10 to watch over jumps this winter

The National Hunt season hits top gear this weekend. With Flemenstar and Sprinter Sacre already on their way to the top, Chris McGrath picks lesser lights to look out for

1. Balgarry

21/17- (David Pipe)

French import who made a dazzling debut on these shores at Newbury in March, in command a long way out, and again went with terrific dash in the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival, just 11 days later. Once again he had plenty off the bridle, turning in, only to find the extra distance too much over such a stiff track. Still unexposed, Balgarry will surely surpass his revised mark.

2. Captain Sunshine

2F211-6 (Emma Lavelle)

Gradually found his feet as a novice last season, but his ultimate fulfilment beckons over longer trips. Half-brothers won the Irish National and Pertemps Final, and he might end up targeting the latter himself, after a promising return round Cheltenham last month. The priority that day was to blow away cobwebs in his technique, but his finish through midfield – from well off the pace – announced a well treated horse.

3. Cash And Go

31115- (Nicky Henderson)

Edward O'Grady seemed to have expected little else after his Grade One breakthrough at Leopardstown last Christmas, but the horse disappeared after finishing lame in his only subsequent start. He has now resurfaced at Seven Barrows, and could start out in a valuable handicap at Cheltenham on Sunday. Perhaps the Tote Gold Trophy, a race in which his new trainer has a fine record, is near the top of his agenda.

4. Clondaw Knight

F1- (Lucinda Russell)

Having had the loss of a first Festival winner placed in ghastly perspective by the second freak accident that claimed his young rider, Lucinda Russell and Sandy Seymour have done their best to look to the future. And this could be the pick of several potential replacements for Brindisi Breeze. Still only four, he cost £140,000 after a superb point-to-point win in Ireland – and all neutrals hope he proves worth every penny.

5. Diocles

1/3211- (Donald McCain)

Rather scrambled home for consecutive odds-on wins in January, but his trainer felt that those performances barely scratched the surface and put him away to mature. The way this useful bumper horse had tanked into contention against a smart rival on his hurdling debut leaves no doubt that he will repay that patience, when switched to fences this season.

6. Master Malt

2- (Alistair Whillans)

Good to see this small Scottish stable housing a young horse capable of amplifying its undoubted abilities. Nicely bred and quietly backed, he shaped with tremendous promise on his debut against a Nicky Henderson hotpot in a bumper at Ayr in April. After cruising out of midfield to challenge, he was only worried out of it close home and finished fully 15 lengths clear of the rest.

7. New Year's Eve

1129- (John Ferguson)

His new venture as a jumps trainer soon made Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock manager a serious embarrassment to rivals who had been in the game for years, and this one laid down perhaps his most exciting marker. Sent off favourite for the Cheltenham Bumper, he challenged smoothly turning in but was narrowly outstayed up the hill. Though he then nearly drowned in absurd conditions at Punchestown, he will surely be a force over hurdles with a suitable emphasis on speed.

8. On His Own

4P1-B1F (Willie Mullins)

Very few miles on the clock since his transfer to Ireland's champion trainer but soon announced his Grand National credentials with an impressive success at Gowran in January. Sure enough, he was moving ominously in third when paying for his first mistake at Becher's second time. Entering his prime at eight, he will be given a circumspect preparation to guarantee he returns to Liverpool with a similarly feasible rating.

9. Rule The World

1-12 (Mouse Morris)

Impressive in a point-to-point and maiden hurdle, he then stepped up to three miles against more seasoned rivals at Cork. One of those was able to set a slow pace, and worried Rule The World out of a photo after he had tanked through to challenge, just betraying inexperience in his jumping. In the best of hands, he may yet live up to his immodest christening.

10. Un Atout

1- (Willie Mullins)

Sent off at long odds-on for his debut in a four-year-olds' bumper at Naas in January, he coasted 24 lengths clear, and Ireland's prepotent jumps trainer was purring afterwards about his temperament – and also, significantly, his schooling technique. Sidelined by a muscle problem thereafter, he will be sent straight over hurdles. Widely available at 33-1 for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, and that could prove a sporting punt.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C#.NET Server Side Developer (C#, XML, WCF, Unit Testing,SQL)

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...

Junior Database developer (SQL, T-SQL, Excel, SSRS)

£20000 - £30000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Junior D...

Helpdesk Team Leader / Manager

£45000 per annum + pension,medical: Ashdown Group: A successful & reputable gl...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born