There is an interesting debate that occurs every year regarding the Champion Bumper winner: Will he or she go on to be a star in the years to come?
Many horses who have won or placed in the race have gone on to achieve big things including Cue Card, Al Ferof, Regal Encore, and more recently Envoi Allen. However, there are some who have gone the other way like Silver Concorde, Briar Hill and, so far, Relegate.
It was all about Willie Mullins last year with Ferny Hollow and Appreciate It finishing in the top two. And both of them will certainly cross many a mind when choosing their ten horses for the season ahead.
Ferny Hollow came in as a bit of a dark horse with his only win of the season coming at Fairyhouse three weeks prior to the Festival.
When we spoke to Richard Thompson about Cheveley Park’s Festival chances he said, Willie Mullins knew back-to-back Cheveley Park winners of the Champion Bumper was a possibility.
He showed a very impressive turn of foot to get up the hill and past Appreciate it who was about five lengths in front and then ended three lengths behind. That run was a huge improvement on what he showed earlier in the season. He cost a lot of money at £300,000 and has already started to repay some of that faith shown.
He will be taking on the hurdles this year and could take a very similar route to Envoi Allen finishing with either the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle or Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Despite not necessarily being included in the Tote Ten to Follow Bonus Races he could still pick up multiple Graded wins along the way. We would not advise avoiding him.
Arrived as the form horse in the Bumper last year and was many peoples’ banker of the week. However, he looked to just get ahead too early and had nothing in the tank by the time he hit the hill.
He does, however, look to be one that could have a big say this season in the hurdling division. He won both his two races going into the race by an accumulated 14 lengths and a cooler head on the day may have just helped.
However, it all comes down to jumping ability this season. Similarly to th above, we would never put you off going for him, but just be a little cautious. As we have seen so many times before, horses that can be devastating on the level may not be the same over the obstacles.
The prime example is Carefully Selected. It is all very well beating a Cheltenham Festival winner by 24L but if you are not consistently performing over the hurdles, you will be caught out as he was in the National Hunt Challenge Cup when unseating Patrick Mullins.
The Tote Ten To Follow opens on Monday 2nd November with points scoring starting on Saturday 14th November.