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NH Twelve To Follow – 2018/19
(Flat Ten To Follow is currently being worked on for the coming season)
Please find details of our 12 to Follow for the season as detailed below, we just couldn’t quite restrict the list to 10!!!
We have highlighted a number of horses that we fell could develop into genuine Cheltenham Festival contenders and have made a few Ante Post suggestions for March.
You’ll note that we’ve also added an option to win any race at Cheltenham, which is offered by some bookmakers and with the increased number of races in the 4 Day Festival format this is a slightly safer option, especially for the Novice events where runners generally have an entry in multiple races.
We’d advise just a small interest investment to begin with as we can always top up as the season progresses and the respective horses make their reappearance, as well as further updates regarding their specific targets.
Anthony Honeyball: Acey Milan – Ballymore Novices Hurdle – generally 33/1 (Non Runner)
Proved himself to be a very smart performer in his first season racing, winning 3 NH Flat races, two of which were at Listed level at Cheltenham and Newbury, before an excellent 4th in the Championship Bumper at The Cheltenham Festival. He raced up with the pace that day and just lacked the finishing gears of the front 3, staying on again near the line. He’s reportedly schooled over hurdles very well and whilst he’s likely to reappear over 2 Miles, it’s felt he’ll be suited by 2 ½ miles with the Ballymore at Cheltenham his most likely long-term target. He should hopefully win a few races on the way to the Festival once again.
Also 20/1 with William Hill to win any race at the Festival.
Upd: Ran 2nd on his hurdles debut on heavy ground, he’ll be much better on a sounder surface.
Disappointing again on his 2nd start over hurdles on soft ground. It’ll be a watching brief until his shows the spark from last year.
Returned after a break a much better horse winning a novice hurdle and Plumpton. – WON 11/8
3rd in a handicap on Saturday, 16th March.
Willie Mullins: Chant Neige – Mares Novice Hurdle – 12/1 with Ladbrokes, William Hill & Corals
Very much a dark horse having not raced on UK soil as yet, but she has been with Willie Mullins for a while now having had a slight injury preventing her from running last season. The stable are generally very patient with their high class imports and reports suggest that’s exactly the case here. She’s considered potentially very good and if all goes to plan then the Mares Novice Hurdle at The Festival will be her ultimate target for the season; a race where the stable have a formidable record having won all 3 races since it was added to the festival programme.
Also 8/1 with William Hill to win any race at the Festival.
Upd: A concern she hasn’t run this season yet, so if you haven’t backed her for Cheltenham, we’d hold fire for the time being.
Didn’t run at Cheltenham
Paul Nicholls: Clan Des Obeaux – Gold Cup– 50/1 with Skybet
Has been a horse we felt would make a top class chaser ever since he ran over hurdles as a 4yo. He’s progressed nicely and now looks ready to step up to the top grade with a couple of years experience over fences behind him. He excels in soft ground, as he demonstrated when winning really well at Haydock in November and he then ran a cracker when a fast finishing 2nd under top weight in a decent handicap at Cheltenham. Not at his best at Aintree on his final start he still ran a very creditable 3rd behind Might Bite. He’s expected to make his return to action in the Charlie Hall Chase and there is every possibility he’ll progress into a genuine Gold Cup contender.
Also 25/1 with Ladbrokes to win any race at the Festival.
Upd: Ran really well on his return at Haydock suggestion he’ll be competitive in the top chases this season.
King George Chase on Boxing Day – WON 12/1, jumping superbly and staying on strongly. Is now 10/1 for the Gold Cup.
Won the Denman chase very easily and is now 4/1 for the Gold Cup.
Ran a cracker at Cheltenham, but just faded into 5th, not quite getting home in the soft ground.
Gordon Elliott: Cracking Smart – RSA Chase – 20/1 with Bet365 & Skybet (Non Runner)
Missed last years Festival having picked up a slight injury, but he’s reportedly back in rude health and expected to make up into a very useful novice chaser, which connections have always suggested is where his future lies. That said he proved himself to be a pretty decent hurdler in his one season over the smaller obstacles. Winning two and then finishing runner up to Next Destination twice, and both times looking as though he’d really appreciate a stiffer text of stamina. That form is very strong and with Cracking Smart expected to make up into an even better chaser, he’s sure to be in for an exciting season.
Also 16/1 with William Hill to win any race at the Festival.
Upd: Latest updates suggest Cracking Smart will stick to hurdles this season following a small bit if back surgery.
G Elliott: “I think he’s a very good horse. But it’s getting on a bit in the season, and I might just keep him to hurdles.”
Ran a fine race when 3rd to Tiger Roll, a step in the right direction and plenty of promise for the remainder of the season.
Has been campaigned over hurdles following a return from injury, and has progressed with each race. He holds entries in the Stayers Hurdle, Coral Cup and Martin Pipe Hurdle. The two later races would make him a potentially interesting contender.
Ran in the Coral Cup, but this season has proven to be a tough one following his injury.
Phillip Hobbs: Gosheven
One that you may not have heard of as yet, but this lightly raced Phillip Hobbs trained 5yo is very well regarded and expected to make into a very nice type. Fifth on his only start in a bumper, he then ran a fair 3rd on his hurdling debut at Kempton, followed by a 5th place on his only subsequent run at Cheltenham in what was a decent Novice race. He stayed on really strongly that day suggesting he has plenty more to offer. The word is that he’s considered to be potentially very smart and connections have the choice of the novice route or perhaps taking advantage of what could be a potentially lenient handicap mark after one more run.
Upd: Ran well on his reappearance at Chepstow looking as though he’d be better for the run and for a step up in trip.
Paul Nicholls: Grand Sancy
Had shown some ability of a few of his outings last season, but was considered a little weak last season and has had a wind operation since running at Cheltenham. Runner up 3 times last year and then pitched into graded company he starts the season off a rating of 125 and is expected to take advantage of that.
Upd: 1st run this season at Chepstow – WON 11/2. Then ran a very good 2nd to an improving sort, before winning again on the 10th November. Followed up with another victory at Haydock making it 3 wins already.
Ran a cracker when 4th in a competitive handicap at Ascot. He looks to still be improving.
Stepped up again with a great run in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandow.
Won the Grade 2 Kingwell hurdle defeating two 150 rated hurdlers.
Unplaced in the Supreme at Cheltenham, but he’s had a remarkable season.
Paul Nicholls: Magic Saint
A French import for the Paul Nicholls team and where the messages have been very positive ever since his arrival from France and more so as the season proper comes closer. He ran to a decent level in France and starts his career here on a mark of 145. As a result he’ll be eligible for some of the decent handicaps at the start of the season where connections will be keen to take advantage of his 4yo allowance before the end of the year. Quoted at around 20/1 for the Bet Victor Gold Cup, that could well be the early season plan and is so, he’ll be sure to shorten up significantly between now and then. Whilst a 4yo hasn’t won this race previously, Paul Nicholls isn’t one to abide by those kind of stats having defied the odds, stats and set new records and boundaries over the past number of years.
Upd: Made his debut at Haydock in a Graduation chase and having travelled best, he just tired in the closing stages. He’ll be better for the run and may prefer slightly slower ground and a drop back in trip. Still very much one to keep on the right side.
Disappointed at Ascot, and may want to go left handed as he didn’t jump with the fluency of his debut.
Stepped back to 2 miles at Ascot and won really well. Is now Fav for the Grand Annual at Cheltenham.
Ran well in the Grand Annual, he’s sure to continue to progress.
Henry De Bromhead: Paloma Blue – Arkle Chase – 25/1 with William Hill (Now 10/1)
Was very progressive over hurdles and having won his maiden he ran very well in Graded company behind Samcro and then when 4th in the Supreme Novices Hurdle. He can be forgiven a final bad run after a long season. He was a little to keen in his races over hurdles and is very much a chaser in the making. Not short of speed, fences are expected to be the making of him and with not a lot to find on the leading novices last year he can take a high rank amongst the novices chasers, with the Arkle as the long term target.
Also 16/1 with William Hill to win any race at the Festival.
Upd: Disappointed on his chase debut, but the stable aren’t quite firing yet and he’ll prove himself better than that 1st outing.
A good winner of his 2nd start over fences at a generous 4/1, a big improvement and a step in the right direction for Cheltenham.
He’s still around 16/1 for the Arkle Chase.
With a few fancied runners now due to miss the Arkle, Paloma Blue is now around 10/1 and looks to hold really strong claims.
Disappointing at Cheltenham.
Noel Meade: Road To Respect – Gold Cup – generally 25/1 (Now 12/1)
Was an absolute revelation for us last year having landed some nice bets when winning at the previous years Festival for us. He’s very much at his best when racing on decent ground so that fact he managed to win a couple of times last year in what was a very wet season speaks volumes, and he still ran a cracker in the Gold Cup itself, before understandably getting tired in that ground. He’s reported to have strengthened up again for this season and can be a major player in all the big races in Ireland before coming over for another crack at the big one in March.
Also 16/1 with William Hill to win any race at the Festival.
Upd: Made his seasonal reappearance at Down Royal and absolutely bolted up, putting in a really impressive display. He’s now around 16/1 for the Gold Cup.
Ran a cracker in the Christmas Chase, finishing 3rd but having stumbled twice on the flat he did well to finish as well as he did and is now 12/1 for the Gold Cup.
A close 2nd in the Irish Gold Cup, it’s still all systems go for Cheltenham.
Having been re-routed to the Ryanair Chase he ran really well in 3rd place, just wasn’t as fluent as the front two over his fences.
Nicky Henderson: Santini – RSA Chase – generally 8/1 (Now 3/1)
Has already proven himself to be a top class novice over hurdles and with comments like “when he goes over fences you might see something special” from his all-conquering trainer, you must take note. A winner at Newbury on his UK debut, he then won a Grade 2 event at Cheltenham before a fine 3rd in the Albert Bartlett at the Festival. Following that up with victory in the Grade 1 novice hurdle at Aintree. He’ll be a force in all the home run staying novice chases and we’re looking forward to seeing him in action.
Also 7/1 with William Hill to win any race at the Festival.
Upd: Won really well on his chase debut at Newbury and is now around 4/1 for Cheltenham.
Ran a cracker staying on 3rd at Kempton on Boxing Day, looking for the world that the RSA test would be ideal and is around 3/1 for Cheltenham.
Ran really well in the RSA Chase, finishing a close 2nd following an slightly interrupted preparation.
Tom George: Summerville Boy – Champion Hurdle – generally 14/1 (Non Runner)
One we’ve been having small investments on throughout the summer for next seasons Champion Hurdle. Something that wouldn’t have crossed the mind after his first 3 hurdles races where he was beaten albeit by some nice types. Connections were adamant he was top class and that he just needed a decent gallop to chase. That occurred in a small field at Sandown where he showed his true colours when defeating Kalashnikov in impressive fashion in January. The runner up then won the Betfair Hurdle off a mark of 142 giving a really strong boost to that form. Next up the Supreme Novices Hurdle and with the stable not firing in the lead up to the meeting, he proved how good he was in not only winning the race, but over coming a big blunder at the 2nd last where he dropped back 4 or 5 places and then landing flat footed over the last. How he managed to get back up to win we’re not quite sure, but the turn of foot he showed was top class and if as expected he stays over hurdles with the Champion Hurdle in March the ultimate aim, he’s one we’ll be with all the way.
Also 8/1 with Paddy Power to win any race at the Festival.
Upd: Well beaten in the Fighting Fifth, but the race wasn’t run to suit and while he now has an uphill climb, we still have plenty of faith in him.
Beaten a fair way on his 2nd start as well, and whilst he did show a good deal more this time, travelling sweetly early on, he has a mountain to climb with regards the Champion Hurdle now.
Reportedly injured when running this season, so excuses for his performances, but a race against time to get him back on the track for Cheltenham.
Nicky Henderson: Turtle Wars
A bit of a dark horse and having shown promise over hurdles he’s expected to take advantage of his handicap mark now he’s likely to be sent over fences. Plenty of promise over hurdles including winning a maiden event at Huntingdon, he ended his season with a very respectable 5th in a decent handicap hurdle at Sandown where the ground was very testing. He’s a good moving sort and is likely to appreciate slightly better ground. He’ll start the season on a rating of 122 and it’ll be disappointing if he doesn’t prove a good deal better than that.
Upd: His reappearance can be put done as an unfortunate one. Getting interfered with by a loose horse and a faller, meant he never got involved. But he jumped nicely and will benefit from the outing.
Didn’t run as well as hoped on his 2nd start over fences. May be one to watch next time.