The clocks have gone back and it’s getting chilly outside.
That can mean only one thing – the return of National Hunt jumps racing to UK & Irish racecourses.
Which horses could be set to shine this season? Here’s our look at seven contenders…
Jumps Season 2019/20 Preview – Seven potential stars for 2019/20
The Nicky Henderson-trained seven-year-old was edged out by Topofthegame at his last outing on the track in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham in March, but his light racing schedule means he could be flying under the radar going into the autumn jump racing calendar. If he can stay fit and firing, a run at the Winter Festival in Newbury looks an obvious target around a course he relishes.
If that all goes to plan, the Gold Cup will surely then be in Santini’s sights. He’s currently 10/1 in the early Cheltenham Gold Cup odds with Marathonbet – a testament to the faith being put into this horse despite over nine months away from competitive action.
If Santini struggles this winter, Lostintranslation could be the logical choice to follow all the way through to this year’s Gold Cup. Colin Tizzard’s seven-year-old was seriously impressive at Aintree in the Mildmay back in April and only finished outside the top two on one occasion in his six outings last season.
A consistently reliable stayer, he’s 10/1 to write his name in the history books as a Gold Cup winner next March.
3. Envoi Allen
Envoi already looks the novice hurdler to beat in 2019/20 after a flawless campaign last season, culminating in a three-quarter length win in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in March.
Still undefeated, the Ballymore or Supreme could be the natural next step for the classy four-year-old if he maintains his form through to Prestbury Park next spring.
4. Blue Sari
Willie Mullins could have another gem on his hands if Blue Sari can build on a respectable maiden campaign which included a barnstorming run at Gowran Park to take victory in the P.J. Foley Memorial INH Flat Race. He also finished second in a gutsy battle against the more experienced Envoi Allen in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.
With a frightening turn of speed, expect the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle to be on Mullins’ radar as he assesses his options for the talented four-year-old.
5. Dickie Diver
He’s yet to pull up any real trees in terms of the form book. However, the Nicky Henderson-trained six-year-old is quietly building a deserved reputation as a solid stayer. That alone suggests he could be one to watch at the major horse racing events this winter.
A fourth place finish in the Albert Bartlett and a rock-solid winning run in a maiden at Chepstow suggests he could kick on in 2019/20. Don’t rule out Dickie’s chances of diving into the list of frontrunners for the RSA Chase come March. Looking at the latest horse racing betting with Marathonbet, he’s at 25/1 to cause a splash.
6. Klassical Dream
Willie Mullins has no need to pinch himself. On his form to date, this is one Dream that really looks like coming true.
The five-year-old swept all before him last season. A commanding 4 1/2 length win in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham was the pick of the bunch and he still looks like he has the potential to take another huge leap forward in the 2019/20 jumps season.
The Champion Hurdle could be on the cards for Klassical Dream if his form continues to impress.
Finally, a wildcard from across the Irish Sea. There’s already plenty of early hype building around Paul Nicholls’ four-year-old. That could be justified after a blistering performance in his only outing to date at Lingstown last March where he obliterated the opposition with an eight-length victory.
Nicholls’ team splashed our £370,000 for the prodigious talent last March. They might just fancy testing his chances in the Champion Bumper in 2020.
Odds correct at time of writing, but may be subject to change.
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