Paul Ferguson, author of Jumpers To Follow, picks out 10 maidens well worth adding to your My Stable tracker, while you could also win one of the books.
The 15th edition of Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow was published by Weatherbys on Friday and the 192 pages once again whet the appetite for the upcoming National Hunt season.
The book is packed full of familiar names and more importantly, those less-exposed horses who could well shine throughout the winter months. Our very own Matt Brocklebank and Ben Linfoot are among those who nominate a horse to follow in the new Pundits’ Selections section, whilst no fewer than 10 leading jockeys pinpoint the horses who they are most looking forward to, with Patrick Mullins making his Jumpers To Follow debut this year.
We have five copies to give away via our Facebook page (see below for full terms and conditions), but if you aren’t fortunate enough to win one of those, our friends at Weatherbys have kindly provided Sporting Life readers with the promo code JTF21SL, which will save you £3 off either the printed or digital version.
THE CLOSING DATE is 4pm on Monday September 20 and the winners will be picked at random. We'll ask the winners to direct message us with their postal address.
To help build the excitement, the author has provided 10 to follow for the season. And, to give it a twist, we asked him to compile a list of horses who have yet to win a race...
Olly Murphy looks to have a strong team of novice hurdlers to look forward to this winter and Bombs Away should improve on his second in a Southwell bumper, once he learns to relax. Very keen throughout on debut, he did well to finish as close as he did in the end (could easily have been forgiven had he dropped away), suggesting that he possesses plenty of natural ability. An imposing five-year-old, he is a full-brother to the classy Ribble Valley and given his physique, should improve for going hurdling.
A half-brother to Don Poli, Debece and Politesse, he was beaten by just a neck in a bumper at Warwick in the spring, but shaped with plenty of promise. Just about last off the bridle, he displayed plenty of greenness by hanging up the home straight, but recorded a hugely encouraging first start, and given that pedigree, there should be considerable improvement forthcoming when he faces a stiffer test of stamina.
A four-year-old by Diamond Boy, he travelled eye-catchingly well when third in a bumper at Bangor-on-Dee in mid-April and given that runners from this stable tend to improve with racing, it was a most pleasing effort. He responded well for pressure in the closing stages and would probably have finished second in another stride or two, and whilst he would be capable of winning a bumper in the early part of the season, he is another to monitor in the novice hurdle division.
The first of two Paul Nicholls-trained juveniles, who have arrived from France and will carry the silks of leading owner, Johnny de la Hey. A three-year-old by Kapgarde, Magistrato finished runner-up to Porticello (now in training with Gary Moore) at Auteuil, where he travelled strongly. That early exuberance probably proved costly in the end, but he should improve on that and looks to be a smart recruit. Likely to be difficult to beat on his British debut, he could be one for the juvenile hurdle at Chepstow’s Jumps Season Opener fixture in early-October, a race which Nicholls has won on five occasions in the past nine years.
Third on his only start in France, he was still upsides the classy Paradiso when losing his back-end at the final hurdle in the Prix Wild Monarch at Auteuil and that form now reads particularly well. The winner returned to the Parisian track to win both the Prix Stanley (another Listed race) and the Grade 3 Prix Aguado, whilst Matterhorn was purchased by Johnny de la Hey and transferred to Paul Nicholls in the spring. A good-looking son of Martaline, he is expected to need soft ground, so is very much one to note mid-winter. If he comes out and wins impressively on his British debut, he might be considered for the Grade 1 at Chepstow over Christmas.
Runner-up in a Newbury bumper on his only start last season, Mumbo Jumbo is a five-year-old by Califet, who has plenty of stamina on the dam’s side of his pedigree. From the family of Fort George and Morning Assembly, he travelled well in heavy ground and despite showing signs of inexperience, picked up well to finish a good second behind a horse who had already run twice. Doctor Ken (4th) and Broomfield Burg (7th) later won races to advertise the form and Mumbo Jumbo should make up into a decent novice hurdler this season.
The third Paul Nicholls-trained maiden to be included in this list, Outlaw Peter finished runner-up on his sole start for ‘Shark’ Hanlon, in a bumper at Navan in late-January. The ground was very testing that day and although he couldn’t go with the winner in the closing stages, it was a promising start and he pulled clear of the remainder. The winner went on to finish fourth in the Champion Bumper, whilst the third has already won over hurdles, so the form looks useful and he should be capable of getting off the mark over hurdles. Whilst he might not need that testing ground, he is likely to appreciate an extra half-mile.
Joe Tizzard is expected to take over the reins (officially) from his dad Colin in the coming months and this good-looking Getaway gelding is likely to be one of the youngsters who he is most looking forward to. Runner-up on debut in a bumper at Hereford, the winner got first run on him that day and he can be regarded as a shade unlucky. He then finished fourth on heavy ground at Warwick, in a race which has already thrown up a couple of hurdles winners, and he is bred to appreciate both better ground and a longer trip. With that in mind, he could easily leave his bumper form behind once stepping up in distance in novice hurdle company.
A four-year-old by Kayf Tara, he is a half-brother to the Jennie Candlish-trained Mint Condition (rated 140) and made a highly encouraging debut, when runner-up in the Goffs Land Rover Bumper at the Punchestown Festival. Bought out of the Mags Mullins stable for €155,000 he is now in training with Jonjo O’Neill and will return to action carrying the pale silks of owner Gay Smith. The fourth home, Merlin Giant, gave the Land Rover form a boost only last week, whilst Hemlock (7th) was a winner at Perth during the summer. When he returns, Springwell Bay has the option of running in a bumper, whilst he is another who should stay an extra half-mile once sent hurdling.
A well-bred filly, she is a half-sister to Grade 1 bumper winner Tornado Flyer, and is another who hit the frame on her sole start in a bumper. Making her debut in what looked an above-average mares’ event at Worcester during the spring, she hit the front in the closing stages, before eventually finishing second to another useful prospect, the Kim Bailey-trained I Spy A Diva. The third home, the Mel Rowley-trained Malaita, easily won a Ludlow bumper a month later and this daughter of Walk In The Park looks to possess plenty of natural pace. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see her win a bumper on reappearance, and given her trainer’s often adventurous campaigning, she could even be one for the Listed bumper at Cheltenham in November.
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