Twenty-two horses to follow for the new jumps season

Dynaste and Tom Scudamore (left) jump the final fence on their way to victory in the John Smiths Mildmay Novices Chase during Ladies Day at the 2013 John Smith's Grand National Meeting at Aintree Racecourse, Sefton. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday April 5, 2013. See PA story RACING Aintree. Photo credit should read: John Giles/PA Wire
Dynaste and Tom Scudamore (left) jump the final fence on their way to victory in the John Smiths Mildmay Novices Chase during Ladies Day at the 2013 John Smith's Grand National Meeting at Aintree Racecourse, Sefton. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday April 5, 2013. See PA story RACING Aintree. Photo credit should read: John Giles/PA Wire
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The new jumps season is in full swing, with big meetings virtually every weekend between now and the Cheltenham Festival next March.

After the record-breaking exploits of champion jockey AP McCoy, who reached the magical milestone of 4,000 winners, it’s time to focus on the horses.

Champion hurdler Hurricane Fly has already set the tone by becoming the first horse in the world to clock up as many as 17 wins in Grade/Group One races.

But who are are the stars of the future, lying in wait? To help punters through the winter, our resident racing expert RICHARD SILVERWOOD has come up with 22 horses to follow.

They are a mixture of horses who might be challenging for championship races and others on their way up. All are expected to win their share of races as the season progresses.

You can follow Silverwood on Twitter via @ScoopSilverwood.

AL FEROF

2m4f/3m chaser

A superb winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup last season, Paul Nicholls’s ebullient eight-year-old grey is back after sustaining a minor leg-injury. His main target is the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day, probably followed by a tilt at the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival, where he has already run two blinders, winning the 2011 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and finishing second to Cue Card in the 2010 Bumper.

ANNIE POWER

2m/2m4f hurdler

Willie Mullins’s unbeaten five-year-old mare burst on to the scene last season with a string of sizzling successes. She would mop up the mares’ hurdle races in her native Ireland but with the potential to become even better in that genre than prolific stablemate Quevega, a crack at the Champion Hurdle cannot be ruled out. She boasts an electric tun of foot and even has the size and scope to jump fences. The new Dawn Run?

BUDDY BOLERO

3m+ handicap chaser

Fresh from a four-timer at Cheltenham on Sunday, trainer David Pipe will now be looking forward to the Hennessy Gold Cup next week at Newbury where this improving seven-year-old is a leading fancy. Highly regarded in the legendary Pond House yard, he relishes stamina tests and given that he’s still very lightly-raced, he has the scope to get better and better.

BURY PARADE

2m4f handicap chaser

It’s fair to say that Paul Nicholls’s seven-year-old did not fulfil all expectations when bought for a whopping £100,000 early last season. But he’s back on track now, having improved physically, and looks on an attractive mark. Nicholls is convinced he can land a decent handicap this season, and it was a mild surprise he didn’t have a go at last Saturday’s Paddy Power Gold Cup.

CARRAIG MOR

2m/2m4f novice hurdler

Former jockey Adrian Maguire, now a trainer in Ireland, is on record as labelling this rangy five-year-old as one of the best young horses he has handled. Which is rich praise indeed coming from the man who unearthed the mighty Denman. Now in the UK with Alan King, he made a spectacular winning debut at Uttoxeter earlier this month and has the scope to develop into something special over time.

CLONDAW KAEMPFER

2m4f/3m handicap hurdler

Initial promise last season from Donald McCain’s expensive five-year-old novice sank in the mud in Newbury’s Grade One Challow Hurdle when he went wrong. Given a long break since, he now starts the new campaign as a well-handicapped horse and could pick up one or two nice prizes before embarking on a chasing career.

DIAMOND KING

2m/2m4f novice hurdler

There were few more impressive Bumper winners last season than Donald McCain’s five-year-old when he blitzed a field of newcomers on his debut at Wetherby in February. Connections surprisingly resisted a tilt at Cheltenham or Aintree, but their patience can be rewarded this term when he’s sent over hurdles. McCain reports that his schooling has gone well.

DYNASTE

3m chaser

David Pipe’s seven-year-old is following a similar path to another talented grey in his care, Grands Crus. However, this one is threatening to make full use of his potential if his transition last season from staying hurdles to novice chases last term is anything to go by. A fine display at the Cheltenham Festival was followed by a brilliant victory at Aintree. Now he takes on the big boys on a path likely to lead to the Gold Cup.

DUKE OF NAVAN

2m/2m4f handicap hurdler

Cumbrian trainer Nicky Richards rarely makes the long journey to the big meetings down south these days. But he might have to with this five-year-old son of Presenting who has the speed and natural ability to mix it with the best. More improvement is expected this season when a big handicap hurdle could come his way.

HINTERLAND

2m novice chaser

Likening him to the top-class Azertyuiop, Paul Nicholls predicted a couple of years ago that this young chaser would develop into a household name. Things didn’t quite go to plan last season, but the experience he gained is sure to stand him in good stead this term en route to a crack at the Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He’s already lowered the colours of Grandouet on his seasonal bow.

MANY CLOUDS

2m4f/3m novice chaser

The considerable exploits of Oliver Sherwood’s six-year-old last season were a bonus because he’s always been considered a chaser in the making. This he proved on his seasonal re-appearance when he jumped like an old hand to win comfortably at Carlisle. Consistent, game and genuine, he’s sure to go on improving.

MELODIC RENDEZVOUS

2m hurdler

The Champion Hurdle next March is building up to be a classic, with any number of potential stars waiting in the wings. Jeremy Scott’s seven-year-old might dip under the radar because he hails from a small stable, but he’s a serious tool. Never out the first two in seven starts, he won a Grade One as a novice last term and has already landed his first test this term, defying top weight even though he wasn’t fully wound up.

MINELLA FORU

2m/2m4f novice hurdler

Second-guessing how the novice hurdle landscape is likely to develop is madness at this stage of the season. But Eddie Harty’s four-year-old, acquired for big bucks by JP McManus, is sure to be a leading player on the limited evidence gathered so far. Bred for stamina, he unleashed a potent turn of foot to win a Grade Three at Navan earlier this month.

OUR CONOR

4yo hurdler

A more awesome winner of Cheltenham Festival’s Triumph Hurdle it would not be possible to find. Dessie Hughes’s recruit from the Flat destroyed a fine field back in March and although it’s never easy for five-year-olds with Champion Hurdle aspirations, this horse has natural talent to burn. His first big test comes against the mighty reigning champ, Hurricane Fly, over Christmas.

SILVINIACO CONTI

3m+ chaser

It’s hard to say where he would have finished had he not come down at the third last in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March. But it might be to his advantage this term that he was not involved in what developed into an attritional finish. Paul Nicholls’s chaser had proved earlier in the year that he’s all class, possessing a deadly blend of speed and stamina. His route back to the Gold Cup begins on Saturday in the Betfair Chase at Haydock.

SPRINTER SACRE

2m chaser

You won’t get rich backing Nicky Henderson’s polished champion chaser because he’s likely to start at long odds-on for each of his starts. But he’s almost certainly the best two-miler the game has seen and barring injury, his unblemished record over fences will remain intact. If you’ve not yet seen him in the flesh, make the effort to do so. You will be gobsmacked by his physique in the paddock and by his breathtaking exuberance in the race.

TANERKO EMERY

2m/2m4f novice chaser

I’m not quite sure what he was doing back in a handicap hurdle at Cheltenham on Sunday. But he ran well and once returned to novice chases, he’s certain to make his mark. A powerful, imposing seven-year-old, he progressed at a rate of knots over timber last term and made an eyecatching debut over fences earlier this month. Best with give in the ground, he’s described by trainer David Pipe as “star quality”.

TAQUIN DU SEUIL

2m/2m4f novice chaser

When none other than AP McCoy describes a horse as good as he’s ever been associated with, you have to sit up and take notice. Jonjo O’Neill’s six-year-old did not live up to expectations at the Cheltenham Festival, but he’d banked a Grade One prize en route and has started his chasing career this term with a bang, lowering the colours of Oscar Whisky last Friday, even though the race was not run to suit.

THE NEW ONE

2m/2m4f hurdler

The manner in which Nigel Twiston-Davies’s stable star routed former champion hurdler Rock On Ruby at Kempton last month confirmed that he’s returned from his summer break the same animal, if not better, than last term when he was the UK’s leading novice. He bulldozed his way to victory at the Cheltenham Festival before missing out on the Aintree Hurdle by a whisker. Unquestionably top class.

WESTERN WARHORSE

2m4f/3m handicap hurdler

The future for David Pipe’s big, lengthy five-year-old lies over fences. But the way he acquitted himself at Cheltenham’s Open meeting last weekend, when almost making all, suggests he will be able to win one or two staying handicap hurdles this season. Pipe says he can be a handful at home. But on the track, he’s an honest, game galloper.

WONDERFUL CHARM

2m4f/3m novice chaser

When arriving at Paul Nicholls’s yard last year, this youngster was considered one of the best prospects to have been acquired from France for many years. He duly won a Grade Two on debut and was later pitched into the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. That came to nought but after a breathing operation in the summer, he’s switched to fences with aplomb and must be on the RSA Chase shortlist.

ZUIDER ZEE

2m/2m4f handicap hurdler

John Ferguson has made quite a name for himself as a trainer of Flat cast-offs, and I suspect he has a major handicap hurdle in mind for this six-year-old, who won the 2011 November Handicap at Doncaster on the level for John Gosden. He took well to hurdles last season, ending up in a Grade Two at Aintree, and shaped encouragingly without being knocked about on his re-appearance.