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The waiting is over – the 2018/19 National Hunt season is here at last!
As was the case last year, Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins were crowned Champion Trainers in the UK and Ireland respectively but only after lengthy battles with their arch-rivals Paul Nicholls and Gordon Elliott.
For Henderson, the title was secured some way from the end of the season – Might Bite’s win in Aintree’s Betfair Bowl taking him past the £3m mark – but Mullins once again found himself going into the final week trailing his rival before clawing his way back to the lead thanks to nine Grade 1 winners at the Punchestown Festival, a statistic which underlines the ongoing quality of the yard at Closutton.
There was also no shortage of memorable equine achievements last season, from Native River’s thrilling triumph over Might Bite in the Gold Cup to the incredible comeback of Faugheen in Punchestown’s Champion Stayers Hurdle.
There's also no shortage of candidates for your ATR Tracker; here, five ATR experts have selected their own teams including Rising Stars, Irish Eyecatchers, Dark Horses, Ex-Irish Pointers plus French Jumpers.
If you're looking for ante-post advice then don't miss Sean Boyce's verdict on the season's big races; regular readers will know not to expect any short-priced selections!
And in our Stars In The Spotlight section ATR pundit and blogger Kevin Blake has profiled the leading jumps horses in training, assessing their chances of further glory.
In our ever popular Stats Guide, Paul Jones uncovers the trends behind 15 of the trickiest handicaps of the season, whilst we lift the lid on some fascinating punting angles in our extensive Trendspotting section, detailing everything from sires to follow to original angles on the Placepot.