10 to follow over jumps
Keith Hamer selects 10 horses to follow in the upcoming National Hunt campaign.
Champers On Ice: One to follow
With the jumps season getting into full swing, Keith Hamer has selected 10 horses to follow during what promises to be another exciting and fascinating campaign:
BRISTOL DE MAI (5-Y-O) – Nigel Twiston-Davies
The five-year-old grey has already graced some of the best tracks in the land with his exuberant way of running and jumping. However, as he gets older his trainer is confident Bristol De Mai will be even better as he relaxes and stays further than two and a half miles. It will be a pleasure to see how he fares in the better conditions races.
CHAMPERS ON ICE (6-Y-O) – David Pipe
David Pipe has high hopes for the six-year-old over fences this season, and with good reason. A big, scopey, grey, Champers On Ice showed smart form in staying hurdles last term, finishing up third in the Albert Bartlett. He is set to be campaigned over two and a half miles plus and goes well on soft ground.
GUNNERY (3-Y-O) – Alan King
Formerly with Peter Chapple-Hyam, the three-year-old has joined the Alan King stable and is set for a juvenile hurdle campaign. He was a winner on the Flat at Haydock in the spring and ran well in the Queen's Vase and Bahrain Trophy. He could develop into a Triumph Hurdle hope if he takes to jumping.
KOTKIKOVA (5-Y-O) – Nicky Henderson
The five-year-old French import is an exciting new addition to the Nicky Henderson team. Despite her tender years, she already has plenty of experience. Her 11 victories from 14 starts include a Grade One over fences and it will be interesting to see just what her trainer has in store for her.
LA BAGUE AU ROI (5-Y-O) – Warren Greatrex
A big imposing mare, the French-bred won all her three bumpers in 2015 and was not disgraced when seventh in the Grade Two bumper at Aintree in April. She will be going hurdling and could take top rank in the mares' division this winter.
LE BREUIL (4-Y-O) – Ben Pauling
The Gloucestershire trainer enjoyed great success with Barters Hill in novice hurdles last term and Le Breuil could help fly the flag for the stable in that division this time round. The French-bred four-year-old made a successful debut in a Warwick bumper in May and can pay his way over jumps. He could be a smart recruit.
NOBLE ROBIN (5-Y-O) – Jonjo O'Neill
Yet to race under National Hunt rules, this son of Robin Des Champs is an interesting addition to the Jackdaws Castle team and for his owner JP McManus. He changed hands after winning his sole point-to-point in Ireland and it will be fascinating to see how he progresses.
SMART TALK (6-Y-O) – Brian Ellison
Smart Talk was an above-average mare over hurdles last season, winning Listed and Grade Two contests, but her future lies over fences. She has already proved effective over two and a half miles as well as the minimum trip and should make her mark over the bigger obstacles.
THOMAS BROWN (7-Y-O) – Harry Fry
The best is yet to come from the seven-year-old, who has the potential to develop into a contender for the serious staying handicap chases. He had quite a productive first season over fences and would have gained essential experience from his runs at Kempton, Cheltenham and Aintree in particular.
VICENTE (7-Y-O) – Paul Nicholls
Champion trainer Paul Nicholls has already earmarked the Grand National as the main target for the young staying chaser, who ended the last campaign winning the Scottish equivalent at Ayr. The Ditcheat handler landed the world's greatest steeplechase with Neptune Collonges in 2012 and Vicente could be a second, hopefully picking up a race or two on the way.
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