Top 10 NH Horses To Follow 2019/2020 Season

It’s full steam ahead for the jumps season and to prepare you, we’ve put together a list of 10 horses to follow for the 2019/2020 National Hunt season. We have exciting bumper horses going novice hurdling, classy sorts going chasing and Altior stretching out in distance.

Princess Vega as a foal
Photo Caroline Norris

#10 Princess Vega

Age: 4

Sex: Bay Filly

Breeding:  Beat Hollow (GB) – Quevega (FR) (Robin Des Champs (FR)

Trainer: Willie Mullins

Owner: Hammer & Trowel Syndicate

It was only a Tramore maiden hurdle that Princess Vega won on debut back in May but she couldn’t have won it any easier despite some market weakness prior to the race.

The winning performance was taking but the real talking point surrounding this filly is her breeding as she out of the incredible Quevega. She has undoubtedly inherited some of her mother’s ability and is an exciting prospect for the Closutton operation.

After her winning debut Mullins said:

“She was improving with every bit of work at home. The French breeder of Quevega told me they only get better with age and we saw that with Quevega. Hopefully, this filly can be the same”

Fakir DOudairies (J.J. Slevin) clears the final flight and wins the Juvenile Hurdle
Photo Edward Whitaker

#9 Fakir D’oudairies

Age: 4

Sex: Bay Gelding

Breeding:  Kapgarde (FR) – Niagaria Du Bois (FR) (Grand Tresor (FR)

Trainer: Willie Mullins

Owner: JP McManus

It was easy to fall in love with this horse when he ran away with the Triumph Hurdle Trial at Cheltenham in November. Connections could have gone for that option but decided to bravely run him in the Supreme novice instead where he finished 4th behind Klassical Dream. He never quite travelled that day but stayed on well up the hill.

He followed this up with runner-up finishes in Grade 1 contest at both the Aintree and Punchestown festivals. He looks the type to improve with age and has plenty options for the season ahead with the Champion Hurdle a possible season target.

#8 Emtara

Age: 4

Sex: Bay Mare

Breeding: Kayf Tara (GB) – Miss Ballantyne (GB) (Definite Article (GB)

Trainer: Donald McCain

Owner: Mr T G Leslie

This mare like so many has graduated from the Irish point-to-point scene and more specifically from the leading trainer Colin Bowe. She made her debut in an Inch maiden where she was an impressive winner and three future winners have already come out of the race.

She has since joined the Donald McCain yard where she has been going nicely and looks an exciting individual for the season ahead. On a recent visit to Bankhouse, Donald gave us an exclusive insight into how she’s progressing:

Emtara – One of many new recruits for Donald McCain

You can keep up to date with Donald’s runners through out the season in Donald’s blog available here.

Photo Grossick Racing

#7 Crypto

Age: 5

Sex: Bay Gelding

Breeding: Gold Well (GB) – Toplot (IRE) (Toponoora)

Trainer: Venetia Williams

The five-year-old made an impressive racecourse debut for Micky Hammond in a Newcastle Bumper, where he ran right away from his field – winning by sixteen lengths, with any amount in hand.

The form of the race may not amount to a great deal, but he couldn’t have done things more impressively, and he looks sure to progress and it didn’t stop new connections stumping up £200k at the Cheltenham Festival (Mixed) Sale back in March. Crypto is a half-brother to six winners and is now in the care of Venetia Williams who should have little difficulty in finding suitable opportunities, be it in Bumpers or over hurdles. He should also stay further than two miles as he gains experience.

Altior (Nico De Boinville) jumps the last fence and wins the Celebration Chase
Photo Edward Whitaker

#6 Altior

Age: 9

Sex: Bay Gelding

Breeding: High Chaparral (IRE) – Monte Solaro (IRE) (Key Of Luck IRE)

Trainer: Nicky Henderson

Owner: Mrs Patricia Pugh

A very unoriginal choice in the list but this season could be the one to define Altior. Regardless of what happens, he’ll go down as one of the best horses in recent times but if he can handle the step up in trip and win the Gold Cup he’ll be remembered as one of the greats.

Altior’s lazy way of racing would suggest that he’ll handle the step up in trip, no problem and if anything he could be better going further. He takes the first step towards the Gold Cup by lining up in the King George and if he wins like he has been over the shorter trip then he’ll be considerably shorter for racing’s Blue Riband event in March.

Envoi Allen and Jamie Codd with groom Seainin Mahon after winning the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.
Photo Patrick McCann

#5 Envoi Allen

Age: 5

Sex: Bay Gelding

Breeding: Muhtathir (GB) – Reaction (FR) (Saint Des Saints)

Trainer: Gordon Elliott

Owner: Cheveley Park Stud

Envoi Allen was undoubtedly the most exciting bumper horse on either side of the Irish Sea last season highlighted by his victory in the Cheltenham Champion Bumper. Prior to this, he’d won a point-to-point for leading handler Colin Bowe after which Gordon paid £400,000 for him at the sales and sent him out to rattle off three bumpers wins on home soil.

He seems versatile in regards to trip and distance but one would imagine he’ll go down the novice hurdling route and could very easily be the Irish banker in the Supreme Novices’ going into the first day of the Cheltenham Festival next year but I think he’s more likely to go for the Ballymore.

In a recent stable tour available here, Gordon reported that:

“The plan is to start him off over 2m4f at Down Royal next month. He’s not slow, we could start him off over 2m if we wanted to, but I’d say that’s what we’ll do. He’s a very classy horse and he could be anything really. You’d imagine the Ballymore at Cheltenham would be the long-term plan. He worked with Malone Road after racing last week and we’re very happy with where he is.”

LOSTINTRANSLATION (Robbie Power) wins at AINTREE 5/4/19
Photo Grossick Racing Photography 0771 046 1723

#4 Lostintranslation

Age: 7

Sex: Bay Gelding

Breeding: Flemensfirth (USA) – Falika (FR) (Hero’s Honor (USA)

Trainer: Colin Tizzard

Owner: Taylor & O’Dwyer

An expensive horse to follow for the best part of last season with many near misses including when he went down fighting against he’s old advisory Defi Du Seuil in the JLT. Colin Tizzard’s charge duly bagged his Garde 1 at Aintree when proving too strong for Topofthegame.

Looking to the season ahead, he’ll more than likely run in the King George with the Gold Cup certainly being his season-long target. The division is packed full of stars, most notably Altior who he may be trying to avoid depending on how well Nicky’s stable star takes to the step up in trip but wherever he runs he’s sure to be winning some big prizes.

Carefully Selected
Carefully Selected and Patrick Mullins during the “Paddy Power Acca Insurance Flat Race” at Naas
Photo Alain Barr

#3 Carefully Selected

Age: 7

Sex: Bay Gelding

Breeding: Well Chosen (GB) – Knockamullen Girl (IRE) (Alderbrook (GB)

Trainer: Willie Mullins

Owner: Miss M A Masterson

Carefully Selected was one of the most likeable bumper hoses two seasons ago and went into lots of notebooks when just getting chinned on the line after making most of the running in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.

Also in last season’s Top 10 NH Horses To Follow last season but due to ground conditions, we only saw him twice, winning over hurdles on his debut and then running a fine race in defeat in a Grade 1 at Punchestown.

Given that he’s already a point to point winner, he looks like a horse to follow over fences this season and can quickly make up for the lost time.

The RSA Chase looks like one of the possible Cheltenham targets and given his physique, he may appreciate the step up in trip.

Klassical Dream ridden by Ruby Walsh jumping the last to win The Herald Champion Novice Hurdle
Photo Caroline Norris

#2 Klassical Dream

Age: 7

Sex: Bay Gelding

Breeding: Dream Well (FR) – Klassical Way (FR) (Septieme Ciel (USA)

Trainer: Willie Mullins

Owner: Mrs Joanne Coleman

Everyone loves an opening day banker at the Cheltenham festival and Klassical Dream proved to be that for many as the son of Dream Well carted Ruby around the whole way with his head between his legs and somehow powered up the hill to win the Supreme by over 4 lengths. He may not have been a banker price at 6/1 but for many Irish punters it really kicked off the week.

He followed this up with a comfortable victory at the Punchestown festival and the world looks the oyster for the french-bred. Chasing could of been an option this season but with the unfortunate passing of last season’s Champion Hurdle winner Espoir D’Allen, its full steam ahead to the Champion Hurdle.

LISNAGAR OSCAR ridden by Sean Bowen wins at Haydock 16/2/19
Photo Grossick Racing Photography 0771 046 1723

#1 Lisnagar Oscar

Age: 6

Sex: Bay Gelding

Breeding: Oscar (IRE) – Astra Belle (IRE) (Astarabad (GB)

Trainer: Rebecca Curtis

Owner: Racing For Fun

Rebecca Curtis’s charge cost connections £105,000 following a clearcut victory on debut in an Irish point-to-point. He made giant strides last season in the novice hurdle ranks, winning a Grade 2 at Haydock along with a fine third in a Grade 1 at Aintree.

Whatever he did last season was always going to be a bonus as he’s built for chasing. He made his chase debut in early October and looked to have the race in the bag on to make a mistake at the last and rallied all too late. He was slightly sticky over his fences but warmed up to it and I think he’s an exciting novice chaser for the season ahead. At this early stage of the season, the RSA Chase his likely Cheltenham target.

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