The National Hunt season really starts to hit up at this time of year with many trainers looking to find some form ahead of the turn of the year.
With Cheltenham and then the Grand National on the horizon in the early months of 2018, it’s a chance not only for jockeys, trainers and owners to test their horses mettle, but also for punters to find their early favourites for the upcoming major meets.
There are a number of thoroughbreds to keep an eye on over the winter months and into the new year. Here are just a few of the top prospects…
Colin’s sister showed some great form last year winning four of five and will be a shoe in for Cheltenham next year providing conditions are right.
She struggled a touch in Ireland in the race she didn’t win in a Grade One race where the ground just crept away a little but, but should we get a soft track at the festival then we could well see her there.
Many bookies are already keeping their eye on Finians Oscar and will be one of the most common Cheltenham betting offers 2018 will see.
It has been a bit of a mixed start for the gelding however. The Tizzard trained horse made his jump debut earlier in the year without any real signs of championing but nevertheless the horse remains a firm favourite for the JLT Novicd Chase at Cheltenham come March.
A favourite among many Cheltenham fan, Faugheen is making a return to National Hunt racing having not seen a competitive track since January 2016.
The Willie Mullins trained nine-year-old will race the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown in November as he prepares for Yorkhill and a potential stab at Cheltenham.
Jonjo O’Neill is desperate to see this horse land the Gold Cup so will be pulling out all the stops until then to make sure his seven-year-old will be fully prepared.
O’Neill will put him through a three-mile run at Punchestown to kick start his season and take it from there and we’d be amazed if we don’t see Rocco in the start pen at the Gold Cup next year.
Cap Soleil returned to the Fergal O’Brien fold last year and the trainer has been fixing a few issues ever since.
Now racing, the trainer is pleased with the way the three-year-old is jumping and how she performed last year with a run and Newbury, losing out to Finians Oscar, and at Cheltenham, where she took a win.
We can see this horse getting stronger over the jumps this season and expect a solid performance at the Cheltenham Festival. Newbury will come first in November for her. One to watch.