Forty beasts of burden for the jumps season approaching. Follow at your peril.
1. Alfie Spinner - Nick Williams
Still only a 6 y-o and shaped nicely last year in staying handicap hurdles, albeit without picking up a win. Sure to land a nice prize if, as expected, he keeps ahead of the handicapper.
2. Ambion Wood - Victor Dartnall
Won a Uttoxeter bumper in some style and rates a good prospect if converting that promise to hurdles.
3. Anychancedave - Alan Swinbank
Been given a good education by Swinbank in bumpers and stuck on gamely to land a double at Market Rasen. Likely to be seen to best effect in staying novice hurdles. Not picked just for the name. Honest.
4. Best Lover - James Ewart
Injury-prone horse, but with bags of talent. Curtailed season after good chase win. From a canny, careful Scottish yard and has prospects if can be kept fit.
5. Blazing Tempo - Willie Mullins
Typical Mullins improver. Ran well in the Jewson at Cheltenham and will be gradually stepped up in trip over the season. Don’t be surprised to se him line up in the Gold Cup come March.
6. Bobs Worth - Nicky Henderson
Excelled at 2 ½ to 3 miles over hurdles as a novice last year. Expected to be even better over the big ones. Henderson has an incredibly powerful yard this season.
7. Broadbackbob - Steven Crawford
Decent bumper form, including good effort in the big Aintree bumper. Small Northern Irish yard will campaign him smartly.
8. Captain Chris - Philip Hobbs
Looked ungainly over fences in October. Looked untouchable in April. Massive improvement and bags of talent, so one to keep the right side of as the top flight 2m – 2 ½ mile chase division opens up.
9. Dare Me - Philip Hobbs
Last season curtailed by injury when he was two from two in little races at Exeter. Looking forward to seeing him extended this year.
10. Diamond Harry - Nick Williams
Another whose season ended prematurely after winning his only start, the Hennessey Gold Cup, in superb style. Will take high rank this season.
11. Dover’s Hill - Mary Hambro
Been tenderly handled by the Hambro team. More to come in handicap chases. 9 y-o but still improving.
12. Granville Island - Jennie Candish
Encouraging bumper debut win at Bangor-on-Dee. Showed turn of foot and resolution.
13. Hidden Keel - Charlie Longsden
Improving handicap chaser from yard with a good strike rate. Could step up in trip.
14. Hinterland – Paul Nicholls
The only juvenile in the list this year. French import from the legendary Macaire yard. Could be one of Nicholls’ Triumph horses.
15. James De Vassy - Nick Williams
Lanzarote hurdle winner who looks to be still on upgrade. Likes soft ground.
16. Make A Track - David Arbuthnot
Dual bumper winner and looks like one to follow from another shrewd, small yard with a high strike rate.
17. Matthew Riley - Kate Walton
Very impressive 2nd in Aintree bumper after a solid season. Could continue his education around low-key northern tracks.
18. Montbazon - Alan King
Aintree bumper winner already schooled well over hurdles. Stable form is a worry though. This yard should have built on its My Way de Solzen/Voy Por Ustedes success a few years ago but appears to have gone backwards.
19. Mourad - Willie Mullins
Still only six and won’t need to come on that much to sweep up in staying hurdles in Ireland (depending on how the stables star hurdler Quevega is campaigned). Will need to improve about a stone to beat Big Buck’s, however.
20. Noble Prince - Paul Nolan
Classy Cheltenham winner who blotted his copybook with a fall next time out at Fairyhouse. Assuming that has left no mark, he will be a real force at about 2 ½ miles.
21. Notus De La Tour - David Pipe
Front running handicapper who likes soft ground, but has not won since 2010. Still only 5 and scope to land a big handicap.
22. Our Island - Tim Vaughan
Quietly developing staying novice hurdler last season. May not set the world on fire but likely to make his mark in novice chases.
23. Oscars Well - Jessie Harrington
Big fan of this yard. Three from five over hurdles last season, plus a final flight blunder that probably cost him victory in the Neptune at HQ. Big staying prospect over fences this season.
24. Oscar Whisky - Nicky Henderson
Reappearance in this list after a year out. Improved again last year and should be one to follow over extended trips if kept to hurdles.
25. Peddlers Cross - Donald McCain Jr
Been crying out for jumps. Likely Arkle type, though will stay further. Top class horse only found out by Hurricane Fly in a blood and thunder Champion Hurdle. That race left it’s mark when reappearing at Aintree in April.
26. Prima Vista - Noel Meade
Unlucky to lose at Fairyhouse in May when stepped up to 2 ½ miles. Went the right way all season and will do well in top hurdles races in Ireland this season.
27. Quwetwo - Paul Nicholls
Should fulfil his potential now with a decent trainer, after transferring from the discredited Howard Johnson for a novice jumps campaign.
28. Realt Dubh - Noel Meade
Will be a strong contender in 2m chases in Ireland. Stamina should stretch as far as 2 ½ miles at the top level. Has admirable qualities though this is a competitive division in Ireland with Sizing Europe, Big Zeb, and Captain Cee Bee.
29. Recession Proof - John Quinn
Did nothing but improve last year, though met his match in the Supreme. Will be a force in handicap hurdles.
30. Red Rocco - Donald McCain Jnr
Transferred to McCain just as the season begins. Previously brought along very steadily by George Moore, improving each time in bumpers. Ready for low-key novice hurdle campaign this term. This list is investing heavily in bumper horses who have yet to jump in public. It’s all about the potential!
31. Rock On Ruby - Paul Nicholls
Expecting big improvement from this high-class hurdler now switched to fences. The risk is that he’ll bump into others on this list.
32. Salden Licht - Alan King
Steady improver. May have a flat outing and then back to hurdles before eventually novice chases at around 2 miles.
33. Shop DJ - Peter Fahey
Should hold her own in Mares novice chases
34. Silver Kate - David Richards
Lovely type. Front running mare with a preference for soft ground. Should win her share against her own sex.
35. Sire De Grugy - Gary Moore
Ran very well at the Grand National meeting over hurdles and should make his mark over fences.
36. Spirit Son - Nicky Henderson
Most impressive of the 2m novices last year. An obvious one with whom to take on Hurricane Fly.
37. Swinging Sultan – Keith Reveley
I had two other Reveley horses in this long list that have received the chop because they’ve come out before October. So this one is still fresh having finished 2nd to Anychancedave in his debut bumper back in February.
38. Topolski - David Arbuthnot
Good handicap hurdles at about 2 miles will be on the radar after landing the Top Novice hurdle at Aintree.
39. Via Galilei - Gary Moore
Handicap hurdles will be his game after three wins in an extensive campaign that saw him rise a good few pounds in the ratings, but trusting that his trainer will find openings for him.
40. Wymott - Donald McCain Jr
Looking for this horse to redeem his bad festival showing and pick up his assured early season form in staying novice chases. Good handicaps and better should be in range.