Written by: The Cad
First publishing on Jumping For Fun on Sunday 14th June 2015
This season was a vintage one for younger horses, full of really nice types that I hope will go on to success under rules or continue to move through the ranks in points. I have compiled my usual ‘top 10’ list – no doubt I will have left some potential stars out, or you will disagree with the order – but one thing is for certain – there are some real quality horses starting their careers in points at the moment. I have added some details about where the horses may be going, based on what I’ve been told/read, but if any of it is incorrect, please feel free to correct!
- Chap – I wasn’t at Maisemore when this one made his debut, but some shrewd judges were soon informing me of his star potential. He reportedly jumped very well, and cantered away from his rivals. I was eagerly anticipating the new point to point bumper final to see him, and he didn’t disappoint. To quicken in that fashion like he did, you have to be useful, and he beat several decent maiden winners with ease. He certainly looks graded class to me, and I understand he will be trained by Dan Skelton next season. I wish Dan all the very best with the horse, and I hope he can do very well with him.
- Boa Island – Won with emphatic ease at Charlton Horethorne, jumping like an old hand on his obstacle debut, having previously finished 3rd in a bumper for Stuart Crawford. Having been bought for £38,500 after his bumper run, you would expect a fairly decent run in a point, but this was impressive, and in his next start he really caught the eye. At Upcott Cross, he went with a strong early pace before taking it up around the 10th and sauntered clear, winning by about 30 lengths. Add to this that Winter Soldier, who was 2nd at Upcott has only narrowly been beaten in a bumper since, and the form has a good look to it. Boa Island did jump a little left at Upcott, and I personally think Chepstow would be an ideal starting point under rules, where I understand he will be trained by Paul Nicholls.
- North Hill Harvey – Debuted at Chaddesley Corbett, where he and Native Gamut poured it on with a circuit to run and duly stretched clear of their remaining rivals, until North Hill Harvey went away from 3 out, winning by around 15 lengths. Earlier on in the contest North Hill Harvey had made a significant mistake, in a race where several runners made errors, but he made up the ground after this with ease and clearly has a very decent cruising speed. The ability to burn rivals off with mid-race speed is a very useful asset to have, as shown in recent years by Denman and Un De Sceaux and whilst there is a long way to go before he reaches those levels, it will be interesting to watch him progress. I believe he will be trained by Dan Skelton next season, having been bought at the sales by Mr Kelvin-Hughes.
- Village Mystic – Started his racing career at Milborne St Andrew where he followed the early pace, jumping nicely until taking it up at 2 out and powering up the hill after the last. He was reminiscent of Full Shift two years before him for the same connections. The way Village Mystic travelled through the race he was clearly a very classy horse and he certainly doesnt look short of pace to my eye. I personally do not think hed have any problem winning a bumper or a 2 mile novice hurdle, and it will therefore be intriguing to see the route taken with him under rules. I understand he is now owned by Gigginstown House Stud.
- Bandeirantes – Came through nicely to win on debut at Larkhill back in January, where he looked to enjoy the good ground. I am uncertain why he did not run again afterwards, so I hope he is ok. What was striking about his debut victory was he appeared to be learning all the time, taking it all in, jumping superbly before quickening away at the end of the race with the minimum of fuss. Should he go under rules, he looks to me to be a horse to bring along slowly, taking the bumper route initially so as he can continue his learning curve and we see the best of him in a couple of years time. Personally, I think it would be great to see him have another couple of runs in points first.
- Bugsie Malone – Another to just have the one start, and in contrast to Bandeirantes, it was near the seasons end when he appeared at Bratton Down. Sadly, I was not there due to a golfing trip to Villamoura, but have since watched his race and spoke to people who were. He looks an imposing sort and appeared all set to win with ease, when sauntering around the field from 3 out to the last with the minimum of fuss. However, on hitting the front he ran around, before being straightened up and running on well to win by a neck. His jumping was at times a shade novicey and will improve with racing. I would very much like to see him in a bumper first time under rules because I think it would really help his education. Owned by Graham Roach, it may be he follows pointing winners in recent years for the same owner, Port Melon and Its A Close Call, into the stables of Paul Nicholls.
- Brandevin – We had to wait even later to see him, where he debuted at the second Bratton Down meeting. He was a little on his toes in the paddock pre race, but was soon settled beautifully at the back of the field in the early part of the race. As they quickened with a circuit to run, he gradually made up ground, and jumping well, came to challenge at the last before going away on the run-in to win easily. He has stamina in abundance and will learn a lot from this. The most interesting aspect of this win was that upon unsaddling, he didnt look like he would blow out a candle, and so the race did perhaps not take much out of him. He could be anything, and I think he may prove to have been very well bought. I would think a career under rules beckons, possibly with Paul Nicholls?
- Judge John Deed – Had just the one run, at Kingston St Mary on Easter Monday over 2m 4f. He looked the part in the paddock before-hand, and this flashy chestnut was soon jumping well, tracking the leaders before taking it up at the 8th. After a superb leap at 4 out, he looked like he was going to win with the utmost ease, but the field closed, and he was ultimately driven out to score. All 5 horses who finished behind him that day (one was disqualified) have since gone on to win maidens and so the form has a reasonable look to it. He is part-owned by Paul Nicholls, and therefore I would assume he would be trained by him next season under rules. As for a trip, its a little hard to say he doesnt look short of pace, but I think stamina ultimately won the race for him on debut, and therefore he may want 3 miles in time.
- Fly Du Charmil – Another horse to make just the one appearance, he won his maiden at Woodford, in a race where I would say a lot went wrong for the horse and yet he still managed to gain a win. After a fairly significant first fence error, he took a while to find his confidence and jumped little novice before drawing clear with Canopy of Stars from some way out. On touching down at the last he was at least a length down, before coming with a storming finish on the run-in to win by over a length. Beautifully bred, he has the looks to go with the page, and he will have learned plenty from that first run. He was subsequently bought for £80,000 by Highflyer at the Brightwells sales, and hopefully a promising career under rules awaits.
- Crosspark – Again, just the one run for this good looking horse, at Buckfastleigh in mid-March. I personally think this horse is, without doubt, the best horse trained by the Dennis family since Coome Hill, all those years ago. Well backed pre-race, he sauntered round, and despite one or two novice jumps, came there on the bridle, before going away with ease after the last. He looks to have plenty of toe and for that reason I wouldnt be in a hurry to run the horse over 3 miles in the near future if he took the rules route. Hopefully, we will see him add to his tally in due course and should he stay pointing, he is the type to rack up an unbeaten sequence.