if he doesn’t stay at least two and a half miles, and in time should make up into a nice Chaser. Good to Soft appeared to suit him well at Newbury.
49) War Lord – 7yo G ( Trained by Joe Tizzard )
Three times a winner over hurdles, and also three times a winner from six starts over fences last season as a Novice, with a brace of runner up spots too. He’s a tough and genuine sort, and generally a good jumper who is best served by some give in the ground. War Lord is best effective between two miles and two and a half miles, and will hopefully be able to pick up a handicap from his current mark of 149. Gets on particularly well with Brendan Powell who has ridden him in all six starts to date over the larger obstacles.
50) Whizz Kid – 6yo G ( Trained by Dr Richard Newland )
Underwent a wind operation after finishing tailed off behind Constitution Hill on his debut for Newland at Sandown in January. That operation seemed to work well as Whizz Kid then won his next two starts, at Catterick & Ludlow by fair margins – albeit not beating a great deal. Upped in class for his next start – and backed into a well supported 3/1 favourite, Whizz Kid ran a respectable fourth in a competitive amateurs handicap at Aintree the day before the Grand National, beaten a shade under three lengths in total behind Hacker Des Places. He looked to race a little flat on his final start of the season, which is understandable as it was his fifth race in around three and a half months – finishing a seventeen lengths seventh of twelve behind Knappers Hill in a tough Novices Handicap Final, after once again appearing to carry plenty of market confidence. Whizz Kidd remains fairly handicapped if remaining over hurdles from his current mark of 126, and would also be of interest if connections decided to pop him over a fence. Appears to act on most types of going.
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