Update – Saturday 19 October
I’ve been involved in horse racing at all levels from journalist, owner, point to point steward and also as a racing tipster. This all started way back in 1986 when I used to do the tips for The Sunday Independent. I had a very successful run which prompted me to enter the world of full time tipping and I haven’t looked back since. National Hunt racing is my favourite by far and it’s great to have met someone as passionate about the jumps and The Cheltenham Festival as me in JP. This is my favourite time of the year with the beginning of the NH season nearly upon us. Like me, I’m sure you’re already anticipating that almighty roar of the Supreme Novice Hurdle starting what is always a magical 4 days of racing. At the beginning of a new season, I start calling a few contacts from the point to point community and looking through the off season sales in England/Ireland and France and compiling a list of horses who could make the breakthrough from impressive amateur to weekend or even Festival bound horses. I usually like to have a good notebook of horses that many won’t be aware of unlike those on the majority of dark horses lists you can find online. Often these have already ran under rules somewhere and can easily be tracked down via the Racing Post and SportingLife websites; not what I’d call under the radar. I was halfway through this exercise when I decided that this year I’d put them all together and made a e-book for my subscribers. It was just a late night throwaway idea, but already we have had 4 runners of which 2 have won and 2 have placed which is pleasing, so have been sending copies to a few like minded souls who have given me positive feedback. So I may go more in-depth for the following seasons. Anyway, here are 10 horses from my list to add to your own notebooks for the upcoming season in the hope that around the time of the big Festivals you’ll be able to tell your friends you’ve followed this horse since it’s debut run under rules and are sitting on a juicy ante-post voucher! If you would like a free copy of my e-book with all 50 dark horses please contact me at www.rogergreenracing.co.uk and mention JPFestival.com and Dark Horses Volume 1. I will limit this to the first 50 I hear from so if you like what you see below please get in touch. Vesperal Dream(FR) – Paul Nicholls 4yo Network (GER) — Pampanilla (FR) (April Night (FR ) This 4 year old maiden has had 6 runs in France in all spheres. Was beaten 4 1/2 lengths on his last run in an Auteuil maiden hurdle from which the winner has gone on to win a decent listed race easily a few runs later. Gone to Paul Nicholls and with him being a maiden over both hurdles and fences, Paul could really make use of what looks a decent mark of around 125. Wouldn’t suprise me to see him run in a handicap hurdle and then go straight over fences after, as he is a big strong type and fences will definitely bring out the best in him. Started off on the Flat at a lowly provincial meeting at Argentan in Normandy when with Guy Cherel, he has improved slowly with every run. He is by the new wonder sire Network (Sprinter Sacre), and by the look of him will enjoy better ground than he has been encountering in France. Dispour (IRE) – Donald McCain 3yo Monsun (GER) (12.3f) — Dalataya (IRE) (Sadler´s Wells (USA) Dispour is another of Aga Khans ex-French trained horses. Just a 3 year old, so the Triumph hurdle is on the agenda. He is a half brother by German sire Monsun, (Novellist , Manduro, Foreman), to Punchestown festival winner of this year Dalasiri. Only had the 4 runs on the Flat. He won his last start in a handicap at Maisons-Laffitte over 1 miles 2 f. Donald McCain picked him up for 175,000 EUR at the Arqana sales and he should improve this very nicely bred juvenile. He looks the sort to mop up Northern juvenile hurdles and gain lots of experience before hopefully taking on better quality youngsters later on in the season. Dell’arca (IRE) – David Pipe 4yo Sholokhov (IRE) (12.2f) — Daisy Belle (GER) (Acatenango (GER) A Sholokov gelding that looks like a ready made chaser. Just a 4 year old he has had 3 runs on the Flat and 3 over hurdles in France. Trained by Laurent Viel at France’s new improved state of the art training centre Sennones-Pounace, he won on the Flat and was placed in both other runs but jumping was always going to be his game. He won with a little bit in hand on his second start at Compiegne, then went on to finish second at Auteuil to a nice horse that had won every completed start. Ended up going to David Pipe after a bit of a bidding war ensued and he was purchased for 280,000EUR by Caroline Tisdall. Martin Pipe knows just what to do with these ex-French horses and I think he will assist David into getting the very best out of this one over hurdles before taking on the bigger obstacles. Madame de Guise (FR) – Nicky Henderson 4yo Le Balafre (FR) — Paradana (FR) (Dress Parade (12.8f) A 4 year old mare that has had 3 runs in France for trainer/owner Yannick Fouin, who is well known in France to be a very good trainer with expertise in schooling young horses. Finishing 3rd in both her last two runs at Enghien-Soisy. Looks to of needed the experience in her homeland, but the move to Nicky Henderson should see stacks of improvement in her this season and better ground over here will suit her as she is by the Flat bred La Balafre. Owned now by the Million in Mind partnership, she should be up to winning early season novice hurdles at least. Lochnagar (GER) Venetia Williams 4yo Sholokhov (IRE) (12.2f) — Lindenblute (Surumu (GER) (10.8f)) Lochnagar is a 4 year old ex-German trained Flat winner of two races. Has only been out of the frame on two of his nine runs to date in Germany and at the Parisian tracks in France. Gets 1 mile 4 furlongs easily on the Flat so 2 miles and maybe a bit further will suit this big rangy German bred. Venetia does really well with her horses from abroad. By the sire Sholokhov, the sire of France’s multiple graded winner horse Esmondo, he will improve with age and hurdling should see the best in him. A very interesting recruit to the Williams yard. Tara Point – Paul Nicholls 4yo Kayf Tara (13.7f) — Poppet (Terimon (12.0f)) A horse with a very bright future is this mare by Kayf Tara. Looks the perfect type for the new mares races and Paul Nichols has a few more mares than normal this season to campaign in them. She was clear when trained by Chloe Roddick and tipped up 3 out having the race in safe keeping. Made no mistake next time out winning her open maiden in fine style at Heythrop under Nico de Boinville, A lovely big strong 4 year old that is sure to win over hurdles before going on to better things over fences. One to keep on the right side of. Baradari (IRE) Venetia Williams 3yo Manduro (GER) (10.5f) — Behra (IRE) (Grand Lodge (USA) (9.8f)) One that I cannot wait to see run over hurdles is the Aga Khan bred Baradari. Only a 3 year old, the Triumph Hurdle looks to be the target for this 3 times listed place and conditions winner in France. Purchased by Guy Petit for 235,000 Euros at the Arqana summer sale. By Manduro, he is a half brother to Evan Williams tough Barizan, a multiple winner over hurdles. Who can forget his front running display in the Triumph hurdle to finish second to Soldatino? He easily gets 1 miles 4 furlongs on the flat and goes on all grounds. Venetia will be schooling him plenty before he runs and I can see this lad having a touch of class over obstacles. Cadoudoff (FR) – Charlie Longsdon 3yo Davidoff (GER) — Hera Du Berlais (FR) (Cadoudal (FR ) (18.0f)) It was a very taking performance by Charlie Longsdon’s new recruit on his second start over hurdles at Lyon Parilly, where he won going away by 3 lengths. It may not have been a great race, but the manor he did it in really bodes well for the future. He was thought good enough to start out in a listed race at Auteuil on his first racecourse start. Charlie could have a nice youngster on his hands here. Only a 3 year old he should win another hurdle at least this year before making up into a nice young novice chaser next season. By the Montjeu young stallion Davidoff, this is his first crop to go jumping and I await with interest as to how he gets on. Pamplona Run (IRE) – Harry Fry 5yo Flemensfirth (USA) — Bilboa (FR) (Phantom Breeze (8.8f) A very exciting son of Flemensfirth , out of champion hurdle 3rd Bilboa, he cost Aiden Murphy 95,000 euros as a foal. He has not let them down and won his maiden in style after running loose before hand. Owned by Graham Roach, he then went on to win his restricted in a battling style. Being this well bred and going to the new up and coming trainer Harry Fry, this is one for the future. Will Biddick has described the Graham Roach five year old as ‘very green’ but it would be surprising if this Richard Barber trained youngster didn’t go onto much great things over the next few seasons. Billy Biscuit – Alan King 5yo Presenting (14.1f) — Native Novel (IRE) (Be My Native (USA) (11.7f) A lovely looking 5 year old son of Presenting. He has had the one run in points and was fortunate to win when Scotch Dry n Ice came down 2 out. He is homebred by Tim Curtis and looks a real staying chaser in the making. From the family of Weapons Amnesty, Black Apalachi and Weird Al. This lad could be anything.