Fol­low these for a profit

Tony Keenan made a hand­some re­turn on last year’s 10 to fol­low – here is this sea­son’s se­lec­tion

Racing Ahead - - IRISH RACING -

Last year’s 10 to fol­low won 14 of 44 starts for a strike-rate of nearly 32% and re­turned a level-stakes profit of 7.89 points to start­ing price. Bet­fair Start­ing Price tends to be a bet­ter in­di­ca­tor of these things than the larce­nous over-rounds pro­vided by the on-course Ir­ish lay­ers and bet­ting them to BSP re­turned a level-stakes profit of 14.62 points.

It took un­til Punchestown un­til the 10 re­ally took off with wins for Ani­bale Fly, Avant Tout and Za­bana at the sea­son en­der though Fethard Player did run a cracker when sec­ond in the County Hur­dle at a BSP of 55.

This year’s list is heavy on rep­re­sen­ta­tion from the El­liott yard which is a lit­tle con­cern as I don’t ex­pect him to hit the heights of Wil­lie Mullins with his re­cently ac­quired Gig­gin­stown horses but with the bal­ance of power tilt­ing away from the cham­pion it makes sense to in­clude four of his run­ners.

AP­PLE’S JADE (4YO, G EL­LIOTT)

Wil­lie Mullins said Ap­ple’s Jade was the best ju­ve­nile hur­dler he’s trained and she was cer­tainly the best of the four-year-old hur­dlers last sea­son; she may have got beaten in the Tri­umph but that was off an in­ter­rupted prepa­ra­tion and her win at Ain­tree was a truly ob­scene de­mo­li­tion job with her ri­vals up­wards of 41 lengths in ar­rears.

Now in the hands of Gor­don El­liott, it seems likely she will prove the an­tiQuevega in that she will be cam­paigned ag­gres­sively and as a po­ten­tial Cham­pion Hur­dle mare; nei­ther El­liott nor Gig­gin- stown are averse to com­pe­ti­tion with the lat­ter es­pe­cially hav­ing shown a will­ing­ness to have their bet­ter horses com­pete against one an­other.

She will get an al­lowance that many be­lieve to be overly gen­er­ous and rates a ma­jor player in Grade 1 hur­dles though the sus­pi­cion re­mains that she could prove even bet­ter over two and a half miles with the Ain­tree Hur­dle next spring an ob­vi­ous long-term tar­get. She has had just five starts and no Flat ca­reer there should be more to come.

ARTICULUM (6YO, T O’BRIEN)

Ir­ish Na­tional Hunt rac­ing has a rich tra­di­tion of good horses be­ing han­dled by smaller train­ers but sadly it’s one that is dy­ing out with the con­cen­tra­tion of tal­ent in the hands of so few;one need only look at the own­ers’ cham­pi­onship of last sea­son where the sex­tet of Gig­gin­stown, McManus, Ricci, Con­nell, Potts and Wylie dom­i­nated pro­ceed­ings. Even so, I’ve found a cou­ple for in­clu­sion in this year’s horses to fol­low list with Articulum the first.

A dual bumper win­ner last sea­son, he was un­lucky not to beat Cham­pion Bumper fancy New To This Town first time up when his jockey was a bit slow about ask­ing for his ef­fort. Upped in trip for his next two starts, he won well at Naas and Lim­er­ick be­fore a dis­ap­point­ing ef­fort down the field at Punchestown.

He shouldn’t be judged harshly on that ef­fort how­ever as he had a cut in the run-up to the race which led to a rushed prepa­ra­tion and he re­mains an in­ter­est­ing prospect for stay­ing novice hur­dles.

BLOW BY BLOW (5YO, G EL­LIOTT)

There’s a re­al­is­tic fear that Blow By Blow re­gresses from the move to El­liott from Mullins – not only is the for­mer a lower strik­er­ate trainer but horses leav­ing the lat­ter tend to dis­ap­point – but even so the Punchestown Cham­pion Bumper win­ner is one to fol­low.

That looked a re­ally strong race with Blow By Blow and Moon Racer clear of the rest, no­tably some of the main pro­tag­o­nists from the Chel­tenham equiv­a­lent,and should prove the pick of such events last sea­son.

Some will ar­gue that the form is un­trust­wor­thy as it is end-of-sea­son stuff but that’s of­ten more per­cep­tion than re­al­ity as Punchestown is a big tar­get meet­ing and they beat the Chel­tenham horses well.

Fur­ther­more, he looks the pick of a deep Gig­gin­stown bumper team who tend to swerve Chel­tenham.His pre­vi­ous de­feat of Death Duty,an­other of my horses to fol­low, is more good form and he’s the sort of idle horse that will keep find­ing for pres­sure and rack up a se­quence in graded novice hur­dles this sea­son.

DAMUT (8YO, J DULLEA)

An­other horse to fol­low from a smaller yard,Damut im­proved out of all pro­por­tion in the early part of the 2015/16 cam­paign, ris­ing 41lb in the weights,his best ef­fort a facile 12ls beat­ing of the de­cent chaser Fed­erici at Cork giv­ing that one 5lb.

Upped into graded com­pany next time, he dis­ap­pointed be­hind Gang­ster at Fairy­house with the three-mile trip seem­ing to stretch his stamina.

In any case,he’d had plenty of rac­ing at

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