National Hunt 2018/2019 Preview
It is back, and the wait is over. The National Hunt 2018/2019 season gets underway this Saturday at Chepstow, and here at JPW, we can hardly contain our excitement.
Nothing beats Denman and Kauto Star battling up the hill or, in more recent years, Might Bite and Native River gong head to head up the Cheltenham hill.
Nothing beats the feeling of finding the next superstar. Will we see another Sprinter Sacre or Altior this year?
Will Samcro turn into a superstar over fences or is he going to be targeted at the Champion Hurdle?
Who is going to be the new Samcro this season and will the sport we all love be blessed with another phenom?
Those are just some of the questions we ask ourselves when a new season starts and some of the reasons why we love the sport of kings.
I am now going to take you through the whole season and all the things we have got to look forward to.
What have we got to look forward to this National Hunt Season?
It all gets underway this weekend at Chepstow where they host a very popular two-day meeting. Since they introduced the two-day meeting, it has attracted lots of outstanding horses, and I expect it to be no different this year. The early entries are looking good, and that bodes well for Saturday and Sunday.
The first Cheltenham meeting is at the end of October. A two-day meeting which once again attracts better horses each year.
From November the quality racing comes thick and fast with the first big race being the Charlie Hall Chase from Wetherby. The race has been won by some excellent horses which include Silviniaco Conti, Cue Card and Bristol De Mai in recent years and I am sure Bristol De Mai will be out to try and win it again.
After the Charlie Hall Chase, we are quickly on to the Bet Victor Gold Cup Festival at Cheltenham which runs for three days, with the main attraction being the Bet Victor Gold Cup on the Saturday. Many top class horses have tried to win over the years including Long Run, but the weight has always proved difficult.
This year, at this early stage, I do find Yanworth attractive on a mark of 148. It is very early days so he may not go for the race or for that matter, go back over fences. The race has to come under consideration for the Alan King-trained horse though as he is rated 161 over hurdles, his chasing mark is 13lb lower.
The week after the Bet Victor Gold Cup Festival is the Betfair Chase from Haydock and this year looks exceptional with Native River, Might Bite and last year’s winner, Bristol De Mai, who may all line up. This is the start of the £1 million bonus so it is sure to make Colin Tizzard and Nicky Henderson think long and hard about the race for Native River and Might Bite. Given the conditions it is usually run in you would have to favour Native River but let’s hope they both run to give horse racing fans a real treat so early in the season.
The Ladbrokes Gold Cup (formerly Hennessy) is the next big race, and that is on the 1st December. The biggest handicap chase of the season and a race won by the likes of Denman, Bobs Worth, Many Clouds and Native River in recent years. Three of those named above have gone on to win a Cheltenham Gold Cup while one has gone and won a Grand National, showing us the calibre of horse it attracts.
I already have my eye on a few in the race and those include Terrefort who is only a five year old and has so much improvement to come. To win in the style he did at Aintree, on his last start, was a sign of a serious horse. He is rated 158 so will be near the top of the handicap, which won’t make things easy.
The other who catches the eye is Clan Des Obeaux who is unbeaten at Newbury from two starts at the course. He has won his two races by a combined total of 31 lengths and looks at ease at the course. He is rated 157 and again it won’t be easy off that mark.
These are my early thoughts and by no means tips on the race, at this early stage.
We have a few weeks until the next big race, but it is a King George Chase on Boxing Day. What a race this could be. A race which has been won by the legends of the game in Kauto Star and Desert Orchid.
Might Bite won the race last year in what I think was a poor renewal. He can only beat what is put in front of him though and let’s hope this year’s race will be much better. The early signs are of a very good race with Waiting Patiently, Native River and Douvan, all possibilities.
The next big day comes at Cheltenham at the end of the January for the Cheltenham Trials Day, and as the name suggests, it is all about trials for the big day in March. Last year attracted the likes of Santini, Black Op, Definitly Red, Apple’s Shakira and produced a festival winner in Mister Whitaker. Once again this day will draw some big names, and those names will go to Cheltenham in March, as potentially the next best thing.
March – it is all about the Cheltenham Festival. It has been a long winter and the best of the best line up for four amazing days of National Hunt Racing. If you have never been to the Cheltenham Festival, then it is something you need to do. The buzz around the place is incredible, and if you are a genuine Horse Racing fan, you don’t get this feeling anywhere else. It is well and truly where the magic happens. Months of debates and months of following the game all come down to this festival, you either have it, or you don’t.
On a personal note, we will be aiming to go 11 years on the bounce of profit at the Cheltenham Festival and looking to produce another 28/1 winner like Bleu Berry at last years festival.
A few weeks later and it is on to the Grand National Meeting at Aintree and the most famous race in the world – ‘The Grand National’.
An excellent three days which attracts many of the Cheltenham Festival stars, along with those ‘saved’ for Aintree.
The final big festival of the season is from Punchestown in Ireland which is usually a battle, Willie Mullins vs Gordon Elliott. Last season Willie Mullins clawed back a £460,000 deficit and claimed the Trainers title. It was a master training performance with 18 winners over the five days, a fantastic achievement which almost goes unrecognised as he has been that good a trainer over the years.
So there we have it, in short, that is the National Hunt Season we have to look forward to. Obviously, we have other huge days in the calendar, and I have only touched on a tiny percentage of the season.
You may or may not know, but National Hunt Racing is my forte. It is where we make the most profit, and it is where we are most comfortable as a tipster.
In two weeks I will be launching my JPW 40 To Follow ebook which is a must-have after it’s success last season with 60 winners in total.
Why not let us take us through the whole season and get the JPW 40 To Follow Book, Ante-post Portfolio and daily tips for six months and three weeks.