Jumps Season - At The Races

Irish Eyecatchers

    Will Lattimore shortlists 12 horses to keep onside in the Emerald Isle this season.
  • Horses to Follow

Horse profiles

Debuchet (FR)

Debuchet is a four-year-old gelding that was good enough to finish second in the Wetherby`s Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival and I expect his shrewd trainer will have him well schooled to be every bit as good over timber too.

He handles any ground which is always a big advantage to have in this sport and although there are many leading Irish prospects in the novice hurdle division his versatility of ground will enable his connections to pick and choose which contests they want before they all meet at the big festival showdowns next year.

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What an exciting mare we have here, this six-year-old mare won the Wetherby`s Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival after she gave them a head start and followed that tremendous victory with a front-running display winning the Punchestown Festival equivalent. It`s worth mentioning the riding tactics they had for her Cheltenham victory was to race close to the pace, but she started very slowly and her rider Jamie Codd didn`t panic whatsoever to come from last to first.

I feel a horse that can adapt to race from any position are big pluses to have when taking on the best and when she meets the top calibre over hurdles later in the season there is no doubt that will be a big advantage to have. She looks very exciting indeed.

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This eight-year-old gelding will be a second-season chaser this term and I wouldn`t be surprised at all if he improves significantly with the experience behind him. His standout efforts were third in the JT McNamara National Hunt Challenge Cup over four miles at the Cheltenham Festival and he also did well to finish seventh of 28 are been hampered early on in the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse in April.

There are many staying handicap chases on the agenda that the son of Presenting could be aimed for and I for one will be keeping a close eye on his progression throughout the year.

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Mall Dini (IRE)

  • 7-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Milan - Winsome Breeze (Glacial Storm)
  • Trained by: P G Kelly
  • Last Race: Cheltenham, 16 Mar 2017 17:30
  • Result: 5/24, mid-division, headway under pressure bypassing omitted 3 out, chased leaders, ridden and kept on under pressure from last, always held
  • View full form

This seven-year-old gelding has a similar profile to Haymount`s in that he could be another type that improves with jumping experience behind him. He was good enough to win the three-mile Pertemps Network Final (Handicap Hurdle) at the Cheltenham Festival in 2016 and his connections decided to go for the Fluke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase over 3m2f to follow up. Although he didn`t succeed I thought there was plenty to take from the race finishing fifth of 24 to suggest the experience will certainly stand for him going forward.

He is another that can go on any ground and if I was to pick an event he could do well in, I think the Paddy Power Handicap Chase over the Christmas period at Leopardstown could be an interesting target.

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This six-year-old gelding by Milan won his only point to point start early last year and although he did pretty well over the smaller obstacles I feel we won`t see the best out of him until he jumps a fence. He looks a real chasing type and the experience he got over hurdles against high- class company will certainly not go to waste.

Although he won over three miles over hurdles I don`t think three miles has to be his optimum trip over fences, he is not slow whatsoever and his connections will have difficult decisions to make come next March to which contest he runs in. Whatever happens, I can`t wait to see his campaign to get underway a real exciting prospect for national hunt followers.

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Presenting Percy (GB)

There was plenty of discussions about this six-year-old gelding`s handicap mark leading into his attempt to win the Pertemps Network Final at the Cheltenham festival in March. His connections were not happy getting a mark of 146 but after the race that was all forgotten about considering he won by a going away four lengths, another great training performance by Patrick Kelly winning the same race two years running.

He tried to match that performance in the Grade 1 Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle over three miles at the Punchestown Festival, but it was a step too high finishing sixth of eight.

Like many horses by Presenting they improve when they jump a fence and I see no reason why he can`t follow the same pattern. He is a smooth traveller handles any ground and finds plenty for pressure when push comes to shove. He may not be good enough to challenge for the top prizes but he is definitely one to keep note of throughout the season.

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Rapid Escape

  • 4-y-o; chestnut gelding
  • Breeding: Doyen - Kenzie (Presenting)
  • Trained by: G Elliott
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 25 Apr 2017 18:05
  • Result: 5/16, soon raced in 6th, pushed along over 3f out, disputed 5th before straight, switched left under 2f out, no impression 1f out, kept on without threatening
  • View full form

This four-year-old gelding by Doyen is a horse to keep in your notebooks throughout his career. He was an easy winner of a three-mile point to point by 10L at Tinahely in February and although he was beaten fair and square into fifth place in a two-mile bumper at the Punchestown Festival I got the impression he found that distance way too sharp considering he was off the bridle a half-mile from home but to his credit he battled on gamely to stay in contention.

Rapid Escape looks like he is going to be needing two and a half miles or even further to see the best of him when he goes hurdling or when he sees a fence in the future. It`s hard to know how he will fair over hurdles, it`s possible he could be too slow to make a major impact in that discipline (time will tell) but whatever happens, he is definitely a horse I`m looking forward to seeing again this year and for the rest of his career.

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Red Jack

  • 4-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Mahler - Hollygrove Bonnie
  • Trained by: N Meade
  • Last Race: Fairyhouse, 16 Apr 2017 17:10
  • Result: Won/11, chased leaders, 5th halfway, closer in 3rd 4f out, challenged entering straight, ridden to lead 2f out, kept on well final furlong, comfortably
  • View full form

This son of Mahler looks another leading Irish contender that we may see at the head of the markets for the novice hurdle events next year. The four-year-old gelding is 2-2 in bumpers and he looks a smart prospect considering he showed a nice turn of foot when winning his most recent outing in impressive style at the Easter Fairyhouse Festival in April.

Top owner J P McManus was quick to buy him after his debut victory at Naas in January and it looks like it`s definitely money well spent and he is other I can`t wait to see make his debut over hurdles in the coming months.

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Ringside Humour

  • 5-y-o; bay mare
  • Breeding: Teofilo - Intriguing Humor (Distorted Humor)
  • Trained by: J S Bolger
  • Last Race: Naas, 15 Oct 2017 16:45
  • Result: 6/10, tracked leaders, 5th halfway, pushed along early straight and dropped towards rear 1 1/2f out, kept on one pace inside final furlong
  • View full form

I never expected myself to be selecting a horse from top Flat trainer Jim Bolger under this code but this five-year-old mare has raced only once over hurdles and I was very impressed with her performance finishing fourth of nine against experienced opposition at Punchestown in April.

She is more known to the public winning handicaps on the flat over 10 and 12 furlongs but there is every reason to think she can be a dual-purpose animal going by her sole effort over hurdles.

A maiden hurdle win should be a formality but I wouldn`t be surprised if we see her challenging in novice handicaps or even better in due course.

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A five-year-old gelding by Germany who is 3-3 in bumpers and also won his sole start in a three-mile point to point. I would say staying novice hurdle contests will be his main aim next year albeit he is not slow.

He seems to have it all.... he has won in all types of going, has a turn of pace, travels well, and finds plenty under pressure which are great assets to have in this business.

It`s fair to say he hasn`t competed against high-class opposition but what he has done so far has been very exciting and I expect him to improve to the top level in time.

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Scoir Mear

  • 7-y-o; gelding
  • Breeding: Exit To Nowhere - Princess Rosie (Roselier)
  • Trained by: T Mullins
  • Last Race: Punchestown, 18 Oct 2017 16:10
  • Result: 8/11, held up towards rear, progress into moderate 5th 4 out, no impression next, kept on one pace, slight mistake last
  • View full form

The Irish handicapper didn`t hold back with this seven-year-old gelding’s progress over hurdles. He was rated 101 in May of last year, however, 12 months later after two victories in minor handicap hurdles events and a few placed-efforts against stronger opponents he raised him 36lbs in the ratings.

His connections were thinking of sending over fences early last season but that decision was put on hold to get more experience in competitive races.He has the size to be a natural chaser and is a new recruit I will be looking forward to seeing jumping the larger obstacles in the near future.

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Sutton Place

When I saw this six-year-old gelding winning three graded contests in a row over hurdles last year there was no doubt I thought "the sky is the limit" for this son of Mahler, however, it`s possible he could be ground dependant. He was a non-runner because of good ground at the Easter Fairyhouse Festival and he was pulled-up lame at the Punchestown festival on a similar surface. I could be wrong with that assumption but he did enjoy the softer terrain in the contests he won so far in his career.

He will go chasing this year and although he has plenty of speed I would say two and a half miles or further will be his optimum distance and is certainly an exciting prospect to look forward too.

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