IT has been a long old wait for jumps fans – but finally we can say: National Hunt racing is back!
Bring on the cold, wet winter days, the agonising final-fence fallers and the customary dash to get the best ante-post prices for Cheltenham.
There is simply nothing like the jumps for sheer unpredictability – but that doesn’t stop punters placing bets now for next March’s Cheltenham Festival
Chepstow will kick the jumps season into full gear on Friday with its two-day season opener.
And there’s much to look forward to for the rest of this year and into next.
Will Constitution Hill and Honeysuckle meet in a clash for the ages at next year’s Cheltenham Festival?
Can the Brits get revenge on the all-conquering Irish and their stables of superstars?
Will we see another 50-1 shock in the Grand National at Aintree next April?
There’s a lot to think about, consider and, in many cases, guess, in the run up to the blockbuster races and meets.
Good job then that Templegate has gone through his five horses to follow this season.
Below, we’ll also go through the key dates for your punting diary and reveal the five most backed ante-post horses so far.
Templegate’s five to follow
BEAR GHYLLS (Nicky Martin)
He didn’t make it to the track last season, which was a real shame, because he looked a top chasing prospect after achieving plenty over hurdles.
He finished with a good fourth in Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham when finishing strongly up the hill.
He is a big lad and looked a chaser in the making from day one. Let’s hope he is over the fetlock injury that kept him off the track and can resume his progress.
He should be hard to beat at novice chase level and trainer Nicky Martin thinks a lot of him.
GREY DAWNING (Dan Skelton)
Dan Skelton has a nice prospect in this five-year-old who won a pair of Wetherby bumpers in fine style last season.
He was very green on debut in December but still had more than four lengths in hand. He wasn’t back until March when he ran out a very easy winner again.
Those victories were both on testing ground, which seemed to suit well, and he has a bright future over 2m4f and further.
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