Jumpers To Follow author Paul Ferguson provides Sporting Life readers with five horses to keep track of during the upcoming National Hunt season.
Click on the horse and trainer names to open up full profiles, free video form and to add them to the My Stable tracker.
BREWIN’UPASTORM (OLLY MURPHY)
Optimum Conditions: 2m+ on any ground
Career Form Figures: 14-
The eight-length winner of a four-year-old maiden point at Quakerstown when trained by Timmy Hyde – had four next-time-out winners in behind – Brewin’upastorm made a striking Rules debut at Hereford.
Keen in the early stages, he raced wide but moved powerfully throughout. He joined issue a couple of furlongs from home and stayed on strongly in the closing stages, running out a very impressive winner.
He crossed the line with nine lengths to spare over Portrush Ted, who won the Grade 2 at Aintree on his next start. Blue Flight (3rd) was also successful during April, landing a maiden hurdle at Perth.
Brewin’upastorm took his chance in the Listed bumper at Newbury during February, where he finished fourth behind subsequent Champion Bumper fourth Acey Milan. Held up by Richard Johnson, he made stealthy headway leaving the side of the course, but he was set an almighty task and his effort levelled out in the closing stages, on very testing ground.
With another summer under his belt, I would expect Brewin’upastorm to make up into a very smart novice hurdler and given that he won his Point on a decent surface, he seems versatile in terms of ground conditions. He could well make his presence felt in graded novice hurdles and he might be the horse to propel his upwardly mobile young trainer to the next level. He has the speed to win over the minimum trip, but might need an extra half-mile as the season unfolds.
LUST FOR GLORY (NICKY HENDERSON)
Optimum Conditions: 2m+ on decent ground
Career Form Figures: 3-1
Owners Grech and Parkin are relatively new to the National Hunt game, but the likes of River Wylde, Constantine Bay, Claimantakinforgan and Mr Whipped have done well in novice hurdles for them in the past couple of seasons.
Given the sums they seem willing to invest, their string should continue to grow and, in Lust For Glory, they look to have a nice mare for novice hurdles this time around.
The winner of a maiden Point-to-Point at Lisronagh, the daughter of Getaway made her debut under Rules in a bumper at Ascot in February, for which she was sent off a well-supported favourite. Having raced keenly, she could finish only third, but it was a promising start and the form would work out reasonably well, with the winner going on to finish fifth at Aintree and the second was a winner at Uttoxeter next time.
Lust For Glory got off the mark herself at Ludlow during May, settling better and despite finding herself further back than ideal as the race developed into somewhat of a sprint up the home straight, she quickened up stylishly to win going away.
She also showed a fine turn of foot when winning her Point, so I would expect her to start over the minimum trip and it wouldn’t surprise me if she kicked off her campaign at Newbury, with a return visit for the Listed event at the Winter Festival in mind.
LORD DUVEEN (PHILIP HOBBS)
Optimum Conditions: 2m4f+ on decent ground
Career Form Figures: 52-
One of the darker horses to be included among this year’s Leading Prospects, Lord Duveen ran a couple of promising races at either end of last season and, hopefully, won’t remain a maiden for too much longer.
The son of Doyen – who is a half-brother to Balthazar King – made his debut in a competitive novices’ hurdle at Exeter in October, in which he made a pleasing start to his career.
Ridden patiently, he crept into contention and travelled nicely into the home straight, eventually splitting Harefiled (won next time) and Kapcorse (won a novices’ handicap chase at Bangor in April) in fifth.
The race was won by Onefortheroadtom, but it was the placed horses which really give this form a strong look. Lalor (2nd) went on to win the Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree, and Kilbricken Storm (3rd) won three times thereafter, latterly in the Albert Bartlett. Further back, another Aintree winner, Thomas Patrick (won four times in all), finished 11th, while the eighth, ninth and 13th home won four races between them during May, so there was plenty of depth to this piece of form.
Lord Duveen was off the track for the best part of five months, during which time Philip Hobbs – by his own standards – struggled, numerically. The five-year-old returned to action at Kempton in mid-March, where he again shaped with plenty of promise. Ridden from the front on this occasion, he dictated the pace at a rather sedate gallop and tried to wind things up halfway up the home straight. He was outpaced by the winner – a former Flat performer from France who boasted plenty of experience – in the closing stages, but he kept on well to finish in front of next-time-out-winner Going Gold.
That form was nowhere near as strong as the Exeter race, but Stylish Dancer – who finished last of eight – did win a handicap hurdle at Cheltenham’s April meeting, albeit off just 103.
Given both his physique and how he jumps, his long-term future lies over fences and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he were switched to the larger obstacles before too long. However, there are surely races to be won with Lord Duveen over hurdles beforehand and, given his pedigree, he will be of particular interest once going up in distance. Still green in the closing stages at Kempton, he also appeals as the type that will have benefited from another summer’s break and I’m looking forward to seeing how he can progress. It could be that he comes into his own in handicap company, but it is hoped that he more than pays his way throughout the upcoming campaign.
ON THE BLIND SIDE (NICKY HENDERSON)
Optimum Conditions: 2m4f+ on decent ground
Career Form Figures: 1116-
Nicky Henderson appears to hold a strong hand in the novice chase division and although he performed below par in the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle on his final start of last season, On The Blind Side is very much high up the pecking order.
An Irish Point-to-Point winner - had dual hurdles winner Uppertown Prince back in sixth – the son of Stowaway looks every inch a chaser-in-waiting and really took the eye the three times I saw him in the flesh last term.
He made a winning debut under Rules at Aintree in October, in what turned out to be a decent maiden hurdle. Ridden prominently, he joined the lead two out and ran on in likeable fashion after the last. The race was run at a slow pace, but the front two pulled eight lengths clear and he had a couple of subsequent graded winners in behind, in the shape of Dovecote winner Global Citizen (5th) and River Don winner Enniscoffey Oscar (7th).
The following month, On The Blind Side maintained his unbeaten record in the Grade 2 at Cheltenham’s Open meeting, despite looking in trouble coming down the hill. Only fourth when jumping the second-last, he fairly flew up the hill and, in the end, remarkably looked well on top at the line.
Again, the form would work out well, with second home Momella winning a handicap off 134 at Cheltenham’s December meeting. Third home Poetic Rhythm won the Challow next time and the fourth, Vision des Flos, won a Listed event at Exeter before finishing runner-up in a couple of Grade 1s in the spring.
It later transpired that On The Blind Side suffered sore shins – which might have explained him looking ill at ease coming down the hill – but it didn’t prevent him from completing the hat-trick in impressive fashion at Sandown. Burdened with a penalty, he appeared to appreciate the stronger gallop and stayed on really powerfully up the home straight to add his name to an illustrious list of winners, which includes the likes of Inglis Drever, Neptune Collonges and Taquin Du Seuil.
Forced to miss the Cheltenham Festival, Henderson got him ready for Grand National day and he was heavily backed, despite facing the Ballymore second Black Op. Despite losing his position a little down the far side, he still held every chance turning in, but faded after making a mess of the second-last.
The fact that Momella finished third suggests that On The Blind Side didn't run to his earlier form and I would expect him to bounce back in the autumn, once sent over fences. I am looking forward to seeing him over 3m and he could easily develop into a leading contender for the RSA, with the Feltham and Reynoldstown likely targets earlier in the season.
SEBASTOPOL (TOM LACEY)
Optimum Conditions: 2m+ on good ground
Career Form Figures: 1-
The ill-fated formerly top-class Flat performer Fame And Glory has made a fine start to his stallion career, and Sebastopol looked another really nice type when winning the bumper at Ayr on Scottish Grand National day.
A 15-length Point-to-Point winner for Sophie Lacey, he was a non-runner due to unsuitably soft ground in the Kempton bumper which was won by Mister Fisher, so he made the long journey north to Ayr the following month. Well supported beforehand, the four-year-old was ridden with restraint by Aidan Coleman, but could be spotted moving nicely down the far side. He eased himself into contention early in the home straight and was last off the bridle when hitting the front, passing through the wings of the second last hurdle.
A three-and-three-quarter-length winner at the line, it was a taking display and the runner-up, Black Pirate, gives the form a solid look, whilst the fourth, Potters Tale, was beaten exactly the same distance by Danny Kirwan, at Kempton in February.
Sebastopol looks good enough to win another bumper should connections wish to persist down that route, but he looks a smart prospect once sent jumping. Tom Lacey enjoyed a tremendous season last term, with Jester Jet and Thomas Patrick providing him with winners at the Grand National meeting, and he looks to have a nice prospect on his hands with Sebastopol.
Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow 2018/2019 includes Paul’s 40 Leading Prospects, plus 12 Irish-trained Horses to Follow, Horses to Follow from 67 different stables and Horses to Follow from leading jockeys Noel Fehily, Harry Skelton, Brian Hughes, Jeremiah McGrath, Nick Scholfield & Jamie Codd.
Jumpers To Follow is out now and is available to purchase in both print and digital forms from www.bettrendsshop.co.uk/jumpers-to-follow