The Horses To Follow In This Season’s National Hunt

| November 3, 2010 | Reply

The clocks have gone back, the nights are drawing in and my heating bill is about to go through the roof but there is one plus point about this time of year…

The National Hunt season is upon us!

Now, I don’t know about you but I’m not a huge fan of flat racing.

Don’t get me wrong, it throws up its fair share of magic moments but for me, horse racing is all about the jumps.

You see, these obstacles really do separate the geldings from the colts (or the mares from the fillies)…

And given the size of some of the fences, it can be a big ol’ fall if you come up short!

It can also leave a big ol’ dent in your bank balance if you back the wrong horses this winter, so I’ve decided to follow every other man and his dog by giving you my pick of this season’s contenders.

And if you’re wondering why I’m only giving you four as opposed to the more traditional ten, well in my book its quality not quantity that’s important…

And besides, I don’t need the competition in this year’s Tote Sport ‘Ten To Follow’!

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Vodka Whisky

The first of my picks is five year old gelding Oscar Whisky.

This Irish horse enjoyed a very impressive debut last season, notching three wins from four off the back of a ‘Junior Bumper’ victory first time out.

He has only been beaten once and that was against the cream of the division in the Supreme Novices at Cheltenham.

Even on that occasion he wasn’t disgraced – far from it in fact…

On that day he finished a very respectable fourth, just two lengths back from supposed superstar in the making, Dunguib.

Oscar Whisky has plenty of options open to him this term including a switch to novice chasing but whichever path trainer Nicky Henderson chooses, he’s sure to make a big impact.

Next up in my four to follow is six year old French bred Tataniano.

He may sound like a Russian Bond girl but this gelding is more than just a pretty face and he proved it last season with three wins from four.

His only slip up was a second place finish when heavily backed at Newbury and there’s no reason why this speedster can’t build on that impressive form with another season to remember.

Under the wing of five time champion trainer Paul Nicholls, Tataniano is almost as exciting as Ursula Andress in a swimsuit…

Almost.

Big bucks for one and all

Next we look to a horse that had a difficult time with injury last term but ended his campaign with a bang…

Hurricane Fly.

This Irish hurdler has shown promise for a long time but missed a large chunk of last season due to a sprained suspensory ligament.

That injury ruled him out of the Champion Hurdle but he is back among the ante-post favourites in this year’s race and I wouldn’t bet against him.

Trainer Willie Mullins threw him back into action at Punchestown in April and he didn’t disappoint, beating the likes of Solwhit, Punjabi and Dunguib in a thrilling victory.

Should he stay fully fit, Hurricane Fly could blow away all comers this season.

I’m going to conclude this Rant with the unstoppable force that is Big Bucks.

Now, I know he’s an obvious pick but this really is my sort of horse…

Fierce, moody and more often that not, unbeatable.

Big Bucks has now won eight races in a row and in his division (staying hurdler) no other horse can compete.

With his lazy style he makes winning look ridiculously easy and didn’t once look troubled during his four wins last term.

It has often been said of Big Bucks that the only thing that can beat him is himself…

And be warned, his personality is such that if he decides to stop running halfway through a race one day, few will be overly surprised.

However, until that day comes, Big Bucks is the most aptly named horse in National Hunt racing…

He is a license to print money!

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