Age: 4yo Trainer: Gary Moore, W Sussex Owner: Steven Packham
Target: Champion Hurdle (Cheltenham) 6/1
Was on his way to becoming the stand out winner at last year’s Cheltenham Festival before freakishly unseating Jamie Moore at the last hurdle, when way out clear. Rated 157 over hurdles, Gary Moore’s well built 4yo is entered to run on the flat this weekend before embarking on a Champion Hurdle campaign.
By 2007 Epsom Derby winner Authorised, GOSHEN has won on good ground but seems to save his save his best performances for when there’s some juice in the surface. Looks superstar material and must head my team sheet for the season.
Age: 6yo Trainer: Paul Nicholls, Somerset Owner: Giraffa Racing
Target: Stayers Hurdle (Cheltenham) 14/1
Came into last season with a big reputation following graded bumper success at the Aintree Festival. Took his time about warming to hurdles last winter but broke his duck when stepping up in trip to 2m 4f at Market Rasen.
Was touted for Cheltenham’s Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle but bypassed the festival and went off 5/2 favourite for the Novice Handicap (G3) at Kempton a day later. A shrewd bit of placing by Paul Nicholls it must be said, who has never hidden his regard for this son of Milan.
MCFABULOUS delivered a smooth performance at Chepstow today and can develop into a Stayers Hurdle contender this winter.
Chacun Pour Soi (Policy Maker)
Age: 9yo Trainer: Willie Mullins, Closutton, Bagenalstown Owner: Mrs. Susannah Ricci
Target: Champion Chase (Cheltenham) 5/1
Flag bearer for Champ.ie last season, ‘Chac’ retains his place on the team. Showed a glimpse of brilliance when defeating stable mate Min in The Dublin Chase in February but unfortunately, a stone bruise ruled him out of the festival the morning of the race.
The son of Policy Maker will be a 9yo by the time the 2021 Queen Mother Champion Chase comes along but looks set to lead the Irish charge at 2m over fences again this season. CHACUN POUR SOI has only had the five starts over fences and arguably remains the most talented horse in Closutton, which tells it’s own story.
Unlikely you will see 5/1 chalked up come March.
Age: 8yo Trainer: Paul Nicholls, Somerset Owner: Paul Barber
Target: Gold Cup (Cheltenham) 16/1
The 2019 RSA Chase winner was all the rage after outstaying Santini and Delta Work in a classic at HQ. Big things were expected last season before being ruled out for a year with “a minor leg injury”.
One of the tallest individuals you will ever see in the racing, the time off may have actually aided his development and allowed him extra time to fill his frame. TOPOFTHEGAME has had plenty of rehabilitation and was pictured looking like a Russian Body Builder at Dicheat during the lockdown period.
Will be targeted at the old Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in December and I’d be surprised if the son of Presenting doesn’t make up into a Cheltenham Gold Cup contender this season.
Soaring Glory (Fame and Glory)
Age: 5yo Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill, Gloucestershire Owner: P. Hickey
Target: Supreme Novices Hurdle (Cheltenham) 40/1
Strong travelling Ascot bumper winner showed loads of gears on his first two starts on the level. Jonjo’s youngster seemed to struggle on heavy ground on his last start in a Listed Bumper when finishing second to David Pipe’s Israel Champ in December.
Highly regarded at Jackdaws Castle, the 5yo son of Fame and Glory looks an exciting prospect for Jonjo O’Neill Jnr this season over hurdles. Won on hurdles debut at Chepstow today and looks to set to stay at the minimum trip for now.
Hoi Polloi (Shantou)
Age: 5yo Trainer: Emma Lavelle, Wilts Owner: Nicholls Mustoe
Target: Supreme Novices Hurdle (Cheltenham) 66/1
Cost €120,000 as a store at the 2018 Landrover Sales and really caught my eye when winning on debut in a strong Kempton bumper in February.
If you haven’t already watched the replay, I’d urge you folks to watch HOI POLLOI encounter traffic problems before circling a wall of tired horses, before winning under hands and heels by 2 and 1/2 lengths. It was a really smart performance by the son of Shantou and he went into my notepad immediately.
Lavelle could give him another start in bumpers but he looks set to go hurdling this season. Exciting prospect and could potentially reach a high level.
Age: 6yo Trainer: Willie Mullins, Closutton, Bagenalstown Owner: Mrs. Susannah Ricci
Target: RSA / Marsh Chase at Cheltenham. (Any Race 6/1)
Expensive winning pointer by Stowaway, who raced freely and did everything in his power to get beaten before eventually winning the 2020 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle.
He showed serious guts at the finish in Cheltenham and is clearly a high class animal that should be on everyone’s list this season.
MONKFISH has the option of the RSA Chase and may also have the pace to challenge for the Marsh Novices Chase. Likely to follow the same route as Allaho did last season but there will be no guess work from my end this time around.
I’ve taken 6/1, Monkfish to win any race at the festival.
Bright Forecast (Arcadio)
Age: 6yo Trainer: Ben Pauling, Gloucester Owner: The Aldanati Partnership
Target: RSA Chase (Cheltenham) 33/1
A horse flagged up in last year’s 20 Jumpers to Follow, Bright Forecast unfortunately missed the entire campaign last season due to an irregular heart beat that has since been rectified.
A model for a fence, the son of Arcadio reached a level of 149 over hurdles, and stayed on notably in 2019 Ballymore Novice Hurdle to finish third.
Came from the point to point field, so staying 3m over fences appears to be exactly what he needs. BRIGHT FORECAST is only 6yo going chasing and I’d expect him to make up for lost time.
Ben Pauling loves him.
Energumene (Denham Red)
Age: 6yo Trainer: Willie Mullins, Closutton, Bagenalstown Owner: Tony Bloom
Target: Arkle Chase (Cheltenham) 40/1
I haven’t hidden my excitement about seeing Energumene over fences this season and nothing much has changed. By the same sire as Un Des Sceaux, the Tony Bloom owned 6yo came with a big reputation from Tom Lacey’s last November.
Without setting the world on fire in bumpers at Navan and Thurles, Energumene put in a flawless 19L winning performance on hurdles debut at Gowran Park the Saturday before Cheltenham.
Willie straight away sounded excited to see ENERGUMENE over fences and also gave reference to the horses ability to make Cheltenham 2021. He will have gone under many people’s radar but could shape up into an Arkle horse.
Age: 6yo Trainer: Willie Mullins, Closutton, Bagenalstown Owner: Simon Munir & Isaac Suide
Target: Mares Hurdle (Cheltenham) 11/1
Arguably the most impressive winner of last year’s Cheltenham Festival, the daughter of Nathaniel has only had five starts over hurdles and seems to come alive in the spring.
A girl with a big engine, CONCERTISTA has the option of chasing but with the introduction of the Mares Chase and the possibility of Honeysuckle / Benie Des Dieux heading down that route, surely the Mares Hurdle looks her obvious target.
Regardless of the opposition, the step up to 2m 4f around Cheltenham will play to her strengths and she probably represents the best ante post value across the entire festival for me.
Age: 5yo Trainer: Willie Mullins, Closutton, Bagenalstown Owner: Closutton Racing Club
Target: Dawn Run Novice Hurdle (Cheltenham) 8/1
By the same sire as Annie Power, SHEWEARSITWELL announced herself on the scene at this year’s Galway Festival when winning a bumper for the Closutton Racing Club.
Unbeaten in three starts, according to Willie, she works like his best novice at home. Her early season target is likely to be the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle and she has the option of taking a break over the Christmas period. All of her wins have come on good ground.
Looks incredibly balanced for a tall filly and jumps like a pro. I’ve taken 8/1 about her for the Dawn Run Mares Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Coquelicot (Soldier Of Fortune)
Age: 4yo Trainer: Anthony Honeyball, Dorset Owner: Geegeez.Co.Uk PA
Target: Dawn Run Novice Hurdle (Cheltenham) 33/1
Soldier of Fortune filly, related to Melbourne Cup runner up Heartbreak City. After two starts as a 3yo she improved to put a string of three bumper wins together from January to March this year.
COQUELICOT is ground versatile and doesn’t appear to be short of boot. I will be following her closely over 2m and beyond this season and 33/1 might represent some value for the Dawn Run Novice Hurdle.
Mica Malpic (Hunter’s Light)
Age: 3yo Trainer: David Cottin, France Owner: JP McManus
Target: Triumph Hurdle (Cheltenham) 33/1
Easysland put French raider David Cottin on the map last march when he ran out a convincing winner of the Cross Country Chase for owner JP McManus.
McManus has once again backed the French yard with the purchase of 9L Compiegne scorer MICA MALPIC. The flashy chestnut showed a nice jumping technique on his first and only start and looks set to be brought over to the UK to contest a 3yo hurdle before the end of year.
You can get 33/1 now for the Triumph Hurdle next March.
Keskonrisk (No Risk At All)
Age: 5yo Trainer: Joseph O’Brien, Pilltown Owner: Michael Grech
Target: Supreme Novice Hurdle (Cheltenham) 50/1
Was an incredibly impressive Fairyhouse bumper winner for Timmy Hyde on New Year’s Day and was since picked up for £350,000 at the Doncaster sales by Henrietta Knight on behalf of owner Mike Grech.
KESKONRISK has been sent to Pilltown to be trained by Joseph O’Brien and looks certain to be winning over hurdles. By French sire No Risk At All, who produced Champion Hurdle winner Epatante. Keskonrisk showed serious gears in his bumper which could suggest 2m over hurdles will be his trip.
50/1 for the Supreme Novice Hurdle is taken.
Gipsy De Choisil (Great Pretender)
Age: 4yo Trainer: Nicky Henderson, Berkshire Owner: Simon Munir & Isaac Suide
Target: Ballymore Novice Hurdle (Cheltenham) 40/1
There is something slightly charming about a Simon Munir owned / Nicky Henderson trained French recruit. The once raced and unbeaten GIPSY DE CHOISEL could be the latest one to be unleashed this winter.
This horse showed plenty at Angers in May. To give an account, Gipsy De Choisel was held up early before picking off the entire field between 2m and 2m 4f to win by a short head. The Great Pretender 4yo warmed to his jumping and travelled stronger the further in distance they went.
Soft ground won’t be a problem to him and he demonstrated a good attitude and stuck his head down when asked for effort. Might be one for middle distance trips. Could shape into a Ballymore type.
Master Debonair (Yeats)
Age: 6yo Trainer: Colin Tizzard, Dorset Owner: The Gosden Mob
Target: Champion Hurdle (Cheltenham) 50/1
Was shaping into a leading Supreme contender last season when clocking a decent time when winning the G2 Trial at Ascot in December. The Tizzard horse returned lame after being sent off favourite against Sporting John at Ascot again in February, before missing the Festival in March.
Only 6, MASTER DEBONAIR will need to improve at least a stone to challenge at G1 level but he will be going into battle under the radar. Something like the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle or the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton could be a good starting point.
Sizable Sam (Black Sam Bellamy)
Age: 5yo Trainer: Jeremy Scott, Somerset Owner: The Hopefuls and Kelvin Hughes
Target: Ballymore / Albert Barlett Novice Hurdle (Any Race 40/1)
The first of two Jeremy Scott horses included in this seasons 20 Jumpers to Follow. SIZABLE SAM was named accordingly and has the real stamp of a good horse. Having made most of the running on bumper debut, the son of Black Sam Bellamy was unlucky to get collared in a strong bumper at Wincanton.
When winning at Warwick in February, the imposing 5yo showed versatility and came from off the pace to score comfortably. He has been purchased by the Kelvin Hughes Syndicate since and can provide them with some fun this winter.
Could develop into a graded novice hurdler.
Handicappers to Note
Night Edition (Authorised)
Age: 4yo Trainer: David Pipe, Devon Owner: Mercer & Gent
Target: Greatwood Hurdle / Ascot Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle (G3), December
Second in the Boodles Juvenile Hurdle at the festival, travelling like the winner when turning into the straight. Only raised 4Ibs by the British Handicapper and looks on a very winnable mark on 137.
Trainer David Pipe has spoke about giving NIGHT EDITION one run on the flat before lining up in something like the Greatwood Hurdle or Betfair Handicap Hurdle at Ascot in December. I’d be disappointed if he couldn’t win a nice pot this winter.
Dashel Drasher (Passing Glance)
Age: 7yo Trainer: Jeremy Scott, Somerset Owner: Tully & Lock Partnership
Target: Hennessy Handicap Chase (Newbury) 33/1
Rated 145 over fences and over hurdles, the 7yo son of Passing Glance will look to build on his three starts over fences last season. The pick of his form was when finishing 3L second to Champ at Newbury last November.
DASHEL DRASHER is a gorgeous looking specimen who will be winning some big chase races in his career. He has run well at Newbury and I wouldn’t surprised if he goes straight for the Hennessy Gold Cup.
Milan Native (Milan)
Age: 7yo Trainer: Gordon Elliott, Longwood Owner: Gigginstown House Stud
Target: Grand National Chase (Aintree) 40/1
The only Gordon Elliott entry this year, MILAN NATIVE has done nothing but improve since stepping up in distance beyond two and a half miles. Still only a 7yo rated 149, expect Gordon to protect his mark for later in the season.
An old fashioned chaser to look at, I’m sure the Grand National will come onto his radar and he remains unexposed over staying trips. Worth noting he was only pricking his ears at the line when winning the Kim Muir.
Jumps Season 2020 / 2021 – Ante-Post Recommendations:
- Chacun Pour Soi (6/1) Queen Mother Champion Chase / 2pt win
- Soaring Glory (40/1) Supreme Novices Hurdle / 0.5pt win
- Hoi Polloi (66/1) Supreme Novices Hurdle / 0.5pt win
- Monkfish (6/1) Any Race at Cheltenham 2021 / 1pt win
- Concertista (11/1) Mares Hurdle / 2pt win
- Shewearsitwell (8/1) Dawn Run Mares Novice / 1pt win
- Coquelicot (33/1) Dawn Run Mares Novice / 0.5pt win
- Mica Malpic (33/1) Triumph Hurdle / 1pt win
- Keskonrisk (50/1) Supreme Novice / 0.5pt win
- Gipsy De Choisel (40/1) Ballymore Novice / 0.5pt win
- Sizable Sam (40/1) Any Race at Cheltenham 2021 / 0.5pt win
- Master Debonair (50/1) Champion Hurdle / 1pt win
- Milan Native (40/1) Aintree Grand National / 0.5pt win
Check out https://champ.ie/ante-post-portfolio/ for updated portfollio.
Advised previously in March/April 2020
- Goshen (6/1) Champion Hurdle / 4pt win
- Energumene (40/1) Arkle Chase / 1pt win
- Bright Forecast (50/1) RSA Chase / 1pt win
- McFabulous (20/1) Stayers Hurdle / 1pt win
- Dashel Drasher (33/1) Ladbroke Trophy Newbury / 1pt win
- Topofthegame (20/1) Gold Cup / 3pt win
By Barry Doyle 09/10/2020