The National Hunt season is really getting into full swing now so I’ve put together the 10 horses over jumps I’ll be following this year!
Its impossible not to include Envoi Allen after a foot perfect Bumper season culminating in the Champion Bumper success. Gordon has said the Ballymore is the long-term plan for him and judged by how good he was on his first run over hurdles I wouldn’t be betting against him.
I can’t wait for the Royal Bond on Sunday and I expect him to show his class against some decent opposition.
She was top class over hurdles and her first start over fences suggests she could be even better in her new discipline. She’ll also be getting a handy mares allowance when she takes on the boys and I could see her going through the season unbeaten picking up an Arkle on the way!
We’ll never know if he would of won the Champion Hurdle last season but at this stage of the season he’d be the one I’d want to be on for next years edition.
I fully expect him to win easily up at Newcastle in the Fighting Fifth and then avenge last season’s surprise defeat in the Christmas Hurdle. With bonus points up for grabs in the Ten To Follow for the Champion Hurdle and Aintee Hurdle, I could’t leave him out.
Maybe an obvious pick but he’s the king of the staying division and I’ve yet to see anything else that will really trouble him.
Plus he’s only a 7 year old so there’s potentially better to come which can’t be said for a lot of rivals in the division.
Defi Du Seuil
How good does last year’s JLT form look. Apart from Lostintranslation, I dont think it can be questioned that Defi is the best 2nd season Chaser. He’s favourite for the Ryanair and if he goes for the Queen Mother instead he’ll be right at the top of the market for that. So, he’ll have a leading chance in either of these 2 bonus races and should win a few before then, starting with next weeks Tingle Creek.
His Chase debut suggests Samcro is on the way back to his best and if that is the case then there was no way I could leave him out of my 10 to follow.
A superstar in the making as a Novice Hurdler, nothing went right for him last year but his first run over fences suggests his issues are a thing of the past.
He’s the highest rated National Hunt horse in training and dethroned the king Altior so he can’t be left out of this list. He’ll probably bypass Chaeltenham but there’s plenty of other races he’ll be winning starting with the King George.
3 miles around Kempton should be right up his street and that’ll hopefully mean a few bonus points and with the quality of the opposition he should go off at a decent price too!
It’s certainly not been the perfect start to the season for the Gold Cup 2nd favourite but the ownership issues seem to have been resolved so we should see him out soon.
He was electric when winning both at the Aintree and Punchestown Festivals in the Spring and I can see him repeating that again next year along with the Gold Cup. He doesn’t have a great Cheltenham record including falling at the first last year but his form has been so strong away from Prestbury Park that I can’t leave out who I think is the best in the staying division.
As his namesake said “Hope is a good thing, may be the best of the things. And good thing never dies.” I’m full of hope that he’s one of the best Novices’ around!
He looks a natural for the Albert Bartlett and I expect to see him kept busy before then as the potato race tends to go to those who have the experience.
Benie Des Dieux
Last but not least is next years Mares Hurdle winner and she’d be winning it for a 3rd time were it not for the final hurdle fall last season.
I just pray we see more of her than we did last year and it looks like we will, with her set to feature in a classy Hatton’s Grace on Sunday which I expect her to win well!