THE LIQUIDATOR; This Overbury gelding started his career with a narrow defeat to Clondaw Kaempfer in a decent Fairyhouse bumper. Soon after he went through the ring for 100,000, not a bad return for connections who paid 7,500 for him. He joined the David Pipe team and on his yard debut he found one too good for him in a Cheltenham bumper in the form of the ill fated Anonis. He then went to Exeter and found the bottomless ground very much to his liking as he finished 24 lengths ahead of Turoyal.
That effort was good enough for connections to send him to Cheltenham for the Festival bumper where he ran a cracking fourth in ground that was plenty fast enough for him. His year long season finished with a grade one win at the Punchestown Festival beating Gilt Shadow by 2.3/4lengths in perfect soft ground.
He had five runs so obviously even at this early stage he stands his racing well enough. He does go on any ground but certainly his best efforts to date have come with plenty of give. I think he will make up into a very classy hurdler this year and if we had a Cheltenham where the ground came up soft he would be a force to be reckoned with. He is fancy prices, 33-1 & 40-1, for all the championship novice races and it is too early to guess which way he might go but I will be monitoring his progress very closely.
PENDRA; I saw this boy in the flesh very recently and he really is a fine looking individual. He started his career with a very impressive win in a Huntingdon bumper by eight lengths from Beckhani before winning back to back novice hurdles at Plumpton quite cosily. He was stepped up in grade for his next run at Sandown and suffered his first defeat at the hands of the the classy Melodic Rendezvous. This performance was enough to convince JP McManus to open his chequebook and write a lot of numbers.
He then went to the Festival and duly went off 6-1 favourite for the Coral Cup. This was the first time AP McCoy had ridden the horse in public and I think even the great man himself would admit that he got this one shockingly wrong.
Whatever he did over hurdles though was always only going to be a bonus and he now embarks on what is going to be a very exciting novice chasing season. He has all the attributes to be top class over fences and is a must for anyones list of young chasers to follow.
VIVA COLONIA; Was pulled up in the Grand Annual but he was badly hampered early on. He did well to get back into contention and was going well when getting the second last all wrong. That was only his fourth outing over fences but is obviously highly thought of.
Prior to Cheltenham he had won twice at Musselburgh and obviously has a liking for that particularly tight track. I think there is a lot more to come over the larger obstacles. I think he will be capable of winning a decent handicap this season over 2m4f to 2m6f and I am sure his astute handler can place him to good effect.
MAGNIFIQUE ETOILE; Has some very good animals in his formline. He was a slow starter but finally got off the mark when winning a Market Rasen bumper by twenty two lengths. He followed that up by winning a Stratford maiden hurdle by 13 lengths and then defying a penalty to win a Stratford novice by 12 lengths. The run came to an end at Sandown in the Tolworth where he was readily beaten by Captain Conan. He then went to the Festival where he picked up an injury in the County hurdle. The injury kept him out of training until this spring but the yard decided not to rush him back and he was given the Summer off. He has been back in training for a few weeks now and looks as good as ever. He really has matured nicely and the absence could be a blessing in disguise.
The handicapper has kindly dropped him, about 6lbs I think, and he is being aimed at a decent but highly winnable handicap hurdle at Fakenham in October. The yard won the race last year and are likely to follow up with this fella before he goes on to much better things!
GONE TOO FAR; Its always interesting to see the UK based McManus horses that are not trained at Jackdaws Castle and you wonder what the rationale is for sending them to the different trainers, This one is with Alan King so you would expect him to win his share of hurdle races.
Thus far he has had just the two runs in bumpers and those two efforts surely signal a lot more to come. On his debut at Newbury he was beaten by a very nice sort in Oscar Rock who went on to win a Class 1 Newbury bumper on his next run. Oscar Rock did have the benefit of a previous run that day and won by a cosy length.
He then went to Kempton where he won with something in hand from a very nice sort in Hannibal The Great. The third that day, SWALLOWHIDE, is also one for the notebook.
He will surely now go hurdling and I can see him being right up there with the very best novice hurdlers.
Nice one stick, been building up to this myself:
INVICTUS: Alan King's gelding looked a novice chaser with a massive future when beating Bobs Worth in the 2012 Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot. Unfortunately, he was injured during his preparation for Cheltenham and has not been seen since. King decided to give him a year's break and hopefully that patience will be handsomely rewarded this season as he tackles the top staying chases. Travels supremely well, jumps like a stag and has a potent combination of stamina and speed which will hopefully see him go right to the top.
EMPIRACLE: Went into my notebook early last season after a facile bumper success at Huntingdon. Was talked up all winter by Jeremy Scott and Nick Scholfield as "leaving Melodic Rendezvous standing on the gallops" but unfortunately sustained a minor knock in February which kept him off the course for the rest of the season. A good-looking son of Kris Kin, I expect he will be aimed very high from day 1 this season and hopefully all roads lead to the Supreme Novices Hurdle.
FAR WEST: I honestly can't wait to see this fellow jump a fence but as a 4YO hurdler he was probably the second best juvenile behind Our Conor last season. Watching the Paul Nicholls stable tour it looks like he'll start over hurdles but I could see him making up into a very nice Arkle prospect, and I think sooner rather than later they should send him chasing.
WILLIAM'S WISHES: Talented but fragile, Evan Williams' 8 year old is acutally unbeaten over fences, 5 victories spanning nearly 3 years. I really hope he can have a trouble-free campaign and land some decent handicap chases between 16 and 20 furlongs.
JEZKI: Only 3rd in the Supreme but I really think Jessie Harrington's stable star will come into his own this season and I expect him to both pay his way as a betting proposition and also be knocking on the door come Champion Hurdle time.
Godsmejudge - I have this one down as a National horse, and its win in the Scottish National was the performance of a very progressive horse. Now rated 148, and I think that puts him in the right ball park for the National. I expect a mid season prep for the big race.
Legacy Gold - Bumper horse that has a bright future. She sold at Brightwells for 210,000 and she looks the sort who will be a very tough novice hurdle mare to beat. Purchased by Roger Brookhouse (of The Liquidator fame)
The Liquidator - As Stick noted
Mr Mole - A quirky sort, who is obviously very talented but never seems to want to win his races. A summer off racing should bring him on and I think he is going to be one of the horses to watch from the Paul Nicholls yard this season. I think he could jump a fence too. I wouldn't be surprised to see him win a good early season handicap hurdle before going on to better things. Or he might be a recalcitrent sod like me!!
Tartak - I am convinced that he is better than his form, and now he has gone to Dartnell I think they can get him back towards his best. I expect some good handicap chase runs, especially at HQ.
Tried to steer from the obvious. Hopefully they will all run well this season
I will be doing antepost at the beginning of the year and then watching in March. A set staking plan that is set out knowing full well that none of them might turn up. There are a number of horses that interest me this season, that I think would start at much shorter prices for their respective races than they do currently.
The first one is SIR DES CHAMPS (Willie Mullins/Gigginstown). A strange one in the sense that he is a big name and second favourite for the Gold Cup. but there are two reasons why he is an interesting antepost angle. The first one, where it really is a **** or bust bet in terms of being a non-runner, is that we can probably match him for around 18/1 for the King George on Boxing Day. Willie Mullins was about to bring him over last year as he usually finds that Kempton gives us better ground than Leopardstown for the Lexus, but the mad British weather intervened and left Kempton in a bog, with Long Run slogging it out with Captain Chris. If it rides good to soft this Christmas with cold but dry weather, I think the race would be at Sir Des Champs mercy because not only does he have proven stamina, he is unbeaten going right-handed and has shown he can race up with the speed, so tactically he should have the answers.
At 8/1 for the Gold Cup, he rates value in the sense that he is a full FIVE points bigger than Bobs Worth. Sir Des Champs had no luck at Cheltenham this year, with the ground softening prior to the off, and his jockey seriously injured the day before. Bobs Worth was badly outpaced and looked in some trouble as they turned for home, and I think with Davy Russell on board and slightly better ground, you might see Sir Des Champs kick for home and not let Bobs Worth back into the race.
He is a lovely racehorse and for me he is a potential winner of both of those targets, with his season being planned around the ground.
CHATTERBOX (Nicky Henderson- Novice Chaser)
There was a point last season where Nicky Henderson thought Chatterbox was too babyish for Cheltenham and was going to skip the festival altogether with him. I don't think he shows tonnes at home and I think his defeat of My Tent Or Yours was as much a surprise to Henderson as it was to everyone else. We all know it was soft ground that day and that over 2m on good ground the Tent would be almost certain to reverse form, but you saw 3 characteristics that day that could define Chatterbox and where he heads this year: a) He jumped his hurdles big- definite chaser in the making, b)He relished the soft ground and will be one for stamina trips, and c) He shows far more on the track than he does at home, prompting Nicky Henderson to state that "He reminds me so much of Bob's Worth it is scary".
He jumped his hurdles much slower than the main protagonists at Cheltenham and it cost him many lengths, yet his engine kept him right in contention turning in before being outpaced late on. I wonder if the slower, 3m hurdle may have suited better, especially with how it went soft on the Friday. An interesting chaser to watch. Ruler of the World is sadly not certain to return this year having been injured in Ireland, and he looked built for chasing, so taking 20/1 RSA Chase price is tempting given that one good run could propel this into single figures.
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UN ATOUT Willie Mullins/Gigginstown
With Rule The World running a mighty race in the Neptune at Cheltenham, it looked as though Michael O'Leary would yet again have tough decisions to make with two novice chasers, much like First Lieutenant and Sir Des Champs a couple of years back. However, I gather that he was seriously injured in Ireland and we are not sure if he is coming back in time for a novice chase campaign this season. I can't find any news on him. That would potentially leave Un Atout with a choice between Jewson and RSA, and I would recommend backing him for both having been stung with Sir Des Champs when having him at all sorts of fancy prices for the RSA two years ago.
16/1 (for both races) is a price that can only shorten because he is held in mighty regard, so one good round of jumping and the bandwagon will start to roll. Davy Russell said he "is like Sir Des Champs, but better" and he might have a few more gears in his armoury if he can prove himself a capable jumper of a fence. Willie Mullins said after Punchestown that he shapes like a chaser and that he should get 3m in future, but don't necessarily count on that being as a novice- especially with the Jewson being upgraded to Grade1 status. I you can get a price for that, take it.
He has a massive engine, is bred for stamina and is a very interesting horse.
MONKSLAND (Noel Meade)
Noel has confirmed Monksland is to stay over hurdles, and therefore he will again be my antepost play on the World Hurdle. I think he was tailor-made for this years and was suitably gutted that he would not be lining up, having seen Solwhit make a mockery of the other so-called credible contenders. Monksland has impressed me ever since we saw him novice hurdle and he has the class to challenge an ageing Big Bucks. He will go into the race as one of the few hurdlers to have stamina, gears, and be in his prime and I'm pretty astonished to see 20/1 World Hurdle being banded about. (Bear in mind that he was 6/1 in the market prior to his setback).
I think this horse is the real deal wherever he goes.
He loves good ground and if he gets it next spring he might be the one to give Noel Meade a deserved Cheltenham success.
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THE NEW ONE
A fully converted fan after initially not liking the look of his form, he now has formlines that stack up from every angle and has the proven stamina record that Champion Hurdle winners tend to have. He is currently 8/1 but I am tempted to wait until the Fighting Fifth and Christmas hurdles are out of the way because he could poitentially get beaten in either. My Tent Or Yours will win the Christmas hurdle in a common canter because of the style of track (he is a speedball) so he will head to Cheltenham as favourite in my opinion. The New One has the gears and the stamina to see them all off up the hill and is one for Cheltenham, as opposed as one to follow.
INVICTUS One of the best jumpers of a fence as a novice you will see. Desperately unfortunate not to have made the RSA in 2012 and Alan King gave him a year off. I hope, really hope that Alan King gets deserved reward for that decision and his patience. 40/1 for the Gold Cup is a price you can afford to take speculative aim at and forget about. I'm not sure what their plans are but I am guessing they will stick to specific targets and give him plenty of recovery time. Not sure if he will have an entry for the Hennessey but he would be interesting for sure. An immense talent who I really hope will return in full fitness and stay there.
LE VENT D'ANTAN
Liz Doyle is the lady who unearthed Al Ferof and Cheltenian and this fellow might be another to add to her list of stars. He looked potentially quite special when hacking up in an Irish bumper at a short price, and then finished 7th at Cheltenham having travelled nicely before fading up the hill. As Liz points out, a key difference between Al Ferof, Cheltenian and Le Vent D'Antan is that they were both 5 year olds in the bumper, whereas he was 4, so he has plenty of improvement in him and will strengthen up physically this season. They were due to school him before his summer break and it will be interesting to see if they get a big offer from anyone for him. I'd like to see him join Paul Nicholls as per Al Ferof. I have no idea where his future lies trip wise but I'd suspect he wouldn't go beyond 2 and a half miles just yet, so as a punt I'd play him for the Supreme Novice and Neptune (just in case) at 25/1 for both.
Last edited by TopClass; 17/09/2013 at 03:14 PM.
A covert huh LMFAO! Nice to have you on board TC.
All my favs already been flagged so in no particular order as they say on the telly :
Our Conor, Our Conor, Our Conor, Our Conor and Our Conor!
Like Oddy I'm really hoping that Invictus comes back from injury and proves what a talent the is.
Rule The World
And slightly off the wall - Mail De Beauvoir
Last edited by Reebok; 16/09/2013 at 07:30 PM.
Toppy, Reebs - found this on the Alan King website:
Alan added: "We have 118 horses in already with a few to buy if I can find them, and it is terrific to have both Invictus and Montbazon back. They are returning from injury, so they will stay cantering for another month or so before we give them some faster work. I am not sure where we will start Montbazon off, but we are certainly looking at the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in November for Invictus, though we will take it one step at a time."
Garde La Victoire
If Oscar Rock is the Harry Fry bumper horse, I think I have read that he has joined Malcom Jefferson, along with a few others.
Oddy great to hear. King is right to state one step at a time, fingers crossed for them both
Also, I believe Pont Alexandre is out for the season- is that correct?
Sire De Grugy
Oscar Rock has left Harry Fry’s yard and gone to Malcolm Jefferson’s. The horses owners are from the North and they wanted him (and a few others old boy Harry trained for them) trained more locally. Huge blow for such a fledgling trainer as Oscar Rock looks Quality with a capital ‘Q’.
They never update the RP website until they get an entry drever. Its pretty poor.
I heard the same about Pont during the summer but believe it was via that source of misinformation / bollox that is Twitter. I ain't seen anything on Sporting Life or Racing Post site so until then I'd take it with a pinch of salt. We should hear more over the next few weeks as info about the jumpers starts to crank up. Very much hope it's not true to redeem the Neptune burnt fingers!
Good thread stick For my 5 to follow I see absolutely no reason to look outside of last year's top Cheltenham trainer WP Mullins' abundance of riches. Especially now that the dream team partnership of himself and Ruby Walsh is further cemented this coming season.
1. Un de Sceaux
It's probably 2-1 that WP Mullins has the winner of next year's Champion Hurdle stabled up at his Closutton base in Co Carlow but I'm confidently nominating one of his bigger priced ones as my top horse to follow next year. Twice raced Un de Sceaux has some potential to say the least. Two from two at the Punchestown festival this animal pulled like the proverbial train, especially in his second race, and had no right to absolutely sluice home the way he did having not settled at all. If they can teach him to relax better, and he's in the right hands to do so, this horse is a machine. Perhaps he may fall just below genuine Champion Hurdle winning standard (25s for it), never the less he will win a lot of top races next year and with natural progress is exceptionally exciting.
2. Moyle Park
This one has already been well touted on the forum (by ROTO and Joe/MOG/Boris I think) and looks worthy of his 20-1Supreme Novices quote. Had top form coming into the Punchestown Festival beating Blackmail on his only previous start, he more than lived up to the hype having made almost all the running and looked a sitting duck from 2 out, he resolutely grinded it out and pulled out more and more. A horse who is extremely tough, it may well be difficult to get to the bottom off him. Exciting. Very.
3. Annie Power
Plenty have taken fancy prices about this mare being the real surprise package in the Champion Hurdle for next year. Having beaten everything put in front of her last year her form keeps getting franked, franked and yep, franked again. The sky's the limit for her, but will she remain over hurdles when Willie has such an array of worldclass hurdlers in his yard?? Priced up for some Cheltenham Festival novice chasing events it's hard to be certain what route they'll take with her. It's too far too much of a cliché to end and say she's the new Quevega so I'll not!
4. Vicky de L'Oasis
Another topclass French recruit brought over to maestro Mullins. Made her winning debut only last week at Galway, it's hard to ascertain the level of form but given the manner, 9 length margin on the bridle, it's easy to see she could be another excellent recruit with vast improvement assured. She looks certain to be contesting graded races very soon. May even be the new Annie Power!
5. Pink Hat
Firstly, what a lovely name for a filly. Two from two in bumpers may result in being close to the top of the pecking order in some yards but in Willie Mullins yard Pink Hat is probably just another horse. It's very hard to know how far this Presenting mare can go but you can be sure she's another one to watch. Lovely moving mare so good ground sees her to best effect.
So there you have it. The definitive Beef or Salmon five to follow, exclusively from WP Mullins yard in County Carlow, with a couple of dark horses in there.
I'll go with one from left field - really liked Opening Batsman's performance in the Racing Post chase last season and fancy him to win a couple of other decent handicaps.
1. Annie Power.
Unbeaten in seven races, Willie Mullins' mare is only five years old and just has to be top of my list. The problem is...given her profile and that she possesses speed and stamina, what route will she take? Champion Hurdle, Mares Hurdle (taking on stable mate, Quevega), World Hurdle, or novice chasing? Having won a Grade One novice hurdle in her last race, perhaps Mullins will test her in the top grade over the smaller obstacles before planning a campaign. She could be anything.
2. Harry Topper.
Kim Bailey has always maintained this horse is his best since Master Oats. After impressively winning three staying chases, his trainer bypassed Cheltenham and sent him to Kelso for his next race- where he blundered and unseated his rider. He then sent him to Punchestown for The Champion Novices Chase (his final race of the season), but he was hampered and unluckily brought down.
Stamina is this horse's strong suit and, given his jumping holds up, he could progress to the very top. He's certainly a likely outsider for the Cheltenham Gold Cup (at 33/1)- a race that would seem tailor-made for him.
Tom George trains this ex-French import. He won his first UK race over hurdles but then fell in his first chase, when looking all over the winner. He made no mistake when winning his next two chases and then stepped up to 20 furlongs when contesting The Jewson at the Festival. After making a mistake at the fourth last, he stayed on really strongly to finish fourth behind Benefficient.
Lightly raced , the six year old should be very competitive off his mark of 145.
Many punters will discount the horse after his season seemed to tail off last time. However, his owner maintains he was a very sick horse after Christmas (with a virus). Having fully recovered and undergone a wind operation, he affirms he is now in full health. However, there is a rumour he may not send him back to Peter Casey but put him under Tony Martin. A decision will be made later this month.
If the horse really is back to his best for the new season, few horses will trouble him, and he should be followed.
I'm choosing a French trained horse for my final selection. I was most impressed by his completing a hat-trick of staying hurdle wins when defeating Solwhit in the French Champion Hurdle.
Having made all the running up to the third last, he looked beaten when Solwhit cruised up to him. However, he came back at the last and simply found another gear to storm eight lengths clear on the run-in. Not many horses do that over three mile hurdles.
Only five years old, the sky's the limit for this young horse. The one question mark would be his ability to handle good, fast ground- having won all his races on testing going.
His ante-post price for the World Hurdle is very tempting at 14/1, if only Big Bucks wasn't running!
Last edited by Tamerlo; 18/09/2013 at 06:44 AM.
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