Ten for the jumps

Paul Fer­gu­son with a se­lec­tion of horses he’ll be back­ing this win­ter

Racing Ahead - - PAUL FERGUSON -


Un­beaten in five starts over hur­dles last sea­son,cul­mi­nat­ing in a tak­ing suc­cess in the Supreme Novices’ Hur­dle at Chel­tenham, Al­tior’s con­nec­tions now have to de­cide whether to head down the Cham­pion Hur­dle route, or send their son of High Cha­parral over fences, and, hav­ing been schooled over the larger ob­sta­cles at the end of last sea­son, I think they will opt for the lat­ter. The six-year-old looks a chaser in wait­ing to me and could eas­ily end up as a se­ri­ous con­tender for the Arkle Tro­phy,a race that Nicky Hen­der­son has won on five oc­ca­sions.


The Cham­pion Bumper win­ner looks sure to take high rank in the novice hur­dle di­vi­sion this sea­son and he should be ex­pected to be re­turn­ing to the fes­ti­val with lead­ing claims next March. Quick enough to start over 2m, it is likely that Ballyandy will be stepped up in trip at some stage and he could well be aimed at the Nep­tune In­vest­ment Man­age­ment Novices’ Hur­dle, a race the Twis­tonDavies has won three times pre­vi­ously, with Gael­strom, Fun­da­men­tal­ist and The New One.

The win­ner of four bumpers in all last sea­son,the Kayf Tara geld­ing is ver­sa­tile in terms of ground and,given how his sta­ble tend to hit the ground run­ning,he might be out fairly early.


Dan Skel­ton has plenty of ex­cit­ing young­sters to look for­ward to this sea­son and Betameche must be high up the peck­ing or­der, hav­ing im­pressed when win­ning bumpers at New­cas­tle and Wetherby last sea­son.

Trained by Nicky Richards when scor­ing on de­but,the grey then de­fied a penalty on his first start for Skel­ton, trav­el­ling like a high-class prospect. To date, the Kap­garde five-year-old has raced ex­clu­sively on test­ing ground,but he is bred to han­dle quicker con­di­tions and he looks a lovely long-term prospect.


Twice a win­ner in bumpers, Cloudy Dream was beaten on his de­but over hur­dles last Novem­ber, af­ter which he never looked back. A smooth win­ner at Don­caster, the six-year-old made a suc­cess­ful hand­i­cap de­but at Mar­ket Rasen be­fore rat­tling home, from an un­com­pro­mis­ing po­si­tion, to fin­ish runner-up in the Scot­tish Cham­pion Hur­dle.

The grey has more to offer over hur­dles, but he has the physique of a chaser and is ex­pected to head straight over fences on his re­turn. A keen-go­ing sort, he should get 2m4f once learn­ing to set­tle, and he ought to be dif­fi­cult to beat in north­ern novice chases.If he con­tin­ues to progress, he could eas­ily make up into a Chel­tenham or Ain­tree con­tender next spring.


Beaten in a cou­ple of bumpers last term, De­bece got it right at the third time of ask­ing in that sphere,run­ning away with a Mar­ket Rasen con­test by 19 lengths. Kept on the go, he made a suc­cess­ful hur­dles de­but in early-May,again im­press­ing with the way he trav­elled and he pow­ered clear in the clos­ing stages.It didn’t look the deep­est of races by the track’s stan­dards, but the fifth horse Bar­man has won three times since, and this half-brother to Don Poli should im­prove once go­ing up in trip. He could make a mark in bet­ter com­pany.


A hugely im­pres­sive win­ner on de­but at New­bury in early April, Jenk­ins was sub­se­quently sent off odds-on to land the Goffs Land Rover Bumper at the Punchestown Fes­ti­val, where he went down by half a length un­der Pa­trick Mullins. Keen in the early stages of the race, he was given an ag­gres­sive ride and,de­spite re­lin­quish­ing his un­beaten record, the Azamour geld­ing still came out of the race with great credit.A four-year-old that pos­sesses plenty of pace, he looks ca­pa­ble of mak­ing up into a smart two-mile novice hur­dler this sea­son.


Just four days af­ter en­joy­ing Chel­tenham Fes­ti­val suc­cess cour­tesy of Un Temps Pour Tout, David Pipe and Caro­line Tis­dall saw their debu­tant Mr Big Shot win the bumper at Ut­tox­eter on Mid­lands Grand Na­tional day.

A big son of Fle­mensfirth, he ran in snatches down the back straight, but re­ally found his stride in­side the fi­nal quar­ter-mile, even­tu­ally scor­ing by 8 lengths in what looked a de­cent event on paper. A lovely long-term prospect, who will in time be a three-mile chaser, he should be ca­pa­ble of mak­ing his pres- ence felt in the stay­ing novice hur­dle di­vi­sion this sea­son.


Only 13th in the Cham­pion Bumper and sev­enth in the Grade 2 at Ain­tree, that doesn’t tell the whole story, as Pride Of Lecale shaped a fair bit bet­ter than the bare re­sult on both oc­ca­sions.The Mul­ti­plex five-year-old had ear­lier trav­elled well when runner-up on his first two starts un­der rules and the for­mer win­ning Ir­ish point-to-pointer got off the mark in im­pres­sive fash­ion at Chep­stow in Fe­bru­ary.

Fer­gal O’Brien’s charge is an­other fu­ture chaser down the line, but should cer­tainly be ca­pa­ble of win­ning races over hur­dles be­fore­hand and should rel­ish an ex­tra half-mile, once sent over tim­ber.


An 8-length win­ner of a South­well bumper on his de­but un­der rules last Oc­to­ber, West­ern Cape got off the mark at the sec­ond time of ask­ing over hur­dles, when spring­ing a 33-1 shock at As­cot. He trav­elled pow­er­fully on both oc­ca­sions and ran a sim­i­lar race when runner-up to Duke Des Champs (back at As­cot).

Slightly dis­ap­point­ing on his fi­nal start of the cam­paign in the EBF Fi­nal, the fiveyear-old can leave that form be­hind on his re­turn and looks one to fol­low in hand­i­cap hur­dles off his cur­rent mark of 128. Chas­ing is also an op­tion, but he has more to offer over the smaller ob­sta­cles, be­fore­hand.


De­spite los­ing his 100% record over hur­dles in the Nep­tune, Yanworth re­mains a top-class prospect for graded hur­dles this sea­son and there ought to be plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties for him, given his abil­ity to han­dle test­ing ground. A stun­ning win­ner at Chel­tenham on tri­als day, the sixyear-old might start in the Coral As­cot Hur­dle in Novem­ber, af­ter which the Rel­keel Hur­dle would be an op­tion, should con­nec­tions wish to go up in trip.

Prob­a­bly ca­pa­ble of win­ning over shorter, it might be that he de­vel­ops into a World Hur­dle con­tender as the sea­son un­folds. I’d cer­tainly be dis­ap­pointed (and a lit­tle sur­prised) if he couldn’t land a cou­ple of valu­able races at some stage through­out the sea­son.



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