We have had the Arc meeting and so it is now time to look forwards to the new National Hunt season. I started highlighting a few of the French recruits back in August, but I'm delighted to say that after a successful piece last season (which highlighted Lossiemouth, Zarak the Brave, Absurde and Bo Zenith), the guys at the Jumps Show have asked me to put together another list of horses to follow. There are no Antepost bets this time around, it's too early for me and those markets tend to be very shallow at this stage of the season. Instead I have tried to put together a list of 10 horses that I think will win races. Some will win at the highest level, whilst others might pick up a Novice hurdle on a quiet Tuesday afternoon in December. Either way I think there is plenty of potential on show and I look forwards to seeing how they perform when they start their careers in the UK and Ireland.
I have also put a link at the bottom for the YouTube channel of the Jumps Show. If you aren't already a subscriber, you should be. These guys take a really refreshing approach to the Jumps season and their insight is superb.
3-year-old Filly has joined Willie Mullins for Kenny Alexander
Won 2 of her 3 starts for Donatien Sourdeau de Beauregard including the Grade 3 Prix Sagan at Auteuil in May on her final start in France. She is by Jeu St Eloi out of Rive Gauche, a Shaanmer mare who stayed 1m6f on the Flat. Whilst her time figures aren’t spectacular, she has shown a great attitude and looks likely to stay further than 2-miles in time and her claims as a talented Filly with a 7lbs allowance who has joined Willie Mullins are obvious for all to see. The French handicapper gave her a rating of 68-kilos, which would equate to 136 in the UK.
4-year-old AQPS Gelding who has joined Syd Hosie
A winner on his only start in France at Paray-le-Monial, this son of Walzertakt stayed on very strongly to lead home a 1,2 for Gab Leenders in a 12-furlong AQPS Flat race in March. He is a half-brother to the multiple chase and cross-country winner Gallo’s Star and looks likely to develop into a decent staying chaser in time.
3-year-old Gelding who has joined Paul Nicholls for Neil and Alfie Smith
Bred by the Aga Khan stud, this son of Cracksman was a winner of a Toulouse maiden over an extended 10-furlongs in March. He is a half-sister to the Listed Flat winner Likala and shapes like a horse who will make into a nice hurdles prospect in a similar way to Afadil, who joined Nicholls from the Aga Khan last season.
3-year-old Gelding who has joined Harry Derham
A Flat maiden winner for Jean-Claude Rouget in 2022, he was 5th in the Group 3 Prix de Conde at Chantilly behind Victoria Road before being picked up from a Cagnes-Sur-Mer claimer by Tony Jones in January. Following a pair of promising runs over hurdles for Davide Satalia at Bordeaux and Strasbourg, where he chased home the now 63kg rated Shamalra he has switched to Harry Derham for a jumps campaign. He reached a peak rating of 44kg on the Flat for Rouget (97in UK terms) and he if he can replicate that level of form, he could prove to be a very smart recruit for Novice hurdles.
Kado de Joie
3-year-old AQPS Gelding who has joined Nicky Henderson for the Noel Fehily Racing Club.
A son of Magneticjim, he was badly hampered on his only start when 4th in an AQPS Flat race at Vichy back in May (promoted to 3rd after steward’s enquiry). He finished in front of 3 subsequent winners at Vichy, including the Grade 3 winner Katchina and although he would not have beaten the impressive winner, he would most likely have run on for second place in what looks to be one of the strongest AQPS races of the summer.
4-year-old Filly who has joined Venetia Williams
Hugo Merienne is one of the rising stars of the French training ranks, most notably with champion 3-year-old St Donats and although she has a record of 0-7, Lady Pretender has had an excellent grounding in France and could be considered one of the best maidens in training at the time she left to join Venetia Williams. She finished 2nd to Courtesy Call over fences at Auteuil in May and then ran to a similar level when 2nd on her handicap debut when upped in trip back in June. Both runs would suggest that she is fairly treated on an opening mark of 114 and looks the perfect type to join Venetia Williams yard.
3-year-old Colt who has joined David Pipe
A winner of a Saumur bumper by 9-lengths back in the Spring, he was sold to join David Pipe shortly after. Having settled behind the pace under Alex Roussel he was ridden to the lead as they turned for home and galloped away from the field in the soft ground, running a faster time than the older horses over the same course and distance and shaping like a horse who will develop into a decent staying prospect in time.
4-year-old gelding who has joined Willie Mullins for Simon Munir and Isaac Souede
A son of Zarak (Sire of hurdles winners Bo Zenith and Zarak the Brave), he was a 9-race maiden on the Flat before switching to hurdles on his final 2 starts for Sylvain Dehez. He finished 2nd to the classy Javelot on his latest start back in March and ought to make his mark now that he has moved to Closutton.
5-year-old Gelding has joined Paul Nicholls for Andy Peake
Already a winner over both hurdles and fences, he brings genuine Grade 1 form to Ditcheat, including a very creditable 7th placed finish in this year’s French Champion hurdle behind Theleme. He leaves France with a rating of 67-kilos, which should mean that he starts life in the UK with a handicap mark of 134. On the evidence of his run in the Grande Course de Haies that leaves him loioking very fairly treated and I'd expect him to make a fast start for his new connections.
3-year-old Gelding who has joined Tom Symonds for Lady Gibbings
Although he had an international SP of 40/1 for his Fontainebleau debut in March, he didn’t shape like an outsider, taking up the lead at the second last and only being caught in the final strides by the more experienced Worth a Team. This race has worked out well as there were with several subsequent winners chasing home the front 2 in what proved to be a reasonable overall time. As his name might suggest he is a son of Karaktar, and he showed more than enough on debut to suggest he will make into a nice Juvenile hurdler this season.