National Hunt season is upon us once more, and we can’t wait to see what the coming months have in store. Few things rival the thrill of watching the hard-fought race down those final furloughs, hot breath steaming in the cold air. The shouting of the crowd, the pounding of hooves on turf, the laboured breathing of the runners – these sounds are music to our ears.
The only thing that could add to the experience would be realising the betting slip in your hand holds the name of a winner. Of course, choosing them is the difficult part, which is why we’ve written this article. Here are the three National Hunt horses we suggest keeping an eye on this season.
Aspire Tower is a horse that looks like a stayer. The now five-year-old has run in eight races over timber and 19 times under rules, and he’s put in some pretty impressive performances, including when he finished second behind Burning Victory in the Triumph Hurdle.
Though he’s never gone further than two miles to date, that’s not to say he doesn’t have the potential. Admittedly, Aspire Tower made a mistake during his outing in the Champion Hurdle, but he did manage to find his stride in the closing seconds, clawing his way back for fourth. For this reason, we think this son of Born to Sea could really make his mark over a longer distance.
Unfortunately for this magnificent gelding, his recent performances have been marred by injury. After suffering recurring back problems for the last 18 months, it would be easy to count him out, but that would be premature.
There’s no denying Champ was a top-tier novice hurdler and showed potential as a novice chaser prior to his time on the sidelines. If you want evidence of this, you only need to re-watch his run in last year’s Game Spirit at Newbury, where he took second to Sceau Royal.
It’s often difficult to bounce back from injury, but trainer Nicky Henderson seems to have faith that Champ will do so. With three wins in six starts over fences, he could be a real contender for the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup – so long as he can stay sound.
Galopin Des Champs
Now for the one we’re most excited about – Galopin Des Champs. His first three races over timber suggested this mesmerising young horse was too immature to compete at the level he had potential for. Now he’s had another year to grow up, however, it’s a very different story.
After stepping up to three miles at the Punchestown Festival, it’s clear the five-year-old has begun to outclass his rivals. Winning with 18 effortless lengths to spare, even after a mistake at the final fence, he was in a league of his own.
That’s probably why bet365 already has him as the favourite for the Festival Novices Chase in March 2022. For those with an interest in horse racing betting, the impressive gelding currently has odds of 8/1. With speed, staying power, and plenty of scope, we expect him to set the racing stage on fire this season.
With so many impressive youngsters rising through the ranks, 2021/2022 is going to offer a National Hunt calendar to rival all others. We can’t wait to see what lies ahead.