Stable advice to follow through the winter

RACING: The National Hunt season has shoved the Flat aside and the chill in the air heralds the return of favourite jumpers. Here, the leading trainers tell Ian Davies of the horses from their yards which should reward followers in the coming months
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The curtain closed on the Flat's turf season at Folkestone on Monday, jump racing takes centre stage and the time has come for the top National Hunt trainers to map out serious campaign plans for their brightest winter prospects. Some have reason to believe that championship races at Cheltenham next March are within their grasp, others will be laying out their horses for the major handicaps, while others hope that their charges can run up a sequence of wins in novice company. With patience, following a list of horses can be a fascinating alternative to form-book study - and can throw up long-priced winners. The list of trainers' Flat horses to follow, published in the Independent in March, yielded the winners of 25 races on the level - Sujud came good only when switched to hurdles - and showed a pre-tax profit of pounds 43.16 to a pounds 1 level stake. Successes included Amfortas, at 66-1, in Royal Ascot's King Edward VII Stakes, Nunsharpa (14-1), Jumairah Sunset (12-1) and Tarawa (10-1).


"Alderbrook is very well and will go for the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle at the end of the month. We have no real excuse for his defeat by Collier Bay in the Champion Hurdle last March - he ran to form with the others in the race and was simply beaten by a better horse on the day. But we are going to have another go and he will have a total of no more than four races leading up to next year's Champion. After that, the horse retires to stud. Scoundrel has won his two bumpers this season and should do well over hurdles. He will be effective from two to three miles and will be best on good or fast ground. He probably won't go in the mud."


"Proud Toby is a well-related gelding by Lancastrian and is a winning point-to-pointer who I think a lot of. He will go novice chasing in about three weeks' time and will be suited by two and a half to three miles. He will go on any ground but would not be risked on firm. Kendal Cavalier won a three miles and three furlongs novices' hurdle at Newton Abbot on heavy ground last week and stays really well. He's an improving horse and should win more races when the emphasis is on stamina. He has an entry at Cheltenham on Sunday."


"Suny Bay has been waiting for soft ground and if we don't get it between now and the Hennessy then he could go straight for the race without a run which would not be ideal. I'm a pessimist by nature and just hope the horse stays sound and gets a lot of soft ground throughout the winter. If he does, he could go for some of the long-distance staying handicap chases later on - he stays five and a half miles. Country Star is a useful hurdler who could go chasing later on. He runs in a two mile handicap at Cheltenham this weekend He is suited by anything from good to soft to good to firm ground and would not be suited by extremes of going. He's the sort I might take to race in Italy at some stage."


"Simply Dashing jumped well on his chasing debut at Market Rasen recently and, although he made a mistake when he returned there last Friday, that was the first time he has ever hit a fence and I was delighted with him. His best form last season over hurdles was at around two and a half miles but he has the speed to win over two miles and the stamina to stay three. Chopwell Curtains will make a decent staying novice chaser. He pleased me when finishing three lengths second to The Last Fling at Wetherby first time out and will need all of three miles over fences. Soft ground suits him well."


"Neat Feat is a nice sort who won bumpers at Worcester and Sandown last season. He will be better for finishing five lengths second in a novice contest at Wincanton on Saturday and should soon go one better. He will be suited by two to two and a half miles and is best on a fairly sound surface. Fionans Flutter is a very lightly raced eight-year-old, in fact he has only run four times in his life. He is going to make a novice chaser and will stay further than two miles. He needs some give in the ground."


"Seymourswift, who won a novices' hurdle over two and threequarter miles by a short-head at Newton Abbot last week, promises to stay three miles. He will continue to run over hurdles until we feel he has achieved as much as he can in that sphere and then go over fences. He is well suited by soft ground. Around The Gale, who won at Bangor recently, should hopefully be able to pick up some decent novice chase prizes. He should stay three miles and is another who goes well on soft ground. He runs in a valuable event at Worcester [today]."


"Major Summit won three times in novice company last season and should make a decent handicap chaser this season. He goes for a race over two and a half miles at Ascot a week on Friday, but will stay a trip. He is suited by good jumping ground and won't mind a bit of cut. Grooving, who was a fair hurdler, made his novice chasing debut at Sandown on Saturday and only got as far as the first fence. Hopefully, he will have learned from that and will win races over fences. He acts on any going but firm."


"I bought Lay The Blame at the recent Newmarket Horses In Training Sales. A sturdy three-year-old by Reprimand, he was a fair performer at six furlongs for Willie Jarvis and looked the type to stay further on the Flat. He should stay two miles over hurdles. Monksaan, who won his only point-to- point in Ireland and also landed a 24-runner bumper there, will make a chaser. He may run at Ayr on Saturday."


"Warner For Players won a Newton Abbot maiden bumper easily in soft ground back in April and makes his novice hurdles debut in the opening race at Worcester [today]. He likes soft ground and is going to stay around two and a half miles. Saxon Duke is the same type, really. He won a bumper at Nottingham in February and will also be suited by two and a half miles and plenty of cut in the ground over hurdles."


"Thinking Twice, who is very badly handicapped over hurdles, has schooled well over fences at home and will go novice chasing, where I think he'll find life a lot easier. He acts on any going, but is best at around two miles. He has entries for races on Thursday and on Sunday. Cheryl's Lad will start off over hurdles, but may also go chasing later on. He likes good, or even fast, ground and will be out soon."


"Wild West Wind looks the sort to make a good chaser. He won novice hurdles at Wincanton and Uttoxeter last season, but he has always looked as if he will be at his best over fences. He will be suited by two and a half miles and would not want the ground too firm or heavy. Good or good to soft ground would suit him best. Wade Road won a bumper at Ascot very easily last season and was conceding weight to the winner when second at Sandown last Saturday. He will go novice hurdling soon. He's quite speedy and will stick to two miles over hurdles for now but should stay further later. He also would not want extremes of going."


"Korbell has won about a dozen point-to-points in the last three seasons and promises to make a useful staying novice hurdler. She will be ready to run in a couple of weeks' time. She acts on any going and stays three miles well. Flaked Oats is another prolific winning point-to-pointer. He will go for three mile novice chases. a real stayer, he wants plenty of cut in the ground."


"Billygoat Gruff did well last season and won a valuable novice handicap chase at Punchestown. He will go for some of the big staying handicap chases this season. He jumps well and likes decent ground. He comes up against only two opponents at Worcester [today]. Call It A Day was only just beaten in the Mildmay of Flete Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last season. He won a three-runner race in good style at Uttoxeter on Saturday and could return to Cheltenham for the Murphy's Handicap Chase on Saturday. I don't think he stays much further than two and a half miles and would not want the ground too heavy."


"We considered Potentate, who won three times at Chepstow last season, an absolute certainty to win there in a handicap hurdle on his reappearance there last Saturday and he duly hacked up. He has schooled very well over fences and will make a good two-mile chaser. He acts on any ground. Ultimate Smoothie, who won his third bumper by a comfortable length and a quarter at Newton Abbot last Wednesday, goes over hurdles now and should do really well in that sphere. He too goes on any ground."


"Chilled, who was second in a bumper at Lingfield last season, has been waiting for soft ground and will make his debut over hurdles this week. He should stay two and a half miles over timber. Tennessee Twist, who won novice hurdles at Newbury and Towcester last season, stayed three miles well over hurdles and will want at least that as a novice chaser. He too wants soft ground and runs at Worcester [today]."


"Lansborough, who won over hurdles at Carlisle and Wetherby last season, goes novice chasing this term and be ready to run soon. He stayed two and a half miles over timber and should be suited by three miles or more over fences. Good or soft ground will suit him well. He may run at Ayr on Friday. Elation won at Perth, Carlisle and Newcastle last season and should do well again over hurdles. He will be ready to run in two or three weeks and he likes good ground. He has run only at around two miles so far but I think he will stay further.''


"Welcome Call won two point-to-points in Ireland last January before joining me and won a three miles novice hurdle on his debut at Newbury in March. He goes novice chasing at the end of the month and will be suited by at least three miles, he goes well on soft and heavy ground. Aerion won a Wincanton bumper by five lengths last season. He will go hurdling and, being by Ardross, will probably want two and a half miles. He runs at Newbury [today]."


"Kerawi, a half-brother by Warning to several winner on the Flat, won on his juvenile hurdles debut at Newbury and was not disgraced when fourth to Bellator at Wetherby subsequently. He should win more races. Queen Of Spades, who trotted up by 18 lengths at Wetherby, clearly goes well on good ground and will win more races at around two miles. She may run at Cheltenham on Saturday.''