NH Horses to Follow – Paul Ferguson
Following our interview with Paul Ferguson – author of Jumpers to Follow 2014/15 – Paul has kindly provided a snap shot of five from the book to look out for this season…..
JOSSES HILL (Nicky Henderson)
A high-class novice hurdler last term, Nicky Henderson’s imposing six-year-old is expected to take high rank among the 2m novice chasers this time around.
The good looking Winged Love gelding has the size and scope to make a big impact over the larger obstacles and, while he finished runner-up in a couple of Grade 1s last season, I will be disappointed if he doesn’t register at the highest level during his first campaign over fences.
The Henry VIII at Sandown in early December is likely to provide him with the first opportunity to do just that, whilst the Wayward Lad at Kempton over Christmas is another Henderson likes to target with his leading 2m novice.
Given this week’s news that My Tent Or Yours and Vaniteux will both remain over hurdles (news that broke at the stable Open Day on Sunday), Josses Hill looks the main player in the division from Seven Barrows and it will be disappointing if he doesn’t arrive at Cheltenham as a leading contender for the Arkle.
KING’S TEMPEST (Warren Greatrex)
Given the success of the stable’s bumper performers during the spring, Warren Greatrex can be expected to enjoy plenty of success with his novice hurdlers this season and this new recruit should certainly add to his tally.
A bumper winner at Warwick for Nigel Twiston-Davies, the giant son of Act One created a good impression, despite appearing to find the track a little tighter than ideal.
From a good family the owner/breeder knows well, King’s Tempest is another imposing individual who looks a smashing long-term prospect. While chasing will ultimately be his game, the five-year-old should be able to make his mark in staying novice hurdles this season.
MILSEAN (Willie Mullins)
As ever, Willie Mullins has plenty of ammunition to go to war with in the novice hurdle division this winter and I was particularly taken with Milsean on a couple of occasions last term.
Another strapping sort who will want a fence in time (spot the theme), the five-year-old won his sole start between the flags before bolting up by 7 lengths on his debut under rules, at Navan in January.
Ridden with restraint when beaten by another Gigginstown-owned runner in the shape of No More Heroes at Naas the following month, the Milan gelding returned to winning ways when recording a bloodless 25 length success at Limerick in mid-March.
Clearly at home on deep ground, it will be disappointing if he doesn’t develop into a smart staying novice and the Grade 3 contest back at Limerick over Christmas (won last year by Faugheen) could be an option; he could easily develop into an Albert Bartlett contender.
STELLAR NOTION (Tom George)
Runner-up in an Irish point, Stellar George made a winning debut for Tom George and Roger Brookhouse in a bumper at Bangor in December, beating the useful Desoto County (won twice over hurdles since) by a couple of lengths.
Stellar Notion went on to score on his hurdles bow at Newcastle, before failing to concede 6lbs to the potentially smart Un Ace, who went on to shape well for a long way in the Supreme Novices’ at Cheltenham.
The Presenting gelding begins the new season on an attractive handicap mark and, though he would make plenty of appeal over hurdles, it is hoped that connections send him straight over fences. If that is the case, he should not be missed in a novices’ handicap chase off 121 and, with the step up to 2m4f likely to bring about further improvement, he could end up being one for the novices’ handicap at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
TARA POINT (Paul Nicholls)
Paul Nicholls is another trainer with a strong looking novice hurdle team, which includes the exciting mare Tara Point.
A wide-margin points winner for Chloe Roddick, the grey defied a year off the track when making a hugely impressive winning debut under rules, in a Taunton bumper during April. While the form is nothing to get excited about, it was hard not to be impressed with the ease with which she travelled through the contest and she easily put the race to bed once asked the question.
The daughter of Kayf Tara should relish an extra half-mile once sent hurdling and she could be difficult to beat against her own sex over timber. The mares’ final at Newbury will probably be considered at some stage, but I suspect she might be rated too high by then and the David Nicholson at Cheltenham could become an option.
Paul Ferguson 24/09/14
Photo – PA Wire / John Giles
Find out the other 35 Leading Prospects in much more detail, plus plenty of other horses to follow in this year’s Jumpers To Follow
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