Su­per six can de­light over the jumps

Paul Ja­cobs se­lects his Na­tional Hunt hotshots

Racing Ahead - - PAUL JACOBS -

It is at this time of the year that most punt­ing thoughts turn to­wards the forth­com­ing Na­tional Hunt sea­son so here are my six to fol­low through till May 2017, a list I will amend and up­date as we hit the depths of win­ter.

1.Un Temps Pour Tout – trained by David Pipe

It is worth not­ing that down through the years of the Chel­tenham Gold Cup it is not al­ways the best horse that wins this Blue Riband chas­ing event, but the horse that can be brought to the boil in the third week in March and, a fac­tor rather un­der­stated, acts well around Prest­bury Park.

David Pipe’s charge un­doubt­edly fits the bill in both cat­e­gories and al­though it was a hand­i­cap he won there last year,the young­ster couldn’t have been any more im­pres­sive. That day he trav­elled with great pur­pose, jumped su­perbly and stayed on strongly.

A for­mer French Cham­pion Hur­dle win­ner, we know the la­tent tal­ent is there for this geld­ing to make his mark at the high­est level and, like many sec­ond sea­son chasers, he could take in the Hen­nessy Gold Cup on his way to the fes­ti­val.

2. Cap­i­taine – Paul Ni­cholls

To my eyes this French im­port is one of the most ex­cit­ing novice hur­dlers in the land.

I was at Win­can­ton in April when he won his bumper in facile style and he has the looks and the en­gine to take high rank in the novice hur­dling arena.

The son of Mont­ma­tre has re­port­edly schooled bril­liantly at home and his tim­ber top­ping de­but is ea­gerly awaited. I have al­ready taken a slice of the 33/1 about him for the Supreme Novices and Nep­tune Hur­dles at the Fes­ti­val.

3. Old Guard – Paul Ni­cholls

He may have made a mess of his open­ing run over fences, but I am pre­pared to give this Chel­tenham spe­cial­ist an­other chance to show his class.

A crack­ing and pro­gres­sive hur­dler on good ground last year, Old Guard has the scope and ath­leti­cism to make up into a gen­uine Arkle con­tender. Of course it would be shrewd to see him put that chase de­but de­ba­cle be­hind him be­fore en­ter­ing an ante-post con­tract, but hope­fully that run will be safely con­signed to the dust bin.

4. One Track Mind –War­ren Greatrex

This boy is built and bred for fences so any­thing he achieved over hur­dles was a mas­sive plus. That came in the form of the Grade One Cham­pion Stay­ers Hur­dle at the Punchestown Fes­ti­val when he se­cured a 10/1 shock.

How­ever, there was no fluke to that suc­cess and it will be in­ter­est­ing to see if his as­tute trainer keeps him over tim­ber for the World Hur­dle or aims him at the RSA Chase.

5.Wes­tend Story – Phillip Hobbs

Ev­ery­thing about this five-year-old sug­gests he should be mak­ing his mark at the top end of the stay­ing novice hur­dle tree this sea­son.

Win­ner of his first two bumpers at Hunt­ing­don and Exeter, the lat­ter by a full 18 lengths, he then ran a ca­reer best in the fes­ti­val bumper at Chel­tenham be­hind much speed­ier sorts.

Locked away in mid­field by Richard John­son, the son of Westerner had a hor­ren­dous mid race pas­sage be­fore fairly fly­ing up the hill to fin­ish a clos­ing three and a quar­ter lengths fifth of 23 be­hind Ballyandy.

He has the scope and phys­i­cal makeup to jump a fence in time, but the Al­bert Bartlett Hur­dle will surely be his end aim this term.

Paul Ni­cholls

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