GYTO TEN TO FOLLOW
MY TENT OF YOURS
Nicky Henderson has a particularly strong-hand this year and on first look he’ll surely prove too strong for arch rival Paul Nicholls. Despite Nicholls reining victorious over the past seven seasons, Henderson has an abundance of talent in his ranks and it’s of no wonder that some bookmakers have gone as short as 4/11. This season he has strength in depth, and My Tent Or Yours gives him strong claims in the novice department and is our first to follow for the season ahead.
The five-year-old travelled fluently in his bumpers, noticeably when losing to another eye-catching recruit The New One by a length-and-a-quarter. He has reportedly strengthened up over the summer and developed into a strong, promising type. Nicky Henderson is under no illusion that he may well have one of the top novice hurdlers around this season. As it stands he is a 20/1 shot for the Supreme Novice at Cheltenham festival. He has already made his seasonal reappearance and debut over hurdles in early November at Aintree. He out-battled Taquin Du Seuil despite not jumping perfectly and is entitled to come on for that initial experience. He was entered into a novice hurdle at Cheltenham where he would have faced strong opposition in Paul Nicholls Dodging Bullets and the well regarded Jonjo O’Neill-trained Tominator. Unfortunately he was a late withdrawal but it’s likely to be of good reason and will likely be well-placed by Nicky Henderson this season. One to keep a very close eye on!
Target: Supreme Novices
Another out of the Henderson yard and one we are extremely excited about this season. The six-year-old was a leading contender for last seasons champion hurdle before being declared as a late non runner. Grandouet last seeen romping home by four-lengths in the Stan James International Hurdle at Cheltenham, missed the festival last season having endured surgery on an infected hind fetlock joint. It was to much disappointment that connections and Nicky Henderson agreed he had insufficient time to prepare for the race of his life. He was prominent in the betting last season and is likely to be on the tip of many punters tongue this March. He of course beat Overturn latest, a horse who has since finished second in last seasons Champion Hurdle, in front of Hurricane Fly. He came a close second in the Chester Cup, a prestigious race over the flat. Such a versatile animal, Overturn made his chasing debut in November and ran out a convincing fourteen-length victor over Thanks For Coming. Donald McCain’s representative has found himself an 8/1 shot for the Arkle. All form complimenting just how good Grandouet is and why he will require a substantial punt at 12/1 for the Champion Hurdle.
Target: Champion Hurdle
CINDERS AND ASHES
Last year’s Supreme Novices 10/1 winner at Cheltenham Festival, and our first of a remarkable week. The Donald McCain five-year-old was a gutsy, game victor over the well-regarded Darlan and kept on despite coming off the bridle a fair distance out. The fact McCain said there would be more to come on better ground spoke volumes and in my opinion the ground rode Good to Soft on Arkle day. Despite travelling fluently he did make the odd mistake, noticeably over the last which would have cost many the race. He has the form in the book having won six of his ten starts and has a very promising future. If Donald McCain can iron out his jumping issues he may well be overpriced for the Champion Hurdle at 12/1 and may well be worth a punt if Grandouet doesn’t live up to expectations. He is an ambitious 25/1 for the Arkle but it’s hard to be totally convinced that the ferocious pace would suit his jumping style.
Target: Champion Hurdle, Arkle
Price: 12/1, 25/1
An obvious candidate for any punters ‘ten to follow’ and he is a personal favourite. He landed us all kinds of success when winning the Arkle in an incredible fashion last season. It gave us two out of two following Cinders And Ashes victory in the Supreme Novices and a day we won’t forget in a hurry. He has improved so much since making a winning debut at Ascot in February 2010, and has only grown stronger since his Supreme Novices’ defeat to Al Ferof in 2011. He made a mockery of those who thought he wouldn’t get up the Cheltenham Hill and lived up to what jockey, Barry Geraghty had promised. The six-year-old has apparently enjoyed his extended summer holiday, growing in stature and personality. The way he takes to a racecourse is unlike anything I’ve seen before. He shows eagerness without racing keenly and seems to gallop on relentlessly to the line and beyond. He is one to be reckoned with and we will not be opposing him this season, or any season in the near future. Cue Card franked his form of the Arkle romping to a twenty-six length victory at Exeter where he left Menorah disappointingly trailing behind. Of course backing Sprinter Sacre this season will be hard to be profitable unless you have stacks of cash and so the 11/10 about the Queen Mother Chase is your best bet. There were rumours he’d go for it last season but Henderson opted for the Arkle and it was a wise move sticking to the plan. The Queen Mother Chase is the race he’ll go for where he could meet the likes of Sizing Europe, Finian’s Rainbow and stablemate Sanctuaire.
Target: Queen Mother Chase
Possibly one that surprises you in our ‘ten to follow’ but a horse with a potentially bright future. It isn’t Gigginstown House Stud policy to dwell too long in the bumper ranks without good reason and so it’s to no surprise to see Un Atout entered for a Maiden Hurdle at Wexford next week. The well-regarded Dermot Weld-trained Silver Concorde was withdrawn late on before Un Atout‘s bumper win at Naas and it would have been some clash given their potential futures. Even so, it was a devastating performance from Willie Mullins four-year-old and many in behind have since franked the form. It was desperate ground that day but it still didn’t hide how well he travelled before romping to a twenty-four length success. He looks one of the better Willie Mullins’ novice hurdlers this year and we are eagerly awaiting his debut over hurdles. His half-sister Liste En Tete, is the dam of Sir Des Champs and so he is very well related.
Target: Supreme Novices’
A horse widely regarded by Champion jockey AP McCoy as Champion Hurdle material. He did himself no damage running out a creditable second to Cinders And Ashes in the Supreme Novices’ last season, despite having looked to be travelling better than the eventual winner at one point. He confirmed that suspicion landing the Tangle Teezer Top Novices’ Hurdle a shade cosily at Aintree and looks one to keep on side this season. He’ll be in action as soon as Sunday where he tackles the likes of stablemate Cash And Go as well as Paul Nicholls Prospect Wells. We have had a very strong word ahead of the Grade 3 Handicap and since watched his price collapse from as big as 4/1. He is now a clear 9/4 favourite and should prove a class or two above of this bunch. It’s a shame so many of our ‘ten to follow’ have to compete in the Champion Hurdle – it really is going to be a tough race to call this season, but in the meantime keep Nicky Henderson’s five-year-old onside.
Target: Champion Hurdle
Boston Bob is likely to make his fencing debut at Thurles next Thursday. The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old is the highly regarded ante-post favourite for the RSA Chase and is rated as highly as 151 over hurdles. It has been no secret that a chasing career lies in wait. Boston Bob is a Grade One winner over hurdles and signed off last season with an honourable second in the Albert Bartlett Novies’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, a race we feel he was unlucky not to have won. The way he travelled into that race was eye-catching and if not for hitting the last he may well have maintain his upwards curve. Brindisi Breeze was the eventual two-length winner under Campbell Gillies. The fact is Boston Bob has raced only six times, never finishing out of the frame, winning four of them. He has had the likes of Mount Benbulben behind him, who could do favours for the form late today at Cheltenham. He is very lightly raced for a seven year old and looks to be going places. Keep him on side.
Target: RSA Chase
SIR DES CHAMPS
Quite frankly he has been a phenomenal recruit for the Willie Mullins stable winning seven from seven since joining the yard. He is already a dual Cheltenham festival scorer and unsurprisingly has rocketed to 2013 Gold Cup favouritism with an impressive victory in the Jewson winning by four and half lengths to Champion Court. Third place For Non Stop has since romped home at Aintree in the Old Roan Chase and the form this time round looks rock solid. Since Cheltenham, he has scored at Punchestown, proving his stamina over 3m and has barely put a foot wrong. The ratings still show Long Run almost a stone ahead but there is plenty of improvement to come, with an exciting season ahead.
Target: Gold Cup