Samantha’s 20 To Watch 2020/21

By Samantha Martin (@sam_angelina22)

October is finally here, which means that I can share with you my ’20 To Watch’ for the 2020/21 National Hunt Season. I started a ‘note’ on my phone titled ‘Possible 20 To Watch’ on the 4th January so I’ve been waiting a really long time for this! Writing my ‘20 To Watch’ is always one of my highlights of the year (sad, I know!) and I’m really excited for this season as there looks to be some great races in store!

This will be my third ’20 To Watch’ article. In the first year, they won nineteen races between them from seventy-two outings and returned a profit of £20.57. At the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, Topofthegame won the RSA Chase and City Island won the Ballymore Novices Hurdle for the blog. Last season, they won a total of twenty races out of sixty-two runs and returned a profit of £2.09 to a £1 Stake – and that is with the season cut short due to Coronavirus! At the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, which I was lucky enough to go to on the Tuesday, Champ managed to get up in the nick of time to win the RSA Novices Chase. Eleven out of the nineteen horses who ran won a race.

Going into this season, I really hope this group of horses can continue the upward trajectory of the blog. The overall aim is to have horses that win races as, for me, a good strike rate is important and I would like for it to return a profit. There is a huge range of horses in this – novice hurdlers, novice chasers, two milers and stayers. I think a few of these could be winning grade ones this season and the idea is that these horses aren’t cropping up in everyone else’s blogs. I put an awful lot of thought into this every year to pick horses that will go under the radar.

Something new for 2020/21 I’m going to do is a jockey, trainer, owner and stallion to follow to kick things off. So, here they are…

Jockey: Kielan Woods – Since jump racing recommenced in July, I’ve been really impressed with Kielan Woods. One example of this was when he rode Hiconic on the three-year-old filly’s first outing. He gave her a brilliant, educational ride and she has since won three more races. So far, he has been riding a lot for Alex Hales, Graeme McPearson and David Jeffreys. He won the Grand Annual at the Cheltenham Festival on the late Croco Bay and, if he keeps getting good opportunities, a few more big-race successes won’t be unsurprising.

Trainer: Olly Murphy – Olly Murphy is a young trainer going places. Before training, he worked for Gordon Elliott and, now going into his fourth season, he already has a grade one win to his name with Itchy Feet in the Scilly Isles Novices Chase. He has some really nice horses to go to war with this time around, like Brewin’upastorm, Thomas Darby, Skandiburg, The Butcher Said, Enemy Coast Ahead and two more on this list.

Owners: Kate & Andrew Brooks – Kate & Andrew Brooks have some lovely horses this season with a variety of trainers including Olly Murphy and Harry Whittington. In particular, I expect Simply The Betts, Rouge Vif, Itchy Feet and Saint Calvados to be winning lots of races. Someone shared this article with me on Twitter about the horses the Brooks’ buy and I find it really fascinating – https://t.co/PSSUBbR5BG?amp=1

Stallion: Nathaniel – You may be thinking what?  because this horse is obviously Enable’s sire. At the Cheltenham Festival, this horse sired Concertista, who won the Mares’ Novices Hurdle, and Burning Victory, who won the Triumph Hurdle. Keep an eye out for Nathaniel fillies going over obstacles.

I’m excited to share with you my 20 To Watch. I will be posting updates when horses are declared to run with the hashtag #20ToWatchBySam on my Twitter account (@sam_angelina22). If you would like to tell me what you think of my list or any horses you think will do well this season please feel free to ‘tweet’ me!

I’d like to thank Tom & Jack Williams for the wonderful photos. Please go and follow them on Twitter @JTWEquineImag

UPDATE – Sadly, two of these horses have been ruled out for the season, which is really gutting news. I wish them both a speedy recovery and two new horses are in at 21 and 22 to make up the numbers.

Now, thank you for reading and here’s My 20 To Watch for 2020/21!

My 20 To Watch 2020/21

Beakstown at Cheltenham in March

No1 – Beakstown

7yo Bay/Chestnut Gelding (Stowaway x Midnight Reel (Accordian))

Trainer – Dan Skelton

Owner – Bryan Drew

Breeder – Geoffrey Thompson

UPDATE – I have been informed that Beakstown has been ruled out for the season. I’m sad to hear this news and I wish him a really speedy recovery! A replacement has been put in at the bottom at number 21.

No2 – Confirmation Bias

5yo Bay Gelding (Presenting x Bonnie Parker (Un Desperado))

Confirmation Bias and I go back a long way to the 2018 Goffs Land Rover Sale, not that I have actually met him! I picked this horse out as one to follow from the sale, based on his pedigree, and have followed him ever since. He’s by Presenting, sire of horses like Denman, War Of Attrition and First Lieutenant, and out of Bonnie Parker, a one time winner. She had five foals run before this horse and they have all won at least one race. The most notable are Persian War winner El Bandit and five-time winner Rogue Trader. This horse ran at Wincanton on debut and managed to win by a short head to Sizable Sam (No3) Next time, once again at Wincanton, he was very keen and beaten fourteen lengths on heavy ground, which might not have been ideal. I read an article by Harry Derham, Paul Nicholls’ assistant, and he mentioned this horse. To sum it up, this horse is a trouble-maker. Harry wrote that Will Biddick, a really talented rider, was pretraining him and his weekly update was often “Yeah behaving at the moment”. He also said that Harry Cobden told him, “I’ve been riding for Paul for a while now and never has he said sit tight”. But, he was foot-perfect for Harry on his debut though and I am confident he could win some good races over hurdles this year.

Target – Betfair Hurdle (Newbury, February)

Sizable Sam wins at Warwick (Photo By JTW Equine Images)

No3- Sizable Sam

5yo Chestnut Gelding (Black Sam Bellamy x Halo Flora (Alflora))

Trainer – Jeremy Scott

 Owner – The Hopefuls & Kelvin-Hughes

Breeder – Shade Oak Stud

Sizable Sam is, as his name suggests, a big horse. This son of Black Sam Bellamy ran front-rank at 20/1 on his debut, wide around Wincanton. He travelled very well for a long way but just hung right a bit when push came to shove. It was a novicey thing to do and not at all surprising as he’s such a big horse. On his second start in NH flat races, he ran enthusiastically and got pushed back to mid-div at one point. It was a hard-fought victory but he asserted very smartly to win in the end by just over a length. I saw a video of this horse schooling over hurdles on Jeremy Scott Racing’s Instagram (see below) and it was apparently his first time jumping on grass and he was so impressive, jumping very well. Back in 2013 and 2014, Scott had the smart, grade one winner Melodic Rendezvous and he has been waiting for a class one performer ever since. I’m excited to see Sizable Sam over a hurdle and his flashy white face will be easy to spot in his races!

Target – Top Novices Hurdle (Aintree Grand National Meeting)

No4 – Monkfish

6yo Chestnut Gelding (Stowaway x Martovic (Old Vic))

Trainer – Willie Mullins

Owner – Mrs Susanna Ricci

Breeder – Cyril O’Hara

Monkfish won the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham in March and it was such an impressive win. I watched it back to remind myself of the race and I had forgotten how good the performance was! He was front rank most of the way and was one of four horse going neck-and-neck from a furlong and a half out. He looked beaten when Fury Road and Latest Exhibition passed him but he showed a brilliant attitude to win by a neck. I think this horse has been campaigned with fences as the target. He pulled up in a PTP but then won a four-year-old maiden over three miles. On debut at Punchestown, he followed in grade one paced Longhouse Poet and finished ahead of Politesse (No5). He was second in his first hurdle race but then won by eleven lengths when stepped up to two miles seven furlongs. He followed that up with a twenty length victory at Thurles before his win at Cheltenham. I think he’ll make a very good chaser and has even been talked about as a ‘Gold Cup Horse’. The novice chasing division looks really hot this year but I think he can make his presence felt.

Target – RSA Novices’ Chase (Cheltenham Festival)

No5- Politesse

6yo Bay Mare (Beat Hollow x Dalamine (Sillery))

Trainer – Mrs Lorna Fowler

Owner – P G Davies & Mrs A Frost & R H Fowler

Breeder – Harry Fowler & Alex Frost

When racing stopped in England due to Coronavirus, ITV showed racing from Thurles and one of those races was a maiden hurdle. This was won by Politesse, a bay mare with a lovely white blaze. She led after four out and jumped slightly left but that is excusable as it was her first run over hurdles. She asserted to win well and I was impressed. On her first lifetime start, she was a 66/1 shot but was only beaten six and a quarter lengths by Longhouse Poet and grade one winner Monkfish (No4). Her first run this season was in early February when second in a grade two to Darling Daughter. Next time, she won easily by six lengths on soft ground in a national hunt flat race. After her win on ITV, she was entered in the grade one mares’ novice hurdle at the Punchestown Festival but that obviously never happened. She’s a half-sister to Lexus Chase winner Don Poli and grade one placed Debece so she’s bred for the job. I think she could win a few races this season in class one mares’ races. The yard deserves a nice horse and Lorna’s runners often pop up at big prices.

Target – David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle (Cheltenham Festival)

No6 – Commander Of Fleet

6yo Bay Gelding (Fame And Glory x Coonagh Cross (Saddlers’ Hall))

Trainer – Gordon Elliott

Owner – Gigginstown House Stud

Breeder – Patricia Coghlan

Commander Of Fleet’s Land Rover Bumper victory remains to this day one of the best bumper victories that I have ever seen. I was completely taken by this horse. He was sent for home as they turned in under Barry O’Neill and he put easy daylight between him and his rivals. That performance and his Point To Point win previously earned him a spot in my ‘20 To Watch’ for 2018/19. He made an ideal start in his maiden hurdle by six lengths over two miles and four and a half furlongs. Next time, he was last of four, beaten eight and a quarter lengths. It was won by Quick Grabim; Triplicate was second and Aramon was third – he has won a grade one and grade three subsequently. In February, Commander Of Fleet was a half-length winner of a grade one at Leopardstown. At Cheltenham, he came second to Minella Indo in the Albert bartlett, which was a great run. At the Punchestown Festival, he pulled up lame and has had the past year off with injury. I’m unsure as to what his target will be this season and whether he’ll stay over hurdles or go chasing. Gordon Elliott has some smart novice chasers and the division looks so hot so it may be that he stays over hurdles and goes for the Stayers’ Hurdle or a similar race. I just hope he can get back to winning ways.

Target – RSA Novices Chase (Cheltenham Festival) 

Real Steel at Down Royal (By JTW Equine Images)

No7- Real Steel

7yo Bay Gelding (Loup Breton x Kalimina (Monsun))
Trainer – Paul Nicholls

Owner – Sullivan Bloodstock Limited

Breeder – Haras De Plasence & Mme V Saint-Palais

This season, Real Steel has joined Paul Nicholls’ battalion, alongside Laurina, Stormy Ireland and a few more classy horses, from Willie Mullins’ yard. This horse can be described as a bit ‘hit-and-miss’. He wasn’t an exceptional hurdler but won on his second and third lifetime chase starts in extremely taking style. He finished sixth in the JLT and was then second in a Fairyhouse grade one. At Punchestown, he won a ‘Grade A’ handicap chase but it was last season when he properly hit his stride. He started out by winning in a Down Royal grade two impressively before finishing behind Min, Hardline and Presenting Percy in the John Durkan. Next time, he easily won a grade two at Thurles but pulled up at Gowran. In the Cheltenham Gold Cup, he was stone last on the first circuit but Brian Hughes switched him out and he was absolutely ‘swinging’ along as they turned for home. He looked like the winner at one point but messed about a bit under pressure and couldn’t quite last home. He’s only seven and has a big future ahead. Now in England, I think he’s going to be seen to good effect at courses like Kempton and Ascot before the Gold Cup. There was a theory that he doesn’t go left-handed but I’m not sure how true that is. Regardless, he is a lively outsider for the King George.

Target – Cheltenham Gold Cup (Cheltenham Festival)

No8- Champagnesuperover

5yo Bay Gelding (Jeremy x Meldrum Hall (Saddlers’ Hall))

Trainer – Olly Murphy

Owner – McNeill Family & Patrick & Scott Bryceland

Breeder – Thomas F Hannon

First off, can we just appreciate how stunning these photos of Champagnesuperover are and how beautiful he is?! I hope this horse runs a lot this season because I’ve got so many photos to use in articles taken by the brilliant Tom & Jack Williams from JTW Equine Images. He runs in the colours of the lovely McNeill Family, who have been so kind to me and have had a lot of deserved success over the summer, and Patrick & Scott Bryceland. This horse was named after the dramatic Cricket World Cup finals. (I know nothing about cricket so I’m not sure exactly what but I love the way this name sounds!) He made his debut at Ayr and he ‘cantered’ in by sixteen lengths. It was such an impressive performance. Next time, he headed to Newbury for a listed bumper. It was won by Ocean Wind, who has subsequently come sixth in the Champion Bumper and won two flat races since. The form is strong and his third against more experienced horses was really good. Below is a little clip of him schooling and I’m so excited to see this horse over a hurdle and hopefully he can be a superstar for his owners.

Target – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Cheltenham Festival)

No9 – Le Richebourg

7yo Bay Gelding (Network x Fee Magic (Phantom Breeze))

Trainer – Joseph O’Brien

Owner – J P McManus

Breeder – Jean Marie Prost Alamartine

Joseph O’Brien has had a brilliant flat season, winning the St Leger and multiple other class one races, but he isn’t just a talented trainer of flat horses – he is a multiple grade one winning trainer of National Hunt horses too. Le Richebourg has had fifteen races, won £205,000 in prizemoney and has two grade one wins to his name. He won on his third start in bumpers and then won his first three hurdle races. He ran in three grade one novice hurdles in quick succession before finishing way down the field in the County Hurdle. He was fifth in the Galway Hurdle before starting to jump fences, when he truly flourished. I was delighted to have this horse in my ’20 To Watch’ as he was a winning machine in the 2018/19 season. He won well at Listowel and then was a seven length winner in a Tipperary grade three. He was second to Delta Work in December and came good in the grade one Racing Post Novice Chase and the Irish Arkle. Shortly after this, he got injured so hasn’t been seen since the 2nd February 2019. I really like this horse and I fully expect him to have won the Arkle if he’d ran. This season, the Champion Chase looks a good target.

Target – Queen Mother Champion Chase (Cheltenham Festival)

Your Darling at Warwick (By JTW Equine Images)

No10- Your Darling

5yo Bay Gelding (Shirocco x Carries Darling (Flemensfirth))

Trainer – Ben Pauling

Owner – Lord and Lady Vestey

Breeder – William Mangan

Your Darling’s debut victory was somewhat overshadowed by the encouraging first attempt by Sprinter Sacre’s younger brother Flinteur Sacre making his debut. Your Darling beat him convincingly though and looks an exciting horse for this season, less obviously than Flinteur Sacre. Next time, at Warwick, he pulled up, which was shocking as he was 4/6 favourite. After this, it came to light that he had a lung infection, which caused him not to finish his race. This horse is thought highly of by none other than Henrietta Knight! In a Q&A in the Racing Post lately, she said about this horse, “He’ll go novice hurdling in the autumn and will be suited by longer distances. We schooled him before we turned him out to grass and he’s just a phenomenal jumper. […] I’m excited by this horse; to me he has everything and a wonderful temperament.” I completely agree with Henrietta – he’s stunning; his debut was phenomenal and I really think he can make a mark in the novice hurdling division this year. Ben Pauling is a very good trainer and it would be great for him to have another grade one performer in his stable after Barters Hill and Willoughby Court.

Target – Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle (Cheltenham Festival)

No11- Topofthegame

8yo Chestnut Gelding (Flemensfirth x Derry Vale (Mister Lord))

Trainer – Paul Nicholls

Owner – Chris Giles & Mr&Mrs PK Barber

Breeder – Patrick Kavanagh

I think Topofthegame will be on many people’s ‘horses to follow’ lists and he was mine in 2018/19. That season, he began his chasing career after winning a grade three at Sandown and came second to Bleu Berry in the Coral Cup. He started over fences in early December and came second in a very good novice chase at Exeter. Defi Du Seuil won and Black Op was third. Next, he ran at Kempton on Boxing Day and was second to La Bague Au Roi in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase. He didn’t race again until the RSA Novices Chase when he won by half a length. It was a really impressive run and he jumped superbly. At Aintree, he was beaten six lengths by Lostintranslation, who went on to win the Betfair Chase. That was the last time we saw him as he was injured since. He missed the entirety of last season and I’m really excited to see what he does this season. He’s a huge, rangy chestnut, so, as a youngster, you can appreciate why he got injured and is a bit delicate. The rumours are that he will start out in the Ladbrokes Trophy. Inevitably, he will have top weight so it would be a momentous training performance for Paul Nicholls to get him to the year. His future lies in the Gold Cup though.

Target – Cheltenham Gold Cup (Cheltenham Festival)

Making friends with O Connell Street in 2018.

No12 – O Connell Street

6yo Bay Gelding (Fame And Glory x Victorine (Un Desperado))

Trainer – Gordon Elliott

Owner – Vincent Caldwell & Mrs Kathleen Caldwell (possibly)

Breeder – Kenneth Parkhill

I met this horse at Nicky Henderson’s yard at the 2018 Lambourn Open Day. He was an absolute sweetheart and, at that time, he had never run in a race. He started his career at Market Rasen in a bumper and was very keen and green but finished second, beaten one and a quarter lengths by a consistent horse. He went to Warwick and managed fourth. He flashed his tail and hung left, finishing fourth of eight, but he had a wind operation afterwards. After a 272-day break, he made his debut over hurdles at Catterick and probably just needed the run as he ran very well and was just beaten by a fitter rival. That was his sole start of the season and, on the 29th July, he was sold for £22,000 to Gordon Elliott. He’s a half-brother to City Island, who won the Ballymore. I really like this horse. He’s a winner in waiting and I think he’ll pop up in a few Irish handicaps in the near future.

Target – County Hurdle (Cheltenham Festival)

No13 – Belle De Manech

4yo Grey Filly (Vision D’Etat x Noor Forever (Highest Honour))

Trainer – Anthony Honeyball

Owner – Martyn Chapman

Breeder – S C E A Haras De Manneville

The combination of Martyn Chapman and Anthony Honeyball teamed up to great success with Ms Parfois before she retired in 2019 and I guess they’ll be hoping Belle De Manech will prove to be just as good. This daughter of Vision D’Etat got off the mark on the first attempt when contesting a national hunt flat race at Warwick on soft ground. She was quite green but ran on well. Her stablemate Coquelicot was in second and she has since won three races, including a listed race. Next time, she contested a smart bumper on New Years’ Day and the form is extremely strong with four subsequent winners. She hung left this time. She went to Ascot next and just weakened out of first place when Sabrina passed her. At Kempton, she finished one place ahead of Sabrina, coming seventh, and the winner was Coquelicot, who she beat on debut. I don’t think we saw her true running on her last three bumper starts and I think she’ll be a much better hurdler. Anthony Honeyball tweeted me and said she’s a brilliant jumper, which is encouraging.

Target – Mares’ Novices Hurdle

No14 – Mulcahys Hill

8yo Bay Gelding (Brian Boru x Belsalsa (Kingsalsa)

Trainer – Warren Greatrex

Owner- Jim and Claire Bryce

Breeder – Ned Morris

UPDATE – I’m gutted to say Mulcahys Hill won’t be running this season. He’s got an injury and I wish him a speedy recovery. I can’t wait to see him race next season and hopefully see him soon!

No15 – Captain Kangaroo

5yo Chestnut Gelding (Mastercraftsman x We Can Say It Now (Starcraft))

Trainer – Willie Mullins

Owner – Kanga Racing & Brett Graham Syndicate

Breeder – Paulyn Limited

On the day this horse made his debut, myself and the Rein It In team were recording a Dundalk preview and we started talking about who would win the last at Clonmel and I said Captain Kangaroo, who looked overpriced at 10/1. Sure enough, he won by four lengths, staying on well. That ended up being the last national hunt race in Britain and Ireland before the Coronavirus Lockdown. He looks a lovely big chestnut who will be well-suited to hurdles. His pedigree doesn’t necessarily suggest that though. He’s by Mastercraftsman, sire of top flat horses The Grey Gatsby, Alpha Centauri and Kingston Hill. He is out of We Can Say It Now, dam of group three winner Sky Kingdom and smart filly Dancing Vega. I think they wanted him to be a flat horse at first as he was a non-runner in three flat races in France in 2018. I heard somewhere that he didn’t like stalls so a National Hunt career looks perfect for him and I think he could be very good.

Target – Ballymore Novices Hurdle (Cheltenham Festival)

No16 – Gallyhill

5yo Bay Gelding (Getaway x Tanit (Xaar))

Trainer – Nicky Henderson

Owner – Michael Grech

Breeder – Sean Gorman

There is very little known about this horse and he very much comes under the ‘could be anything banner’ as he has only ran in one point to point. This son of Getaway is out of Tanit, who is the dam of eight-time winner Nortonthorpelegend. Gallyhill’s sole point to point was at Kirkistown and he managed to win commandingly. The form of the race isn’t exceptional but it got a lot of people talking – especially when Henrietta Knight shelled out £450,000 for him at the Cheltenham December Sale! She said that she’d known about the horse for a long time and described him as “a big horse but he’s so athletic, so light on his feet. He’s a very good jumper too” in a Racing Post article. It was a great story for Jamie Sloan, this horse’s point to point trainer, who’s first runner was this horse when he won at Kirkistown. He goes into training with Nicky Henderson and will run in the colours of Michael Grech (ex Grech and Parkin). A lot of people will be keeping a close eye on this horse this season.

Target – Supreme Novices Hurdle (Cheltenham Festival)

No17 – Domaine De L’Isle

7yo Bay Gelding (Network x Gratiene de l’Isle (Altayan))

Trainer – Sean Curran

Owner – 12 Oaks Racing

Breeder – Mme Veronique Sayet

Domaine De L’Isle really should be no1 on this list as he was first into it on 4th January, when I saw him winning at Newcastle. He started his career over in France and he won on his fifth attempt in a chase at Paray-Le-Monial and he backed that up with a win at Cluny. He ran with no success on his next four starts before moving to Sean Curran’s Somerset yard. On his first start for them, he was third over hurdles in May 2019. After a break, he was sixth at Newbury. Then, he went to Chepstow on soft ground and hacked up by ten lengths, with both the second and fourth winning since. He ran at Newcastle next and this five and a half length victory over three miles is what earned him a spot in this. He did it very well and the second horse has won since. Next time, he went to Ascot and battled on so well to win by a neck, beating some smart horses. He returned to Ascot in a hot listed race and Ballyoptic, Valtor, Regal Encore and Jepeck were ahead of him. I wasn’t too disheartened about that. Sean Curran won the 2008 Welsh Grand National with 66/1 shot Iris De Balme and Domaine De L’Isle could have a similar target!

Target – Welsh Grand National (Chepstow, December)

No18 – Hand In My Pocket

5yo Bay Mare (Mahler x Galzig (King’s Theatre))

Trainer – John McConnell

Owner – Ms Caroline Ahearn

Breeder – Edmund Cogan

I interviewed John McConnell at the end of January this year and he gave me Hand In My Pocket as a horse to follow. They brought her for £50,000 out of the Cheltenham Sale after coming second in a Dromahane point to point in November 2019. The mare who beat her has since won and bumper and come third in the Champion Bumper for Gordon Elliot. Only two lengths split them in the point to point. Hand In My Pocket started her career, at Musselburgh, shortly after I spoke to John. It was over one mile seven and a half furlongs and she led for most of the way. Her attitude was admirable but she was just headed by Kearney Hill, who has won since. She had a 157-day break over lockdown and reappeared with a fabulous, six and a half length victory at Bellewstown, and the third has won since. She tries hurdles next, finishing third twice and then second, inching up in trip with every start. Last time, she won very impressively by five lengths and it was quite and easy win. three miles appears to be her trip and her half-sister Winter Getaway is a dual winner over this trip in point to points. I think she’s a smart filly and I think she’ll be winning a few more races. Keep an eye on her stablemate Pearl Of The West in novices chases in early next year – she’s a brilliant mare and one of my favourites.

Target – Pertemps Final (Cheltenham Festival)

Keppage (By JTW Equine Images)

No19 – Kepagge

6yo Bay Gelding (Getaway x Miracle Lady (Bob’s Return))

Trainer – David Pipe

Owner – Mrs Sarah Ling

Breeder – Gareth Adair

Kepagge is a really exciting recruit to fences this season. This son of Getaway started out in a maiden point to point at Tallow in Ireland but fell, in February 2019. By November 2019, Kepagge made all to win commandingly at Chepstow in a national hunt flat race. It was a really impressive performance and he went straight into my tracker. A month later, he went to my local track, Leicester, for a novice hurdle on heavy ground. He had an eventful start to the race with a slow jump at the first; then he nearly got rid of Tom Scudamore after swerving at the second. He managed to get round and win by one and a quarter lengths. He was next seen in February at Doncaster in a three-runner race. He was conservatively ridden to go clear after the last. He hung left badly and I get the impression he’s a quirky horse. There was talk of him going chasing after that so we’ll have to see. Lockdown probably came at a bad time for this horse as the penny was just starting to drop. He’s related to three winners – Catching On won over three miles six; Streets of Promise won over three miles and Ponmewood over two miles six. There is a lot of stamina in the pedigree and there’s a lot to come from him.

Target – Coral Cup (Cheltenham Festival)

Here Comes McCoy at Warwick (By JTW Equine Images)

No20 – Here Comes McCoy

5yo Bay Gelding (Dylan Thomas x Is It Her (Arctic Lord))

Trainer – Olly Murphy

Owner – C J Haughey

Breeder – Mrs Mary Mangan

Going to Warwick Races in early January each year for the Classic Chase Meeting is becoming something of a tradition for me and my family. We have been for the past two renewals and, in 2019, I saw Beakstown win and, in 2020, it was Here Comes McCoy who caught my eye. First off, this horse’s name has nothing to do with the legendary A P McCoy! He is owned by McCoy Contractors, who sponsor the Classic Chase, so it was excellent they had a winner on the day. He was successful in the bumper when the sun was dropping right down. The prelims were carnage but he managed to get to post in one piece and cross the finish line in first place. From what I saw, it was an impressive win – he was very professional and the horse who came third has won since. He’s in training with Olly Murphy, who knows how to prepare this kind of horse and get them to win races.

Target – Supreme Novices Hurdle (Cheltenham Festival)

Evander and Ross Turner (By JTW Equine Images)

No21- Evander

5yo Brown Gelding (Arcadio x Blazing Belle (Presenting))

Trainer – Oliver Greenall

Owner – Highclere Tbracing Henry Moore & Partner

Breeder – Frank McGuinness

Number 21 is Evander, who joins the list after Beakstown has been ruled out for the season. But, Evander is a capable replacement. Tom Williams from JTW Equine Images has been raving about this horse! He started out in a point to point at Taylorstown in Ireland, where he won nicely, beating a subsequent winner. On rules debut, he finished second at Ludlow and then second again at Huntingdon. He finally came good at Sedgefield, where he made all impressively. Next up, he unseated in a race when O Connell Street (No12) was second. He put that behind him, once again at Sedgefield, when making all to win, unchallenged. He’s a really exciting recruit to fences and should win a lot of races up north for his talented trainer.

Target- RSA Novices Chase (Cheltenham Festival)

No22 – The Big Breakaway

5yo Chestnut Gelding (Getaway x Princess Mairead (Blueprint))

Trainer – Colin Tizzard

Owner – Eric Jones, Geoff Nicholas, John Romans

Breeder – William Mangan

The Big Breakaway joins the list after Mulcahys Hill has been ruled out for the season. He was part of my list for the 2019/20 Season and I have always sung his praises about how he’ll be a great ‘chaser in the making’. He’s a really huge horse and anything he did over hurdles would always be a bonus. He won a point to point in April 2019 by ten lengths before moving to Colin Tizzard’s yard for a cost of 360,000 Euro. He made his chase debut under rules in the November at Chepstow and he was an easy winner. Less than a month later, he won by seven lengths at Newbury. We didn’t see him again until Cheltenham, where he ran in the Ballymore. He got beat just over fourteen lengths when fourth behind Envoi Allen, Easywork and The Big Getaway. It was a good run and I’m so excited to see him jump a fence.

Target – Marsh Novices Chase

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