The Tote Ten To Follow is back and there will be thousands of people trying to claim a share of the £250,000 in prize-money. We’ve put together a runner-by-runner guide to the game and will be giving you our views on 50 runners each day. Here is part eight.
Gutsy and brave little horse who finished fifth and second in the last two Stayers’ Hurdles at Cheltenham. Has won his first two over fences and will step up to the top level over the bigger obstacles next time. Could make up into RSA Chase horse but always the option he’ll return to hurdles in time for Cheltenham.
*Verdict:Lovely horse but may be just below top class over fences and hurdles
Last season a write-off but looked as if he was getting back to his brilliant best with a commanding win in his first run over fences at Down Royal. Entered in the Grade 1 Drinmore Chase on December 1 and a win there would restore his reputation.
Verdict:Forget last season and he has to be in
Consistent but has had plenty of injuries through the years. Hasn’t won for more than three years and will soon turn 11.
Verdct:stick a line through him
Could be a horse to follow this season after he destroyed the field when winning on chase debut by 11 lengths. Plenty more to come and worth keeping an eye out for him next time out.
Verdict: hard to include but no surprise to see him win more races
Really likeable novice hurdler and finished second in a Grade 1 at the Punchestown Festival. Has reportedly had an injury so connections have shelved a plan to send him over fences. Unlikely to be see out until well after Christmas.
Verdict: lovely horse but injury fears means he’s bypassed
Struggles with his breathing and not at his best on deep winter ground. Will surely be at his best when the warm weather arrives but handicap mark is also a few pounds too high.
Verdict: no upside in choosing him
Played his part in a cracking RSA chase at Cheltenham when runner-up to Topofthegame and was fancied by many as a future Gold Cup winner. However, his opening run must be seen as a disappointment despite his win and reputation suffered as a result.
Verdict: only the brave could include him after his last run
Decent on his day but has not been seen for more than a year and holds no entries at this stage.
Verdict:off for 12 months so can’t be confident he’ll back at his best
Could be a contender if taking up his option over hurdles at Newbury this weekend. Ground would need to be decent and that counted against him on his comeback at Chepstow. Might be worth forgiving him that run.
Verdict:could still have plenty to offer
Mixes the Flat and hurdles and is a decent yardstick on good ground. Won a good race at Market Rasen and should continue to pay her way.
Verdict: the type who will pick up a couple of race
Come up against a peak form Altior in three of his five runs since leaving novice company. Still aged only 7, he could try to fill the 2m void now Altior has stepped up in trip.
Verdict:suspect he’ll always find at least one too good at the highest level
Swallowed his tongue when a disappointing favourite for a handicap hurdle at Huntingdon last month. Obviously a valid excuse has come to light for that so he could be worth chancing on his comeback in a tonguestrap next time.
Verdict: perhaps one to back next time rather than put him in your list
Ran a decent race on his comeback at Down Royal and hope can be gleaned from the fact he always improves for his opening run of the season. Not entirely sure he’ll cut the mustard at Grade 1 level but could be the type to win a decent handicap or some Grade 2/3 races. Entered in Ladbrokes Trophy.
Verdict: expect him to win at least a couple of races
Finished 7th in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and due to go over fences this season. Will need to curb his enthusiasm as he tends to race freely and not expected to be seen until the second half of the season.
Verdict:delay to starting his season and headstrong behaviour enough to exclude him
Looked a hurdler to follow last year but has now been off the track for 18 months after suffering a tendon injury. Trainer Nicky Henderson says he’ll go chasing when he returns.
Verdict: no idea how much ability remains
Finished second in the Ultima Handicap Chase and the Foxhunters’ Chase at last two Cheltenham Festivals. Will probably again be plying his trade in hunter chases.
Verdict: will probably win a couple of hunter chases this season
Won the Galway Hurdle, the Morgiana and the Ryanair Hurdle last season before being brought down in the Champion Hurdle. Disappointed in the Morgiana this time around but may have needed the run.
Verdict:not one to give up on just yet
Has run against the boys in all the big Grade 1 races over the last few years but has just come up short. Won by 37 lengths against her own sex last time and she can rack up a sequence if kept to races against her own sex.
Verdict: can include if you know she’s going to compete only against her own sex
Won his only bumper for Nicky Henderson last year by eight lengths and should be out over hurdles soon. One to look forward to in novice hurdles
Verdict:too much of a gamble to include but worth watching when he reappears
Evan Williams’ stable star finished third in the Champion Hurdle last season. Looked in good nick when winning a Listed hurdle at Kempton in October. Races like the Fighting Fifth and the Christmas Hurdle on his agenda so will be competing for plenty of points.
Verdict:could be one to include in the hope he picks up a Grade 1
Has run a string of good races in some of the most valuable handicaps around but has failed to get his head in front since December 2016. Finished 8th in the Grand National and might take those fences on in the Becher Chase next time.
Verdicthard to pick a horse who struggles to get his head in front
Won the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham last season and not sure if he’s likely to stay over hurdles or head over fences.
Verdict:doubts over how he’ll be campaigned
Had won his last four races, including a handicap at the Cheltenham Festival, before disappointing in the BetVictor Gold Cup on his comeback run. Still only six, that run can be forgiven.
Verdict: can be expected to bounce back and pick up some points
The 2017 Gold Cup winner has now been off the track for two years. Will probably have a hurdles run when he comes back before attempting to rejoin top company. May be targeted at the Grand National.
Verdict: impossible to include after two years off
Finished 8th in the Arkle last year but impressive winner n his seasonal return and looked the likely winner of the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham last time when falling two out. Obviously in good form and interesting to see if fall affects his confidence.
verdict:Keep an eye on him
Huge improver towards the end of last season and appeals as a likely type to make further progress. Could make up into a Grand Annual contender so remember his name.
Verdict: should do well this year
Solid yardstick but likely to be running in handicaps.
Verdict: not good enough to be considered for this competition
Improved tremendously over fences in the last couple of years and holds an entry in the Ladbrokes Trophy. Don’t be worried by his poor comeback over hurdles as that was surely a prep for bigger things.
Verdict: an outsider could get you off to a flyer
Finished 5th in the Long Walk Hurdle last year but suffered post-race and has been off the track since. Looked promising before that and interestingly is entered to run at Newbury this weekend.
Verdict: injury puts us off
Been beaten in his first two novice chases but seems to be improving with each run. Set to run at Newbury this weekend and could be worth a bet there.
Verdict:back him next time but don’t put him in your lists
Ran some good races but was struggling when unseating his rider in the Kim Muir. Still only six so entitled to improve but will need to if he’s to pick up some more races.
Verdict: can’t recommend
Nearly two years without a win and has struggled in decent handicaps of late.
Verdict:will not feature in too many lists and there’s a reason for that.
Normally best fresh but given wind surgery in the summer and disappointed on his first run of the season when pulling up in the BetVictor Gold Cup. Pattern of form suggests he could struggle from here.
Verdict: poor return enough to put us off
Decent handicapper last season but has struggled a little this season and usually goes well fresh so difficult to see him picking up many races now.
Verdict:another quickly ruled out
Lightly raced but well beaten on his comeback behind Santini at Sandown, where he finished last of four. Loves Chepstow though and is a solid stayer so it would be no surprise to see him in the Welsh National just after Christmas.
Verdict: could run well in one bonus race but risky to include for one reason
Doesn’t appear regularly throughout the season and is clearly difficult to train. Not been seen at his best for nearly 18 months now and pulled up in the Grand National last season.
Verdict:need improvers not regressors for this competition
High-class mare who can take advantage of the mares’ programme to pick up races in that sphere. Connections reportedly tempted to send her over fences and, if they do, she should pick up some points in mares’ novice chases.
Verdict:could rack up some huge points**
Disappointed last season over hurdles after winning the Supreme Novices’ in 2018. Showed the engine was still there when winning a novice chase at Uttoxeter on his reappearance but jumping was sketchy to say the least.
Verdict:Glad to see engine still firing but jumping puts us off
Owned by the Queen, Sunshade looked really good when winning a mares’ hurdle at Cheltenham in April. Now goes over fences and no surprise to see her rack up some points against her own sex this winter.
Verdict: we love mares in this competition and here’s another to consider
Absolutely superb horse and has now won three Grade 1s over hurdles. One to consider for the transfer window as he’s unlikely to be seen out before Christmas and his main target will be the Grade 1 at Aintree in April.
Verdict: one for the spring transfer window
Young filly who has won her last two races, including beating the boys by upwards of seven lengths in a Grade 3 hurdle last time. Loves soft ground and stays well so interesting to see the route connections take with her.
Verdict:hugely promising filly who should be in some lists
A surprise 25/1 winner of the Scottish National last season, he returned with a decent run over hurdles this time around to set him up for fences once more. Difficult to again see him scale the heights of a national success as he turns 11 next year.
Verdict: tough task to do better than last year
Won bet365 Gold Cup but now off the track until after Christmas after a breathing problem was discovered after his comeback behind Santini.
Verdict: will be off track for a while and not sure what form he’ll be in when he returns
Been off the track since impressing over hurdles at Fontwell in February. Probably a slow burner and embryonic chaser given he’s owned by Trevor Hemmings and best of him may not be seen for a couple of seasons.
Verdict: Not for this year
Won two Grade 1s last year, including when beating Cyrname at Sandown. Disappointed last season and reportedly suffered an injury which will delay his return.
Verdict:may never fulfil his potential.
Won his maiden hurdle at the third time of asking last week. Plenty to like about his attitude and he appeals as the type to improve as the season goes on.
Verdict: may not reach the top but should win more races
Admirable mare who has won four of her last six races. Finished last on her last start though and will find it hard work to resume winning ways.
Verdict: Not difficult to rule her out
Struggled to get his head in front over hurdles until winning at odds of 1-8 at Ffos Las before running a good race on the Flat at Glorious Goodwood. Due to run in handicap hurdle at Newbury on Saturday.
Verdict:Has to improve on what he’s shown so far to be considered.
Looked classy when winning a Grade 2 mares’ bumper at Aintree in April but has been off the track since and has suffered with a splint. Will not be seen out until the new year but one to look forward to when she returns.
Verdict:keep her in mind when transfer window opens
Decent handicap hurdler but has struggled in three novice chases so far this season. Suspicion is he’s being targeted at a Cheltenham Festival handicap.
Verdict:suspect there is a big handicap in him but that’s not enough for this competition