The 2013-14 National Hunt campaign may have now begun in earnest with the running of the Paddy Power Gold Cup and several racing experts have provided a ten to follow list for the coming season.
Many of those lists feature obvious selections such as Bobs Worth, Hurricane Fly, Big Bucks and Sprinter Sacre but what of the remaining horses, some of which are less well known or may offer more reasonable betting opportunities in the coming months.
The 10 horses below may be worth following in the days ahead.
Diamond King – Donald McCain
He won two bumpers in impressive style at the end of last season and his trainer thinks he may have a genuine Cheltenham Festival contender in one of the novice hurdles.
Oscar Rock – Malcolm Jefferson
He is another Northern trained novice hurdler who won his opening race of the season by 19 lengths at Wetherby. His trainer describes him as better than his former stable star Dato Star and he may also prefer soft going.
Tidal Bay – Paul Nicholls
This horse has been rejuvenated under his current trainer and won a hurdle race at Wetherby earlier in the month. He experienced an injury setback last season after winning at Leopardstown but may still pay to follow even though he is close to 13 years of age.
Our Conor – Dessie Hughes
Very few horses can win a Triumph Hurdle by 15 lengths and this horse will be a real challenger for the Champion Hurdle in March. A slight injury setback has delayed his hurdle comeback until December.
Un De Sceaux – Willie Mullins
His trainer ran him twice at Punchestown during the later stages of last season and he recorded two facile wins. Expect another profitable Irish campaign from this promising juvenile.
At Fishers Cross – Rebecca Curtis
This horse will probably challenge for the World Hurdle in March after an unbeaten campaign last season culminating in winning the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle over 3 miles and following that performance with an 8 length victory at Aintree.
Volnay de Thaix – Nicky Henderson
This horse won by 11 lengths on his hurdling debut at Kempton in early November and would have won more comfortably but for being considerably eased by jockey Barry Geraghty. He should be worth noting in southern novice hurdle races.
Sea Lord – John Ferguson
Although he was beaten in a 2 mile hurdle at Cheltenham at the weekend, he made a mistake at a crucial stage and was running strongly at the finish to finish second. He may pay to follow when attempting a longer trip.
Boston Bob – Willie Mullins
Two falls in his last two races cast doubts on his jumping ability but he looked a likely winner of the RSA Chase until falling at the last fence. His trainer will have schooled him over the summer and he looks a good prospect in Irish staying chases.
Rocky Creek – Paul Nicholls
Although he was beaten by Dynaste at Aintree, he looks the type to feature in 3m+ staying handicap chases and is being aimed at the Hennessy Gold Cup for his seasonal reappearance.
Video: A rejuvenated Tidal Bay comes with a surging late run to get up in the final strides of a thrilling renewal of the 2012 Lexus Chase…
Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/meteorshoweryn/