THE jumps season is up and running — and I’ve picked out a deadly dozen to put the bookies on the floor.
While the likes of Constitution Hill, Galopin Des Champs, Shishkin, Honeysuckle, Allaho and Energumene will be great to watch you won’t get rich backing them — so I’ve plumped for a few under the radar who can pay their way.
Courtland is a chaser who looks a nice prospect for the canny Bowens and I fancy a breakout season for Mellificent.
Matterhorn is another who can peak this year for champion trainer Paul Nicholls. And there are a few others in here who can help us bash the bookies.
Trainer: Joseph O’Brien
Age: 6 Form: 8/11147110-1
He won the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham last year but will come into his own chasing.
He looked classy when winning on his chasing debut at Gowran, jumping well.
He’s 20-1 for the Brown Advisory and the Turners at the Festival and both look realistic.
Trainer: Alan King
Age: 9 Form: 12743/41238-
He was eighth in the Topham in April when jumping around the big fences well, as he did when second in the Grand Sefton.
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Bash the bookies with these longshots – including 10-1 fancy at Newmarket
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He will be aimed at that again by Alan King and has every chance from what is a fair mark.
He hit the frame in the Greatwood Gold Cup in 2021 and races like that should be sensible targets.
Trainer Donald McCain
Age: 6 Form: 95322111-
He is rising through the ranks and peaked with a smooth handicap win at Haydock in March.
He jumps really well and has a decent engine which means he stays 3m4f and further.
He’s only six so has a lot more to offer and handles any ground. He may not be top-level but can win more races in the north.
Trainer: Willie Mullins
Age: 6 Form: 1/13/121-
She missed out on the mares’ novice at Cheltenham with a knock but showed her class when taking the equivalent race at Fairyhouse in April.
She was impressive, scoring by eight lengths and saw out the 2m4f strongly. It’s hard to see many mares laying a glove on her.
Trainer: Jonjo O’Neill
Age: 5 Form: 2-1
She was second in an Irish bumper before moving across to Jonjo O’Neill and won on debut for the yard in a Uttoxeter bumper earlier this month.
She tanked along there over two miles and can transfer that promise to hurdling.
Trainer: Peter Bowen
Age: 7 Form: 76/213315/711-5
He looked a nice prospect as a novice chaser when winning both starts at Newton Abbot and Ffos Las with loads in hand.
He was rustier than an old gate on return from 15 months off when fifth at Worcester a couple of weeks ago.
He was fully entitled to need that and can be nursed back to form.
Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Age: 7 Form: 11161/211116-
He impressed with his jumping when winning a Warwick Grade 2 in January on the back of wins at Doncaster, Cheltenham and Exeter.
He was thrown into the deep end of the Brown Advisory at the Festival by Paul Nicholls which proved too much.
He’s only been over fences six times and looks capable of improvement to figure at a decent level over three miles.
Trainer: Nicky Martin
Age: 7 Form: 1/1114/
He didn’t make it to the track last season, which was a shame, because he looked a top chasing prospect after achieving plenty over hurdles.
He finished with a good fourth in Ballymore at Cheltenham when finishing strongly.
He is a big lad and looked a chaser in the making from day one. Let’s hope he is over the fetlock injury that kept him off the track.
Trainer: Dan Skelton
Age: 5 Form: 11-
Dan Skelton has a nice prospect who won a pair of Wetherby bumpers in fine style last season.
He was green on debut in December but still had four lengths in hand.
He wasn’t back until March when he ran out an easy winner again. Those were both on testing ground, which suited. He has a bright future.
Trainer: Paul Nicholls
Age: 4 Form: 3/
The 12-time champion trainer has a track record of doing well with French imports and he could have another nice prospect in this four-year-old.
He was bought after finishing third in a hot Listed race at Auteuil but has yet to make his debut on this side of the Channel.
He should make his mark at a good standard for top connections.
Trainer: Alan King
Age: 5 Form: 1123-
We saw this five-year-old just four times last season and he created a good impression.
He kicked off with a smooth success at Aintree before stepping into a Grade 2 to score at Cheltenham in January.
He was nabbed on the line in a real battle with a more experienced rival at Kelso.
He finished with a Grade 1 third at Aintree when staying on and looks capable of scoring at that level this season.
SOLDIER OF DESTINY
Trainer: Jamie Snowden
Age: 6 Form: 42/145131-5
He made a good start to his chasing career last season, scoring in the mud at Ffos Las before a good third in better company at Newbury.
He took a big step forward from that when winning at Haydock in March.
Trips of around 2m4f look ideal for this six-year-old, who blew away the cobwebs at Aintree last week and can win handicaps.
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