Tote Ten To Follow Tips – Jon Vine finalises his stable for this year’s competition
To celebrate the return of this popular season-long competition, Jon Vine guides readers through his ten-horse stable for this year’s Tote Ten To Follow, as the Tote relaunches this fantastic competition on Wednesday 20th November.
After a week of deliberation, I’ve finally decided which ten horses will be part of my stable for the new and improved Tote Ten To Follow competition. I’ve had to leave some extremely talented horses in the side-lines, but I’m hoping – come the end of the competition in the spring – my choices will have been fully justified.
I’ve chosen to base my stable around the Bonus Races, a list of which can be found here. As no novice hurdles contests carry a bonus, I’ve selected just one first-season jumper in my stable. Thee senior hurdlers have been chosen, along with two novice chasers and four senior chasers make up the rest of my competition entry.
So, without further ado, here are the ten horses I’ve chosen to represent me in the 2019/20 Tote Ten To Follow.
JON VINE’S TOTE TEN TO FOLLOW STABLE
DE RASHER COUNTER
Seeing as there are five staying handicaps included in the list of Bonus Races, it makes sense to have at least one handicapper included in your stable. De Rasher Counter enjoyed an excellent first campaign over fences, winning at Newbury and Uttoxeter, with a narrow defeat to Now McGinty – when giving his rival half-a-stone – sandwiched in between.
He’s an extremely accomplished jumper of a fence, capable of going on all kinds of ground and certainly has the engine to triumph over National trips. Emma Lavelle’s seven-year-old is currently sitting on a workable mark of 149 and could be a big player in any major staying handicap this season.
DEFI DU SEUIL
Philip Hobbs’ former Triumph winner bounced back from a terrible novice chasing debut to dominate the two-and-a-half mile division last term, winning the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase and the JLT at the Cheltenham Festival.
Defi Du Seuil may have succumbed to Chacun Pour Soi at Punchestown, but that came on the back of a long, hard campaign and Hobbs’ charge looked as good as ever when winning the Shloer Chase on his reappearance. He has the gears to be a superstar over both two and two-and-a-half miles.
Colin Tizzard’s charge may have fallen to defeat in all of his starts in Grade One company thus far, but at the age of just seven, he still has plenty of time to fulfil his potential. Elegant Escape surged to victory in last year’s Welsh Grand National, before finishing sixth in Grade Ones at Cheltenham and Aintree.
A return to the Welsh Grand National seems to be the plan, afterwhich Tizzard will finalise plans for 2020. I’m hoping the Grand National is the objective for this talented chaser, who I firmly believe is capable of challenging for top honours throughout the rest of his career.
Following an unbeaten bumper campaign, culminating in that Champion Bumper triumph, Envoi Allen made a lasting impression on his debut over hurdles. Davy Russell’s mount jumped beautifully throughout, cruising to a six-length triumph without ever coming out of second gear.
Envoi Allen will win at least on Grade One this season and could be very hard to beat if he gets to the Ballymore in one piece. He might even have enough pace for the Supreme.
Joseph O’Brien pitched his juvenile in with older horses in the Supreme at Cheltenham, where Fakir D’Oudairies battled back to place after looking beaten along the back-straight. Two further runner-up finishes followed in Grade Ones within his own age group, losing out narrowly to Pentland Hills and Fusil Raffles.
Comfortably saw off Melon with a fine round of jumping on his first start over fences. Could challenge for Grade One honours over both two and two-and-a-half miles. The Arkle will be in Joseph O’Brien’s sights.
Honeysuckle swept aside all before her as a novice last season, rounding off her unbeaten season with a sparkling victory in the Grade One for first-season mares at Fairyhouse in April. Henry De Bromhead’s five-year-old looked better than ever when cruising to an eleven-length triumph on her reappearance.
A tilt at the Mares’ Hurdle in March could be followed by an ambitious tilt at the Aintree Hurdle. Honeysuckle would not look out of place in that sort of company. I’d be disappointed if she didn’t collect at least one Grade One this term.
Unbeaten as a novice last season, claiming Grade One victories at Leopardstown, Cheltenham and Punchestown in excellent fashion during the spring. Klassical Dream’s 100% record was shattered in the recent Morgiana Hurdle, but Willie Mullins’ star wouldn’t have been suited by the slow pace of that Grade One and should come on leaps and bounds for the run.
On soft ground around a real galloping track like Leopardstown and Cheltenham, I won’t be siding against Klassical Dream. I still think he’s the top-dog in the two-mile division.
Immediately after his victory in the Dipper in January, Robbie Power proclaimed Lostintranslation was a potential Gold Cup horse. Those who scoffed were made to eat their words, as Colin Tizzard’s charge ended last season with a superb victory in the Mildmay at Aintree, before kicking off his 2019/20 campaign with a faultless performance at Carlisle.
Lostintranslation is a brilliant jumper, with Grade One-winning pedigree and remains open to progression over three miles. If I had to back one horse to win the Gold Cup right now, it would be Lostintranslation.
Entered last year’s Albert Bartlett as an unfancied 50/1 shot and went on to bolt up under Rachel Blackmore and secure an impressive victory. Minella Indo proved that was no fluke at Punchestown three weeks later, powering to a second successive Grade One victory over three miles.
Henry De Bromhead is a master at helping chasers improve and I expect Minella Indo to be even more effective over the larger obstacles. Could be this season’s RSA winner.
Paisley’s Park ascent to the top of the staying ranks started at Aintree last autumn, where he won a handicap rated 140. Emma Lavelle’s stable star ended the campaign on a stunning mark of 169, having powered to victory in the JLT Hurdle, the Cleeve Hurdle and the Stayers’ Hurdle.
Progressed beyond all expectations last season and there’s no reason why he can’t improve even further. Paisley Park is the one to beat over three miles once again.
JON VINE’S FINAL TOTE TEN TO FOLLOW STABLE
DE RASHER COUNTER
DEFI DU SEUIL