HORSES TO FOLLOW FOR THE 2018/19 JUMPS SEASON………..
With the new 2018/19 season starting to hit top gear then Gary picks out some of his string to follow over the jumping campaign…………….
BENATAR: A very good horse for the yard. Ran the other day (Oct 18) but was far too keen and fresh that day. Was returning from a 7-month break so once he got to the races was just a bit too keen to get going again. Actually, did well to finish as close as he did in the end as he was pulling Jamie’s arms out for much of the race. Still only 6 years-old (will be 7 from Jan 1st) so bundles of time on his side still. Seems to act well on most ground but will do better in a better race, when the pace is stronger. Beat Finian’s Oscar in a decent Grade Two Novice Chase at Ascot last December so has already set a decent level of form. Gutsy performer too and certainly one to look for as the season progresses.
BARON ALCO: Very promising first run after a long break when a close second at Chepstow in October. Was an excellent second in the Brown Advisory and Merribelle Stable Plate at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival but since that race missed the following season with injury. Returned after that 577 day break to show he retains all his ability and at 7 years-old is another that has time on his side. Acts on all ground types and has shown a liking for Cheltenham with his last three runs there (up till March 17) reading 3-2-2. Has come out of that return run well and deserves a good run without any mishaps on the track now. Tough performer that we’ll hopefully see in the top handicap chases at the main tracks as the season moves on.
DELL ORO: Did well last season over hurdles (rated 127) with a win and four top three finishes from his five starts. Still lightly-raced but has been schooling well over fences for a campaign over the bigger obstacles this season. A nice horse for novice chasing this season and we’d be disappointed if doesn’t continue his rise up the ranks. Best runs to date have been on a better surface but also stayed 2m5f well on the flat so this should hopefully give us plenty of options now going chasing.
IL RE DI NESSUNO: Only have two career, but they came in decent flat races in Italy. Was actually 8th in the Italian Derby in 2018 so is a classy sort that is a very nice recruit to the yard. Has taken to hurdles well with plenty of schooling and will be a good option for us for the better class juvenile hurdles this season.
AR MEST: A horse we like a fair bit and at 5 years-old will have more to come. Won well at Lingfield back in Feb 18 but fell when still going well at Sandown in his next race. Had a bit of time to get over that and is better than his last run when well down the field at Sandown in the Novices’ Championship Final Hurdle. Has done well over the summer and we think he’ll be well-handicapped this term – especially during the first half of the season. Seems to like plenty of cut too – won on heavy – so we can expect to see him out when conditions start to get softer but has certainly progressed and with the right conditions is a horse to follow this season.