I’ve been planning to get my National Hunt Horses To Follow post out for a few weeks now, and i’ve finally got around to getting it done after compiling several of the horses that i’m most looking forward to seeing throughout the upcoming jumps season as they all come round to making their reappearances in the coming weeks as some already have.
Most of you who follow this page on a regular basis know i’m a Willie Mullins fan boy and have a largely unhealthy obsession with Djakadam and it’s took me everything in my power not to include him in this. Many of you will be glad to know. (Soon to be three time John Durkan Chase winner)
AMERICAN – 31/6111-
(Trainer: Harry Fry) (Owner: The Jago Family Partnership)
Kicking things off is American for one of my favourite trainers in Harry Fry. He bypassed the RSA at the Cheltenham Festival last season due to ground issues so look out for him being involved in staying handicaps throughout the winter months. He won really impressively at my local track Uttoxeter in a decent novice handicap on his last appearance and I think he’s destined for some valuable prizes this time around.
THE WORLD’S END – 1/3111F1-
(Trainer: Tom George) (Owner: McNeil Family)
Next up is a horse that I became a huge fan of throughout last season and this is The World’s End for Tom George and the McNeil Family. He established himself as a top staying novice hurdler throughout last campaign and was travelling well when falling in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham. I was at Aintree on the day of his last outing though when he gained redemption for his Cheltenham fall with a Grade 1 success and should be certainly serving it up to the top stayers at the big festivals this time around.
GREAT FIELD – 1/1P-1111
(Trainer: Willie Mullins) (Owner: J P McManus)
Onto the first Mullins horse to feature here and this is a horse that I have previously mentioned in my Willie Mullins Stable Preview post not so long ago but i’m putting him in again here because i’m seriously looking forward to seeing him in action again this year. He is of that Un De Sceaux mould of being a bit of a nutcase and that’s why I love him. He won all four of his outings last season finishing off with a Grade 1 at Punchestown and he could be anything this time around having yet to be truly tested.
SNOW LEOPARDESS – 15/13131-1
(Trainer: Charlie Longsdon) (Owner: Mme O Fox-Pitt)
Next up is the first Mare to feature and that’s Snow Leopardess for Charlie Longsdon. We did actually see her on the track not so long ago when she won a valuable race over in France back in September. She’s a really talented sort who’s likely to go on to compete in some of the big mares contests throughout the season. I was at Newbury when she won the Listed Mares race and was very impressive that day. This lightly raced sort looks to have her best days still in front of her.
SUTTON PLACE – 3111/11P
(Trainer: Gordon Elliott) (Owner: J P McManus)
A Gordon Elliot entry now and it’s another one owned by J P McManus this time in the form of Sutton Place. He developed himself into a prolific winner last season for Gordon over hurdles winning five consecutive races before being pulled up lame at Punchestown. He’s sure to convert himself into a fine chaser this time around and will likely be competing in big events at the big festivals.
GETABIRD – 11
(Trainer: Willie Mullins) (Owner: Mrs S Ricci)
Another one on the list for Willie Mullins but this time a Ricci owned horse and this is Getabird. He was favourite for the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival last season before suffering a setback that kept him out for the remainder of the season. He was mightily impressive on his debut bumper win and followed up with another victory last time out albeit at extremely short odds. If transferring his ability successfully over hurdles he could be a big player in contests such as the Supreme Novices at Cheltenham.
CAP SOLEIL – 111-1
(Trainer: Fergal O’Brien) (Owner: Mrs S A Noott)
Up next is a four year old filly and that’s none other than Cap Soleil for Fergal O’Brien. She made her seasonal reappearance at Newbury when defeating some useful opposition on her first run over hurdles and she’s another one that has many good days ahead of her in my opinion. She was unbeaten in three bumpers last season including a couple of decent Listed contests. If she gets a bit of cut in the ground she could certainly establish herself as a big player.
SAYAR – 11
(Trainer: Willie Mullins) (Owner: Mrs Audrey Turley)
This is around about the time that you think the Willie Mullins obsession is getting out of hand but here we are and another potentially very useful recruit to Willie’s team is Sayar. This former Aga-Khan horse has already won a couple of races since transferring from Mick Halford including a fairly easy success in a Grade 3 contest. I think he’s still got more improving to come and could be another big player for the Supreme Novice contest at the Festival.
SLATE HOUSE – 1
(Trainer: Colin Tizzard) (Owner: Eric Jones, Geoff Nicholas, John Roman)
Onto a horse now that features for a yard that seems to be ever growing in the talent department and this one looks to be another, this is Slate House for Colin Tizzard. He was an expensive purchase from the Point to Point sphere but started to repay some of that value when winning really nicely at Cheltenham’s Showcase. I was at Cheltenham that day and the gears he showed when coming up the hill were really impressive. He’s certainly one to keep a very close eye on as the season pans out.
JOHN CONSTABLE – 112/06476/00F-11
(Trainer: Evan Williams) (Owner: Walters Plant Hire Ltd)
The final horse on the list comes in the form of John Constable for Evan Williams. He’s a beautifully bred sort who’s form looks a bit sketchy to say the least however only recentley has he started to show true colours. He won some valuable hurdle races throughout the summer including Grade 3 & Listed contests. If getting good ground he could well be up to dining at the top table.