The curtain has finally come down on the 2017/18 National Hunt season, a year that gave us a bit of everything. As with every campaign, there are plenty of horses who surprise us with just how progressive they are. From hurdlers sent over fences, to horses being sent over longer distances, improvement can seemingly come from nowhere on occasion. This season has been no different with some stand-out performers blowing us away throughout the course of the season. We asked our followers who they thought the most improved horse of the 2017/18 National Hunt season was and we have the results down below! Our first poll of the week asked our followers to vote on their Ride Of The Season and the results of that are also online to view!
1st Presenting Percy (P Kelly) (Rating Change in 2017/18, 145 -> 165)
Winner of the Pertemps Final at the Cheltenham Festival 2017, there was plenty of intrigue surrounding Presenting Percy going into this season with a campaign over fences awaiting. He didn’t disappoint and over the course of the season he would notch up three chasing victories from five starts. Winner of the Porterstown Handicap on his third chasing start, that devastating weight-carrying performance signified that he was a potential star in the making and he confirmed that promise with a simply outstanding victory in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham. The sky is the limit for this seven-year-old, who is being aimed at a potential bid for the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
2nd Politologue (P Nicholls) (Rating Change in 2017/18, 154 -> 169)
Clearly with plenty of talent in his novice chasing season, Nicholls star grey has come alive this campaign and deservedly earns a spot on the list. Starting with an impressive Grade 2 victory in the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter, he would add the Tingle Creek to his resume with a gutsy display to deny the warm favourite Fox Norton. Running a good race against the conditions in the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, his crowning glory of the season came with a second Grade 1 victory of the campaign when claiming the Melling Chase. He was all heart when denying Min over the 2m 4f distance and there is potential for him to really take off next season over similar trips as he continues to mature.
3rd Waiting Patiently (R Jefferson) (Rating Change in 2017/18, 150 -> 170)
A very poignant entry on the list after the extremely sad passing of the brilliant Malcolm Jefferson, Waiting Patiently ran only three times in 2017/18, winning all three in impressive fashion. Starting off with a Listed Chase success at Carlisle, he would add another Listed prize to his cabinet with a devastating display at Kempton in January. It would be a month after that start where Malcolm would pass away, with his daughter Ruth taking over his license. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as Waiting Patiently added another notch onto his belt when winning the Grade 1 Ascot Chase, outbattling a resurgent and gutsy Cue Card. The sky is the limit for this seven-year-old next season and he’s an extremely exciting prospect.
4th Sam Spinner (J O’Keeffe) (Rating Change in 2017/18, 136 -> 162)
In terms of ratings, Sam Spinner would be the winner of this poll given he’s improved a staggering twenty-six pounds this season. Reappearing with a second in the Silver Trophy at Chepstow, he would leave that effort well behind with an extremely impressive Grade 3 win at Haydock, leaving his rivals trailing in seventeen lengths behind. The question after that run was obvious, could he hack it at Grade 1 level? The answer was a resounding yes as he defeated a very good field at Ascot to win the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle, making all in supreme fashion. Two runs since at Cheltenham and Aintree were perhaps slightly underwhelming, but he’d had a hard campaign at that stage and as only a six-year-old, the best could be yet to come.
Make sure you’re following us on Twitter, as we still have three more polls for you to vote on! We also have daily racing discussions, where you can interact with a massive community full of racing fans.
Image © Racing Post/Grossick Racing Photography