Ian Brindle: My Stable
Ian Brindle continues our ten jumpers to follow series for the 2013-2014 National Hunt season.
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At Fishers Cross - Always good to see a fledgling trainer getting a good horse to help them along the way and you have to hand it to Rebecca Curtis for her handling of this imposing six-year-old. It's five on the reel at present and though we didn't see him in his intended reappearance at Wetherby - the staying division looks there for the taking with no certainty about Big Buck's returning and he could well prove to be the next "Barracuda" for JP McManus.
Boston Bob - Two falls in his last two races are obviously a worry but he comes into this season as a very realistic prospect as far as the Ryanair Chase is concerned. Certainly held every chance when departing at Cheltenham and Punchestown and though he'll be rising nine come January - his number of starts is still in single figures so there is every reason to believe that he is open to improvement.
Diamond King - Diana Whateley has put a few useful types the way of Donald McCain and this horse went through the sales ring at 95000 euro back in 2011. It's been two races and two wide margin wins for the Donald McCain inmate so far and he looks the sort that could make up into a decent staying hurdler. Connections aren't afraid to go to the well with their horses and they are likely to be in for a lot of fun.
Faugheen - It's not too often you see a point-to-point recruit make a debut under rules with such expectation attached but the son of Germany dotted up when sent off at 11/8 for a Punchestown bumper in May. That winning margin was 22 lengths and he's one of what look to be a particularly exciting bunch of horses that will be racing in the colours of Susannah Ricci this season.
Garde La Victoire - My mole at Philip Hobbs' stable suggests that they rate this horse exceptionally highly at Withycombe and he duly delivered the goods on his hurdling debut at Aintree seeing off Champion Bumper second, Regal Encore in the process. His jumping was pleasing though not foot perfect and in a race that I think could prove a fertile source of winners, I can see him being even better for a step up in trip.
Horizontal Speed - Hobbs appears to have a good few hurdlers to keep on the right side of and this fellow is another one. Fate can be a funny thing and ironically, Horizontal Speed's bad luck has presented him taking on novice company for another season. He still looked very green when landing a Uttoxeter bumper in heavy ground but the form of that race has been advertised well in the interim and while his win at Exeter was pleasing, I think he'll turn out a better horse when stepped up to further.
Jezki - A horse that polarised opinion among the pundits last year but has reportedly strengthened up during the summer and looks a plausible candidate for honours in the Champion Hurdle in 2014. Admittedly you are taking a chance that he can overhaul the "Fly" this year but he made a pleasing enough reappearance off a predictably funereal pace at Down Royal
Meister Eckhart - He may have been through three stables so far but don't be fooled - this horse has looked a serious prospect when he have seen him on the track. Catching the eye in defeat at Fontwell on his debut for Alan King, he was placed in the Coral Cup and a Listed event at Aintree and stayed on stoically for pressure. Pulled up after a mistake on chase debut on Saturday but that was a hot race and worth forgiving.
Raya Star - There are plenty of tales of decent hurdlers struggling to make the grade over the larger obstacles but the Scottish Champion Hurdle winner made a really taking start to his chasing career at Uttoxeter. He looked a complete natural and as Alan King learnt the nuts and bolts of his trade from the great David Nicholson - we can be confident that he'll improve throughout the course of the season.
West Wizard - Strongly fancied on debut at Kempton Park and did not disappoint on the day. The second and third in that bumper have gone on to win again since so every reason to believe that the performance was every bit as impressive as it looked. A half-brother to a Group class performer in Germany and looks to have a bright future ahead.
My Stable 'how to' guide:
• To search for a horse, trainer or jockey, type their name in the search bar and click on the magnifying glass.
• To add a horse, trainer or jockey to your stable, do the above and then click on 'add to my stable'.
• To view your stable, go to 'your selections' located towards the top right when you are logged in.
• To receive email alerts from your stable, you must tick the box located under the tab 'E-Mail'.
• To stop receiving alerts, untick the box. To delete your selection from your stable, select the red cross.
• To change your email details, go to Sky Bet and log-in with your My Stable username and password. Go to your name in the top left and 'click here for all account options'. Go to 'My Details' and then scroll down to your email address. Change it in the box provided.