Horses To Follow - 20 jumpers to track in 2023/24
- 20 jumps horses to follow during the 2023/24 National Hunt season
- We again focus on the less high-profile yards for our horses to follow
- Dysart Enos, Iroko and Nemean Lion feature on our list
Kielan Woods riding Storminhome (pink) clear the last to win The Sky Bet EBF 'National Hunt' Maiden Hurdle at Doncaster Racecourse. (Getty)
- Apple's Of Bresil - Barry Connell
- Bella Scintilla - Joseph O'Brien
- De Legislator - Lucinda Russell
- Dysart Enos - Fergal O'Brien
- Easy As That - Venetia Williams
- Firestream - Anthony Honeyball
- Gidleigh Park - Harry Fry
- Iroko - Greenall & Guerreiro
- La Malmason - Gavin Cromwell
- Loughderg Rocco - Laura Morgan
- Moon Hunter - Henry Daly
- Mumbo Jumbo - Emma Lavelle
- Nemean Lion - Kerry Lee
- Indeevar Bleu - Olly Murphy
- Rock House - Dan Skelton
- Storminhome - Ben Pauling
- So Scottish - Emmet Mullins
- Super Six - Nigel Twiston-Davies
- Supreme Jet - Oliver McKiernan
- Thomas Mor - David Pipe
Horses to Follow 23/24
20 jumps horses to track during the upcoming National Hunt racing season.
Prior to the start of the 2022/23 season, I compiled a list of horses from less high-profile yards to follow during the campaign. That list featured a whole host of winners, including two-time winners Guetapan Collonges, Pembroke and Jungle Jack, along with Cotswold Chase king Ahoy Senor.
With the new National Hunt season fast approaching, here at 20 horses from the so-called lesser yards who can taste success in Britain and Ireland.
Horses To Follow 2023/34
Apple's Of Bresil - Barry Connell
Marine Nationale and Good Land both tasted Grade One success during excellent novice hurdle campaigns last season. APPLE'S OF BRESIL will have to be very good to match the success of his stablemates, but Barry Connell's team clearly thinks plenty of him.
Despite coming up against more experienced rivals from the stables of Willie Mullins and Henry De Bromhead, Apple's Of Bresil was backed into 3/1 second-favourite behind Ballyburn on debut at Punchestown. Sadly, Finian Maguire's mount was far too keen at the rear and too green to land a blow, but Connell's newcomer was still only beaten less than ten lengths behind a stack of talented rivals. I wouldn't be surprised if he took high-rank in the Irish novice hurdles division this term.
Bella Scintilla - Joseph O'Brien
With Scarlet And Dove now retired, Joseph O'Brien will be looking for a mare to go novice chasing with next season. BELLA SCINTILLA would be at the head of that list, considering she jumped fences three times in France, finishing second on two occasions.
On the back of an easy maiden hurdle victory at Killarney last October, Bella Scintilla held her own against classy types like Pied Piper and Knight Salute in the Masterson Holdings Hurdle at Cheltenham's Showcase Meeting, before staying on well to finish second in a Listed contest at Punchestown. I'm hoping that Bella Scintilla will be sent straight over fences when she does make her reappearance, as she remains open to stacks of improvement.
De Legislator - Lucinda Russell
Lucinda Russell looks to have plenty of exciting novice chasing prospects on her books for the upcoming season. Much has been talked about Apple Away, Giovinco and Snake Roll, but one I'm very keen to see tackle fences is DE LEGISLATOR.
An impressive winner of his first two hurdles starts, Russell's six-year-old couldn't get into any sort of rhythm on his final novice outing in the Grade Two Prestige Hurdle at Haydock, finishing a distant fifth. De Legislator beat stablemate Snake Roll to win on his sole point-to-point outing before joining Russell's thriving yard and I expect he'll leave his current mark of 115 well behind when he goes over fences.
Dysart Enos - Fergal O'Brien
Fergal O'Brien has registered over 100 winners in each of the past three seasons and currently leads the British Jumps Trainer standings after a fruitful summer campaign. The one thing missing from Fergal's yard is a real superstar and he might have found just that in the form of DYSART ENOS.
Having cruised to victory on her bumper debut at Ludlow, Dysart Enos saw off Queen's Gamble - who was one of the Champion Bumper favourites at the time - to win the Listed Alan Swinbank Flat Race at Market Rasen in February. Dysart Enos then trounced the other top fillies and mares in the Grade Two at Aintree, bettering the time set by Florida Dreams in the gelding's equivalent bumper on Grand National day, despite seemingly never coming out of second gear.
Dysart Enos is by a solid National Hunt sire in Malinas, her dam was a winning point-to-pointer and she herself finished second between the flags in Ireland before joining O'Brien's yard for a measly £95k. She'll go on to achieve great things in 2023/24.
Easy As That - Venetia Williams
EASY AS THAT returned from a 640-day absence to resume his promising career last November. Venetia Williams sent her eight-year-old straight over fences and, after a good second on his chase debut, Easy As That recorded a pair of bloodless victories at Haydock and Newcastle.
Charlie Deutsch's mount was then backed into 6/4 for a Grade Three Novices' Chase at Sandown in March, but it was clear from an early stage that the favourite wasn't on a going day and Easy As That was the last across the line. That run didn't take the gloss off what was a very encouraging first season over fences for Williams' star and more progression is expected from Easy As That when he returns in the autumn.
Firestream - Anthony Honeyball
After an eye-catching bumper campaign, many were predicting FIRESTREAM to progress into a graded-performer last season. Anthony Honeyball's gelding ran out a 21-length winner on his hurdles debut at Chepstow, but Aidan Coleman's mount was then beaten under a penalty at Ffos Las before Christmas and could only finish fourth on his final novice outing at Fontwell in January.
Honeyball might be a little disappointed with what Firestream accomplished last season, but he will still have taken encouragement from those defeats. Whether he remains over hurdles next season or goes novice chasing, Firestream's current handicap mark of just 124 is there to be exploited.
Gidleigh Park - Harry Fry
Harry Fry is no stranger to success with novice hurdlers and he'll have high hopes for GIDLEIGH PARK going into the new season. Fry waited until March to unleash his five-year-old in a bumper and Gidleigh Park made a lasting impression in thrashing some decent rivals at Chepstow.
The second from that race won well the following month and the favourite - who had pushed Champion Bumper third Captain Teague close on debut - was beaten 14 lengths back in third. Gidleigh Park is by Walk In The Park and out of a Presenting mare who won over hurdles for Nicky Henderson, so there's no doubting that he's bred to reach a high level over obstacles.
Iroko - Greenall & Guerreiro
I couldn't write this list without including the progressive IROKO, who did me an excellent turn when winning the Martin Pipe, after I put him up at a tasty price a month before the Cheltenham Festival.
Just three weeks after that hard-fought handicap success, Iroko went on to run a blinder in the Sefton at Aintree, placing third behind Apple Away, having stayed on past Albert Bartlett winner Stay Away Fay in the closing stages.
Oliver Greenall & Josh Guerriero have a tough decision to make as to what to do next season, with both novice chasing and a tilt at the Stayers' Hurdle being taken into consideration. Whatever path they choose to take Iroko down, I'll be keen to keep this talented five-year-old on-side.
La Malmason - Gavin Cromwell
Gavin Cromwell is a trainer who I love to follow and I'll be expecting him to get plenty more progression out of Walk In The Park mare LA MALMASON, who ran four times during her novice hurdles campaign.
Cromwell's five-year-old won nicely on debut and pushed future Grade Three winner Sa Fureur hard at Punchestown in January. Soft ground is clearly important to La Malmason, who was well-beaten on the two occasions that she ran on yielding turf. In fairness, they were two highly competitive races and this classy mare still had plenty of growing up to do. When she resumes over hurdles, I have no doubt that La Malmason will win handicaps off an opening mark of just 122.
Loughderg Rocco - Laura Morgan
Rated just 121 at the end of his novice hurdles campaign, LOUGHDERG ROCCO improved massively for the switch to chasing last term. Laura Morgan's star almost beat 148-rated Gelino Bello on his chasing debut at Wetherby and went on to thrash 142-rated Unexpected Party with a bold front-running display over two-and-a-half miles at Leicester in December.
Despite holding entries for the Ultima and the Brown Advisory at the Cheltenham Festival, Loughderg Rocco wasn't seen during the second half of last season. I'm hoping that he's recovered from whatever setback kept him off the track, because there's still plenty more to come from this likeable seven-year-old.
Moon Hunter - Henry Daly
I love big, strapping, talented young geldings and few fit that profile better than MOON HUNTER, who bolted up in an English point-to-point for Phil Rowley last spring, before making the move to Henry Daly.
Daly sent this son of Pether's Moon straight over hurdles and Moon Hunter managed to win his first couple of novice outings. Michael Nolan's mount ran a cracker behind Henry's Friend in another novice at Doncaster in March, before rounding off his campaign with a handicap debut at Aintree. Fences will be the making of this scopey sort and I expect Daly to have plenty of fun with Moon Hunter this season.
Mumbo Jumbo - Emma Lavelle
The only maiden to make it onto my list, having failed to win in ten starts under rules. MUMBO JUMBO did, however, run well in defeat a number of times over hurdles and continued that trend during his novice chasing campaign.
Emma Lavelle's seven-year-old was narrowly beaten by Kinondo Kwetu on his chasing debut and went on to place third behind Solo at Sandown. Mumbo Jumbo might have won on his final outing at Taunton, had he not made a telling blunder at the second last. That defeat ensured that Lee's chaser would retain his novice status going into the new season and I'd be disappointed if Mumbo Jumbo didn't land a handicap or two off his current, lowly mark.
Nemean Lion - Kerry Lee
Having reached a mark of 100 on the flat in Germany, NEMEAN LION took to hurdling well last season. Kerry Lee's recruit won stylishly on his hurdles debut at Hereford before placing third behind Tahmuras in the Tolworth at Sandown. Nemean Lion then rounded off his novice campaign with a strong victory in the Grade Two Premier Novices' Hurdle at Kelso.
Kerry Lee is better known for her chasing victories, but Nemean Lion is flat-bred and he's not the scopiest of sorts. Off a mark of 135, this son of Golden Horn has plenty more to achieve over the smaller obstacles and Nemean Lion should improve further when stepped up beyond two miles.
Indeevar Bleu - Olly Murphy
After a slightly disappointing campaign last term, Olly Murphy will be keen to see his horses dine at the top table in 2023/24 and INDEEVAR BLEU looks capable of reaching those lofty heights.
Having been gelded as a three-year-old in 2021, Indeevar Bleu didn't have his first outing until a bumper at Wetherby in March, where Sean Bowen's mount was heavily backed and proceeded to win by 12-length hard-held. This son of Blue Bresil clearly has a big future over obstacles. He could be challenging for Graded honours before the end of the year.
Rock House - Dan Skelton
Another horse who impressed in bumpers last season was Dan Skelton's ROCK HOUSE. An easy winner on debut at Huntingdon in April, Skelton's five-year-old attempted to follow-up under a penalty at Warwick a month later, but could only finish second to a decent-looking Nicky Henderson gelding who was getting eight pounds at the weights.
Rock House ran out an emphatic winner of a British point-to-point for Francesca Poste before joining the Skelton's for £55k last spring. This scopey son of Westerner will be jumping fences in the near future, but I don't see why he can't claim a decent chunk of prize money during his novice hurdling campaign first.
Storminhome - Ben Pauling
Ben Pauling's novice chasers always seem to jump well and STORMINHOME is certainly built to tackle the larger obstacles. Pauling's six-year-old still managed to secure some good results over hurdles last season, finishing inside the first three on all five of his starts and claiming victory on his third outing at Doncaster.
Pauling purchased Storminhome from the Ballydaragh sales following an impressive point-to-point win last April. Frammassone's progeny strike at nearly 20% over fences and I'm excited to see how Storminhome fairs when he's stepped up to novice chasing.
So Scottish - Emmet Mullins
SO SCOTTISH made giant strides during the first half of last season. Emmet Mullins' six-year-old bolted up in a novice hurdle at Kilbeggan in September, claimed two easy victories on his first couple of chase starts and placed second behind the classy Boothill in a £65k handicap at Ascot.
Things didn't go to plan during the spring. So Scottish was well-beaten in the Paddy Power Plate, despite going into that handicap as one of the favourites, and unseated Mark Walsh at the Punchestown Festival in April. So Scottish's mark has dropped down to a highly workable 138 following those defeats and I'm sure Mullins will have his eyes on the three two-and-a-half-mile handicap chases staged at Cheltenham between November and January.
Super Six - Nigel Twiston-Davies
Having always looked like a staying chaser in the making, SUPER SIX was sent novice chasing as a five-year-old at the start of last season. After a sticky start to life over fences, Nigel Twiston-Davies' charge secured a 15-length victory at Haydock in February and went on to run a blinder behind Caribean Boy at Cheltenham's April Meeting.
Despite running up to an RPR of 140 that day, Twiston-Davies' burley grey will begin this season on the same rating of just 128. With the prospect of more progress to come, Super Six looks exceptionally well-handicapped.
Supreme Jet - Oliver McKiernan
Meet And Greet will captain Oliver McKiernan's small but talented squad of jumpers for the new season. Kalanisi Star is an exciting novice chaser to follow. As is SUPREME JET, who made all to win twice over hurdles during 2022.
Supreme Jet finished second on a couple of occasions too, losing out to classy types like Eric Bloodaxe and Plains Indian. McKiernan could go handicapping when his seven-year-old returns, but novice chasing is the more likely route and Supreme Jet is no stranger to the larger obstacles, having won a point-to-point as a four-year-old in February 2020.
Thomas Mor - David Pipe
The final name on my list of horses to follow is another exciting recruit to the novice chasing ranks, THOMAS MOR. David Pipe threw his six-year-old into the Albert Bartlett last season, on the back of two impressive novice wins and a hard-fought handicap success at Ascot.
Despite going off at 66/1, Thomas Mor ran a cracker on his Cheltenham debut, responding to pressure well to cross the line seven lengths behind Stay Away Fay in sixth. Pipe's six-year-old ran in five point-to-points before moving to England, winning well on the last of those outings, so he should have no trouble at all in adapting to life over fences.
You can track the progress of all 20 horses in the Horses To Follow section of our website.
We'll also send out tracker alerts from the Racing Insider Twitter handle when any of the 20 have been declared to run.
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