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Jumps horses to follow - Five horses for the notebook from Chepstow's weekend meeting

Chepstow's weekend meeting threw up some eyecatching performances.

Brian Healy lists five runners from Chepstow's weekend meeting which caught his eye and are worth keeping onside this National Hunt season.

Last weekend’s two-day meeting at Chepstow heralded in the start of the winter jumps season, and also the beginning of the long Road to the Cheltenham Festival for many.

A cracking two days saw some potential Cheltenham hopefuls strut their stuff over the Welsh venue as several big-gun handlers took the wraps off some future stars, and there was plenty to take out of the two days with several eye-catching performances

Here, Brian Healy gives his thoughts on the two days’ classy action at Chepstow, and he picks out a few horses who caught his eye throughout the course of the weekend.

Eventual race-winner Dynamite Dollars finished well on top of Saturday’s opening race, but it was arguably LOSTINTRANSLATION who caught the eye the most despite finishing runner-up to Paul Nicholls’ charge.

Colin Tizzard’s charge had travelled well into the race under a quiet Robbie Power ride before taking up the running four out when tanking; an unfortunate slip on landing three out robbed him of some momentum and he possibly just burned too much energy getting back into the race where he resumed the lead after the Nicholls runner blundered two out.

The pair then settled down to what was an epic scrap over the final two hurdles before Paul Nicholls’ charge asserted late to land the spoils.

Colin Tizzard's Lostintranslation caught the eye despite losing out at Chepstow on Saturday.

It was a hugely encouraging start by both horses, but the winner had had the benefit of runs in bumpers prior to that start; while Colin Tizzard’s charge had been running in point-to-point contests.

The race had been won twelve months previously by Altior, and while we probably didn’t see another Altior on Saturday, both horses should pay their way this term.

A lot of attention on Saturday was paid to the chase debut of Colin Tizzard’s Finian’s Rainbow who made a winning start over the larger obstacles, much like the yard’s Thistlecrack had done twelve months previously on the same card.

While he eventually won well, Paul Nicholls’ ALCALA may not have made it quite so easy for the Tizzard runner had he not stumbled and fell on the bend leaving the back straight.

Finian’s Oscar had already put in a couple of novice-like jumps up until that point, and jockey Brian Cooper had to get serious with the Oscar gelding for a few strides to close down the front pair of Aintree My Dream and Alcala before they broke away from him.

While he did make up the ground fairly easily, Paul Nicholls’ charge was travelling noticeably well and jumping for fun as he matched strides with Dan Skelton’s runner at the head of affairs.

The unfortunate fall robbed the race of any potential upset as the Skelton runner soon came under the pump from the saddle and looked beaten soon after turning in, and he failed to hold off the challenge up the run-in for second place from outsider Tintern Theatre.

It is debatable whether Alcala would have seriously threatened the Tizzard runner had he remained upright; but he had already won five races throughout the season including the Summer Plate, and the Nicholls runner can be given another chance when he next appears given he still appeared to have plenty left in the tank when suffering that mishap.

Finian's Oscar won well in the end at Chepstow, but it might have been a different story had Alcala not slipped and fallen on the bend.

Court Minstel produced arguably the run of the day to land the feature Silver Trophy, but it was the noteworthy run of runner-up SAM SPINNER on his handicap debut which caught the eye.

Jedd O’Keefe’s charge set out to make the race a proper test, and the writing looked on the wall for the Black Sam Bellamy gelding as the field closed on him three out. However, he battled on gamely and still held a narrow advantage jumping the last where he was slow into the hurdle and jinked right on landing to surrender the lead.

Had he jumped with a shade more fluency throughout the race, he might well have been difficult to peg back, and he may have gotten away with the error; but even given his late mistake, he battled all the way to the line to snatch the silver medal.

There is a big handicap to be won with Jedd O’Keefe’s charge this term, assuming the handicapper doesn’t react too harshly to that run, and he could be one to keep onside this term.

Alan King got off the mark on Sunday when MIA’S STORM produced a taking debut performance over fences to make a winning return to action and land a hat-trick of successes following wins at Doncaster and Haydock over hurdles in the first part of the year.

Aside from a poor jump at the second obstacle, the September Storm mare jumped well throughout and was seen travelling noticeably well still when taking aim at the leader after the 15th fence. 

With Wayne Hutchinson still appearing to have plenty of horse under him when delivering his challenge two out, she readily came clear of Colin Tizzard’s Elegant Escape, and she only needed pushing out to score comfortably in what was a very encouraging performance.

Although she was receiving weight all-round, she couldn’t have been more impressive given the way she jumped and travelled following her early mistake, and there is surely more to come from her this term.

Wayne Hutchinson enjoyed an armchair ride onboard Mia's Storm on Sunday at Chepstow.

The Grade Two Persian War Hurdle was the feature race of Sunday, and Colin Tizzard could have another potential star on his hands with VISION DES FLOS who was thrust into the deep end on his stable debut.

A winner for Robert Tyner in Ireland, where he landed a prestigious Punchestown bumper, new connections paid a significant sum to land the Balko gelding, and their outlay looks justified on early evidence from Sunday’s race where he can only improve for the experience.

Having pulled hard early, he settled behind the leaders and looked to be travelling well before a mistake three out saw him lose valuable momentum; the mistake looked to knock the stuffing out of him as he made another error at the second-last and his chance was gone.

However, he kept on pleasingly without seriously threatening to mount a late rally and the experience of that run against much more practiced rivals won’t be lost on him. Sure to progress for the run, he’ll win races this term and he could be another potent weapon for Colin Tizzard this term.

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Jumps horses to follow - Five horses for the notebook from Chepstow's weekend meeting

Brian Healy lists five runners from Chepstow's weekend meeting which caught his eye and are worth keeping onside this National Hunt season

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