It’s here at last! Summer might be over but another sizzling season of National Hunt racing is just around the corner.
It starts with significant upheaval in Ireland, where champion owner Gigginstown House Stud have sent a shockwave or two across the landscape by removing some 60 horses from the care of champion trainer Willie Mullins including the likes of Apple’s Jade, Blow By Blow and Don Poli.
It will further strengthen the hand of Gordon Elliot, who is set to receive all the big Gigginstown names and leaves Mullins, who went so close to landing the UK championship in a memorable finish to the 2015/16 season, more likely to concentrate on retaining the Irish title this winter.
Both yards feature in our extensive Stable Tours section, which covers a new major player on the Irish scene in the shape of Joseph O’Brien, and also covers features lengthy interviews with the established top trainers in the UK including Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson and Philip Hobbs.
With the retirement of A P McCoy in April 2015, last season was a first for ATR Blogger Barry Geraghty in the role of retained rider to J P McManus. And Barry produced a ride straight out of the McCoy mould when driving Carlingford Lough home to win the Punchestown Gold Cup in April – coming from a seemingly hopeless position with a mile to run to collar Djakadam on the run-in.
The win capped a memorable spring for Barry, who also enjoyed big-race wins aboard Jer’s Girl, Don’t Touch It, Eastlake, Kylemore Lough and Ivanovich Gorbatov. Once again he gives us his 10 horses to watch out for on this site.
Carlingford Lough also features within our Stars In The Spotlight section, where regular attheraces.com blogger Kevin Blake profiles 25 of the leading UK and Irish jumpers, essential reading for anyone looking ahead to the ante-post markets this season.
Talking of the big races, don’t miss Sean Boyce’s annual dissection of the big-races this season in our Ante Post Focus; Sean’s excellent record dates back to tipping War Of Attrition at 33/1 for the Gold Cup here back in 2006.
Essential companions throughout the jumps season are Paul Jones’s Stats Guides. Through his Cheltenham Festival guides Paul is a hugely respected stats-led analyst and his appraisal of the key trends around 15 of the top jumps races throughout the season is invaluable reading for any punter looking to crack races such as the Bet Victor Gold Cup, Hennessy and Ladbroke Hurdle.
If your memories of last season are blurred by events on the Flat this summer, then our 2015/16 Season Review will help you to recap on the feature races in what was another thrilling six months.
However, our Jumps Preview site is not just about the big races – there’s some real gems of information in our Horses To Follow section, which include Rising Stars, Dark Horses and the pick of exciting candidates from the Irish Point-to-Point field.
More helpful tools in the quest for everyday winners are David Myers’s Trendspotting articles. These cover every aspect of the sport including Jockeys, Trainers and Sires and highlight some great pointers for punters.
And once you’ve deliberated, cogitated and digested all of this – as Lloyd Grossman would say – why not put it all to good use by playing our brilliant, free-to-play Stable Stars game? There’s £10,000 in prize money to be won once again this season and the game is now even easier play thanks to our newly developed mobile interface. To stand the best chance of winning you need to have your starting list of 10 horses entered in time for the first day of the competition on Saturday 12 November.
So what are you waiting for? Stop reading this and start studying!