Into the second half of October and the jump season is really starting to get into full swing. We will have horse racing tips for everyday of the jump season on site. Our 10 chasers to follow from our expert team are below.
1 Acting Lass – 6yo bay gelding – Harry Fry
Despite only having the three runs in the book, the plan from Fry has been to send Acting Lass over fences this season, talking in the spring “he is a big baby who is going to be a cracking chaser next season.” He has smart form in the book over the smaller obstacles despite such a lack of experience to call upon. Sent off the odds on favourite against a certain Finian’s Oscar at Hereford in December, hindsight shows that he faced an uphill struggle there. He hasn’t been seen since a slightly disappointing fourth at Ascot in February, but with plenty of improvement to come this season, it would be no surprise to see him take high rank among chasers.
2 Burtons Well – 8yo bay gelding – Venetia Williams
Half brother to Gold Cup fourth Burton Port, he is very lightly raced for one of his age. He was a fluent winner of a decent looking chase on New Years Eve last season, a little free when not quite getting home at Cheltenham the next time. Two and a half miles looks to be his trip for now until he learns not to over race, with very soft ground ideal for him. He has had just seven career races so it’s easy to think that there is going to be plenty more to come from him in the depths of winter when so many from his yard come into their own.
3 Shades Of Midnight – 7yo bay gelding – Donald Whillans
Strong stayer over hurdles, he was rated as high as 148 in that discipline. Deep ground suits well, with plenty of opportunities for him this season now that he goes novice chasing. He is a little more exposed than some who will be heading over fences, but he smacks of the type to run up a sequence in Northern novice contests. He does a lot of his best form on tracks with an uphill finish so expect him to be seen at the likes of Kelso and Carlisle when the ground is in his favour.
4 Elegant Escape – 5yo bay gelding – Colin Tizzard
Kept very warm company in novice hurdles last season having won a pair to kick off his campaign. He travelled notably well in the Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival before not getting home up the hill. A drop back to two and a half miles this season now that he takes on fences would look the smart move on that effort, with the Tizzard team well capable of placing him to best effect in the west country. He may be kept for something like the Close Brothers at the Festival if he doesn’t quite stack up against the best of his division.
5 Give Me A Copper – 7yo chestnut gelding – Paul Nicholls
Always considered a chasing type, anything that he did over hurdles last season was always going to be a bonus. A pair of wins in three starts sandwiched a disappointing effort when trying Grade 2 company. His win at Exeter over three miles was visually one of the most impressive novice wins of the season, the further he went the better he looked. He showed enough speed to drop back in trip at Ayr in the spring so he is far from just a stayer, though that does look his long term strength. Give Me A Copper is pictured below.
6 I Just Know – 7yo bay gelding – Sue Smith
Transformed by fences last season, he climbed the weights by two stone, notching up three wins in the process. A bold front runner, he stays three miles strongly on soft ground. He may do better still this season with relatively low miles on the clock, with a step up in trip a possibility. He wasn’t beaten far in a smart contest at Ayr to end his season, only beaten seven lengths by the very smart Label Des Obeaux. The ground was a little lively for him on that occasion and but for a mistake four out, he would have finished closer. A race like the North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick in January would look tailor made for him.
7 Zero Grand – 6yo bay gelding – Johnny Farrelly
Took a little while to get his head in front, finishing his 2016/17 campaign with a pair of successes at Exeter and Hereford. Those efforts came when he was stepped up to three miles, keeping on well to suggest that a little further would be no issue to him as a chaser. Soft ground is no concern for him with Farrelly already going on record to say that “He has plenty of scope for jumping and we hope he makes a nice chaser next term.” He isn’t going to make up into a superstar, but already rated 135 over hurdles, something along the lines of the Midlands National at Uttoxeter in March would look made for him if he takes to fencing.
8 Rock Gone -9yo bay gelding Dr Richard Newland
Admittedly he is only a couple of months shy of his tenth birthday, but with just twelve races to his credit in his career and the canny Dr Richard Newland to guide his progress, it would be no surprise to see him with improvement to come. He found things happening a little quick for him in the Brown Plate at the Cheltenham Festival on good ground but caught the eye picking off a few late in the piece. He shapes as if a step up to three miles this season will allow him to climb the handicap further, with his current perch of 136 looking exploitable given his adaptability on most ground.
9 Tommy Silver – 5yo bay gelding Paul Nicholls
His three wins so far have all come over a sharp two miles, most recently when staying on well up the hill to land the Sussex Champion Hurdle at Plumpton in April. A strong pace suits him well and a switch to fences should see him rack up a sequence of wins while the ground is decent before Christmas. It will probably not be until the spring campaign that he really shines, with the big meetings surely under the microscope. A rating of 146 over hurdles suggests he needs a little more if he is to challenge the Arkle field but the Grade 3 Red Rum Handicap at the Grand National meeting can provide the sharp two mile test he relishes.
10 Benatar – 5yo bay gelding – Gary Moore
Kept warm company over hurdles, ending his season when less than nine lengths behind Finian’s Oscar at Aintree. The sharp two and a half miles there looked an insufficient test for him, no surprise having won a point to point in Ireland at the age of four. That trip looks a sensible starting point to begin the season, especially if the ground is on the soft side, but come the spring he will be needing three miles once the ground dries out. He was noted as one to follow at Fontwell in January, tanking through a novice hurdle there before clearing away up the run-in. To have so much in the tank having pulled for his head for so long marks him down as a horse with huge potential over fences this season.