Every year I pick 40 sturdy steeds to bear the burden of punting wedge through the winter months. It’s previously been a successful project and I’ve turned a profit every year bar one since 2002. Some years are better than others. Last season was a bit marginal.
For the last two years, my Dad, my brother and I have pitted our 40 to follow lists against each other. 1point stake per run, win only. Dad’s cleaned up both years.
The competition runs from 1st October to 31st April. Here is this season’s stable:
1. Alfie Spinner Nick Williams
Decent prospect for good quality 2 ½ m novice chases. Best form on soft. Good hurdle campaign with progressive profile. Represents up and coming trainer.
2. Alasi Paul Webber
Another with a progressive profile, although not too many wins in the book. This mare could go novice chasing up to 3 miles.
3. Babysitter Nigel Twiston Davies
Classy on best form, though capable of howlers. Sure to get plenty of early opportunities over fences from the prolific NTD. 2 ½ m likely to be the trip.
4. Bally Wall IR Ferguson
3 miles won’t be far enough for this dour stayer from tiny Northern Irish yard. Capable of landing a nice handicap. No obvious ground preferences.
5. Barizan Evan Williams
Top season as a juv hurdler, trailblazing from the front. Pipped in two Grade 1s before landing the spoils at Punchestown. Will be tough this year but is so game.
6. Benny Be Good Keith Reveley
Unexposed hurdler last year likely to be sent novice chasing this term. From a shrewd yrd. Will probably want 3m on soft.
7. Cannington Brook Colin Tizzard
Went close in top staying novice hurdles last year after switching from fences. Future lies back over the big ones. Could be a big year for the Tizzard stable.
8. Coastley David Carr
Still relatively unexposed handicap hurdler with scope to improve. Good ground up to 3m around northern gaffes.
9. Dance Island BI Case
star of small string from midlands handler. Scope to improve in staying chases on soft.
10. Dare Me Philip Hobbs
Bright prospect from very decent trainer. Impressed as runner up in April’s quality Aintree bumper.
11. Diamond Frontier Howard Johnson
Handicapper who might spring a surprise or two in 2m chases in desperate ground around northern bogs.
12. Duke of Lucca Philip Hobbs
Another lovely prospect from a powerful yard. Consistent in staying novice hurdles last year. Could go chasing.
13. Foynes Island Philip Hobbs
Interesting novice hurdler showing plenty of potential in a couple of outings last year. Another from the Hobbs yard. Hobbs Monkey? Me?
14. Hidden Universe Dermot Weld
Apart from a blip in the Cheltenham bumper this classy beast from a shrewd yard has an exceptional profile. Sure to go well in novice hurdles.
15. Jubail Alan King
Low profile juvenile hurdler from a trainer who knows how to bring them on. Encouraging signs in seasonal debut last week.
16. Kempes Willie Mullins
An old favourite. Very consistent last year except in one run on atrocious ground. Never stopped improving and did best when stepped up to 3m.
17. Luska Lad John Joseph Hanlon
Tough as old boots on soft/heavy ground in top quality 2m novice hurdles last year. Should make his mark this season.
18. Megastar Gary Moore
Winner of the Aintree Bumper in April. Looks a strong renewal. One to look forward to in novice hurdles.
19. Michel Le Bon Paul Nicholls
Impressed in novice chases before injury curtailed his season early. Assuming full recovery, will do well up to 3 miles.
20. Mister Marker Nicky Richards
Quiet season for Nicky Richards last year, but this one was 3 from 5 in handicap hurdles. Fancied to go on this season.
21. Omix D’Or HJ Evans
One for mid-division marathon staying chases on bottomless ground. Will never set the world alight but could still be on the upgrade.
22. Overturn Donald McCain
Exciting prospect for top quality 2m hurdles. Made his mark this Summer on the flat too.
23. Peddlers Cross Donald McCain
All quality. Unbeaten. Graduate from last year’s 40 TF list. Could be anything this year from the Champion Hurdle through to the RSA Chase. Bring it on.
24. Praxiteles Rebecca Curtis
Bit of a long shot. Good form in low-grade Summer novice hurdles. Needs to step up.
25. Rackham Lerouge Nicky Henderson
Henderson has a powerful string of novice chasers again. This one cut the right profile last term.
26. Restless Harry Henry Oliver
Had a blinding season last year before crashing out in the 3m novice hurdle at the Festival. All about guts. Should be interesting to follow this year.
27. Sa Suffit JPL Ewart
Consistent sort on soft ground in handicap chases from an up and coming Scottish yard.
28. Silver By Nature Lucinda Russell
Another for staying handicap chases on bottomless ground. Progressive profile, though the slight worry is the handicap mark will find him out this year.
29. Spirit River Nicky Henderson
Lovely, quality 2 mile hurdler. Lightly campaigned last term. Could be another contender for the Champion Hurdle to add to the stable’s riches in this theatre.
30. Somersby Hen Knight
Classy novice chaser last year handled tenderly by the increasingly flakey Henrietta Knight. Could be campaigned for the Gold Cup.
31. Summit Meeting Jessica Harrington
Quietly campaigned novice hurdler from classy stable expected to go on this term.
32. Swincombe Rock Nigel Twiston Davies
Bright prospect for 3m staying novice chases.
33. Tillietudlem JS Goldie
Ran up impressive sequence in handicap hurdles last term before reverting with success to the flat this summer. Good ground essential. May be given a break.
34. Tanzanite Bay Lucinda Russell
Low profile, but encouraging outings in bumpers last year. Long shot but could be interesting in novice hurdles.
35. Tara Royal Donald McCain
Impressive jumping debut in the Spring and could develop into decent prospect with good yard.
36. The Package David Pipe
Bit of a risk, this one. Quality, improving horse, but if he’s campaigned for the National he’ll be no betting proposition until then.
37. Vino Griego Gary Moore
Another graduate from last year’s list. Never really delivered his potential then and given another chance here on the basis of scraps of form.
38. Whipperway Sheena West
Ran away with an average juvenile hurdle in September. Looked stylish, but much bigger tests to come. Genuine stable.
39. Weird Al Ian Williams
Looked seriously good in staying novice chases before injury curtailed his campaign. Assuming full recovery could be a quality prospect.
40. Wymott Donald McCain
Good form last year and will be aimed at staying novice chases this. Another from the McCain team.