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The waiting is over – the 2019/20 National Hunt season is here at last!
As usual, so much has changed in the 12 months since this microsite was last updated. New champions were crowned in four of the five championship races at the Cheltenham Festival – Altior the only horse to retain his status – bubbles were burst and new stars emerged onto the scene, most notably brilliant Cheltenham winners Envoi Allen and Klassical Dream.
The latter was partnered to victory in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle by Ruby Walsh and will hold the distinction of being the Irishman’s last winner at the Festival after he announced his retirement during the Punchestown Festival. Walsh’s unmistakable riding style will be missed on both sides of the Irish Sea this season.
Walsh will be replaced as number one rider to trainer Willie Mullins by reigning Irish Champion jockey Paul Townend, who will have to make some tough choices this season, not least between his Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo and his Punchestown conqueror Kemboy.
Whilst Mullins retained his title in Ireland, again holding off Gordon Elliott, it was Paul Nicholls turn to wrest the UK championship away from Nicky Henderson, whilst Richard Johnson claimed his fourth Champion Jockey title.
You can read more about the story of last season in our Annual Review whilst Henderson, Nicholls, Mullins and Elliott will all feature in our extensive Stable Tours section alongside Joseph O’Brien, Dan Skelton, Philip Hobbs and Alan King.
There's also no shortage of candidates for your ATR Tracker; four attheraces.com experts have selected their own teams including Jamie Lynch’s Rising Stars, Tony Keenan’s Irish Eyecatchers, Simon Rowlands’s Dark Horses, and Liz Price’s French Jumpers. There’s also a fascinating list of 12 Ex-Irish Pointers to watch out for from expert Eoghain Ward.
If you're looking for ante-post advice then you won’t want to miss Mike Cattermole’s verdict on the season's big races, which includes a tasty 33/1 shot in the Champion Hurdle.
And in our Stars In The Spotlight section attheraces.com columnist Kevin Blake has profiled the leading jumps horses in training, assessing their chances of further glory.
In our ever popular Stats Guides, 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.