With the St Leger just a few weeks down the road, it’s nearly time to shift our focus back to the National Hunt sphere! Perhaps the most popular of the two codes, Jump Racing provides more time to connect with its stars, as the best flat horses tend to retire to stud after only a year or two, whereas jump’s stars continue for years to come. All roads lead to the always highly anticipated Cheltenham Festival and we’ve been hunting around over the summer looking for potential stars who have gone through the sales. With plenty of expensive purchases and interesting captures, here are five horses we believe could be potential national hunt powerhouses who changed hands over the summer! The ITV action for the jump’s season kicks off on the 27th of October and every race will be covered by our ITV Racing Tips!
Amschel (Bought by Paul Byrne for £155,000)
We first look to a horse who has already acquired some experience under rules, with this four-year-old winning three of his four hurdling starts to date. He completed a hat-trick with a comfortable success at Roscommon in a rated novice hurdle, getting on top by a length. That effort can be upgraded given he made a shuddering error at the third latest and he was subsequently picked up by owner Paul Byrne for a whopping £155,000. He looks a top-class handicapper in the making and needs attention over the winter.
Black Centaur (Bought by Colin Tizzard for £45,000)
Sent off 9/2 for a point at Tralee, Black Centaur destroyed his opposition by seven lengths, going clear in the style of a very useful horse. It was no surprise to see him going for £45,000 at the Doncaster Sales, with Colin Tizzard the man to part with his cash. He’s a half-brother to four winners, all of which with chasing form over the three-mile distance, so he’s certainly a longer term project. That said, we’re likely to see him out over hurdles this winter and when upped in trip, he’s surely going to develop into a smart handicapper with time.
El Barra (Bought by Willie Mullins for £280,000)
When Willie Mullins parts with this much cash, it’s always for good reason and this very interesting four-year-old has all the makings of a top grade animal. Snapped up after finishing second in a point at Dromahane, he’s a half-brother to Gordon Elliott’s useful Barra, related to lots of useful French recruits including 2m 5f hurdling winner Liberia. Given connections, he’s likely to be a big improver over the winter and warrants plenty of attention.
Easyrun De Vassy (Bought by Tom Malone/Paul Nicholls for £105,000)
Twice a winner in points, Easyrun De Vassy created a very good impression for the latter of those successes, battling on well to score. Half-brother to My Fair Lady and Royale Majesty, he’s bred to have plenty of speed from the outset, with his likely target this year being two-mile hurdling events. The yard has had plenty of success with similar recruits and we’re hoping to be seeing him plenty of times over the winter.
Quoi De Neuf (Bought by Evan Williams for €180,000)
A yard that very much goes under the radar, Evan Williams looks to have another potentially useful recruit on his hands in the shape of Quoi De Neuf. He was snapped up for a massive €180,000 after winning a point at Ballysteen by nine lengths, with the trainer clearly taken by the way he travelled and quickened clear late on. He certainly makes appeal on his pedigree, being a half-brother to Cheltenham Festival winner Qualando and the Willie Mullins’ trained winning hurdler Au Quart De Tour. As a four-year-old, we’re hopeful of seeing him over hurdles this winter and given his pedigree, he should have enough speed to do himself justice prior to where his career will really kick off, over fences.