Free to view: Andrew Dutton’s National Hunt Service
Welcome to my 2018/19 National Hunt Service. I have changed the service this year to focus on just 30 horses to follow for the season. The statistics for each horse include details of the ground the horse has won on and the distance that it has won over. The figures in brackets are for wins in point-to-point races only and the rules form summary applies to jump racing only. Also included is a section that highlights when I feel there are optimum conditions that apply to a horse, so this won’t be there for every horse in the list, only the ones where it applies.
There will again be a Christmas Special that will cover the big races over the Christmas period and the usual Cheltenham Festival and Aintree Grand National Meeting previews, as well as a November meeting preview. Last year the Aintree preview produced 4 winners from 9 runners, including POLITOLOGUE at 11/1 and TIGER ROLL at 10/1 (14/1 when advised) and the Cheltenham Festival preview produced 10 winners, including MISSED APPROACH, COO STAR SIVOLA and MELON betting without Buveur D’Air in the Champion Hurdle.
Here are three of my 30 Horses to Follow to give you a taster…
APPLE’S SHAKIRA (FR)
Trainer – Nicky Henderson
Form – 111143
Age – 4
Going won on – soft
Distances won over – 2M
P-T-P Form – unraced
Rules Form summary – 6 runs, 4 wins
One of the stars of the early part of last season was Apple’s Shakira. She really impressed in rattling up a four-timer and started favourite for the Triumph Hurdle. She was brilliant on her British debut at Cheltenham and landed a Cheltenham hat-trick by winning the juvenile hurdle on festival trials day. She stayed on well that day and I believe a step up in trip should really suit her this season. She could only finish fourth in the Triumph Hurdle, but I believe she is better than that and it could also be that a big field will suit her more, as it should help her settle better. A handicap mark of 142 looks fair and a race like the Greatwood Hurdle appeals as a starting point for this season.
Optimum Conditions = two and a half miles over hurdles, soft ground and a big field
COMMANDER OF FLEET (IRE)
Trainer – Gordon Elliott
Form – 1
Age – 4
Going won on – yielding to soft
Distances won over – 2M, (3M)
P-T-P Form –1
Rules Form summary – 1 run, 1 win
I was impressed by the victory of Commander Of Fleet on his rules debut at Punchestown, where he stayed on strongly to beat a field of 16 in good style. He was always travelling well and then pulled clear in the style of a very decent horse, staying on strongly to the line. It is hard to tell how good the form is at this stage, but he has now won both starts, having won his only start in Irish points and is from a very strong yard, so it is easy to see him doing well in novice hurdles this season. I have a feeling he will be up to winning at Grade Two level or above over hurdles, so he is one that I am going to follow closely.
SLATE HOUSE (IRE)
Trainer – Colin Tizzard
Form – 11450
Age – 6
Going won on – good, soft
Distances won over – 2M, (3M)
P-T-P Form – 51
Rules Form summary – 6 runs, 2 wins
Slate House could improve for fences this season. After winning his second start in points in Ireland, he joined the Tizzard stable and made an instant impression, making all to land a fair maiden hurdle at Cheltenham. He was also well supported to do so, which gives the impression that he was showing useful form at home. For his next start, he returned to Prestbury Park and beat Summerville Boy off level weights, who franked the form in a serious way, by going on to win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. He could not match that form in subsequent runs, but he was bought to be a chaser and now he is set to tackle fences, he could be an interesting prospect. He is from a strong stable, has pointing experience and was of a decent standard over hurdles, so there is every reason to think, he should be up to winning over the larger obstacles this season.
To either subscribe, or find out more about my 2018-2019 National Hunt Service, click here.
(c) WEATHERBYS LIMITED 2018 All rights reserved. No part of this update may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means including photocopying and recording without the written permission of the copyright holder, application for which should be addressed to the publishers. Such written permission must also be obtained before any part of this update is stored in a retrieval system of any nature. While the publishers believe the information contained in this update to be correct they cannot guarantee its accuracy, in particular where it is dependent on information supplied to them, and cannot accept liability for any loss resulting from any errors that may arise.