Our expert panel each pick out five horses to follow for the 2021/22 jumps season, with one eye on Cheltenham Festival.
The National Hunt season is in full swing and with a packed winter schedule fast-approaching, we pulled together an expert panel to choose their horses to follow. On the podcast, host George Elek was joined by oddschecker tipster Andy Holding, 888sport ambassador Barry Geraghty and racing journalist Ed Quigley.
In an hour packed full of top insight, the experts picked out five horses each who they’re tipping for big things in the jumps season, with some ante-post selections for Cheltenham Festival thrown in.
You can watch the full Horses to Follow podcast on our YouTube below, or listen wherever you get your podcasts.
"He strikes me as being a Supreme Novices horse, I think he's got plenty of speed. Olly Murphy knows what it takes to ready one for this race, Thomas Darby and Itchy Feet were second and third respectively to Klassical Dream a few years back. He hasn't won it yet but he's gone very close and I think ability wise Go Dante is going to be proving a little bit better than those two."
First up Andy picks out Go Dante. The Olly Murphy-trained five-year-old stands out as one to keep on the right side and he reckons he'll be a contender in the 2022 Supreme Novices' Hurdle. He's currently a 40/1 shot for that race.
"I'd be surprised if Buzz doesn't end up being, if not the best, but close to the best UK stayer... The numbers I got for that Cesarewitch were absolutely off the scale, it was one of the best run handicaps all season.
"You look at his hurdle form and I'd be scratching my head to be thinking what he was doing over 2m. He definitely ran his best race behind Abacadabras in the Aintree Hurdle. He's proven he can act at Grade 1 level and I think we're going to see a massive improvement when he steps up in the trip. One would imagine he'll start in the Newbury Hurdle and I don't think we'll see 20/1 available after he runs at Newbury."
Andy's particularly excited about Nicky Henderson's Buzz. The Cesarewitch winner, who was second to Abacadabras in last year's Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle is currently a 20/1 shot for the 2022 Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Andy's other three picks were Papa Tango Charly, Mr Incredible and Champion Green. Hear what he had to say about them in the full podcast.
After a thrilling Cheltenham Festival, punters are already looking forward to next year's iteration. Oddschecker have identified the five most backed horses for 2022.
"For me this fella has the opportunity to go up in trip, but he also has the option to stay at two. He's a big scopy type, jumps brilliantly, I think he's the novice to be on for the season. I wouldn't mind taking on Bob Olinger with this fella if I had to."
Barry picks out last year's Supreme winner Appreciate It as a horse that could have a whole host of options ahead of him. He thinks the current 3/1 Arkle favourite could want further and could see him being a future Champion Chase horse.
A Plus Tard
"He ran a cracker in the Gold Cup and was a good winner at Leopardstown before that. He's only a seven-year-old and I think there's improvement in him. Minella Indo was impressive at Cheltenham but his form seems to revolve around Cheltenham. If you were take the Gold Cup out of it, I think A Plus Tard is the best 3m chaser for Irish tracks but I think there's improvement in him with age from last season."
Barry expects A Plus Tard to build on his second place finish in last season's Gold Cup. Of Henry De Bromhead's two star 3m chasers, Barry is happy to oppose Minella Indo with A Plus Tard throughout the season but flags that the Gold Cup could still go the way of last year's winner.
Barry's other three were Energumene, Flooring Porter and Thyme Hill. Listen to the full podcast to get his thoughts on those.
Eklat De Rire
"I thought it was a case of job done at Wexford, very deep ground that day but a nice confidence booster. Soft ground clearly plays to his strengths and it sounds by all accounts that they'll bring him over for the Ladbrokes Trophy. I just think if you ever wanted to see a horse that was tailor-made for three-and-a-quarter miles on a galloping track it's Eklat De Rire.
"You look back through the profile of this type of race. Second season novices coming into this contest marked in the low to mid 150s are often the types you want to get hold of before they've got exposed."
Ed sees plenty of potential in one of Henry De Bromhead's rising stars. He fancies Eklat De Rire for the Ladbrokes Trophy initially where he's the current favourite, but has also backed him as a left of field shout in the Gold Cup where he's a 40/1 shot.
"Less of a household name within the Mullins team that could make up into a very useful hurdler this season. Pretty smart on debut at Leopardstown and went up a notch again to land the Fairyhouse bumper by 11-lengths. He seems to have a nice eclectic blend of speed and stamina and I definitely think they'll be going up in trip with this horse this season. It wouldn't shock me at all if he ended up in something like the Ballymore."
Ed likes the look of a somewhat under-the-radar resident of Willie Mullins' yard in Dark Raven. Though it's never easy to guess where they'll be aimed at, he sees him as a Ballymore type, where he's a 25/1 shot in the ante-post market.
Ed's other three picks were Deyrann De Carjac, Jungle Boogie and Your Darling. You can hear his thoughts on those in the full podcast.