Five horses to keep an eye on who should be winning races this season
A winner of two of his three bumpers, the four-year-old is one of a number of young horses with plenty of potential for trainer Keith Dalgleish. The Scottish trainer boasts a 37% strike rate over jumps so far this season and is particularly adept at farming these kind of races at the northern tracks. Likely to put a sequence of wins together before tackling tougher opposition on some of the southern tracks, Saturday looks the perfect starting point.
Not seen since falling at Naas in what turned out to be a hot novice chase in January, he had previously accounted for the highly rated Gangster at Punchestown. Blinkered for the first time on Saturday, the hope is he can bounce back from the set back that has seen him off the course for 307 days and confirm the potential he showed in his two previous victories.
Hugely promising sort from the Harry Fry yard, the five-year-old looked the part on his hurdling debut at Exeter last month. As short as 25/1 for the Neptune in March, Saturday should be a step up from that Exeter race but the expectation is he will prove more than capable of dealing with the penalty for that win and further confirm his potential as a Festival horse later in the season.
Beaten just three lengths in Cheltenham’s Champion Bumper in March, Willie Mullins’ five-year-old is another exciting recruit to the hurdle game. With fellow smart bumper performer Someday set to take his place in the field, the race is also set to feature top class stayer on the flat Pallasator. However, the form book suggests the Mullins horse should have the beating of both and a return to Prestbury Park in March will be the long term aim.
Another Willie Mullins horse with plenty of solid form last season, the six-year-old was last seen beating the very smart Finian’s Oscar in a Grade One novice hurdle at Punchestown in April. That win was his third over hurdles from five starts but it’s chasing that has always looked to be his game, and this big galloping horse looks tailor made for life over the big ones.