Jumps Season - At The Races

Dark Horses

    Chris Sleep selects 12 winners-in-waiting for the coming jumps campaign.
  • Horses to Follow

Here we're looking at a select band of horses that have the potential to win races of any grade this season.

Some of the 12 horses outlined below certainly have the scope to become high-profile horses, whereas others are chosen with a view to their trainers being able to exploit their current handicap marks.

The dozen horses all hail from a range of yards in Great Britain, some well-known but others less so, and look set to reward their followers with plenty of success in 2017/18.

Horse profiles

Bullionaire (IRE)

Bullionaire is another promising young horse for trainer Harry Fry. This big strong chasing sort made an impressive winning debut despite portraying signs of greenness at Newbury in a valuable sales bumper. He was put away after this taking victory but given his physical attributes he looks sure to make the grade over hurdles and win plenty of races before embarking on a chasing career.

Cap Soleil (FR)

Cap Soleil has yet to taste defeat in three starts and has recorded her at two wins in Listed company. She narrowly beat Daphne Du Clos who has since gone onto to win a Listed race impressively herself. Her final start was another taking win at Sandown before she was put away for the summer. A high-class filly who is sure to do well over hurdles and her trainer Fergal O’Brien did well placing Colin’s Sister to win in pattern class over hurdles and looks sure to do another good job with Cap Soleil this season.

Cause Toujours (FR)

Cause Toujours made an impressive debut for Dan Skelton scoring in a Warwick bumper by seven lengths where he moved through the race smoothly and surged clear. Dan Skelton thought him worthy of a place in the Champion Bumper where he was sent off market leader; he held every chance until the final furlong where he emptied climbing the hill. A physically appealing sort he is sure to have strengthened up over the summer and is sure to take a high ranking in novice hurdles. In time he will be better over two-and-a-half miles but is more than up to winning over two miles.

Video Form
19 Oct 2017:

De Dollar Man (IRE)

De Dollar Man was an easy winner on his racecourse debut last season in a bumper before making a smooth winning hurdles debut at Ayr in January again in testing ground. Following that he was a creditable third behind the useful pair of Beyond Conceit (subsequently Grade 1 placed) and Topofthegame. It didn’t pan out for him at the Cheltenham Festival where he finished ninth but with a summer behind him he could defy a mark of 139 over hurdles or make into a good quality novice chaser. Very testing ground is also to his liking.

Video Form
16 Dec 2016:

Final Nudge (IRE)

Final Nudge has a solid career record with seven wins and seven places efforts from 20 starts under rules. He scored in a three-mile handicap chase at Newbury where he outstayed his rivals in February. Following this he was still holding a chance when falling at four from home in the Midlands National at Uttoxeter. Final Nudge likes soft ground and stays well so could be one to follow in long distance chases this winter with his consistent solid profile another appealing point. He is worth following this winter.

Video Form
6 Jan 2018:
18 Mar 2017:
1 Feb 2017:
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15 Nov 2016:

Jerrysback (IRE)

  • 6-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Jeremy - Get A Few Bob Back (Bob Back)
  • Trained by: P J Hobbs
  • Last Race: Wetherby, 21 Feb 2017 15:00
  • Result: Won/10, mid-division, tracked leaders 4th, challenged on bit on inside after 3 out, led last, unextended flat, impressive
  • View full form

Jerrysback is a winning Irish Pointer who has scored twice from two starts so far for Phillip Hobbs in novice hurdles. Both of his victories came under Barry Geraghty who guided this promising horse to a couple of easy victories at Plumpton and Wetherby. His jumping was clumsy at times but he has some serious talent and is sure to have improved over the summer and could develop into a high-class novice chaser.

Video Form
30 Jan 2017:


Mohaayed is an interesting horse for the upcoming season having finished seventh in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival beaten just over three lengths from a mark of 134. Another solid placed effort at Ayr followed where he went down by less than three lengths. Strongly run races on decent ground seem to suit him well and he could be one Dan Skelton targets at the Greatwood Hurdle, a race he has done well in previously. I suspect he is up to defying his current mark of 137.

Video Form
16 Dec 2017:
26 Jul 2016:
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No Comment

No Comment ran with credit at the Cheltenham Festival when finishing seventh in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle when going off a well-supported horse. Following that he was upped in trip and finished second in competitive three-mile handicap hurdles at the Aintree and Punchestown Festivals from a mark in the high 130s. He is now rated 145 and he could be competitive in three-mile Handicap Hurdles this season or improve for the switch to fences as his physical makeup would suggest. He is one to keep on side this season.

Video Form
27 Apr 2017:
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Pym (IRE)

Pym made a winning start to his racing career when scoring in a bumper at Ayr during the Scottish National meeting. It took him a while to get on top but when he did he kept on well to score by four lengths. Having stayed well I would suspect he will be upped in trip in time over hurdles and will surely to be superbly schooled by Nicky Henderson. He looks a very good prospect for novice hurdles and ought to be capable of winning his share of races.

Sam Brown

Sam Brown is unbeaten in his two career starts to date; having made a taking debut when defeating the subsequent Grade 2 Aintree Bumper winner Lalor. Following that he defied a penalty when staying on well to score at Newbury where he defeated a subsequent dual hurdles winner; hurdling now beckons for Sam Brown and he is a staying hurdler in the making and looks sure to make a big impression on that division this season.

Video Form
18 Dec 2017:

The Butcher Said (IRE)

The Butcher Said has only run once but was a promising second behind a useful prospect in Roaring Bull having travelled smoothly through the race but was just outpointed by another top-class rival, who has already made an easy winning start over hurdles. Since making that promising debut he has changed hands and joined Warren Greatrex and looks sure to be able to win plenty of races this season with a future over hurdles beckoning.

Video Form
25 Apr 2017:

Topofthegame (IRE)

  • 6-y-o; chestnut gelding
  • Breeding: Flemensfirth - Derry Vale (Mister Lord)
  • Trained by: P F Nicholls
  • Last Race: Sandown, 3 Feb 2018 15:00
  • Result: Won/17, chased leaders on outside, 2nd going well before 2 out, led and not fluent 2 out, driven and stayed on run-in, all out
  • View full form

Topofthegame made a winning hurdles debut for Paul Nicholls (after winning an Irish Point easily) despite idling badly once hitting the front and just holding on. Despite not winning on either of his next two starts he performed with credit finishing fourth in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham before chasing home subsequent Grade 1 runner up Beyond Conceit at Ascot on his final start for the season. With improvement both mentally and physically forthcoming over the summer he ought to make an impact this season and looks one to follow.