Summer. Everyone’s delighted it’s here. Shorts weather, BBQ’s, sunny evenings and a chance to ditch the coat for once. There’s a World Cup on and lots of movies and perhaps even some time off. It’s great isn’t it?
There’s just one snag. The jumps are gone. Or at least the really good ones are. Punchestown was less than a month ago but even then the amazing exploits of Un De Sceaux and Faugheen feel like a lifetime away and whilst we can all recite each Cheltenham winner there are unfortunately many months until hooves will be felt at the home of racing.
How can we cope? Here are a handy five steps.
Whilst few countries in the world have let the light of jump racing into their lives, the French are one of them and thankfully they have had the good sense to do so in the summer, when our best jumping venues are empty.
France, the source of so many of our best horses, has its own Cheltenham in Auteil, which hosts top class races like the
May 19-20 – Week-end du Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris – Prix Ferdinand Dufaure (The French Gold Cup)
May 19 – Prix Alain du Breil
June 20 – Grande Course de Haies d’Auteuil (French Champion Hurdle)
British and Irish interest is common now, and should one decide to go then the ticket prices are fantastic value with entry less than a round – or even a pint – at some of the best British meetings.
Many trainers have either the strength in depth or nous to target races through the summer and many yards, both big and small, have made such a move pay. Alan King has found particular success through the past few seasons through the months of May to September and Nicky Henderson, whilst an obvious yard to look towards for winners, has plenty of horses on the go whilst others are in the field.
Look to up and comers like Fergal O’Brien for success, with the chance to get a fast start not one to be sniffed at. O’Brien had his best ever campaign last season and the improving handler has a number of syndicate horses suitable for a summer campaign.
Horses For Courses
This is an obvious mantra but many of the prime summer courses tend to be much tighter than the undulating, stiffer winter counterparts. Ireland’s Galway, home of the famous festival and many decent courses, is amongst one of the tightest courses in the country whilst in Britain summer haunts like Stratford and Market Rasen often place a premium on speed, especially on better ground. Certain horses are much more likely to thrive in this environment so take note of course winners, especially from the previous year.
Raid The Flat
There’s no reason for those in suits and sunglasses to have all the fun. Jumps raids on the flat have been a tradition for years now and a profitable one at that. Willie Mullins (twice), David Pipe, Nicky Henderson and Jonjo O’Neill have won the Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot and Jennies Jewel struck another blow for the jumpers in 2016 winning at 6/1.
Donald McCain, Tony Martin and Jonjo O’Neill have also taken the Northumberland Plate four times in the last decade whilst the Ebor has been a successful hunting ground for raids too – Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott won the race in back to back years around the turn of the decade. There are also plenty of weaker contests to plunder!
Choose Your Battles
It’s easy to forget that many of the same rules will apply through the summer as they will during the winter. Make sure you get the best free bets plus the most generous offers from bookies at thebookiesoffers. If you’ve got a free bet then better to go for tasty odds such as 14/1 than a 4/6 favourite as you’ve nothing to lose but could win big!
There has been an explosion over recent decades of summer jumping fixtures especially in handicaps and they will often dominate the majority of cards. Don’t get drawn into races that you normally wouldn’t.
On the other hand, there might also be opportunities. Non handicap races have actually dropped in number htu this has led to a concentration of quality and there can be many chances to follow good novice hurdles an chasers who are ahead of their contemporise before the better animals are released. Black Corton had three wins before October last season and ended up winning Grade 1 and 2 chases in the winter and two of those successes were at better prices than odds on.