A Plus Tard, Henry De Bromhead,
Our star performer from the Cheltenham Festival having blitzed the field in the Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase, before a fair 3rd over 3 Miles at Punchestown. His best runs have come left-handed and recent reports from connections suggest they feel he’s best racing that way, so defeats at Gowran Park and Punchestown can perhaps be excused. If that is the case, then he could be a real force this season. He ran twice over fences last season, beating subsequent the Arkle winner at Naas before his emphatic victory at Cheltenham. A trip to Cheltenham for his reappearance is a possibility in November and we feel the long-term objective will surely be the Ryanair Chase for which he’s generally a 20/1 shot.
Update: Ran a nice race on his comeback at Nass over what would have been a slightly inadequate 2 mile trip. That should have put him spot on for his next race and the rest of the season.
Update: Won really well over 2 Miles and 1 Furlong at Leopardstown over the Festive period, beating the Fav for the Champion Chase. He’s now shortened from 20/1 into 7/1 for the Ryanair at Cheltenham.
Update: Ran very well in finishing 3rd in the Ryanair having been sent off 7/4 fav, but just didn’t travel well from the outset and just feels like one that got away.
Our Comments from Cheltenham:
Star Performance: A Plus Tard, Close Brothers Handicap Chase.
Making only his 4th chase start for Henry de Bromhead he put in an polish display of jumping to turn what is a notoriously competitive handicap into an absolute procession. Tracking the leaders, he jumped for fun, taking it up 2 out and clearing away as though the rest of the field stood still and watch, winning by an ever increasing 16 lengths. Having timed him from the 2nd last fence to the winning post he finished in a quicker time than the Arkle winner earlier in the day, having raced over half a mile further. If you also take into account the last really impressive winner of this race being Road To Respect a couple of years ago, winning by 6 lengths off a mark of 145. A Plus Tard won his race off a mark of 144 by 10 lengths further. Whilst you can’t take that literally as the quality of the opposition might not be the same, it gives you an idea of the performance A Plus Tard put in. By the same sire as Clan Des Obeaux, he looks to have the world at his feet and we can’t wait to see what he can do in the seasons to come.
Ballyarthur, Nigel Twiston-Davies,
Still relatively lightly raced for his age, he’s run some excellent races in some of the more demanding staying chases and is as is best in deep ground. He looked the likely winner in the Tommy Whittle Chase last season at Haydock in heavy ground but for getting collared close home having idled when going clear. He’s definitely capable of winning a nice race when encountering soft ground and with the recent weather may well have several opportunities this season, unlike last season when he only really got his conditions once, that being at Haydock.
Bright Forecast, Ben Pauling,
Proved himself to be a decent staying novice hurdler last season after only 4 runs over obstacles. A winner over 2 miles on his debut at Newbury, he then defied a penalty at Leicester to win by 3 ½ lengths from a fair sort. Still racing over 2 miles he was done for pace by the classy Mister Fisher at Haydock, but put up a decent fight against a much speedier opponent. Stepped up in trip at the Cheltenham Festival he ran a cracking race for one so inexperienced, staying on really strongly into 3rd place behind City Island and Champ, with plenty of higher profile names behind him. Reports suggest he’ll be gong novice chasing this season, with a race at Huntingdon his likely starting point. Apparently a natural over fences, he’s related to some nice saying chasers and could easily develop into a leading contender come Cheltenham in March.
Update: Reports suggest he’s had a slight setback, so may not be seen until the new year, with chasing potentially being put on hold until next season.
Also a notebook horse from Cheltenham last season:
Bright Forecast, 3rd Ballymore Novices Hurdle:
Stepping up on trip here he was held up out the back early on, but crept his way into the race nicely and stayed on really well into 3rd place. He’s a half-brother to a number of nice chasers, the step up to 3 miles could suit and he’s a nice prospect for fences next season. In the short term he can be competitive at this level over this trip or further.
Clan Des Obeaux, Paul Nicholls,
Impossible for us the leave him out of the list after last season, although he’s not our Gold Cup horse this season he may well be there as a leading player again come March. Comments from the yard suggest they really feel he’s better going right-handed and his form does perhaps back that up. Therefore a defence of his King George crown will surely be his main target and is as good or better than last year then he’ll be a major player. Still relatively young he’s sure to be placed well and will be hard to beat wherever he runs.
Update: Returned to action at Down Royal and ran an excellent race in finishing 2nd suggesting he’ll be a major player in the big 3 mile chases this year.
Update: Retained his King George crown in really impressive fashion. The test of 3 miles around Kempton seems to suit him perfectly.
Update: Disappointed in the Gold Cup with connections suggesting they’ll avoid Cheltenham from now on, as he hasn’t quite replicated his best form there.
Deyrann De Carjac, Alan King,
A fair season over hurdles last season, he didn’t quite fulfil early season promise, but nonetheless ran well each time but just lacking a change of gear over the smaller obstacles. A novice chase debut in May on soft ground saw in come out an easy winner and an early indication he’ll be a much better chaser. Having jumped the 1st fence that day a little erratically, he soon warmed tot eh task and was fast and slick over his fences. With that experience for the season ahead, he could progress into a nice chaser for the Alan King yard and potentially exploit his rating of 137.
Update: Stepped up in grade at Huntingdon, jumping superbly he ran out an impressive winner at a very pleasing 16/1.
Update: Ran an absolute blinder behind Champ and would perhaps benefit from dropping back to 2 miles.
Update: Ran another nice race behind Midnight Shadow at Cheltenham on New Years Day, although he wasn’t as fluent over his fences as he had been previously. Again, we’d be interested in seeing him over a short trip, or less of a stamina test.
Update: Well beaten at Cheltenham, but the soft ground over 2 1/2 miles wouldn’t have suited. He’s one not to give up on when getting a quicker test.
Ecco, Paul Nicholls,
A bit of a dark horse having come over from France and raced just twice last season as a juvenile hurdle, both times being given a really stiff test. A debut in the Grade 2 Adonis Hurdle at Kempton where despite being well beaten he did show plenty of promise, especially in the way he clears the hurdles. He then ran in the Triumph Hurdle and having been given a quiet patient ride out the back stayed on really nicely in the home straight into a very creditable 6th place. That experience won’t be lost on him this year and we can expect to see plenty of improvement.
Update: Made a winning return at Wincanton in what was a very straightforward task.
Update: WON his 2nd start of the season in equally impressive style, looking a potentially very nice novice hurdler.
Update: 3rd at Cheltenham in very soft ground, would prefer to returning to a better surface as conditions were extremely testing.
Update: A return to form at Kempton, when an excellent 2nd to Fred, giving 8lbs to the winner.
Update: Ran okay in the Betfair Hurdle, but wasn’t good enough at that level.
Update: Ran at Cheltenham, but wasn’t up to that test and his first attempt over an extended trip.
Lostintranslation, Colin Tizzard,
A decent novice hurdler, he really came into his own last season when sent over fences. Having competed against high class animals every time last season, he won in graded company at Cheltenham when outstaying Defi Du Seuil, before finishing runner up to the same horse both at Sandown and in the JLT at the Cheltenham Festival. He couldn’t quite cope with the change of gears Defi was able to produce, but was a long-term staying chaser still ran with enormous credit. Stepped up to 3miles for the first time at Aintree he really impressed and finished his race of very strongly beating the RSA Chase winner by 6 lengths. Staying is his game and with connections sure to have mapped out a plan for the season, it’ll be all roads leading to a tilt at the Gold Cup. He’s a really exciting chaser and can mix it with the best of the division for sure.
Update: Reappeared in the Colin Memorial Chase at Carlisle over 2m4f and in giving weight away to the field, he literally jumped and ran them silly. A really impressive display, he looks exciting. – Now generally 7/1 for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Update: Put in a tremendous performance to defeat Bristol De Mai at Haydock. He travelled like a dream and when asked found plenty to defeat a top class course specialist. It looks like all systems go for the King George, and he’s now Fav for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Update: For whatever reason he bombed out in the King George, never travelling or jumping well, he just didn’t run his race. A wind op has been suggested as a possibility if required, with the Gold Cup still very much on the agenda. Putting a line through this run, he still holds extremely strong claims for the big one in March.
Update: Ran a cracker in the Gold Cup to finish 3rd, a great effort after an interrupted preparation after Kempton.
Nube Negra, Dan Skelton,
Ran some nice races over hurdles last season and generally travelled like a classy horse. He perhaps should have won at Newbury having been asked to make up an awful lot of ground and may have found the ground a little quick on his final start at Ayr. We genuinely felt he’s be the stables plot for the County Hurdle this season, to follow on from Ch’tibello, but chasing looks to be the game for this season. A really big powerfully built animal, he has the scope for fences, so it’s perhaps a wise move by connections, backed up by a really impressive chasing debut at Warwick in October. Very slick over his fences he easily beat horses rated a good deal higher than him over hurdles and promises to be a classy novice chaser. It’ll be interesting how far he goes over fences and we just wonder if it’s also a bit of a project to protect a hurdles mark for the County Hurdle, a race which the yard seem to target each year.
Update: Made his 2nd chase start at Fakenham and won very easily again, he looks sure to step up in grade as the season progresses.
Update: Ran really well when 2nd in Grade 1 company at Sandown and can continue to be competitive at graded level.
Update: Ran well in the Kingmaker at Warwick finishing 2nd, he’s suited by a flat track and decent ground.
Saldier, Willie Mullins,
He was a decent juvenile hurdler the season before last, improving with each run and finishing the season winning the Grade 1 race at the Punchestown Festival on what was only his 4th run over hurdles. He only ran once last season when falling at the last in a race won by subsequent Champion Hurdle winner Espoir D’allen who sadly isn’t with us anymore. On that day at Naas, Saldier jumped and travelled really well and but for a fall at the last looked to have “The Champion” beaten, with 11 lengths back to Mr Adjudicator in 3rd. Saldier had only beaten Mr Adjuicator 3 lengths when winning as a juvenile at Punchestown, so looked to have improved significantly from a 4yo to a 5yo. Considering how Espoir D’allen subsequently disposed of all his opposition in his next 3 races which included an emphatic win in the Champion Hurdle, Saldier could be very good indeed. Reports suggests he’s in rude health for the coming season and is one we’re really looking forward to seeing, with the Champion Hurdle as a realistic aim even with his stablemate Klassical Dream heading the Ante Post markets.
Update: Did the job really well when winning the Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown, quickening in good style. He’s now 5/1 for the Champion Hurdle.
Update: Unfortunately will be missing The Cheltenham Festival, we’ll hopefully see him back on the racecourse again soon.
Trueshan, Alan King,
Yet to run over hurdles but one the stable have suggested as a juvenile hurdler for this season. Really progressive on the flat he’s won 3 of his 4 starts this season, with a really impressive victory at Newmarket last time. That was a hugely competitive handicap and he pulled clear of some very well regarded horses, racing off a flat mark of 93. Raised 10lbs for that win, a revised mark of 103 is pretty high for a horse entering the hurdles ranks, especially having raced just 5 times. The yard are renowned for having decent 4yo hurdles and this chap is an extremely exciting recruit with we suspect the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham being the target for the season.
Update: Having won again on the flat, there is a chance he’ll now remain on the flat for bigger prizes than the NH can offer.
Hopefully out Ten To Follow will provide plenty of interest throughout the season, and with 4 early season fancies for races at the Cheltenham Festival we’ve had a small Ante Post interest at big prices.
Cheltenham Ante Post – Each Way Lucky 15
A Plus Tard – Ryanair – generally 20/1 (now generally 5/1) 3rd at 7/4
Bright Forecast – RSA Chase – 25/1 Best Price, generally 20/1 (non-runner)
Saldier – Champion Hurdle – 20/1 Best Price, generally 16/1 (now generally 6/1) (non-runner)
Lostintraslation – Gold Cup – generally 10/1 (now generally 8/1) – 3rd at 10/1
The best cumulative odds are with either Corals or Betfred at just over 100,000/1 and prices are reflective of when the Ten To Follow and Ante Post bet was advised,
Fingers crossed and best of luck…