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Horse Racing: Daniel Briden’s Jumps Horses To Follow 2018/19

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1. AINCHEA (5 b g Flemensfirth – Lady Petit)
Form: 212F-  Trainer: Colin Tizzard  Owner: Ann & Alan Potts Limited

Full brother to 3m Grade 1 hurdle winner One Track Mind who built on a highly promising debut effort in a Cheltenham bumper to land a 2m novices’ hurdle at Sandown last December, waited with in last until making a sweeping move up the inner between the third and second last flights to lead, joined on the run-in by Whatswrongwithyou but finding plenty to repel that one’s challenge and score by a length. He found only Tikkanbar too good in a 2m 4f Listed contest at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and looked set to go one better in a 2m novices’ hurdle at Sandown a month later when crashing out at the final flight, a couple lengths clear at the time and looking the likeliest winner. He hasn’t been seen since, reportedly suffering a setback that will see him out of action until 2019; therefore, it’s more than likely he’ll be kept to hurdles rather than go novice chasing, with races such as the Betfair Hurdle and/or County Hurdle and Coral Cup appealing as possible targets (officially rated 141).

2. ALRIGHTJACK (4 b g Stowaway – Brogella)
Form: 3-  Trainer: Jamie Snowden  Owner: The GD Partnership

€50,000 half brother to 2m 5f-3m hurdle/Grade 1-placed triple 2m 4f chase (including twice at Listed level) winner Rene’s Girl and 13f-2m 1f Flat/very useful 2m-2m 4f hurdle winner Swamp Fox, family of very smart 3m chaser Beef Or Salmon. This gelding’s sole outing to date came in a bumper at Wincanton back in April (7/1 chance), racing in mid-division and shaken up three furlongs out, making headway two furlongs out and responding well for pressure to challenge between rivals inside the final furlong, his effort rather flattening out close home and having to settle for third behind Ebony Gale (beaten 1½ lengths). It was a meritorious first effort from this gelding, losing out to a pair that had previous experience to call on; almost certainly good enough to win a bumper on that evidence, but it’s jumping that’ll prove his metier if his pedigree is anything to go by, likely to stay further than 2m over obstacles.

3. BADDESLEY KNIGHT (5 b g Doyen – Grangeclare Rhythm)
Form: 321-  Trainer: Chris Gordon  Owner: Richard & Mrs Carol Cheshire

Caught the eye on debut in a bumper at Fontwell last October, playing up in preliminaries and taking a keen hold in the race itself but looking a real threat inside the final furlong, running green under pressure and that ultimately costing him as he lost out in a three-way finish behind a couple of useful types. He confirmed that promise when a good second to Morning Vicar in a bumper at Newbury three months later and went one better in a 2m 2f event at Plumpton a further three months on, tanking along close up and readily asserting from the two marker despite drifting left to run out a 7-length winner from Scorpion Haze. He is far from the finished article, needing to learn to settle if he’s to fulfil his potential; a sizeable sort, he should reach a useful level in novice hurdles this season.

4. BALLYMOY (5 b g Flemensfirth – John’s Eliza)
Form: 35111-  Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies  Owner: Simon Munir & Isaac Souede

Twice-raced maiden pointer who hinted at ability in a couple of outings last autumn, looking a different proposition when returning from a break/wind operation to land a 2m maiden hurdle at Uttoxeter in February and following up in a 2m novices’ hurdle at Bangor six weeks later, pulling clear from the second last and left further clear at the last as he ran out a 21-length winner from Ofcourseiwill. He completed the hat-trick in a competitive 2m novices’ handicap hurdle at Sandown a month later, waited with until making good progress approaching the second last, challenging at the final flight and staying on well to lead on the run-in and score by 1¼ lengths from Highway One O One. He came a long way in a short space of time last season, all the better for wind surgery; can rate better still over fences this term, clearly well served by a soundly-run/stiff 2m but highly likely to stay further in time.

5. BLACK OP (7 br g Sandmason – Afar Story)
Form: /41221-  Trainer: Tom George  Owner: Roger S Brookhouse

Point winner who debuted under Rules late in the day, he showed just why he was sent off market leader for the Grade 2 bumper at Aintree in April 2017 with a productive novice hurdling campaign last term, although he could only manage fourth in a maiden event on his timber debut at Newbury. He landed a similar event at Doncaster in smooth fashion a month later and followed that with a couple of good second place finishes at Cheltenham, chasing home Santini in January before being the only one to give Samcro anything approaching a race back there for the Ballymore a couple of months later, a mistake at the final flight not helping his cause. He signed off with a win in a 2m 4f Grade 1 novice hurdle at Aintree a month later, mistakes late on again a feature but this time able to overcome them, finding plenty to see off Lostintraslation by half a length. This gelding looks nailed on to take high rank in the novice chasing sphere this season, a good looker with all the physical attributes to excel over fences.

6. BREAKING WAVES (4 b g Yeats – Acoola)
Form: 1-  Trainer: Noel Williams  Owner: Colin Peake

€30,000 half brother to smart hurdler Ok Corral who made a winning debut in a big-field bumper at Huntingdon back in March (12/1 chance), waited with in midfield but hampered and losing his place with over half a mile left to run, staying on well from the top of the straight and sustaining his run to lead inside the final 100 yards and score by 2¾ lengths from Some Day Soon. This gelding did incredibly well to make a winning start to his career, hailing from a yard not renowned for its prowess in bumpers first and foremost, also coming from a fair way back having been squeezed up in the back straight. His pedigree also suggests the very best of him will only be seen once tackling obstacles, appealing as a useful prospect for novice hurdles this season; ought to stay further than 2m.

7. CADEYRN (6 b g Flemensfirth – Kapricia Speed)
Form: /74121-  Trainer: Michael Scudamore  Owner: John J Murray & Lynne MacLennan

Bumper winner who left behind a muted seasonal/hurdling debut at Carlisle when fourth in a 2m 3½f maiden hurdle at Chepstow in January, and he came good at the third time of asking in a 2m 6f novices’ hurdle at Newcastle a few weeks later, holding a healthy advantage at the final flight but idling on the run-in and forced to hold on by a neck from Bob Mahler. Second of three behind Planet Nine back there next time, he signed off with victory under a penalty in a 2m 7½f novices’ hurdle at Uttoxeter in March, making a couple of mistakes but taking over after two out and staying on well on the flat to score by 3 lengths from I Just Know. Everything – from pedigree to physique – points to this son of Flemensfirth doing better still once faced with fences, also shaping like one that’ll stay well.

8. CAVENTARA (6 b g Kayf Tara – L’Aventure)
Form: 6P/31-  Trainer: Sandy Thomson  Owner: Chris Harriman

Stoutly-bred gelding who didn’t show much in a couple of outings for Nick Williams and offered only a modicum of promise on his first start for his current stable in a 2m novices’ hurdle at Hexham last October, off the pace and merely plugging on to take a remote third behind Dame Rose (beaten 19 lengths). He showed improvement for the step up in distance when landing a 2m 4½f maiden hurdle at Ayr in January, tracking the leaders and shaken up to challenge approaching the penultimate flight, leading soon after and responding well for pressure when pressed on the run-in to score by 1¾ lengths from Ardean Lass. The emphasis placed on stamina by the additional half mile and testing conditions brought about marked improvement from this gelding, unsurprisingly so given he is out of the dour stayer L’Aventure. He presumably met with some sort of setback to not be seen again after Ayr, and, given the time lost already, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him switched to fences sooner rather than later.

9. CHARMED LIFE (4 b g Kalanisi – Lady Bellingham)
Form: 6-  Trainer: Jessica Harrington  Owner: Matt Booth & Miss Rachael Evans

€58,000 half brother to seven winners, most notably bumper/Grade 1-placed 2m hurdle/smart 2m 2f-2m 6f chase (including at Grade 1 level) winner In Compliance and Grade 2-placed 2m 3f hurdle/smart 2m 3f-3m 2f chase (including at Grade 1 level) winner One Cool Cookie. This well-related gelding’s sole outing to date came in a valuable bumper at Fairyhouse back in April (28/1 chance), waited with in rear until improving into midfield still going well on the approach to the straight, shaken up soon after and keeping on nicely from over a furlong out to eventually come home sixth of 17 behind Pat’s Pick (beaten 12 lengths). He is bred to excel with time and distance, his notable siblings achieving their best form once tackling fences; however, given the promise shown on debut, it is hoped this son of Kalanisi will prove more than capable of making an impact over hurdles in the meantime.

10. CLOTH CAP (6 b g Beneficial – Cloth Fair)
Form: 54716F-  Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill  Owner: Trevor Hemmings

Improved steadily with each outing in bumpers and novice/maiden hurdles and came good on his handicap debut over 2m 4½f at Huntingdon on Boxing Day, tracking the leaders until taking over at the fourth last, shaken up two out and always in control as he ran out a convincing 4-length winner over Galactic Power. He was in nowhere near the same form when a well-held sixth from an 11lb higher mark over the same course and distance a month later, but he was in the process of running a much better race when coming down at the third last flight in a 3m handicap hurdle at Ayr in April. He appeals as the type to do much better over fences, certainly bred for the job (from the family of Niche Market and Strath Royal) and also having the build for it; ought to stay three miles at least.

11. DEYRANN DE CARJAC (5 b g Balko – Queyrann)
Form: 0/332-1  Trainer: Alan King  Owner: J Law

Too green to show anything on debut at Newbury last March, he shaped with promise on his return in a bumper at Chepstow seven months later and followed that with a solid effort on his hurdling bow over 2m at Doncaster a month and a half later, staying on nicely from the last to come home in third behind Kalashnikov (beaten 14½ lengths). He wasn’t seen again until chasing home Brahms De Clermont in a 2m novices’ hurdle at Ayr in April, and he made no mistake when fully justifying odds of 2/5 in a 2m maiden hurdle at Warwick three weeks later, keen under restraint close up but readily coming clear in the straight to score by 20 lengths from Sgroppino. He is evidently suited by decent ground and therefore should do well during the autumn months, be it under a penalty in novice company or from a mark of 126 in handicaps, the type to be well suited by a strongly-run/big-field event.

12. ENNISCOFFEY OSCAR (6 b g Oscar – Enniscoffey)
Form: 31109-5  Trainer: Emma Lavelle  Owner: The Pick ‘N’ Mix Partnership

Runner-up in the Grade 2 bumper at Aintree the previous season, this gelding’s progress over timber was a little steadier than anticipated, coming good on his fourth start when landing a 2m 5f novices’ hurdle at Doncaster last December by 15 lengths from Dandy Dan. He followed up at the same track in a 3m Grade 2 event almost two months later, overcoming an error at the third last and showing an excellent attitude for pressure to edge out Shannon Bridge by a short head. Never involved when down the field in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham, he was unsuited by the step back in distance (2m 4f) for his handicap debut at Sandown the following month before a signing off with fifth place finish in a 3m handicap hurdle at Haydock, looking handicapped to his best. However, he has long appealed as the type to come into his own over fences, having the physique and pedigree for the job; it would be somewhat surprising if he couldn’t match his hurdling form in novice chases at the very least.

13. EUXTON LANE (6 b g Getaway – Local Hall)
Form: 572117-  Trainer: Oliver Sherwood  Owner: Trevor Hemmings

Shaped with promise on his debut/sole bumper outing at Bangor last November and improved with each run over hurdles thereafter, catching the eye when second at Southwell in February and going one better in emphatic fashion in a 2m 1½f maiden hurdle at Fontwell the following month, never extended as he sauntered home 17 lengths clear of next-time-out winner The Cannister Man. He defied a penalty in ready fashion in a 2m 4½f novices’ hurdle at Newbury 16 days later and was far from disgraced in finishing seventh to Black Op in a 2m 4f Grade 1 event at Aintree the following month, travelling well to a point (beaten 11½ lengths). The fact this gelding achieved as much as he did over timber bodes incredibly well for the future, all over a chasing type; it would very surprising if he couldn’t take high rank in the novice chasing division this season, almost certain to find 3m within range.

14. GLEN ROCCO (7 ch g Shirocco – Adees Dancer)
Form: 653-  Trainer: Nick Gifford  Owner: J Kyle, G Mason, D Stevens

£80,000 recruit from the point-to-point sphere who made his Rules debut some 18 months on from that success, very much ridden for a mark in three runs so far, held up and making late progress from a hopeless position when sixth of 14 to Jabulani in a 2m 3½f novices’ hurdle at Lingfield last November. Having finished fifth to Arthington in a 2m novices’ hurdle at Leicester the following month, his third and qualifying run for a mark came in a 2m 4½f novices’ hurdle at Plumpton a month later, waited with off a steady pace and keeping on in the straight to finish third behind Game On (beaten 23 lengths). It is clear he has been ridden with a handicaps in mind, handed an opening mark of 109, which allied with a step up in trip should see him more competitive; given his price tag and the time already lost with him, it wouldn’t at all surprise to see his attentions quickly switched to chasing this term.

15. GOOD BOY BOBBY (5 b g Flemensfirth – Princess Gaia)
Form: 1131-  Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies  Owner: Paul & Clare Rooney

Out of a half sister to very smart hurdler Voler La Vedette and made a winning debut in a bumper at Chepstow last November, keen but travelling powerfully, taking over on the bridle two furlongs out but his earlier exuberance perhaps catching up with him as he was forced to hold on by a short head from Tossapenny. He barely broke sweat when defying a penalty over the same course and distance two months later (hooded for the first time) but was far from ideally placed when only third in a Listed contest at Newbury in March, waited with and making headway from the top of the straight, his effort flattening out inside the final furlong (beaten 13 lengths). He signed off with victory under a double penalty in a bumper at Wetherby the following month, racing enthusiastically in behind the leaders until leading after half a mile, drawing clear on the bridle over two furlongs out and driven out to score by 3¾ lengths from Manon. Channelling his energies in the right direction is key to this gelding’s future, a hugely talented sort but inclined to overrace; type to make up into a smart novice hurdler, likely to stay further than two miles.

16. GOSHEVEN (5 b g Presenting – Fair Choice)
Form: 535-  Trainer: Philip Hobbs  Owner: The Grocer Syndicate

Stepped up on just a fair debut effort in a bumper at Wincanton on Boxing Day when contesting a 2m 5f novices’ hurdle at Kempton in March, waited with and not always the most fluent, shaken up and running green three out but keeping on well in the straight to come home in third behind Chosen Path (beaten 7¾ lengths). His third and final outing of the campaign came in a good 2m 4½f novices’ hurdle at Cheltenham the following month, in rear and untidy at the second last, keeping on well thereafter and particularly strong up the run-in to take fifth behind Diese De Bieffes (beaten 6¾ lengths). He has been noted as doing all his best work late on both hurdles runs so far, his latest effort particularly noteworthy as it came in a useful race in which he conceded experience to most of his rivals. He is sure to do even better in his second season, needing one more run for a handicap mark; will stay 3m.

17. HUNTSMAN SON (8 b g Millenary – Daly Lady)
Form: 211424-  Trainer: Alex Hales  Owner: C W Booth

Dual point-to-point winner who shaped well on his Rules debut back in the summer of 2016, but he wasn’t seen again until contesting a 2m 4f novices’ hurdle at Uttoxeter last November, waited with and holding every chance two out but his absence telling late as he faded to come home 6 lengths adrift of Who’s My Jockey. He confirmed his previous promise when landing a pair of handicap hurdles at Market Rasen (2m 4½f) and Doncaster (2m 3½f) within the space of a week the following month, scoring by 15 lengths before following up under a penalty in smooth fashion eight days later. He likely found the race coming a little too soon when a soundly-held fourth at Newbury a couple of weeks later, but his final two outings of the season saw him perform with credit in defeat, a staying on second in a 2m 1f handicap hurdle Cheltenham in January before finishing fourth in the Imperial Cup at Sandown six weeks later (made effort sooner than the trio that beat him). He reached a good level over hurdles last term, taking each step up the ladder in his stride; boasts significant potential for chasing remembering his point-to-point background, versatile with regards ground and still to be tried beyond two and a half miles under Rules.

18. KING CALVIN (6 b g King’s Theatre – Lerichi)
Form: 412-1  Trainer: Jack Barber  Owner: Peter Hart

Dual winner in the point-to-point sphere who built on an encouraging Rules debut to land a 2m 4f maiden hurdle at Wincanton in March, outpaced from the fourth last but rallying between the last two flights and leading approaching the final hurdle, staying on strongly to score by 4½ lengths from Secret Investor. Put in his place under a penalty when an 11-length second to Master Tommytucker at Exeter the following month, he signed off with victory in a 2m 5½f novices’ hurdle at Newton Abbot a month later, leading/disputing and building up a healthy advantage two out but forced to fight to hold off Equus Flight by half a length. It is likely he was merely idling on that occasion, having past form for losing focus, pulling out plenty once challenged; rates a good prospect for chasing this term, bred for it (from the family of Hey Big Spender and Miss Orchestra) and certain to find 3m within range.

19. KINGSPLACE (6 b g Ask – Winsome Breeze)
Form: 21-  Trainer: Nigel Twiston-Davies  Owner: R J Rexton

Three-parts brother to very useful jumper Mall Dini (by Milan) who made a promising start under Rules (finished second on the first of two runs in the point-to-point sphere) in a bumper at Doncaster last December, leading/close up until taking a definite advantage three furlongs out, joined over a furlong out and swept aside by eventual winner Sangha River but rallying well to close down the idling winner to a head. He went one better in a bumper at Warwick 30 days later, tracking the leading pair and ridden to lead inside the two furlong marker, staying on strongly throughout the final furlong to draw away and run out a 4-length winner from Barley Hill. That he was able to achieve as much as he did in bumpers is to his credit, very much bred to make a jumper and shaping like one that will stay well in time; open to plenty of improvement this season, when he ought to stay 2m 4f at the very least.

20. MIND YOUR BACK (5 b g Getaway – Local Hall)
Form: 5-  Trainer: Neil Mulholland  Owner: Paul & Clare Rooney

Full brother to last season’s promising novice hurdler Euxton Hall whose sole outing to date came in a bumper at Southwell last November (8/1 chance), waited with until making ground smoothly onto the heels of the leaders five furlongs out, ridden over two furlongs out and proving one paced inside the final furlong as he came home in fifth behind Strong Glance (beaten 13½ lengths). It was a promising enough first effort, travelling well and looking a threat briefly when closing in on the principals, his effort flattening out somewhat in the straight and shaping like one in need of more time. He has been given plenty of that (missed an engagement at Market Rasen this summer) and appeals as the type to do much better this season, particularly once faced with obstacles and a stiffer test of stamina, remembering how much his year older brother improved for the switch to timber/with racing last term.

21. MINELLA WARRIOR (6 b g King’s Theatre – Bobbi’s Venture)
Form: 82/1  Trainer: Kim Bailey  Owner: Mrs Julie Martin & Mr David R Martin

Six-figure purchase from the point-to-point sphere who shaped better than the bare result on his Rules debut in a Listed bumper at Ascot in December 2016, and he found only Kalashnikov too good in a lesser event at Wetherby four months later, travelling well and coming clear of the remainder but no match for the subsequently smart winner. He wasn’t seen again until contesting a 2m 3f novices’ hurdle at Warwick this May, tracking the leaders and shaken up after third last, making progress before two out and soon joining issue, taking over at the final flight and staying on strongly to score by 3½ lengths from Clondaw Anchor. It was a fine comeback effort on his hurdling debut, relishing the additional distance and belatedly building on the promise of a light bumper campaign in 2016/17; out of a half sister to Menorah, this son of King’s Theatre has scope for significant improvement.

22. MONT DES AVALOIRS (5 b g Blue Bresil – Abu Dhabi)
Form: F13414-  Trainer: Paul Nicholls  Owner: Mrs Johnny de la Hey

Full brother to the yard’s smart jumper Le Prezien who confirmed the promise of his debut second in a bumper at Chepstow last April when going one better over the same course and distance six months later, and he looked set to make a winning start over timber when falling at the last in a 2m novices’ hurdle at Wincanton the following month (around a length up when departing). He made no mistake in a three-runner event at Aintree next time and wasn’t disgraced when upped in grade for the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown, travelling strongly but soon done with once asked for an effort in attritional conditions, finishing third behind Summerville Boy. Followed a fourth place finish in the Dovecote at Kempton with victory in a 2m novices’ hurdle at Market Rasen (1/6 favourite; in control when left further clear at the last), and he signed off with a good effort in a 2m novices’ handicap hurdle at Sandown in April, making smooth progress from off the pace three out but unable to sustain his challenge as he came home in fourth behind Ballymoy. Has the make and shape of one that will improve further for tackling fences, with it being hoped he’ll prove more accurate at his obstacles in that discipline; a strong traveller, he may prove best at 2m.

23. MR BIG SHOT (7 br g Flemensfirth – Une Etoile)
Form: /11/01-  Trainer: David Pipe  Owner: Prof Caroline Tisdall

Overcame inexperience to win a bumper at Uttoxeter on debut in March of 2016, and he again created a good impression when bagging a pair of novice hurdles the following spring, merely driven out to score at Wetherby (2m) last January and following up under a penalty at Carlisle (2m 1f) some ten weeks later, coasting clear from an inferior bunch. He again saw action only twice last term, still rough around the edges but far from disgraced when 10th of 23 in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham in March and signing off with victory in a competitive 3m ½f handicap hurdle at Aintree the following month, travelling well and showing a splendid attitude for pressure to get the better of Now McGinty by ¾ length. It’s easy to see why he hasn’t stood much racing given his size, but he’s a fine chasing prospect for the season ahead if he can be kept sound; no surprise to see him aimed at a handicap at one of the major spring festivals given his handler’s modus operandi but has enough basic ability to cut it at a higher level.

24. NORMAN STANLEY (6 b g Flemensfirth – Ballerina Laura)
Form: 351-  Trainer: Graeme McPherson  Owner: Graeme P McPherson

Nicely-bred sort who shaped with promise on debut in a bumper at Market Rasen last November, waited with a little worse than midfield and pushed along over three furlongs out, making progress on the outer with over two furlongs left to run and keeping on well to finish third to Benny’s Bridge (beaten 4¾ lengths). He didn’t improve quite as expected when only fifth at Wetherby next time but quickly made amends in a bumper at Bangor towards the end of April, tracking the leaders and travelling strongly, taking over inside the two furlong marker and forging clear inside the final furlong to record a 4½-length margin of victory over Go As You Please. He is very much bred to excel with time and distance (related to 2m 4f/3m winners and out of a half sister to smart 3m+ chaser Joe Lively, by Flemensfirth), making his achievements in the bumper sphere all the more meritorious; ought to stay 2m 4f at least.

25. PALOMA BLUE (6 br g Stowaway – Court Leader)
Form: 321340-  Trainer: Henry de Bromhead  Owner: Chris Jones

Grade 1-placed in a bumper at Punchestown last spring, this gelding progressed well over timber last term, finishing third behind Next Destination on his hurdling debut and, having gone down by a narrow margin next time, came good at the third time of asking in a 2m maiden hurdle at Leopardstown on Boxing Day. He ran an excellent race in defeat when third to Samcro in a Grade 1 event over the same course and distance the following month, deserving extra credit given how he’d refused to settle in a steadily-run affair, paying the price in the end. He again proved keen when finishing fourth to Summerville Boy in the Supreme at Cheltenham next time, travelling powerfully once more and keeping on well on the run-in. He signed off with a much lesser effort in a similar event at Punchestown but has the make and shape to suggest he’ll take off in a big way over fences; if he can ration his energies a little better, he could be a major player in the novice chasing division this term, likely to stay further than 2m if required.

26. PAT’S PICK (4 b g Shantou – Lady Lenson)
Form: 1-  Trainer: Noel Meade  Owner: Mrs P Sloan

€62,000 purchase who made a winning start to his career in the valuable George Mernagh Memorial Sales Bumper at Fairyhouse back in April (10/1 chance), waited with in midfield and travelling well, ridden over a furlong out and making good progress down the outer, responding well for pressure to lead inside the final 50 yards and edge out Black Tears by half a length. It was to his credit that he made a winning start, overhauling a couple that had gained first run on him, showing a likeable attitude off the bridle for one making its debut. The form also has a solid enough look to it, with the runner-up filling the same position at Listed level subsequently and the third a winner next time out; bred to jump, he ought to enjoy a fruitful novice hurdling campaign, likely to want further than 2m.

27. PETRONELLA MANNERS (5 b m Shirocco – Last Of Her Line)
Form: 06B520-  Trainer: Henry Daly  Owner: T F F Nixon

Hails from a decent jumping family that has served these connections well over the years and, having offered limited promise in a pair of bumpers towards the end of last year, was brought down on her hurdling debut before finishing a soundly-held fifth (of seven) on her first completed start over timber in a 2m mares’ novices’ hurdle at Towcester in February. She stepped up markedly on those efforts when contesting a 2m 4½f mares’ novices’ hurdle at Huntingdon almost two months later, waited with in midfield until moving closer around halfway and on terms after two out, upsides at the last but proving one paced on the run-in as she came home 1¾ lengths adrift of Presenting Pearl. She was unsurprisingly out of her depth in a Listed mares’ handicap hurdle at Cheltenham the following month but still appeals as the type do well in that sphere, dropped 3lbs to a mark of 116; her family excels with age and it’d be somewhat disappointing if this daughter of Shirocco remained a maiden too much longer.

28. PLANET NINE (6 b g Flemensfirth – Old Moon)
Form: 453114-  Trainer: Rose Dobbin  Owner: Mr & Mrs Duncan Davidson

Full brother to good jumpers Minella Daddy and Noble Endeavour who won a pair of bumpers in the 2016/17 season, but he took a while to click over hurdles last term, coming good at the fourth time of asking in a 3m 1½f handicap hurdle at Catterick in February. He followed up in a three-runner 2m 6f novices’ hurdle at Newcastle three weeks later, waited with and travelling smoothly, taking over approaching the second last but losing focus going into the flight and surrendering the lead, regaining it at the last and staying on best to score by 1½ lengths from Cadeyrn. He shaped well on his final outing of the season when fourth in a competitive 2m 7f handicap hurdle at Haydock a month later, in touch and making smooth progress before three out, leading two out but headed at the final flight and weakening on the run-in. He still looks far from the finished article, another summer on his back and a switch to fences sure to aid his development, chasing always likely to be his game given his pedigree.

29. QUARRY LEADER (7 b g Darsi – Pollys Leader)
Form: 40-  Trainer: Alex Hales  Owner: The Patient Partnership

Point-to-point winner back in April 2016 but didn’t see action under Rules until contesting a 2m 5½f novices’ hurdle at Ascot in January, chasing the leaders and taking over after three out, headed on the approach to the second last and soon left behind, coming home in fourth behind Vinndication (beaten 21 lengths). His only subsequent outing came in a highly-competitive 2m 4½f novices’ hurdle at Cheltenham three months later, racing in midfield and making headway on the outer after three out, unable to sustain his effort and fading from before the final flight to finish 11th of 14 behind Diese De Bieffes (beaten 26 lengths). This gelding gives the impression there is much to better to come, running well to a point in a couple of well-contested novice events, shaping as though short of full fitness both times (suffered heat stress after his latest start). He needs another run for a mark and should do well in handicap company, be it over hurdles or fences, the latter option a distinct possibility given he’s rising eight.

30. QUEENOHEARTS (5 ch m Flemensfirth – Char)
Form: 411-  Trainer: Stuart Edmunds  Owner: The Sherington Partnership

Nicely-bred mare who built on the promise of her debut fourth at Chepstow last November with victory in a mares’ bumper at Towcester the following month, tracking the pace and making smooth progress on the inner over two furlongs out, ridden to lead approaching the final furlong and staying on strongly to score by 5 lengths from Pineapple Rush. She followed up in a Listed mares’ event at Sandown three months later, in touch in midfield and ridden over three furlongs out, taking a while to hit top stride but picking up over a furlong out, responding well for pressure to lead close home and score by a neck from Queens Cave. It is clear that stamina is this mare’s forte, outstaying her rivals last time in testing conditions having taken a while to wind up, also strong at the finish the time before; surprising if she couldn’t make a significant impact in the mares novice hurdle division this season.

31. SEBASTOPOL (4 b g Fame And Glory – Knockcroghery)
Form: 1-  Trainer: Tom Lacey  Owner: Boultbee Brooks Ltd

15 length winner of a point-to-point at Larkhill in January who created an equally favourable impression when making a winning start under Rules in a traditionally-strong bumper at Ayr in April (3/1 joint-favourite), waited with in midfield and travelling strongly, making good progress on the approach to the straight and leading going easily two furlongs out, staying on well to see off Black Pirate by 3¾ lengths. It was a striking debut performance from this gelding, travelling powerfully throughout and getting to the head of affairs easily, putting a seal on matters in ready fashion. He looks a very useful novice hurdling prospect for his excellent handler, the manner in which he travelled and settled matters first time out suggesting he ought to prove comfortable at 2m over obstacles to begin with.

32. SPEAK EASY (5 b g Beneficial – For Bill)
Form: 1532-  Trainer: Joseph O’Brien  Owner: J P McManus

£220,000 recruit from the point sphere who made a winning debut under Rules in a well-contested 2m maiden hurdle at Navan last December, and he was far from disgraced when thrown in at the deep end in Grade 1/2 company the next twice, finding the step back to 2m/a slowly-run race counting against him on the second occasion. He ended his first campaign in a competitive 3m novices’ handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse in April, waited with until improving smoothly from the fourth last, shaken up to challenge two out (jumped big) but left behind by eventual winner Agent Boru (to whom he was conceding a stone) on the run-in and coming home 3 lengths adrift at the line. He laid some solid foundations last term, running well in defeat at a smart level having created a good impression on debut; whether he remains over hurdles or goes chasing, this son of Beneficial is one to follow.

33. THE BIG BITE (5 b g Scorpion – Thanks Noel)
Form: 1/10-  Trainer: Tom George  Owner: N T Griffith & H M Haddock

Out of a half sister to high-class jumper Cooldine and made a winning start to his career (for Tom Lacey) in a bumper on the polytrack at Lingfield in March 2017, patiently ridden in rear and driven to challenge at the top of the straight, carrying his head awkwardly but surging to the front inside the final 100 yards and clearing away to score by 3¼ lengths from Polly’s Pursuit. He made a winning return/start for this stable under a penalty in a bumper at Huntingdon on Boxing Day, waited with in touch and making smooth progress on the outer heading into the straight, still on the bit approaching the final furlong and shaken up to lead soon after, driven clear to score by 2½ lengths from Shaughnessy. Rather keen under restraint and unable to quicken when coming home 11th of 23 to Relegate in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham next time, this son of Scorpion still appeals as one that will make his mark at a good level in novice hurdle company this term provided temperament doesn’t win out over talent.

34. THE LINKSMAN (6 b g Westerner – Lost Link)
Form: 78O211-  Trainer: Sam England  Owner: Mrs Samantha England

Half brother to smart jumper For Non Stop who won a Sedgefield bumper for Brian Ellison in December 2016, but he ran out next time and was picked up for just £1,200 by current connections the following May, better than the end result on occasions though again running out (before the fifth flight) in a race at Doncaster won by Kalashnikov. However, it all clicked thereafter, chasing home the useful Waterlord in a 2m novices’ hurdle at Bangor before going one better in emphatic fashion in a similar event at Fakenham the following month, making all and coming clear from the second last to run out a 26-length winner over The Fresh Prince. He followed up in a 2m ½f novices’ hurdle back at Bangor a month or so later, soon clear until having his advantage reduced five out, kicking on again before the third last and soon in command, coming home 9 lengths clear of Duke Of Kilcorral. He was the recipient a well-judged ride that day, but it seems as though this gelding is finally fulfilling his potential, undoubtedly quirky but talented with it; a current mark of 135 is only fair, but fences could bring about another jolt of improvement.

35. THE RUSSIAN DOYEN (5 b g Doyen – Namloc)
Form: 231516-  Trainer: Colin Tizzard  Owner: The Gosden Mob

Shaped nicely in a couple of well-contested bumpers at Chepstow and Wincanton last autumn, confirming that promise with a winning start over hurdles in a 2m 1f novice event at Exeter last December, still green but keeping on strongly to score by 3¼ lengths from Run To Milan. In too deep in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown next time, he resumed winning ways back in class in a 2m ½f novices’ hurdle at Taunton some six weeks later, close up/disputing until pressing on approaching the second last, soon clear and running out an authoritative 4½ length winner over Esprit De Somoza. He signed off with a solid effort in defeat in the EBF Final (2m 4f) at Sandown in March, waited with in touch and travelling well, hampered on the home bend and forced to switch to challenge, his effort unsurprisingly flattening out as he came home in sixth behind Sam’s Gunner (beaten 22 lengths). He was much better than the result last time, it also worth remembering he’s only six runs into his career; has scope to do better still over timber, but it’s chasing that will provide this son of Doyen the platform on which to really shine.

36. THECLOCKISTICKING (6 br g Gamut – Curragheen)
Form: 11332-4  Trainer: Stuart Edmunds  Owner: Asphalt Reinforcement Services Ltd

Twice-raced maiden in the point-to-point sphere who shaped well in defeat on his Rules debut in a bumper at Market Rasen last September, going one better on his hurdling debut in a 2m maiden contest at Fakenham and following up under a penalty in a similar event at Huntingdon the following month. He was far from disgraced in Grade 2 company at Ascot next time before perhaps finding the softest ground he’d encountered counting against him when a well-held third (of six) in a Listed contest back at Huntingdon. He rather set himself up for closers but still kept on well to hold second in a good 2m 4½f novices’ hurdle at Cheltenham in April, and he acquitted himself with credit when fourth on handicap debut over the same sort of trip at Aintree a month later (badly hampered on the bend coming out of the back straight). This gelding boasts some solid form and appeals as feasibly treated off 137 where handicap hurdles are concerned, but both his pedigree (out of a half sister to very smart staying chaser Synchronised) and physique suggest he will prove more than capable of making up into an useful chaser in time.

37. THOMAS DARBY (5 b g Beneficial – Silaoce)
Form: 1  Trainer: Olly Murphy  Owner: Mrs Diana L Whateley

€160,000 half brother to smart jumper Muirhead who made a winning debut in a maiden bumper at Huntingdon in May (well-backed 6/4 market leader), waited with in midfield and making good progress half a mile out, shaken up at the top of the straight and produced to lead well over a furlong out, running green initially but going away close home to score by 2 lengths from Black Kalanisi. It was a fairly workmanlike display from this gelding, but he’s very much bred to come into his own with time, distance and obstacles, whilst the form of that debut win is already working out. He is one of several useful novice hurdling prospects from this stable, and for all one or two of his stablemates are likely ahead of him in the pecking order at present (such as Brewin’upastorm and Sangha River), it wouldn’t at all surprise to see this son of Beneficial promote himself throughout the course of the season.

38. TIME TO MOVE ON (5 ch g Flemensfirth – Kapricia Speed)
Form: 11-  Trainer: Fergal O’Brien  Owner: Paul & Clare Rooney

Half brother to connections’ good jumper Barney Dwan who created a deep impression when making a winning start to his career in a bumper at Exeter last December, racing in mid-division until moving closer from halfway, challenging on the bridle two furlongs out and pushed into the lead approaching the final furlong, coming clear to score by 10 lengths from Caribert. He maintained his 100 per cent record in a bumper over the same course and distance a couple of months later, tracking the pace and leading over two furlongs out, driven out to assert and coming home 3¼ lengths clear of Bang On. A slowly-run race that day didn’t really allow this gelding to show what he was all about, still always in full control and his jockey not having go for everything to get the job done. That he achieved as much as he did in bumpers is to his credit, bred to come into his own over obstacles and stay a fair bit further than two miles in time; looks another exciting novice hurdling prospect for his owners this season.

39. UMNDENI (4 b/br g Balko – Marie Royale)
Form: 1-  Trainer: Philip Hobbs  Owner: St Quinton, D L Whateley & Syder

€175,000 full brother to bumper/Grade 1-placed 2m 1f Listed hurdle winner Vision Des Flos out of a maiden half sister to dual bumper/smart 2m 4f hurdle/high-class 2m 5f-2m 6f chase (including at Grade 1 level) winner Balko Des Flos (by Balko) and useful 2m 1f-2m 3f hurdle/smart 2m 3f-2m 5f chase (including at Grade 3 level) winner Salut Flo. This gelding made a winning start to his career in a bumper at Warwick in April (well-backed 3/1 market leader), close up and travelling smoothly throughout, taking over on the approach to the straight and staying on well inside the final two furlongs to maintain the advantage and score by 2¾ lengths from Morning Vicar. He showed signs of inexperience when hitting the front that day, still seeing things out strongly enough to repel a previous winner; open to above-average improvement, this son of Balko should make up into a smart novice hurdler this season.

40. YOUNG WOLF (5 b g Vinnie Roe – Missy O’Brien)
Form: 2-  Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill  Owner: Mrs Gay Smith

Full brother to smart hurdler Neon Wolf whose sole outing to date came for Mags Mullins in a bumper at Leopardstown last December (not unsupported 11/2 chance), attempting to make all but pressed on the approach to the straight and headed well over a furlong out, responding willingly for pressure against the far side rail and coming home in second behind Alighted, beaten 1½ lengths at the line. He wasn’t seen again thereafter and has joined current connections in a private deal in the interim, appealing strongly as the type to excel over obstacles in his second season, from a family of decent jumps winners; will prove well suited by distances in excess of two miles.

HORSES

212F- AINCHEA (Colin Tizzard)
3- ALRIGHTJACK (Jamie Snowden)
321- BADDESLEY KNIGHT (Chris Gordon)
35111- BALLYMOY (Nigel Twiston-Davies)
/41221- BLACK OP (Tom George)
1- BREAKING WAVES (Noel Williams)
/74121- CADEYRN (Michael Scudamore)
6P/31- CAVENTARA (Sandy Thomson)
6- CHARMED LIFE (Jessica Harrington)
54716F- CLOTH CAP (Jonjo O’Neill)
0/332-1 DEYRANN DE CARJAC (Alan King)
31109-5 ENNISCOFFEY OSCAR (Emma Lavelle)
572117- EUXTON LANE (Oliver Sherwood)
653- GLEN ROCCO (Nick Gifford)
1131- GOOD BOY BOBBY (Nigel Twiston-Davies)
535- GOSHEVEN (Philip Hobbs)
211424- HUNTSMAN SON (Alex Hales)
412-1 KING CALVIN (Jack Barber)
21- KINGSPLACE (Nigel Twiston-Davies)
5- MIND YOUR BACK (Neil Mulholland)
82/1 MINELLA WARRIOR (Kim Bailey)
F13414- MONT DES AVALOIRS (Paul Nicholls)
/11/01- MR BIG SHOT (David Pipe)
351- NORMAN STANLEY (Graeme McPherson)
321340- PALOMA BLUE (Henry de Bromhead)
1- PAT’S PICK (Noel Meade)
06B520- PETRONELLA MANNERS (Henry Daly)
453114- PLANET NINE (Rose Dobbin)
40- QUARRY LEADER (Alex Hales)
411- QUEENOHEARTS (Stuart Edmunds)
1- SEBASTOPOL (Tom Lacey)
1532- SPEAK EASY (Joseph O’Brien)
1/10- THE BIG BITE (Tom George)
78O211- THE LINKSMAN (Sam England)
231516- THE RUSSIAN DOYEN (Colin Tizzard)
11332-4 THECLOCKISTICKING (Stuart Edmunds)
1 THOMAS DARBY (Olly Murphy)
11- TIME TO MOVE ON (Fergal O’Brien)
1- UMNDENI (Philip Hobbs)
2- YOUNG WOLF (Jonjo O’Neill)

© Dan Briden

About Author

Have been interested in horse racing since 2000, particularly the breeding side of things. Naturally, I enjoy picking apart maiden races given my love of pedigrees, but I am also at home with handicaps and Group races. Spotting potential early is very rewarding, as is picking up on a handicap project from an early stage, with my most satisfying success stories in recent years being Pere Blanc, More Of That, Turtle Watch and Arab Dawn.

4 Comments

    • I wanted to avoid the obvious, to be honest, and I actually found it quite easy to do without horses from the Henderson, Mullins and Elliott stables.

      Santini would have been the one if I had to add one from Seven Barrows – hoping he can quickly make up into a top-class novice chaser. O’Connell Street an interesting unraced gelding from that stable (Fame And Glory half brother to a few useful jumpers including Fort Worth), but won’t be missed with his price tag and being Coolmore owned.

  1. Incredible body of work. Much better than a lot of the stuff we’ll see over the next weeks. Original suggestions with solid reasoning. Well done.

  2. Really enjoyed reading your analysis as to why these 40 are on your list. Will really enjoy keeping track on their exploits.

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