Ed Chamberlin: On the Move
In his latest column, Ed Chamberlin unveils the eagerly-awaited JP McManus horse to follow provided by new colleague AP McCoy.
Movewiththetimes: Well worth following, according to AP McCoy
In my part of the world Hennessy week is always a bit special.
There's added feeling this year with the final episode of the sponsor's backing of the great race. The gods have celebrated with rain of biblical proportions for the last few days and a soft ground Hennessy looks guaranteed.
The finale looks like a cracker with the usual clash of last season's novice chasers taking on plenty of the establishment, headed by last year's winner Smad Place.
Eleven of the last 17 renewals have been won by second-season chasers and Saturday will firmly put to the test my theory that the National Hunt Chase at the Festival was a better race than the RSA.
The latter's representatives are headed by Blaklion and Vyta Du Roc, while Native River is the main contender from the four miler and heads Sky Bet's market.
He must have a massive chance. My concern is that a few of last season's novices have been put in their place in the last few weeks, most recently Seeyouatmidnight who was totally outclassed in the Betfair Chase on Saturday. Further, Native River is a short enough price.
The rock solid contender is last year's winner. Newbury is tailor made for Smad Place with its big fences and flat galloping track where his brilliant jumping from the front will always put the field under pressure from the start, particularly the novices.
He won with a ton in hand last year and an 11lb rise may not be enough stop him 12 months later. Alan King will surely have primed him for a repeat and he looked in great nick in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree, which should have put him spot on for this.
Smad Place looks a rock solid each-way bet at a double figure price with Sky Bet.
I'll also be at the Berkshire track on the Friday to see Jenkins make his eagerly awaited debut. Jenkins is the latest runner from the five horses to follow from before the Open meeting.
He is special. Mind you, Jenkins will have to go some to usurp Peace News, who is now second favourite to win the Sky Bet Supreme.
He looked a real talent at Cork on Sunday. Peace News is one I'd love to have put in my horses to follow.
Messire des Obeaux got us off to a flying start when he bolted up at Bangor and he is very much a horse to follow too.
Minella Rocco ran well in the staying chase at Cheltenham and I still think he can develop into a Gold Cup contender.
Like so many of Jonjo's we'll only really see Minella Rocco at his absolute best on the day that really matters in March.
ITV Racing's new signing, Sir Anthony McCoy has a much better record with his annual horse to follow in this column. Over the years he's given us the likes of Binocular, Don't Push It, My Tent Or Yours, Darlan and last year it was Yanworth.
I've told him the pressure is firmly on.
This season AP's horse to follow is the Paul Nicholls trained Movewiththetimes. This horse has two wins to his name already at Wincanton and Fontwell before being upped in grade for the Sky Bet trial at Cheltenham on the Sunday of the Open Meeting.
That was a strange race and Movewiththetimes had no luck in running. Connections clearly think plenty of this horse and he's worth sticking with.
Movewiththetimes has big boots to fill.
I'm absolutely thrilled that AP has joined the ITV team and I'm really looking forward to working with him. It was exciting to see AP's signing announced after the promo for our coverage aired for the first time during half-time of England v Scotland.
Over nine million people were watching – what an incredible platform that is for horse racing and there is lots more to come through December.
More immediately I've got a fantastic few days ahead. It's a huge honour to be hosting the annual Peter O'Sullevan Award lunch on Thursday. I will then hotfoot it from The Dorchester to the London Palladium to speak about ITV Racing at the ITV Gala.
The countdown to January 1st 2017 continues apace.
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