Building up a good mix of chasers and hurdlers is vital for any Tote Ten To Follow campaign in order to attack as many Bonus Races as possible.
Often, the majority of the top scoring horses each Jumps season have competed over the smaller obstacles, so giving extra focus to the hurdlers is advised.
But which of those going down the hurdling route should you side with this season?
We run through five to consider for your Ten To Follow stables...
Trainer: Nicky Henderson
Owner: JP McManus
The 2020 Champion hurdle winner, she has twice been put in her place by Honeysuckle and on the evidence available, she is unlikely to reverse that form. However, that should not detract from the fact that she is clearly the best 2-mile hurdler trained in Britain and with no obvious successor likely to emerge from last year’s Novice ranks, she should continue to make her mark in Grade 1 company. Another crack at the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle, which she won last year with some authority, would look to be the obvious starting point for her campaign.
Trainer: Willie Mullins
Owner: Cheveley Park Stud
Last year we saw Cheveley Park Stud have their most successful Cheltenham Festival yet, and this year it might be the turn of Ferny Hollow to get back in on the winning action. Currently in the care of Willie Mullins, the 6YO missed the majority of last season through injury, but his form prior to that means he's had his reputation upgraded during his spell on the sidelines.
Not only did his Champion Bumper win see him beat Appreciate It, who romped to Supreme success last season, but his first start over hurdles also saw him beat Bob Olinger, who was an impressive winner of the Ballymore at the Festival last year as well. That means if he Ferny Hollow can be as good on the course as he appears to be in the form book, we could have a serious hurdler on our hands this season.
Trainer: Gary Moore
Owner: Steven Packham
The wheels have come off on 3 visits to Cheltenham and he is unlikely to return to Prestbury Park this season, but it would be foolish to write him off completely. On softer going and a right-handed track, he is an exceptionally talented horse and there will be plenty of opportunities for Gary Moore’s stable star this season. A wide margin winner of the Kingwell hurdle at Wincanton in February, a return to the west country track for that target seems likely, with other races like the Coral Hurdle at Ascot and the Contenders hurdle at Sandown as possible options for him, he should continue to reward his connections.
Trainer: Henry De Bromhead
The winner of a Point-to-Point by 5-lengths at Turtula in November, beating subsequent bumper winner Minella Cocooner in the process, this 5-year-old made an impressive rules debut when winning a bumper at Punchestown on 15th March. Having travelled extremely strongly into the race, he made rapid headway under Patrick Mullins once they turned for home and powered clear in the heavy ground to record a 4-length victory. Although beaten fairly at the Punchestown festival in May, he was perhaps unsuited by the livelier ground on that occasion and with plenty of soft ground opportunities over the winter, he looks a very nice Novice hurdle prospect for his powerful connections.
Journey With Me
Trainer: Henry De Bromhead
The winner of a Ballindenisk Point-to-Point race in November 2020, he was carefully campaigned last season, with just 1 start under rules when he won a bumper at Gowran Park in March, a race that the yard has won with Minella Indo and Bob Olinger in previous years. Clearly very well thought of, he is likely to make his debut in a Maiden hurdle in November once the ground softens. Although not short of speed, he looked a thorough stayer on both starts and so it will be no surprise to see him racing over 2-miles 4-furlongs and beyond in his Novice hurdle campaign.