With a fairly mainstream selection of horses scooping the top prize in last year’s Ten To Follow, I’ve decided to build my stable around a core of reliables that have “been there and done” that! I’m sure a couple of these will be on everybody’s list, but they will make for a solid foundation.
First up is Al Boum Photo, while he might not pick up a lot of points on the road to Cheltenham, he will still go off favourite for the Gold Cup and in my opinion, he will win it. Envoi Allen, on the other hand is bound to pick up a couple of Grade 1s on the way to Cheltenham and whatever he goes for there, he will probably win. He is an exceptional animal. I would say Davy Russell was licking his lips watching him jumping at Down Royal recently. He could be even better over fences than he has been over hurdles.
I think you can put a line through Altior’s last season. I think they tried something and it didn’t work. Nicky Henderson, being the great trainer he is, pulled up stumps and was heading back to his normal route to Cheltenham. He just didn’t make it there. I think he will pick up some Graded points before Cheltenham this year and be in with a great shout at the festival. He’s a horse to stick with.
Shishkin was very good on the way to Cheltenham this year and very good at the festival, winning the Supreme Novice Hurdle. He’s probably going to go novice chasing. I think he jumps really well and the way he won in Cheltenham this year suggests that he is going to be an even better horse next year.
I haven’t seen a horse quicken up the hill in the County Hurdle as good as Saint Roi in a long time. He led to the last on the bridle and even when Barry Geraghty led him down, he quickened to the line. He could be a horse for the Champion Hurdle and for other really top rated 2m hurdle races.
Clan Des Obeaux has won the King George twice at Kempton, he’s a course specialist and I think he can do it again this year and pick up some nice points.
I’ve spoken about Cheveley Park’s Allaho a lot over the past year and I have to stick with him! I’ve seen him in the flesh and he jumps exceptionally well. He ticked all of the boxes for me at Cheltenham, except winning! I think up to now he just hasn’t been the finished article and I’m hoping another year of experience will show him to be a real star. If that happens, he could win two or three Grade 1s.
Sprinter Sacre’s brother Flinteur Sacre has a lot to live up to but if he has anything like that level of ability, he will be very good. He absolutely bolted in the bumper at Kempton with Barry Geraghty saying he’s the easiest bumper winner he has ever ridden.
Hot favourite for last year’s Cheltenham bumper, Appreciate It was ultimately beaten by his Willie Mullins stablemate, Ferny Hollow. I think this horse is less quirky than Ferny Hollow. He was awesome winning his Leopardstown bumper with a very good time. Though we haven’t seen a lot of him, if he jumps a hurdle well he could be very, very good.
I’ve been keeping my eye on Cedarwood Road having been very impressed with his maiden win in Leopardstown last year. He won as he liked. He then came out and won again at Naas. They’ve minded this horse, so I think they have a really high opinion of him. Everything he’s done so far suggests he should only improve and get better. He’s probably the dark horse of my selection.
There’s my ten! I mentioned Sir Gerhard in my last blog and I still think he is a horse to follow, but possibly not one to pick up enough points from a Ten To Follow point of view. Last week’s Tote Fortria Chase winner Castlegrace Paddy is another horse to consider. If that result marks him hitting a year of form, he could well pick up a couple of graded races.
Best of luck to everyone with their entries!
Paddy Flood's Tote Ten to Follow:
- Al Boum Photo
- Envoi Allen
- Saint Roi
- Clan Des Obeaux
- Flinteur Sacre
- Appreciate It
- Cedarwood Road