Jumps racing horses to follow 2019/20 – Five rising stars who could win races this National Hunt season
Brian Healy picks out five rising stars who could be winning races throughout the course of this National Hunt season.
As the 2019 Flat racing season enters its’ final few weeks, horse racing fans’ attentions turn towards the start of the new jumps season which gets underway properly with Chepstow’s two-day Persian War Hurdle meeting, and ultimately the Cheltenham Festival next March.
There is plenty to look forward to in the months ahead over the sticks however, and there is sure to be plenty of thrills and excitement to be had over the course of the season as both new and existing stars emerge from their summer hibernation to stake a claim for a big prize.
Brian Healy picks out five horses from some of the leading yards who will be strutting their stuff throughout the jumps campaign and who should reward followers with a win or two during the season.
LONGHOUSE SALE (Dan Skelton)
A winner of a point-to-point, the September Storm gelding won all four starts in bumpers for Dan Skelton prior to a wind-operation and a campaign over hurdles where he quickly racked up a hat-trick of wins which culminated in a bloodless success over Manor Park at Ffos Las back in June.
Stepped up markedly in grade to contest the Listed Summer Hurdle at Market Rasen – a venue where he had won twice previously – he shaped as if possibly amiss, and he hasn’t been seen out again since having beaten only four horses home in that contest.
He is surely better than he was able to show on that occasion, and having already looked a useful recruit to the hurdling game he could resume his progress following a break.
BRIO CONTI (Paul Nicholls)
An eight-year old heading into this campaign, he is lightly-raced for one his age, and he showed that a lengthy absence following a leg injury hadn’t robbed him of his ability when striking at Ascot on his second run of the campaign having been pulled up on his return in the Grade Three Heroes Handicap Hurdle.
That run was clearly needed, and he possibly didn’t stay the longer trip; but two weeks on he beat Honest Vic to win a decent pot prior to a very creditable fourth in the Coral Hurdle where he travelled well for a long way but could only muster one pace on the climb to the line.
He bombed subsequently at Aintree where he was pulled up; but the run might have come too soon and he will switch to fences for the new campaign. He had won his only previous start over the larger obstacles back in November 2017 and he could make his mark in this discipline.
ITCHY FEET (Olly Murphy)
Won three times last term in bumpers and over hurdles prior to finding only Elixir De Nuts too strong in the Grade Two Sharp Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham where he was trying to concede 5lbs to the winner.
However, Olly Murphy’s charge took a big step forward when finishing five lengths’ third behind the impressive Klassical Dream in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
That was a creditable run in the circumstances given that he broke a blood vessel, and he was subsequently let down by his jumping when posting a slightly disappointing fourth of eight runners at Aintree next time.
Rated 150 over hurdles by seasons’ end, he could well switch to chasing this term; but regardless of whether he plies his trade in the coming season over hurdles or fences, he remains a horse with plenty of potential and he can win more races.
GET IN THE QUEUE (Harry Fry)
Failed to see the racecourse when trained by Jonjo O’Neill, but the Mount Nelson gelding is 3-3 in starts in bumpers for Harry Fry, including when giving Noel Fehily a fairytale retirement when hacking up at Newbury in March to land connections a valuable pot.
He won much easier than the official margin suggests, and he looks a horse with a decent engine who should appreciate going up in trip having briefly hit a flat spot at Newbury. However, he looks to possess a decent amount of speed also, and he likely won’t be too inconvenienced if kept to the minimum distance.
He looked a smart prospect in all three of his three bumper wins, and he could well make his mark this term over timber where he could develop into a high-class novice.
SEMPO (Joseph O’Brien)
Off the mark at the third attempt when successful in a Thurles bumper in February, Joseph O’Brien’s charge was thrust into the Weatherbys Champion Bumper picture on the back of his 15 lengths’ defeat of Casamari Abbey, and the Oscar gelding lost no caste in defeat at Cheltenham where he eventually finished sixth.
The form of his bumper win was only ordinary, but he could do no more than win an he looked very much a work in progress who hinted at better to come. That appeared the case at Cheltenham despite meeting with defeat, and he looks one who could progress massively this term faced with obstacles.
Giving up some considerable experience when turned out in March, he wasn’t without a chance turning in to face the hill although he couldn’t quite sustain his effort. It was nevertheless a solid run, and he looks the sort who can make his mark this term over hurdles.