The jumps season is now just weeks away as connections ready their horses. Here we cover two lesser known horses as well as two stars who are likely to take all the beating throughout the season in some of the major races.
Owned by the imperious combination of Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci, Annamix was being mooted as the supreme novice horse in the yard ahead of the 2017 season. The stable have had a vast amount of success in the race including three years in succession between 2013 and 2015 and will be hoping Annamix can add to that success. The key performance coming from the mighty Douvan in 2015.
The French-bred five year old has yet to make the track following his move over to Mullins from G Macaire in France. However he has made one start in which he finished a close second in a Conditions Hurdle race, staying on well at the finish. If everything is well then they are likely to bring him out early in the season and, if he retains that ability, then 16/1 could be a massive price come March. He is likely to start off in a weak maiden as he looks to emulate many of his stable stars of the past in winning the curtain-raiser of the Cheltenham Festival.
The five year old is now being trained by Olly Murphy who has been one of the rising forces of the training scene. Apparently connections think the world of him as he was bought following a facile victory in a bumper at Hereford for £250,000; this victory was a nine length success over another exciting young horse in Portrush Ted, who followed up on his next two starts. He was also a winner of his sole point to point start in Ireland.
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) 16 January 2018
Brewin’s final start of the season was in the Betfair Bumper at Newbury in which he finished fourth behind Acey Milan giving the winner weight. This was a little disappointing considering he was sent off as the well-backed favourite, but his future clearly lies over an obstacle. Being by Milan he is going to improve with age like many other of Milan’s offspring so the future is bright. He is a horse to follow in his forthcoming novice hurdling campaign.
The star novice chaser of the 2017/18 jumps season is one to follow going forward. He entered last season’s campaign as an exciting prospect that included a fourth place finish in the previous season’s Champion Hurdle. However his transition to fences brought about a huge amount of improvement: Mullins had voiced he was the best novice hurdler he had and this should have been followed.
Footpad was around 5/1 early on for the Arkle but was sent off a shade off odds on come the day. His season culminated in a comprehensive victory at the Cheltenham Festival in which he destroyed a high class field by 14 lengths following a fantastic ride from Ruby Walsh. He ran five times last season, winning all starts with a combined distance of 53 lengths. A clash with Altior is now likely in what is set to be the most anticipated clash of the 2019 Festival. Let’s hope both horses remain injury free and bring their best form into the race. The horse racing betting has Footpad at 9/2 with the defending champion Altior 13/8 at present.
(Ruby celebrates crossing the line in isolation with run-away winner Footpad)
Trained by Mr Cheltenham, Patrick G Kelly, who has continued to have success at the Festival in recent years despite having such a limited number of horses in the yard. Percy is coming off the back of a stunning victory in the RSA Novice Chase at the Festival by seven lengths from Monalee. This performance instantly put the horse at the head of the market for the forthcoming season’s Gold Cup with many people saying he is the horse to beat.
Presenting Percy is also bringing an unbeaten record at the Festival having landed a gamble at the 2017 Festival in the Pertemps Network Final. He tasted defeat just once last season, to the ill-fated Our Duke, and seems to bring his best to the track. With experienced jockey Davy Russell in the saddle this is the most exciting horse ahead of the Gold Cup. If all the horses stay fit then a race between him, Might Bite and defending champion Native River could be one to savour come March 15th.