The final list of our horses to follow series sees our man Declan Rix flag up horses who are either well-handicapped to win races this season or are darker types who may fly under the radar.
Sometimes in this game you have to follow what others are saying especially when it comes from respected figures. Cold hard evidence is always the best way of approaching horseracing where betting is concerned, but despite knowing very little about him, Aurko makes the list.
Trained by Willie Mullins and owned by Rich Ricci, we must confess to not even knowing this horse existed until his owner spoke publicly of him. Ricci has any amount of top-class horses to look forward to, but it’s interesting this name has cropped up.
A son of Balko – a sire new to us – he missed last season through injury, but is said to be back in work. In late 2013 he won two races in France before being purchased by his current connections. The second of those came at Pau where he recorded an impressive eight length win.
Should he have a good season, we can’t take the credit for it, but he’s an intriguing runner to follow for the remaining campaign.
Warren Greatrex is possibly one of Great Britain’s most improved trainers. He threatened to break through four or five years ago and maybe didn’t go on, for whatever reason, but there is no doubting he is one of the brightest, young trainers in England currently.
He trains Bon Enfant and while it’s highly questionable he’ll reach graded events, there are still races to be won with this French-bred.
By a lovely stallion in Saint Des Saints and from a classy French family on the distaff side, he really impressed us with his bumper win at Wincanton last April. So much so, we fancied him to run a big race at the 2015 Punchestown Festival.
Things didn’t go according to plan that day and the run is best forgiven. We hope his trainer can continue to improve this four-year-old and trips around two-and-a-half miles should be ideal in the novice hurdle division.
Henry De Bromhead horses have already made some our previous lists.Grand Jesture is another chaser we can see going well for the Irish trainer, but in handicaps before possibly graduating into graded races.
This seven-year-old has a lot of ability, but unfortunately is on the quirky side. His trainer has often said he’s not the easiest horse to deal with, but despite that worry, we feel he is worth following.
Officially rated 145, the son of Gold Well may be capable of getting up to a mark in the low 160s. His run at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival was a cracker and now only 5lbs above that mark, there is surely a decent handicap in him.
Grand Jesture is a strong-travelling type who jumps well in the main. Decent ground is possibly the key to him and trips circa of three miles will prove ideal.
A horse from an extremely classy National Hunt family, Jett can hopefully go the in the same direction his half-siblings Jezki, Jered, Jetson and Jenari did. Between those four horses, 30 races have been won, including multiple Grade 1 contests. The dam, La Noire, has simply been sensational to her breeder Gerard McGrath.
Three of the aforementioned horses were trained by Jessica Harrington and Jett will carry on that tradition. A son of Flemensfirth, he has only had two bumper starts. He finished second on debut at Leopardstown before running fourth next time out at Punchestown.
His trainer reports him to have strengthened up over the summer so hopefully we see a better horse this season. His pedigree suggests staying trips may suit best.
A multiple Grade 2-winning hurdler, Mala Beach’s current chase rating of 141 looks like a mark his trainer may be able to exploit. While Willie Mullins is the number one trainer in Ireland, Gordon Elliot is the Emerald Isle’s next best.
We are hoping he will be able to place this seven-year-old nicely throughout the winter and possibly bag a handicap or two. Irish winter ground suits him well and while he has shown some form on decent terrain, soft suits best.
By Beneficial and out of an Old Vic mare, staying contests will suit Mala Beach best. Longer-term, he could be the type of horse to develop into a national type, not necessarily the Aintree showpiece, but with regards to excelling over extreme trips.
A useful flat-horse for John Oxx, Marakoush achieved a rating of 90 in that sphere before being bought for €185,000 at the Goffs 2014 September sale. Now owned by prominent National Hunt owner Barry Connell, on paper, this son of Danehill Dancer is interesting.
By a classy flat stallion, Marakoush’s Aga Khan distaff bloodline is significantly eye-catching. A half-brother to classy flat stayers Mourilyan and Mourayan, Marakoush is also related to former quality National Hunt stayer Mourad.
This horse has strong credentials on paper and his classy flat-rating of 90 means there could be more to come over hurdles, he has at least shown himself to be useful on the track. The fact he is trained by a newcomer to Irish shores in Alan Fleming, it may see him go under the radar.
He has already won his maiden hurdle, but hopefully there is more to come.
This is a horse we desperately wanted to get on our novice hurdlers to follow list, but couldn’t squeeze him in, and after one proper racecourse start in a bumper, hopefully Nambour still flies under the radar.
He hasn’t been talked about in the same breath as some Willie Mullins horses, but the fact he is owned by Gigginstown House Stud means it won’t be long before he is noticed. It surprising to us given how impressive he has been.
In May of 2015, he won his bumper by three lengths having been imposing in a point-to-point victory six months earlier. His on-track wins and classy German flat-bred pedigree really intrigue and he’s one we look forward to seeing this season.
Although with one of the best trainers in the British and Irish Isles, Some Plan may get lost among the star names at Paul Nicholls’s Ditcheat yard. Hopefully that will be the case because we feel this late-maturing type can win races this season.
Formerly with Tom George, it’s interesting his owner Roger Brookhouse has decided to switch this chasing type. It may well be a sign the owner feels he has a really nice horse on his hands and the previous trainer wasn’t getting the best out of him.
Paul Nicholls and his team are equipped to allow Some Plan to realise his potential. Already seven-years-old and only raced six times, it’s not ideal he hasn’t got the experience, but at least few miles on the clock may mean he has time to improve.
Sort It Out
We are not quite sure if Sort It Out is a proper chasing type, he’s not overbig and maybe lacks a bit of scope, but he’s an interesting horse based on his performances last season and if connections feel he can make it over fences, he is one to follow closely.
Trained by Eddie Harty – best known for his exploits with Captain Cee Bee – Sort It Out had a brilliant 2014/15 campaign winning three of his five races and also finishing runner-up in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
The form of that race looks particularly strong now and with the son of Milan following up himself at Punchestown on his next start, there could be more to come this season. Owned by JP McManus, he might be aimed at some big handicaps over hurdles, but he’s even more interesting if considered a chaser.
Willie Burke is a small trainer based in County Cork, Ireland. Recent seasons haven’t been as fruitful for the trainer as some previous, but Sumos Novios is a horse he may be able to win a couple of handicap chases with.
One point-to-point run and a sole effort in bumpers were seen before connections sent him straight over fences. Considered a real chasing type, his trainer feels he has the athleticism to match his stout frame.
The problem is the son of Flemensfirth hasn’t been the easiest to train, but a chase rating of 123 could be a gift if they can get him right. Impressive in winning his only point-to-point by six lengths, that mark would suggest he is capable of winning again.
His pedigree is all stamina so races around three miles on soft or even heavy ground will suit. Hopefully his trainer can have some success with him.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.