Kingsy's 50 to follow 

Kingsy Welcome:

Hello everyone and welcome to Kingsy's 50 To Follow, my first book ever to be published just in time for the new National Hunt season.

As many of you will gather, I have been writing blogs, news articles, hot young sire profiles and various other things on www.aidanobrienfansite.com for over a year and a half now, and I just thought it would be good for me to try something new this year, hence the new book.

I have really enjoyed typing up my list over the past week or so, picking out some unexposed and forgotten about horses rather than your Faugheen's, Vautour's and Jezki's, who all look set to shine and have good, solid, productive campaigns this year. 

I would like to place my extreme thanks to my great friend and AOBFS partner, Paul Rhodes, for helping me out with all the art and graphics needed to design this book you are looking at right now to the best possible outcome, and I am hugely proud of the job he has done, so thank you Paul for all of your help and assistance. 

I would also like to thank all of my great friends and fans who have shown great interest in not just my work on AOBFS, but now my new book, Kingsy's 50 To Follow 2015/16. It is now time for you all to turn over and engross yourselves in the horses I am most looking forward to seeing in action this term, enjoy. 



Novice Hurdlers:

Yorkhill (Presenting x Lightning Breeze (IRE) 


- Owned by Graham Wylie, Yorkhill is a son of Presenting who made an instant impact in the bumper division last term after arriving from his point-to-points, winning two out of two, a 2m2f race at Gowran Park and then seeing off Ok Corral in very good style at the Punchestown Festival. I see this horse probably as more of a Neptune type, but could easily have the speed for a Supreme. His pedigree suggests he'll be a horse who will act best on a sound surface. 


Nambour (Sholokhov (IRE) x Nanouska (GER) 


- Also in training in Closutton but this time owned by Gigginstown House Stud, Nambour arrives on the novice hurdling scene this season with quite a reputation in Ireland already. An easy winner of his 3m point-to-point at Dromahane, Nambour won his bumper at Punchestown in May by three lengths to sign off his season. I can't personally see this horse being fast enough for a Supreme, and wouldn't be surprised if he was an Albert Bartlett horse, but could also end up in the Neptune with Yorkhill seen as both are owned by different people.


Disko (Martaline x Nikos Royale (FR) 

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- A change from the battalions of Willie Mullins, I will be watching Disko closely this season. A facile winner of his bumper debut (fifteen lengths) at Punchestown, this horse took the step up to Grade 1 level in his stride when a good second to Bellshill at the Punchestown Festival, which was a very good run considering his racecourse experience. Hard to see where his future lies this year and what his targets could be but definitely one to follow. 


Limini (Peintre Celebre x Her Grace (IRE) 


- A decent performer on the flat in France on her earlier days, winning three out of six, Limini beat a very good yardstick in Sandymount Duke on her hurdling debut at Punchestown in May, pointing herself out to the fans that she is indeed one to follow. It looks pretty obvious where her main target of the season will be, and that is the new novice hurdle for Mares that has just opened at the Cheltenham Festival in March, and will be interesting to see how good she is for the future considering she will probably run into Annie Power somewhere down the line.


Sizing Killarney (Mahler x Check The Forecast (IRE) 


- Sizing Killarney, trained by Henry De Bromhead and owned by Mr and Mrs Potts, is a horse who is very high in my list of horses to follow this season. I remember scouting through the card at Cork and found him making his maiden hurdle debut, so I backed him thinking he would be a decent prospect considering his connections. He jumped, travelled, and won in a style which suggested to me he could be a top notcher. With Mullins' string it's very easy to put together a list of races for these novices as he goes for the same ones every year, but with De Bromhead it's very hard to predict, but wherever he goes he will sure have my support.


Castello Sforza (Milan x Young Elodie (FR) 

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- Castello Sforza is a horse who I remember watching win his Fairyhouse bumper in good style when going through the Tattersall's Ireland catalogue, and after talking with friends and seeing some talk on the web, he seems a horse who hasn't just caught my eye, and is very well regarded. Everyone will be looking at the Ricci horses, the Gigginstown horses and the Graham Wylie horses to pick out a Supreme, Neptune, Albert Bartlett horse this season, but for those not well educated on the flat game, Pearl Bloodstock is owned by the powerful Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, also owner of Qatar Racing who retain Andrea Atzeni, and I can see this horse being a Supreme dark horse. 


Pylonthepressure (Darsi x Minnie O'Grady (IRE) 

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- After being bought by Rich Ricci after his five length PTP win in May last year, Pylonthepressure left quite an impression on the bumper division last season, running away with his first two starts in Thurles and Naas by an aggregate of fifteen lengths. He was well fancied in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham before being withdrawn, and didn't run at all badly when fifth to Bellshill at the Punchestown Festival, beaten only six lengths. I think he has a big future now being campaigned over timber, and I can see him having a good season.


Petit Mouchoir (Al Namix x Arnette (FR) 


- After a successful 3m point-to-point win, Petit Mouchoir made an instant impact in his first bumper, dismantling his field at the Punchestown Festival by upwards of six lengths. He is a big, imposing young horse who looks every inch a chaser (Yes, that old cliche again), and would probably appreciate a longer trip this year. He'll handle a bit of cut in the ground, and could see him being the perfect Albert Bartlett contender this year for Gigginstown and Willie. 


Magic Mustard (Stowaway x Honey Mustard (IRE) 


- Many of you might see Magic Mustard as a selection from left field, but I remember this horse making his debut at Uttoxeter in May, in a bumper where he finished eighth of twelve, with greenness getting the better of him as you'd expect. He travelled well that day I thought and think he will only improve for a longer trip. He is owned by a couple of friends of mine in the Magic Mustard Partnership and is highly thought of. He possesses a bit of a temper but he isn't short of talent and I think he could have a good season ahead of him this year with racecourse experience under his belt. He is in training with Charlie Longsdon this season and is from the sire of Champagne Fever, Hidden Cyclone, so hopefully this lad is on his own road to success. 


Ice Cold Soul (Stowaway x Western Whisper (IRE) 


- Ice Cold Soul has a pedigree which gives him a reputation to be a success at the National Hunt game, as he is a full-brother to Grade 2 winner Outlander, who I think very highly of and that is what most attracts me to this fella. He is a very smart horse in his own right too, running away with a point-to-point, winning by eight lengths, before moving on up to win two bumpers, though he lost his last racecourse appearance. He is in training with Noel Meade after being bought for 85,000 euros as a three-year-old, and will race in the high profile Gigginstown House Stud silks. 


Novice Chasers:

Emerging Talent (Golan x Elviria (IRE)

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- Originally trained by T J Nagle Jr in his early four-year-old days, Emerging Talent won his only bumper start at Naas in March 2014 just after turning five, beating a very smart horse in Sub Lieutenant, and was soon on the move after attracting a lot of interest. He landed at Paul Nicholls yard in Ditcheat, where he finished second on all of his novice hurdle appearances bar once, when he fell behind L'Ami Serge at Ascot. It is pretty tricky to campaign a six-year-old hurdler who doesn't have Champion Hurdle class unless you want to run in handicaps all season, and this horse is usually a solid jumper so you can see why connections want to go chasing with him. Paul Nicholls has been happy with his schooling so I think he is one we have to follow this season in the novice chasing ranks. 


Aux Ptit Soins (Saint Des Saints x Reflexion Faite (FR)

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- A brand new French import for the Paul Nicholls team just in time for the Cheltenham Festival when purchased by John Hales, this gorgeous looking grey made a big impression when landing the Coral Cup on his debut under Sam Twiston-Davies, travelling strongly thoroughout, and recovered well from a mistake three out to cling on with a narrow lead at the back of the last and score by a neck from Zabana. He's a horse who can only improve with age and experience, and now being sent novice chasing which always looked his game on visual impression, I think we are looking at a serious Grade 1 horse down the line and the future looks bright for this young gelding. 


Fletcher's Flyer (Winged Love x Crystal Chord (IRE)

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- Another horse from the Irish point-to-point ranks, Fletcher's Flyer won his only point-to-point start in Ireland before moving to Harry Fry's stable for his novice hurdling career. Ever since day one, Fletcher's Flyer has never faced a bad horse and his form stacks up quite nicely, beating Sub Lieutenant, Parish Business, Aqalim and finishing just behind Shantou Bob and Definitly Red. He's never been the most fluent jumper over hurdles but I am still very much looking forward to his chasing career and if Fry has ironed out those little chinks, which I am pretty certain he will have, then we have a seriously promising horse to follow this season and one who can bring some competition to the Irish battalions at Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown. 


Sizing John (Midnight Legend x La Perrotine (FR)

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- Sizing John is a horse who has had chaser written all over his face ever since the first day he saw a hurdle when beating Phil's Magic. Seen as Douvan's paige boy on three different occasions last season, Sizing John's success had been limited but he got his day in the sun at Christmas time, putting in one of the most impressive performances I had seen that season from a novice, beating Sub Lieutenant by six and half lengths. He then went on to finish third at Cheltenham, out-running his massive odds and was always in with a chance of winning, until his old nemesis Douvan come swinging just before two out. Henry De Bromhead was extremely happy with his performance, saying via his Twitter account: "Very happy with Sizing John. Turning for home I thought he might win, but he just got tired. Can't wait to send him chasing." We agree with you, Henry, the excitement is real. 


Bitofapuzzle (Tamure x Gaelic Gold (IRE)

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- Bitofapuzzle is a mare I have rated very highly ever since she won her bumper debut at Bangor a couple of years ago. She only tasted defeat for the first time in December last year, where she went down fighting at Haydock to another smart mare in The Pirate's Queen. Bitofapuzzle really matured though after the turn of the year, and 2015 has been extremely good to her, pulling out all the stops to beat Carole's Spirit at Ascot in a Grade 2 in bottomless ground on her first start over 3m, showing she has guts. She was then third at the Cheltenham Festival before handing out a jolly good beating to Petite Parisienne, now a two-time Grade 1 winner, in Fairyhouse. She is a huge strapping chasing type with a bit of class about her and another one I can't wait to see out on the track this season. 


Value At Risk (Kayf Tara x Miss Orchestra (IRE) 

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- A consistent performer when trained by Philip Fenton in Ireland during his bumper campaign, beating Windsor Park and then finishing third in the Cheltenham Champion Bumper, he was moved to Dan Skelton to go over sticks in Britain. A very smart performer over hurdles, beating a decent yardstick in Foryourinformation by twenty-two lengths at Newbury, he then finished second to Ordo Ab Chao on Cheltenham Trials Day before stepping up to 3m in the Albert Bartlett at the Festival. He didn't run too badly that day in fifth, but maybe didn't quite stay out the trip. Chasing was always the long-term future with him, and he promises to be a very smart performer again this season. 


Martello Tower (Milan x Johnsalice (IRE) 

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- Martello Tower was a horse I followed very closely over hurdles under the stewardship of Mags Mullins last season. Bar a fall in November, he has never finished outside the first two and has had some great battles with Outlander, beating him over 3m but just going down to him over 2m4f. Went to Cheltenham in March with a huge chance in my view after some rain got into the ground, and he was incredible in a driving finish to the line in the Albert Bartlett, seeing off Milsean by half a length. Another horse who promises to be very good over larger obstacles, and I am pretty sure all being well, he will be an RSA horse come March. 


Kitten Rock (Laverock x The Cat Eater (FR) 

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- Kitten Rock is a horse I think is going to have a very good season over fences this season. He was nothing flash on the flat in his earlier days but has thrived over hurdles, with his best season to date definitely being last year, winning four in a row, including two Grade 3's and a Grade 2, improving with every single run, before a solid 6th in the Champion Hurdle behind Faugheen. Would have an excellent shout in an Arkle should everything go to plan with him, and I can see some very good tussles with Douvan over the coming season.


Minella Rocco (Shirocco x Petralona (USA) 

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- With only three starts under his name so far, Minella Rocco has the perfect unblemished record to go to war with this season. A runaway winner of his sole PTP start, giving a beating to the decent Taj Badalandabad before two further facile successes over hurdles, firstly at Kempton over 2m5f and then at Newbury over 2m4f. Missed his intended Cheltenham target unfortunately, but is a horse I am really looking forward to being unleashed over fences and remember A P McCoy saying he was one of the horses he was most regretting not getting to ride this season before retirement. 


Killultagh Vic (Old Vic x Killultagh Dawn (IRE) 

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- A very easy winner of his maiden hurdle in Clonmel last season, Killultagh Vic had a consistent and progressive season, finishing second to Grade 1 winner L'Ami Serge at Ascot and Outlander at Leopardstown, his jumping improved a good bit when winning the Martin Pipe at the Cheltenham Festival, before stepping up to Grade 1 company and winning the 3m Novice Hurdle at Punchestown, progressing again. Another solid RSA horse this season should everything go to plan, and will improve for the longer trips. 



Hurdlers:

Qualando (Lando x Qualite Controlee (FR)

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- Qualando has been very progressive for Paul Nicholls since arriving from France in 2014. His British debut didn't go to plan when beaten a short-head as odds-on favourite in a maiden hurdle at Exeter, but he made up for that exactly a month later, winning back at the same course but slightly up in distance. He didn't have to improve to win the Fred Winter at the Festival, showing what a good prospect he was, but he didn't quite handle the step up to Grade 1 level on his final start of the season at Punchestown, finishing seventh to the mare Petite Parisienne. The plan for Qualando and for Bouveuril was originally to go novice chasing to make use of their four-year-old allowances but with such limited opportunities for hurdlers rated over 135 these days, champion trainer Paul Nicholls has decided to keep them over hurdles for the time being and will be aimed at good handicaps like the Greatwood at Cheltenham's Paddy Power Gold Cup meeting in November. 


Thistlecrack (Kayf Tara x Ardstown)

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- I think Thistlecrack is a horse who really came to life at the back end of his novice hurdling campaign last season and is a force to be reckoned this season. After getting off the mark at Wincanton in a class four, he got beat sixty-one lengths in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham, looking pretty ordinary and out of his depth, but after winning at Ascot down in grade on Valentine's Day and then a narrow fifth in a Sandown handicap, he pulled a thirteen length demolition of Vyta Du Roc pretty much out of nowhere, to the shock of us all, with the bookies in overdrive as a friendless 25/1 shot bolts in at one of Britain's biggest festivals. Thistlecrack was of course fancied to follow that up with a win at Punchestown, but was trapped for room on the inside and was forced to come out wide at a crucial stage, getting within half a length of Killultagh Vic at the finish but a little bit too late. I initially thought we'd see Thistlecrack as another to join the chasing ranks but I think team Tizzard have made the right call in the end with the staying hurdles division very much there for the taking this year. 


All Yours (Halling x Fontaine Riant (FR)

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- All Yours is another horse who has to be considered as one of the most improved from last season, no-one saw him winning a Grade 1, but he pulled it off. All Yours first burst on the scene when a ten length winner of his maiden hurdle in Taunton, and the upward curve began there, going on to finish second to Beltor at Kempton, where the form was hardly given a boost, and was then 5th to Qualando at the Cheltenham Festival in the Fred Winter. He sprung us all a surprise when he beat Triumph third Hargam and Chepstow Grade 1 winner Bristol De Mai at Aintree, and his trainer says there should be a lot more to come, which his sires produce tend to find with age. He will start his season off in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton with his big seasonal target being the Christmas Hurdle, but he will need that said improvement to figure a part in a race such as that never mind win it, but he surprised us all last season and that is why I think he is an unexposed horse to follow this term who still has relatively low mileage.


Zabana (Halling x Gandia (IRE)

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- Zabana, like All Yours, is another son of Halling to have gone on a steep upward curve at the back end of last season. This horse first caught my eye when he beat Sizing Codelco by six lengths at Navan in January, and then improved again to finish second in a tight finish to Aux Ptit Soins at the Cheltenham Festival. He bowed out for the season with a far from disgraced third in the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle at Punchestown behind the magnificent old warriors Jezki and Hurricane Fly. It remains to be seen whether he can move up again to win a Grade 1 this term, and he is one who I think many will have forgotten about in a race that evolved around two horses, but he will most definitely be a force to be reckoned with this season at a slightly lower level. 


Sub Lieutenant (Brian Boru x Satelitte Dancer (IRE)

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- A horse who is yet to reach his full potential, Sub Lieutenant for me is one who could be going under the radar this season. Trained by Sandra Hughes and owned by Gigginstown, he has ran into some of the finest novices in the game to date and ran very well to boot. Just a few names he fell short to over the past couple of seasons include Emerging Talent, Fletcher's Flyer, Nichols Canyon on more than one outing, Sizing John and Killultagh Vic, but did get his chance to show off what he is really capable of when beating Milsean by five and a half lengths in a Grade 2 at Thurles in late February, a race which has since been made to look very good form with Milsean running an incredible race to finish just half a length second in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle. He is a horse who does seem to act best with some juice in the ground which will only benefit his chances of landing a big one this winter, and he is one of the hurdlers I am most looking forward to being honest. 


Arctic Fire (Soldier Hollow x Adelma (GER) 

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- Played paige boy a good few times last season, failing to win in seven starts but never out of the places. His finest runs included a third to Irving at Newcastle, a second and third behind Hurricane Fly in Leopardstown and two seconds to Faugheen in the blue riband at Cheltenham and then in Punchestown. Looked certain to land his first and well deserved win of the season in the Aintree Hurdle inbetween Cheltenham and Punchestown, travelling with effortless ease over 2m4f but took a tumbling fall at the last, leaving Jezki to score in splendid isolation. Has a huge season ahead of him this season, hope to see him get that big win.


Tara Point (Kayf Tara x Poppet) 

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- Since easily winning her bumper at Taunton in April 2014 under trainer Paul Nicholl's nephew, Harry Derham, Tara Point has thrived over hurdles and has been incredibly consistent. She landed her first win over timber at Exeter in November, winning as easy as she liked (fifteen lengths at the finish) before an excellent run in defeat behind Vyta Du Roc at Sandown in a Grade 2, being a persistent danger throughout and then getting back to winning ways in a Listed race at Taunton in December. Could do even better this season and a mare I am looking forward to following closely. 


Shaneshill (King's Theatre x Darabaka (IRE) 

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- A top bumper performer a couple of seasons back, finishing second in Cheltenham's Champion Bumper before reversing the places with Silver Concorde in Punchestown, Shaneshill has made the transition to hurdles very seamlessly, winning a Grade 2 and finishing second in two Grade 1's then third in the other including the Supreme Novices' Hurdle. Didn't quite stay 3m I don't think in Punchestown, but worth another crack at the trip I'd say, and definitely has the speed for a Champion Hurdle, though beating Faugheen will be no easy task.


Sempre Medici (Medicean x Sambala (IRE) 

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- Very highly regarded last season by Willie Mullins and shown lots of promise when winning his maiden hurdle in facile fashion at Cork in November. His jumping was still leaving a little bit to be desired when second to Jollyallan at Kempton on Boxing Day, and failed to cut the mustard at Grade 1 level, twice well-beaten by Nichols Canyon. Won a Grade 2 in very good fashion at Punchestown though and on that evidence he could improve a bit this season and pick up a nice race or two somewhere down the line.


Alvisio Ville (Visionary x Murphy Ville (FR) 

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- This horse first burst on the scene at Leopardstown's Christmas Festival last season when landing a maiden hurdle very impressively in rain softened ground under Paul Townend. He was then chucked straight into Grade 1 company and I personally backed him for the Neptune at 20's, but that didn't all go to plan when third to Nichols Canyon and Windsor Park in the Deloitte over 2m2f and was seventh of twelve and twenty-five lengths behind Douvan in the Supreme. Still capable of much better, and a horse I wouldn't quite give up on just yet.



Chasers:

O'Faolains Boy (Oscar x Lisa's Storm)

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- O'Faolains Boy first burst onto the chasing scene when a ready winner of the Reynoldstown Novices' Chase at Ascot, a race known as a leading RSA Chase trial for many years and has been won by some very good horses, including Albertas Run and Rocky Creek. He beat a certain Many Clouds that day before following up with the biggest win of his career to date, the RSA Chase, at the Cheltenham Festival. He sadly got injured at Aintree in the Mildmay Novices' Chase the following month, a race which turned out to be one of the best novice races of the season, won by Holywell, with Don Cossack chasing him home in second, Wonderful Charm in third and then subsequent Hennessy Gold Cup and Grand National winner, Many Clouds, in fourth. The injury that day forced him to be ruled out of the following season, but according to his trainer Rebecca Curtis, he is now back in the yard working under a full programme and is excited to have him back, we've just got to hope he retains all of his past ability and if he does, he is a horse who is very much being forgotten about this season. 


Ainsi Fideles (Dream Well x Loya Lescribaa (FR)

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- Another incredibly smart and consistent chaser to follow this season, Ainsi Fideles has a pretty impressive record over the larger obstacles, with seven wins from ten completed starts (pulled up in the eleventh). This horse, like O'Faolains Boy above, is a Reynoldstown Novice's Chase winner, but quite surprisingly didn't take his chance in the big one at Cheltenham, but instead ran in a two-horse race at Fakenham during Cheltenham week where he could only do what was expected of him, destroy his opponent at odds of 1/20. The explanation to why they didn't run in the RSA probably came when connections decided to have a crack at the Grade 1 Mildmay at Aintree, where he was beaten seventy-seven lengths into sixth by Saphir Du Rheu, and his season went out in a whimper rather than a bang, finishing third in a handicap at Haydock and then pulling up in another handicap at Uttoxeter. He is clearly a horse who has bags of potential and is capable of much better than he had been showing at the back end of the season, so hopefully this season we will see the Ainsi Fideles that was winning Grade 2's at Ascot on a more, frequent basis.


Shanahan's Turn (Indian Danehill x Chanson Indienne (FR)

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- Shanahan's Turn looked a real star in the making judging by his first two starts over fences, beating subsequent RSA third Wounded Warrior by three and three quarter lengths at Punchestown and then Indevan in a Grade 2 at the same course over slightly shorter. I don't think he stayed 3m1f at Leopardstown at Christmas time when fifth of seven to Don Poli,but he was entitled to run much better than he did, leaving connections scratching their heads. He carried on losing his way long into the new year, pulling up at Leopardstown in February, falling three out at Punchestown in May, and then only beating one home at Killarney in the middle of July, which was sad to see considering all the early potential he was showing us. But it was his next and most recent start that we finally got to see the real Shanahan's Turn back on song, when he demolished his field in none other than the Galway Plate, a showpiece race for the jumpers in the summer, and the beam on his trainer Henry De Bromhead's face was unbelievable. I think the key to Shanahan's Turn has finally be found. Give him 2m4f and a sound surface and he will produce the results, I am extremely looking forward to seeing him back in action this year, he's a horse who I have little soft spot for. 


Foxrock (Flemensfirth x Midnight Light (IRE)

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Foxrock is a chaser that many might be forgetting about this season. Ted Walsh's charge had a very productive season last term, running some good races to finish in the money in some hot handicaps before winning one himself at Leopardstown in late January. He ran a career best when just three quarters of a length second to Carlingford Lough in the Irish Hennessy, making A P McCoy show his magic in the saddle to hold on one final time in a Grade 1. He was disappointing at the Cheltenham Festival in the Ryanair where he simply didn't have the speed to keep up with the best in that division, and I can see him having another good season this campaign providing he is kept at his own level which is clearly the Grade 1 staying chases.


Vroum Vroum Mag (Voix Du Nord x Naiade Mag (FR) 

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- Since arriving in Willie Mullins yard from France last season with consistent bumper and hurdles form already to her name, she was campaigned straight off over fences and has been absolutely devastating in five starts so far, with a combined winning aggregate of sixty-one lengths, showing just why she is a force to be reckoned with this season. The way she put Elsie to bed in Thurles no words could really describe how impressive she was that day, and I think she has the ability and the class to mix with the boys this season and I'll be very shocked if she isn't apart of Willie Mullins' battalion heading to Cheltenham in March. 


Saphir Du Rheu (Al Namix x Dona Du Rheu (FR) 

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- A smart hurdler in his earlier days, Saphir Du Rheu embarked on a new challenge in the early part of last season, going novice chasing. He tipped up on his first start but quickly made up for that a week later in Exeter. He was stepped up to Grade 1 company for the Feltham on Boxing Day where he again fell, so connections were forced to make a decision and that was to go back over hurdles to boost his confidence jumping again. He won the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham before finishing second in the World Hurdle at the Festival, and then went back chasing at Aintree where he absolutely demolished his field in spectacular fashion. If he can keep his balance over fences this season he has a huge year ahead of him, and promises to be a danger to Vautour in the King George should we get to see that. 


Dynaste (Martaline x Bellissima De Mai (FR) 

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- A beautiful grey gelding I have always had a lot of time for. The first time I really noticed Dynaste was when he was a runaway winner of the 3m Feltham Novices' at Kempton a couple of years ago. He was the Ryanair Chase winner in 2014 over 2m4f and was second in the King George right at the end of the year. I have always thought he would be better over 3m, but any further really stretches him and with a good break since injury now behind him, I hope to see him back to his best and winning Grade 1's over 2m4f-3m, with the Ryanair Chase again sure to be his big seasonal objective all being well. 


Valseur Lido (Anzillero x Libido Rock (FR) 

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- Useful enough over hurdles a couple of seasons ago when in the shadows of Faugheen, Valseur Lido has thrived over fences this past season just gone. He won the Grade 1 Drinmore early on before losing out to Apache Stronghold (who I also recommend you follow this year) in the Flogas Novices. I was really expecting him to go for the RSA over the extended 3m at the Festival but instead finished third in the JLT, behind Vautour and again Apache Stronghold. He proved exactly why I thought he'd go for the RSA when finally stepped up to 3m at Punchestown, showing a very good turn of foot to beat the odds-on favourite and RSA winner Don Poli. Definitely one being forgotten about this season in regards to the Cheltenham Gold Cup should Gigginstown want to run him with Don Poli and Road To Riches


Al Ferof (Dom Alco x Maralta (FR)

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- Al Ferof is a horse I have always followed closely. He's had so many problems stopping him from fulfilling his potential but he is still a Grade 1 winner over hurdles and fences. Twice third in the King George for Paul Nicholls also, his owner John Hales felt a change of scenery may help him this year and therefore will race for Dan Skelton, Paul Nicholls' former assistant who knows the horse well. No doubt he will probably go for a third Amlin 1965 Chase at Ascot in a row to get his season kickstarted but it'll be interesting to see how differently Dan Skelton campaigns him and hopefully the change of scenery will get us to see a better Al Ferof in seasons to come. 


Sizing Granite (Milan x Hazel's Tisrara) 

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- My final selection of my ten chasers to follow this season. A decent hurdler in his earlier days, bar one fall over fences, he is yet to lose a race, and he deservedly bagged his Grade 1 in Aintree in April in a style that suggested to me he has many more performances where that came on in future and Henry De Bromhead is really good at campaigning his chasers in particular. It's still very early days to say he is the next Sizing Europe, but he is definitely on the right path to that tag and I am eagerly looking forward to seeing him move into open company this upcoming season. What a remarkable chasing division we have in our arsenal this season.


French and Irish Youngsters to look out for:

Bon Papa (Network x Gibelotte (FR) 

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- Bought for 150,000 euros last year by Aiden Murphy on behalf of JP McManus, Bon Papa is an unraced French recruit by Network out of Gibelotte who is sure to carry a lofty reputation whichever path he goes down this season due to his big connections. 


Jack The Wire (Scorpion x Smiling Away (IRE)

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- Bought at the Tattersalls Derby Sale in June with an impressive point-to-point victory to his name, Jack The Wire won his bumper debut in the style of a very good horse in Tipperary, dispensing of another smart rival in Knocknanuss. That win came after the Punchestown Festival which marks the start of a new season and can therefore race again in bumpers this year. A hot prospect for the future and one to keep an eye on. 


Device (Poliglote x Westonne (FR)

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- Trained by the master of French jump racing Guillaume Macaire, Device has done extremely well in his three-year-old hurdle races, finishing second on debut but has won his last three by three, six and two and a half lengths in that order. Bound to land on British or Irish soil at some point in his career, and is one we should all be keeping our eyes on. 


Invitation Only (Flemensfirth x Norabelle (FR) 

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- Made an instant impression on the National Hunt game when winning by seven lengths on his sole point-to-point start in March of this year. Sold privately to Andrea and Graham Wylie subsequently, will go into training with Willie Mullins. 


Carlita Du Berlais (Soldier Of Fortune x Chica Du Berlais (FR) 

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- Another French youngster who is building quite a reputation for himself, but this time trained by Francois Nicolle. The daughter of Soldier Of Fortune won her three-year-old hurdle debut with a five length success in Auteuil, before finishing second to Caresse D'Estruval stepped up in trip and then turned the tables on that rival later on in the month, closing out her season with an easy four length win. 


Well Taken (Presenting x Blu Louisiana (IRE) 

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- Another unraced French recruit purchased privately by JP McManus, Well Taken is by Presenting, a well-known sire on these shores with a high percentage of success, and is out of Blu Louisiana who is a half-sister to Grade 1 winning bumper and dual Grade 1 winning hurdler, Dunguib. 


Blazer (Network x Juppelongue (FR) 

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- Also trained in France by Guillaume Macaire, this gelding is another son of Network to be purchased by JP McManus. Blazer won his sole three-year-old hurdle start in France back in February, so he already has a head start coming over to Ireland, and again like Well Taken and Bon Papa, they already have lofty reputations to live up to. 


Black Ace (Yeats x All Our Blessings (IRE) 

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- Purchased at Cheltenham's Brightwells Premier National Hunt Sale for £95,000 by Noel Meade, Black Ace has just one PTP start to his name so far. The son of Yeats finished second over 3m to a nice son of Beneficial out of a Supreme Leader mare and is sure to build on that experience this term. Yeats has a good record with his bumper horses and this one looks another nice sort in the making, so I'm looking forward to seeing him back on the track. 


Thumb Stone Blues (High Chaparral x Jade River (FR) 

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- Withdrawn at the Cheltenham Brightwells Premier National Hunt Sale in May, Thumb Stone Blues has rocked up in Ireland to be trained by J R Barry. This son of High Chaparral won his bumper debut in Kilbeggan in May but ran into a nice bumper performer from the Willie Mullins stable, Fugi Mountain, at the Galway Festival last month and has a bright future ahead of him. 


Monbeg Notorious (Milan x Borleagh Princess (IRE) 

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- Another horse to be purchased out of Cheltenham's Brightwell Sale in May, Monbeg Notorious commanded a big fee of £155,000 and went to Gordon Elliott after catching the eye in his five length point-to-point win just five days previous in Tralee. All the signs seem to be good about this horse, and is therefore one to keep on side in bumpers this coming season. 





 

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