UK and Irish Racing continues to be closed for action and that looks set to continue for the imitate future. With that in mind, I have taken a look back at the jumps season to dig out some prospects to add to your trackers for next season.
These aren’t being proclaimed as dark horses but perhaps six that you may have forgotten about with everything going on.
Captain Guinness (Trainer: Henry De Bromhead)
Seen just three times over hurdles last season, the five-year-old made a winning start to life in a maiden hurdle at Navan in December. That debut was enough to put the horse on a few peoples’ radars.
His next assignment was in much deeper water, with a run in the grade two Moscow Flyer at Punchestown. Many in the field had more experience and it was Gordon Elliott’s Andy Dufresne who just got the better of Captain Guinness.
Whilst he did disappoint a little next time out, it was still a nice run on only his second start. He went into the Supreme with an each-way chance and travelled up smartly until being brought down three out. We will never know how he would have got on had he not been so unfortunate.
His trainer has confirmed he is heading over fences next season and has schooled well already over the larger obstacles.
What a finish!
Andy Dufresne just edges out Captain Guinness to land the Sky Bet Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle in thrilling style for @gelliott_racing
— Punchestown (@punchestownrace) January 12, 2020
Flinteur Sacre (Trainer: Nicky Henderson)
If looks could win Grade Ones, Flinteur Sacre is going to be some horse. This stunning individual didn’t go under the radar given his relation to Henderson’s superstar chaser Sprinter Sacre.
He went off favourite on debut and was only beaten by a very nice prospect in Your Darling of Ben Pauling’s at Newbury. He was then sent to a track which Henderson does well at and won a Kempton bumper in facile fashion.
We have been robbed of seeing him again in a bumper at Aintree due to the coronavirus. Next season, you can expect him to be a popular choice to win plenty in his novice hurdle career before hopefully progressing over fences.
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) February 7, 2020
Cobbler’s Way (Trainer: Henry De Bromhead)
Henry De Bromhead has a habit of turning decent hurdlers into sensational chasers and Cobblers Way looks to be a type that could make up into a lovely chaser for staying trips.
The six-year-old has had a decent season over extended trips, winning twice at two mile, four before coming second to Paul Noland’s Latest Exhibition at the Dublin Racing Festival.
He wasn’t quite right at the Festival in the Albert Bartlett and was pulled up and dismounted. Providing that experience has left no lasting damage, he is a horse that can be a chase prospect to watch when racing resumes.
Land Rover Sale graduate COBBLER’S WAY gets of the mark over hurdles @LeopardstownRC for trainer @HenrydeBromhead. Sold by Andy Leahy to David O’Connell. Congratulations to all winning connections 👏🏻 #LRCChristmas pic.twitter.com/8TwEB3jR48
— Goffs (@Goffs1866) December 29, 2019
Coquelicot (Trainer: Anthony Honeyball)
It was great to see Anthony Honeyball have a good 19/20 season with several notable impressive young performers. There were plenty of his bumper runners to choose from but Coquelicot is the pick of the bunch in my view.
She signed off by winning the rearranged EBF listed bumper at Kempton. Honeyball wrote on his website about the four-year-old: “She has made giant strides this season and travelled smoothly on the heels of the leader before sweeping into a decisive lead early in the straight.
“Coquelicot has a telling blend of speed and stamina, keeps improving, and has a big future, though it is unlikely she will run again this season unless we take her to Punchestown.
“The original plan was to run her as a two-year-old until she suffered a minor setback. She is certainly making up for lost time now and as a three-time winning half-sister to the Ebor winner Heartbreak City, she is already extremely valuable.”
She is currently 16/1 to claim the mares novice hurdle at the 2021 Festival.
Coquelicot is only four but lands the three-timer and Listed honours at @kemptonparkrace.
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 14, 2020
Whatsnottoknow (Trainer: Mouse Morris)
An Irish trainer that I have a huge amount of time for; whilst he doesn’t have a huge number of horses in his care, he is someone who can still produce good horses and isn’t afraid to give them time if they need it.
Whatsnottoknow is a five-year-old by Mahler who ran some nice races this season. Whilst his only win has come in a fairly weak-looking maiden at Thurles, his placed efforts are also encouraging in his profile.
His trainer let him take his chance in the Supreme where he ran with enough credit before weakening close home. Whatever his trainer decides to do, I will be keeping a close eye on Whatsnottoknow next season.
Shishkin = the King! 👑
— CheltenhamRacecourse (@CheltenhamRaces) March 10, 2020
Vindication (Trainer: Kim Bailey)
Seen on just the two occasions this season, firstly at Ascot when he won well from Regal Encore. He then arrived at the Cheltenham Festival towards the head of the market for the handicap he ended up finishing fourth in after a brave run off top weight.
His trainer has made no secret of his high regard he holds this horse in. He confirmed after the race at the Festival that next year’s target will be the Gold Cup. He would need a clear run at a full season in my book to be considered, but you can get 50/1 on him with us.
It's a Cheltenham Festival first for David Bridgwater as The Conditional overcomes late scare to win a dramatic Ultima. #cheltenhamfestival
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 10, 2020