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North’s Horses to Follow 2020/21

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    My list of horses to follow for the 202-21 National Hunt season. Drawn from Scottish and Northern stables the list gives one or two that might make a mark at Graded level, some for a Class 4 or 5 tickle and some middle of the road animals with promise or proven ability.

    ALL HAIL CAESAR 6 g (Rebecca Menzies)
    Still a maiden hurdler but beat Louis Vac’ Pouch to win a jumpers bumper at Newcastle so clearly has an engine. Didn’t make a mark on seasonal debut at Carlisle in mid-October but trainer felt run would bring him on and will be seen to greater effect over further than 2m 4f.

    BUSTER VALENTINE 7 g (Ruth Jefferson)
    Won a novice handicap chase at Market Rasen but sustained an injury that kept him off since. Given time to recover this one is well rated by the stable and will be aimed at 3 mile chases with Peter Marsh at Haydock as a long term goal.

    CAVENTARA 8 g (Sandy Thomson)
    By Kayf Tara out of L’Aventure which is as good a recommendation for a staying chaser as you can get. Was going well when coming down in Sandy’s favourite race, the Borders National last season and will be targeted at that race this season. Has relatively few miles on the clock and mark of 115 gives room for manouevre.

    CLONDAW CAITLIN 5 m (Ruth Jefferson)
    Progressive hurdler last season culminating in winning the Grade 2 Premier Hurdle at Kelso. Dropped in at the deep end on chasing debut at Cheltenham, jumped stickily early on but stayed on nicely up the hill to provide encouragement for staying chases going forward.

    CRACKING DESTINY 7 g (Alistair Whillans)
    Steadily progressive over fences in the summer and his fifth in the Old Roan Chase reads well. Might be rested for a while and brought back in the spring, but there is still room for progression. Stays 2m 4f but has enough speed to be competitive at the minimum distance. Handles soft ground, though probably wouldn’t want it too deep.

    ELVIS MAIL 6 g (Nick Alexander)
    Considered by his trainer as possibly the best he has had charge of. A decent handicap hurdler won twice last term in a truncated campaign. Disappointed at Newbury behind Epatante but didn’t eat while in Berkshire so the race can be ignored, and possibly best kept within daily range of home.
    Goes novice chasing this season and would be considered one of the brighter prospects on the northern novice scene.

    FAIRE PART SIVOLA 5 g (Lucinda Russell)
    Fair novice last season for Nick Williams, winning at Leicester and then tried in Grade 2 company. Pulled up in a Uttoxeter gluepot in March but that form can likely be set aside. Goes handicap hurdling this year and far enough south of a 140 mark to give a few opportunities in Scotland and the north.

    FOLKS LIKE US 5 g (Alistair Whillans)
    Owned by a fellow Kelso regular who gave me the heads up about this one who will operate at a relatively low level. Picked up a nasty injury pointing and took some time to get over that. Carefully handled he came good at Kelso in early October and remains on a workable mark in handicap hurdles. Probably won’t want the ground too soft.

    HOME FIRE 4 g (Nicky Richards)
    An unraced bumper prospect owned by the Robinsons (owners of Simply Ned) who provide a conveyor belt of young horses for the Richards yard. By Frankel out of a Group 1 placed mare who was rated 113 on the flat. I assume this one is late developer but owner/trainer produce so many decent animals this one has to be of interest.

    KITTY HALL 6 m (Nicky Richards)
    Winner of a mares’ bumper at Carlisle in January and not disgraced at Doncaster subsequently. Dam won a bumper and a handicap hurdle.

    LANTY SLEA 5 g (Nicky Richards)
    Just scrambled home in a 3-runner bumper at Carlisle in March and the season was halted soon after. Difficult to learn much from that one outing, but options under a penalty in bumpers before progressing to hurdles.

    LITTLE BRUCE 8 g (Phil Kirby)
    Tough staying chaser who has notched up plenty of miles for an eight-year-old but seems to thrive on racing. Had a pipe opener over hurdles, at which discipline he remains well handicapped so may be worth a try over the extended trips at the likes of Kelso and Sedgefield. Sporting reports he has schooled round the Cross-Country course at Cheltenham.

    MAROWN 6 g (Nicky Richards)
    Won a couple of novice hurdles last season after a single bumper win in 2019 so currently unbeaten. Worth following either in handicap hurdles or novice chases.

    MAX APPEAL 5 g (Lucinda Russell)
    Clear winner of a 5-runner bumper at Ayr in March beating a previous winner from the Richards stable. Expected to pick up a novice hurdle or two this term. Half brother stayed 2m 6f and won a couple for Tim Vaughan.

    NAVAJO PASS 4 g (Donald McCain)
    Grade 2 winner and fourth in the Triumph Hurdle last season. Campaign likely to be split between the lesser conditions’ events and handicap hurdles.

    RAVENHILL ROAD 9 g (Sue Smith)
    Lightly raced staying chaser. Was in the process of running a decent return when coming down two out at Market Rasen recently. Mark of 133 doesn’t look over harsh and there should be opportunities on the northern circuit.

    RAYNA’S WORLD 5 m (Phil Kirby)
    Placed at the Cheltenham Festival in March yet went into the autumn a maiden hurdler. Dotted up in a canter on return in a maiden hurdle at Hexham and should make a mark at a much higher level with options available in novice and mares’ races. Could be a very decent hurdling mare.

    ROAD WARRIOR 6 g (Rebecca Menzies)
    Moderate novice chase whose form was heading nowhere but has benefitted from wind surgery. Prominent runner likely to be seen to best advantage on decent ground at a sharp track and may pop in at a decent price.

    SCOTTISH ACCENT 7 g (Rebecca Menzies)
    Promise in novice hurdles last season without winning. Never got in a blow when needing the race in a novice handicap chase on return and there should be much better to come in time. Handles soft and heavy ground well enough so a mid-winter campaign likely to pay dividends.

    TUPELO MISSISSIPPI 5 g (Brian Ellison)
    My Kelso contact turned up at Musselburgh expecting to win a bumper only to run into this one that he was told was rated by Brian Ellison as ‘potentially the best jumps horse I’ve trained’. Stamina should be his forte and a very exciting prospect for staying novice hurdles this term.

    WINDSOR AVENUE 8 g (Brian Ellison)
    Didn’t fulfil early promise over fences last season, but had wind surgery after his Haydock run in January and better now expected. Will start off in the Colin Parker Chase, which will set his level, and 2m 4f is his optimum trip.

    Venture to Cognac
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    Great to see this back Rob.

    Interesting comments on Tupelo Mississippi, and Elvis Mail.

    The one I’m waiting for though is Cavetara, and I’m looking forward to seeing him in The Borders National.

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    Yes, kicking myself for overlooking Tupelo Mississippi for my 10 To Follow list, but hopeful of a few quiet ones that might rattle some cages. My owner friend went to Musselburgh with Empty Quarter, conditions spot on, and then ran into this one that Brian Ellison was very bullish about and thankfully I got chapter and verse at Kelso before lockdown.

    Empty Quarter sustained an injury on his last run at Bangor and not sure what the situation is as I only ever catch with his owner at the races. If he does reappear he is worth watching, in the same ownership as Folks Like Us. Billy Muir normally has a horse or two stuck away in a field strengthening up or hidden away in Ireland to run in a point-to-point.

    Home Fire looks intriguing but can’t find any background information. What on earth a gelding by Frankel out of Group 1 placed mare (officially rated 113) is doing in a jumps yard I don’t know, but interesting! The other two foals from the mare that I can track, Rekindle and Star Snap, didn’t make it to the racecourse, or at least not in the UK or anywhere that racing Post records. I’ve only seen Frankel progeny when I’ve been down south, but they are all built like the proverbial brick outhouse.

    I’m a bit caught up with my Open University course right now, 20 hours a week, and my ratings compilation for the ‘Dusted off’ thread takes an average of hour or two every day, but I will endeavour to get a bumper thread going for the northern contests. Very interesting one at Ayr today.

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    Saturday October 31

    Faire Part Sivola – Lost
    4th of 6 was a disappointing start but I’ll assume that the race was needed.

    Sunday November 1

    TUPELO MISSISSIPPI makes his seasonal debut at Carlisle (1.05) taking on a couple of previous winners over 2m 4f.

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    It’s been a slow start for the list, Tupelo Mississippi hasn’t yet confirmed his trainer’s confidence. Elvis Mail won nicely aT Ayr and will keen on when he brushes up his jumping.

    One horse I can give a minor update on is HOME FIRE, a stunningly well bred animal likely to run in bumpers, who has been appearing in Nicky Richards latest gallops videos. Presumably this one has taken time to come to himself but will be interesting when appearing on the racecourse.

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    Rather disappointing returns to date with a few bright prospects rather disappointing. Notable exception was Navajo Pass who dotted up at Musselburgh then followed up to beat Buveur D’Air at Haydock. 6 individual winners out of the 21 to date.

    Runs 44
    Wins 7
    Returns 28.51

    Venture to Cognac
    • Total Posts 16445

    Navajo Pass a great shout Rob.

    Where next you think?

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