40 Jumps Horses To Follow (Part 4)
- Part four of our 40 National Hunt horses to follow during the 2021/22 season
- The final part of our series features ten top prospects from across various yards in Britain and Ireland
- Shewearsitwell and Take Tea could star for Willie Mullins in the mares division this season
- Saint Dalina, Sizable Sam and The Changing Man also feature in part four
Time To Get Up jumps a fence at Uttoxeter on his way to winning the Midlands Grand National. (Getty)
Ahead of the new the jumps season officially kicks off, we’ve picked out 40 top National Hunt prospects to follow. These horses come from various yards from across Britain and Ireland, and range from talented novices to more established names who look set to shine during the upcoming campaign.
Here’s the fourth and final instalment of our 40 Horses To Follow series. Add these final ten names to your tracker.
- 40 To Follow – Part Four
- Saint Calvados (Paul Nicholls)
- Saint Dalina (Charlie Longsdon)
- Silver Forever (Paul Nicholls)
- Silver Hallmark (Fergal O’Brien)
- Sizable Sam (Jeremy Scott)
- Shewearsitwell (Willie Mullins)
- Take Tea (Willie Mullins)
- The Changing Man (Joe Tizzard)
- Time To Get Up (Jonjo O’Neill)
- Youmdor (Willie Mullins)
Table Of Contents
40 To Follow – Part Four
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Saint Calvados (Paul Nicholls)
One of my favourite horses in training, I couldn’t complete my list without including SAINT CALVADOS, especially after such a light campaign in 2020/21. During his final season with Harry Whittington, Saint Calvados was only seen twice. On his reappearance in the King George, Saint Calvados jumped and travelled brilliantly, only to fade back to fourth on the run to the line. Whittington then sent his star to the rescheduled Cotswold Chase at Sandown, where Gavin Sheehan’s mount jumped poorly throughout and fell when trying to creep into contention.
During the summer, Andrew and Kate Brooks moved Saint Calvados, Rouge Vif and Simply The Betts from Whittington’s stable to Paul Nicholls’ yard. Nicholls is one of the best in the business at handling staying chasers, so Saint Calvados could hardly be in better hands. Still only eight and with just six starts to his name in the last two seasons, this talented chaser could still improve on his current lofty mark of 167. Saint Calvados could be a Gold Cup contender this season.
Saint Dalina (Charlie Longsdon)
Charlie Longsdon did a fantastic job with SAINT DALINA last season. Longsdon’s mare jumped poorly throughout her novice campaign, ending the season rated just 108. Yet, in 2020/21, Saint Dalina’s jumping improved drastically. She managed to win two of her six starts, placing on all of the other four occasions in decent company, improving 22-pounds in the process.
The plan is now to send Saint Dalina novice chasing. Her sire has produced many leading chasers - including Saint Calvados and Djakadam – and she has both the scope and bravery to deal with the larger obstacles. Three miles on heavy ground is the kind of challenge Saint Dalina will relish. I could even see her running in the National Hunt Chase, if the ground at Cheltenham came up suitably soft.
Silver Forever (Paul Nicholls)
I included SILVER FOREVER in my list of horses to track last season. So, when Paul Nicholls confirmed his progressive mare would miss the entire campaign through injury, I was gutted. Silver Forever won four of her five starts as a novice hurdler in 2019/20, rounding off her campaign with a comprehensive Listed triumph, where she thrashed Indefatigable – now a Cheltenham Festival winner who’s rated 149 over hurdles – by 17 lengths.
Every time I watched Silver Forever run as a novice, I kept thinking to myself, “I’d love to see her jump a fence”. This burly daughter of Jeremy hammered Annie Mc, now rated 149 over fences, in a point-to-point before making the move to Ditcheat in 2018. If her injury problems are behind her, then I fully expect Silver Forever to pick up where she left off this season. She could take the mares’ chasing scene by storm.
Silver Hallmark (Fergal O’Brien)
SILVER HALLMARK has amassed quite the CV, considering he’s only run four times over obstacles in his entire career. Fergal O’Brien’s seven-year-old beat McFabulous by three lengths on his novice hurdles debut, before finishing last of seven in that year’s Tolworth. Silver Hallmark pushed the classy Fiddlerontheroof all the way to the line on his first start over fences last autumn, before hacking up in the Grade Two Altcar Novices’ Chase at Haydock.
O’Brien clearly has a tough time getting, and keeping Silver Hallmark fit. Yet, when he has managed to run, he’s shown enough to suggest he could be a very high-calibre chaser – much better than his current mark of 145. He could land a very big handicap pot off that mark, before stepping back up into Graded company.
Sizable Sam (Jeremy Scott)
Anyone who saw SIZABLE SAM take to the track ahead of his bumper debut at Wincanton knew exactly why he had been given such a name. Jeremy Scott’s brute towered over many of his rivals and ran a cracking race, going down by just a short-head. Such is his stature, I wasn’t really expecting Sizable Sam to pull up many trees over hurdles last season. Yet, Scott’s charge performed admirably, winning a novice and a handicap, before rounding off his campaign with an outing in the Grade One Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree, where he was pulled up.
Sizable Sam ran very keen throughout last season and never really gave hurdles that much respect. So, it’s a testament to this horse’s ability that he managed to secure plenty of good results. Chasing will be the making of this imposing horse. I’m expecting Sizable Sam to leave his current mark of 131 well behind over the coming weeks and months.
Shewearsitwell (Willie Mullins)
SHEWEARSITWELL ran just three times last season, cruising to an easy bumper victory at Galway before thrashing her rivals in a maiden at Sligo and a Grade Three at Tipperary. Willie Mullins pitched his mare in with the boys that day and the favourite was completely dominant, wheeling clear of a rival rated 141 to win by eight lengths.
The plan was then to run Shewearsitwell in the Grade One Royal Bond, before going on to either the Supreme or the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. Sadly, Mullins’ mare suffered a set-back prior to Fairyhouse and was ruled out for the remainder of the campaign.
Now fully over those injury problems, Shewearsitwell is expected to make her comeback sometime in the autumn. This six-year-old has bags of ability and she’s quick and slick over her hurdles. While she certainly has the speed to win over the minimum distance, if Mullins can stretch her out to two-and-a-half-miles, the Mares’ Hurdle could be hers for the taking.
Take Tea (Willie Mullins)
Willie Mullins is usually the man to follow in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle division. Ireland’s Champion Trainer has plenty of talented youngsters to go to war with this term, including Brandy Love, Belle Metal and Grangee. The one I’m really keen to follow, though, is TAKE TEA, who made a lasting impression when hacking up on her bumper debut at Naas last December.
Mullins’ mare was immediately snapped up by JP McManus, but her first start in those famous silks didn’t go entirely to plan, as Take Tea pulled far too hard to sustain her challenge in the Grade Two bumper during the Dublin Racing Festival. Mullins then pulled stumps for the season and began schooling his mare over hurdles. She’s by Flemensfirth and out of a Dom Alco mare, so I would be shocked if she didn’t pick up some decent prizes over obstacles. 33/1 for the 2022 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle is very, very tempting.
The Changing Man (Joe Tizzard)
Whenever a son of Walk In The Park – sire to Douvan, Min and Jonbon just to name a few – enters a sales ring, a bidding war is sure to commence. So, it was quite a surprise when, at the Goffs UK Summer Sales in 2019, the Tizzard’s and owners John and Susan Waterworth only had to shell out £135k for THE CHANGING MAN.
The Changing Man is the first foal out of top mare Bitofapuzzle, who won a Listed bumper for Harry Fry before going on to land the Warfield Mares’ Hurdle and the Grade One for novices at Fairyhouse’s Easter Festival. Joe Tizzard is due to hand this exciting young horse his bumper debut sometime over the next few weeks, and The Changing Man could go on to achieve great things during what could be an illustrious career.
Time To Get Up (Jonjo O’Neill)
Having shown signs of ability over hurdles for Joseph O’Brien in Ireland, TIME TO GET UP needed a couple of starts to find his feet in England. On his third start over fences, Jonjo O’Neill’s recruit powered to an impressive victory at Wincanton and went into the Midlands Grand National as the 3/1 favourite. I joined in on the gamble that day, and was delighted when Time To Get Up tracked down the valiant Mighty Thunder and land that historic staying handicap.
Despite only running four times over the larger obstacles, Time To Get Up has won on both good and heavy ground, and proved he can stay a marathon distance. I’m sure O’Neill has the Aintree Grand National in mind for this improving eight-year-old. Time To Get Up could even afford to win another race or two before then and still arrive at Aintree on a lenient mark.
Youmdor (Willie Mullins)
A two-time winner on the flat for Freddy Head in France, YOUMDOR hacked up on his first hurdles start for Willie Mullins last season. Paul Townend’s mount was then galloping all over Teahupoo as they approached the last in the Trial Hurdle at Fairyhouse, but Youmdor got his final jump all wrong and came crashing to the canvas.
That fall clearly had a detrimental effect on Youmdor, who went on to finish 57-lengths adrift of Quilixios at the Dublin Racing Festival and finish a distant 18th in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. If Willie Mullins has managed to restore this gelding’s confidence during the off season, then there’s plenty of progression left in Youmdor’s locker and he’s extremely well treated on his current mark of just 137.