Our columnist has a strong team to go to war with this season including the likes of La Bague Au Roi and Emitom. Check out his horse-by-horse guide.
Ran very well first time out last year on heavy ground at Sandown and I think it left it’s mark. He only ran on two other occasions, running ok at Chepstow but disappointing at Ascot on his final start. He’s a staying chaser, that’s what he’ll be doing this year. He’s schooled very well and three miles on soft ground over fences is exactly what he wants. He’s got a bright future.
He’s done well on the Flat this summer and is very consistent. He’s just having a bit of a break at the moment. There is a chance I’ll try him in a novice chase and I think he’ll do well over fences but if not we have the option of running on the all-weather too this winter.
Ran in two bumpers last season and did really well. She was bought by Million In Mind over the summer and while she isn’t overly big, she’s very tough and jumps well. She could go to a good level in the mares’ novice hurdle division.
He did very well at the back-end of last year winning at Newbury and Cheltenham. He’s come back in very good form and has entries at Cheltenham and Wincanton this weekend. Hopefully he’ll run very well wherever he goes. If he does he’ll be given a Ladbrokes Trophy entry and he could be just the sort for the race, a second-season chaser who is improving fast.
He’s a nice son of Falco and my first horse for Andrew Brooks. He could make his debut in a bumper at Ascot on 2nd November or 7th at Newbury and is a very nice type. He’s not really a bumper horse and he jumps very well. I’d like to think he can make an impact over hurdles this term.
This is a horse I’ve always liked. He’s taken a bit of time to mature and was running a very good race at Taunton last year when he took a heavy fall at the last. He had the rest of the season off having picked up a slight injury behind. He’s going to go over fences and is a half-brother to Glen Forsa. He’s a very good jumper and off his mark he could do very well this year.
Has only run twice for me, shaping very well on debut at Chepstow. I then took him to Doncaster where he came back a little jarred up and had the rest of the season off. He’s back in now and looks much stronger. I liked what we saw last autumn and I’d be very hopeful he’ll do well in novice hurdles.
I liked him last year and he ran at Warwick in a good bumper. He didn’t run as well as I expected there but came back with a stress fracture behind and that’s all healed now. He’s done well over the summer and will run in a bumper before going on to make an impact over hurdles.
He was going very well and we were very happy with him but unfortunately, as we know, he suffered a small setback. Hopefully he’ll be back in the second half of the season. He was a very good novice last year, as good as you get really, and I think he could make up into a proper Stayers’ Hurdle contender. Hopefully everything will continue to go well with his recuperation and we’ll see him towards the end of January. He’d still have some of the big meetings to come after that and he's young with a very bright future.
Won a bumper and two novice hurdles last season but his last two runs at Taunton and Sandown were probably a bit below-par. He’d been on the go for a long time though and goes novice chasing this season. He’s a very good jumper and a horse who can do well over fences. I’m very excited by him.
A half-brother to two horses I’ve trained. Penn Lane isn’t here any more but was a 135-rated hurdler and Mulcahys Hill nearly won the Challow two years ago and is rated in the 140s. This fellow is by Yeats and needs to learn his trade but will run in a bumper in November time and if he’s anything like his siblings will do very well.
He was a highly touted horse in Ireland at one-stage and we bought him at Doncaster last year. He hasn’t run for me yet as he was a bit under-the-weather and we gave him the season off. I think he could do well in handicap chases and then possibly switch to hunter chases and take over from Paint The Clouds who did so well for the yard in that sphere.
So nearly won a £100,000 pot at Ascot last year but unfortunately Nicky Henderson put one in he knew nothing about and Valtor dotted in at 33/1! After that he was struggling with his knees and has had them operated on over the summer. He’s come back looking really good and probably won’t be running until late December. He’s a horse I love and I’m sure there’s a big pot in him.
JUST A SIP
Very well bred out of a good mare Paul Webber trained called One Gulp. She ran once last year at Cheltenham in April but was very weak and has improved a lot over the summer and I like her very much.
Did well over fences initially before taking a couple of falls at Musselburgh and Cheltenham and lost his confidence a little. Last season we switched back to hurdles and he won at Warwick in January and signed off for the year when third in a valuable handicap at Aintree. He’ll go back over fences and has had his wind done over the summer which will definitely help him. He’s in at Cheltenham on Saturday and I do think there’s a good race in him if he takes to chasing again.
A horse I really like. He finished second a good bumper at Warwick last year and he starts off this week at Southwell before going hurdling. He’s got a very bright future.
LA BAGUE AU ROI
She’s come back in as well as ever and is working very well. She’s still very much in love with the game. She’ll start off in the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in a couple of weeks’ time and if all goes well there she’ll head to Kempton for the Ladbrokes King George. We’ll keep her to two runs before the new year and then take it from there. There’s nothing to say she won’t be even better than last season and she’s schooled very well. The mares’ allowance will hold her in good stead in the elite races.
She’s a half-sister to Whisper and due to run in a mares’ bumper at Aintree on Sunday before going hurdling. She’s very likeable and tough. I’d be surprised if she doesn’t do well and win races.
Didn’t have much of a season last term as the ground was genuinely too quick for him. He wants it bottomless and when he gets that you’ll see him doing well in long distance chances.
Just had a little setback, he cut a joint, so won’t be out for six weeks. Did very well last year and we bought him to be a chaser. He’ll do very well in that sphere and is another I’m looking forward to.
It was trainer error to run at Warwick last season – I should probably have run him a couple of weeks before and he’d just gone a bit weak on me. He has a bright future and while he isn’t back here yet, he’ll go novice hurdling and jumps very well.
We’ve just bought him from Johnny Portman and are getting to know him. He was rated 82 on the flat and is for an existing owner in the yard. He’s a four-year-old and will go novice hurdling. He’s already schooled for Johnny and he could do well.
She was very green at Sedgefield on her first run and won nicely at Bangor next time. She’ll go novice hurdling and is another who has schooled well.
MISS HONEY RYDER
Was in the highest rank of the mares’ bumper horses last season and is a half sister to Western Ryder. She was a bit keen and jumped a bit carefully on her hurdling debut at Ffos Las last Saturday over two miles. She wants to go further and right-handed and while it was a slightly disappointing start to her season, I'm sure she'll leave it well behind.
He’s back and starting to canter. He’s been swimming every day and won’t run until January time with the Randox Health Grand National his main target. I couldn’t be happier with him at the moment and all seems good.
I think his good novice hurdling campaign left a mark on him last season but he’s come back in a different horse. He had a couple of good runs over fences last year but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him leave that form behind this time around. He’s a second-season novice and could start out at Cheltenham on Friday.
He’s back and swimming every day. He’s a Grade Two bumper winner at Aintree and won his first novice hurdle at Perth but then got a leg injury. He’s in a difficult situation as he’s lost his novice status and probably isn’t up to running in very big races just yet. We’ll plot him accordingly but he looks great.
She was a revelation last year, winning three times, and might run at Cheltenham this weekend. She’s in over two miles five and three miles. She’s very tough and hardy and her main targets will be Listed and possibly even Graded, races later in the season. She’s not over-big but as hard as you get.
A big, raw horse last year, he was learning his trade last season and I’d expect him to be competitive off his mark in handicap hurdles for all he’s going to be a staying chaser in time.
We’re just getting to know her. She was highly-regarded in France 18 months ago where she beat some very good horses rated in the 150s. She’ll go novice chasing and will hopefully be able to step into La Bague Au Roi’s shoes for this campaign. She’s taken a bit of time and we're learning about her but the form in France is very good.
We bought him from Jamie Osborne. He was a very expensive yearling and has a mark of 72. We’ll probably go down the all-weather flat route to start with but he does jump very well and I’m looking forward to him.
He hasn’t run for me having previously been with Harry Whittingham. His form would suggest he doesn’t want to hit the front too sun and he runs at Southwell on Thursday. It will be interesting to see how goes.
STAR OF LANKA
He did well to win two last year and was fourth in the Lanzarote. He’s had his wind done over the summer and improved physically too. He can do nicely in some of the bigger handicap hurdles up to three miles this term.
I loved him last year and he finished third on his only start in what is always a very good bumper at Ayr. He’s really strengthened up and could head to Carlisle for his hurdling debut on 11th November.
He’d shown me more at home than he has on the track thus far but was quite green in his two bumpers and I can see him improving a lot this season. He’ll probably run in one bumper before going hurdling and is a very good jumper.
He ran brilliantly to chase up Getaway Trump at Plumpton on debut but wasn’t really able to go on from there last term. He’s likely to stay hurdling for now as a novice but the option to go chasing is there. He’s got ability and is another I like.
TRIO FOR RIO
I trained him for Million In Mind last year and he was bought by Trevor Hemmings over the summer. He’s won two for us and is a thorough stayer who is a very good jumper and will go chasing.
He was quite fresh on his chasing debut at Sedgefield on Sunday. He jumped alright early but made a bad mistake at the ditch and could never get into the race from there. He was looked after by Richard Johnson and will be running again quite soon. When they're learning new disciplines it can go like that but he's another who will move forward with experience and he was a very good hurdler who remains an exciting prospect over fences.
A horse I love. He ran twice last year and won his second bumper at Exeter. He’s very straightforward, a brilliant jumper, goes on any ground and I can see him taking high rank in novice hurdles this term.