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National Hunt Horses To Follow

Jumping fans will be chomping at the bit for the 2012/2013 national hunt campaign to get underway and this year's mouthwatering season is sure to provide the thrills and spills that makes the sport of kings such a wonderful one.

Whether you are looking forward to see Big Buck's embark on another unbetaen season and try to bag his fifth consecutive World Hurdle crown, or are waiting for the incomparable Sprinter Sacre to venture out of the novice chasing division and look to bag glory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, this season is all set up to be a cracker.

For every trainer, jockey, horse and owner, the Cheltenham Festival is the main event of the calendar and we pick out our 10 horses to follow who could well make a huge impact on Prestbury Park in March and could also pick up huge pots along the way.

Big Buck's

Paul Nicholls' phenomenal staying hurdler was first on the list last season and he takes up that berth once more as he goes in search of his fifth consecutive World Hurdle title and the nine-year-old has already been installed as a short-priced favourite to lift the crown at the Cheltenham Festival in March,

Unbeaten since 2009 and never handed a defeat over hurdles, the Ditcheat wonder is ikely to be handed the same sort of path to Prestbury Park and could take in races like the Long Walk Hurdle en route to a potential five-timer in the World Hurdle.

Read more about Big Buck's and the possible races he could be aimed at this season.

Sprinter Sacre

Most definitely the star of the novice division last season, Sprinter Sacre will look to step out of the first season chaser bracket and cement his place as the best horse over two miles in a season that should see him be tough to beat in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

His facile success in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury highlighted his potential and he then merely followed up with a romp in the Arkle and if he can have improved over the summer then he will be the one to watch out for this season in the 2m chases.

Find out more about potential targets for Sprinter Sacre in the 2012/2013 campaign.

Sir Des Champs

Another novice who will be stepping up to battle it out with the big boys is Sir Des Champs and Willie Mullins has certainly not hidden his thoughts about how highly he holds this classy chaser.

A superb winner of the Jewson Novices' Chase at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival, the Co; Carlow inmate was immediately installed as the ante-post favourite for the 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup and if he can emulate last season's heroics then he could well be one to watch out for in the likes of the Irish Hennessy before heading to Prestbury Park.

Willie Mullins' exciting prospect Sir Des Champs is one to watch, so find out more about him here.


It's not yet fully known whether Nicky Henderson will elect to send his emphatic Neptune winner Simonsig over fences or keep him over the smaller obstacles, but one thing is for sure, whatever route he decides the grey will be a top class performer.

Showing a tremendous turn of foot to burst clear of his rivals in the Neptune, the six-year-old could well drop back in trip to contest the Arkle and he certainly seems to have the pace or if the Seven Barrows master chooses the hurdling route again then he could be a major player in the Champion Hurdle.

Read more about potential targets for Simonsig in what could be a cracking season.


Another Henderson-trained star who makes it into the list is the progressive Darlan, who was last seen winning a Grade Two at Aintree's Grand National festival and could be a dark horse in the 2013 Champion Hurdle betting.

He was travelling smoothly before suffering a crashing fall in the Betfair Hurdle, but bounced back with a gallant second placed finish in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.  His cruising speed is lethal and he has the scope to turn into a genuine Champion Hurdler and will be one to watch in that division.

Check out where Darlan could be heading before tackling the 2013 Champion Hurdle.

Finian's Rainbow

A somewhat controversial winner of the 2012 Queen Mother Champion Chase, but Finian's Rainbow showed he was the leading two-mile chaser last year when storming to victory in the Melling Chase at the Grand National meeting and Henderson's charge will be a tough nut to crack in a season where he should improve again.

He is more than likely to lock horns with stablemate Sprinter Sacre in the 2013 Champion Chase, but Henderson is sure to keep the pair apart in the lead-up to the race, so the likes of the Victor Chandler Chase and Amlin 1965 Chase could well be on his radar again.

Find out more about Finian's Rainbow and what races he may take in before the 2013 Cheltenham Festival.

Boston Bob

Willie Mullins' stayer may have failed to reel in the ill-fated Brindisi Breeze in a pulsating finish to the Albert Barlett Novices' Hurdle last year, but the Co. Carlow inmate could well be handed a task over fences this season and he looked every bit a class act last year and will be a novice chaser for the notebook.

Prior to his Cheltenham Festival second, he was a dominant force in Ireland and certainly has the scope to improve over fences.  Installed as the ante-post favourite for the RSA Chase, the seven-year-old will slowly venture into the chasing sphere and could be a potential chasing superstar in the making.

Read more about where Boston Bob could be heading for the new campaign.

Don Cossack

The solitary novice hurdler to make it into our line-up, Gordon Elliott's Don Cossack shaped with a whole amount of promise in bumpers last seen and could well be a leading name in the novice hurdling scene this year and already heads the betting for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

Three wins out of four on the level doesn't paint a true picture, as his final run was an emphatic 17-length victory under Nina Carberry and he could well turn out to be the new Dunguib and head to the Supreme a warm order.

Novice hurdler Don Cossack could be one to follow, so check his profile here.

Champagne Fever

A battling winner of the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival, Champagne Fever is set to try and emulate the great Florida Pearl by bypassing the hurdling scene and heading straight to the larger obstacles, and he is already a leading fancy for the 2013 RSA Chase.

He certainly looks to be a staying chaser of significant class and Willie Mullins has proven before that he can get these bumper horses to perform over fences and his new protege could well be a potential springer in what will be a fascinating division this season.

Willie Mullins' Champagne Fever will be a leading candidate for the 2013 RSA Chase.


Ireland could well have a strong chasing battalion in the 2012/2013 season and Peter Casey's Flemenstar has the potential to challenge for a lot of the major titles this year, if he can emulate some of his sublime successes last season.

His faultless display of jumping in his Powers Gold Cup victory left a lasting impression and seldom do you see a novice with such class when jumping a fence.  It's not yet know what race he will eventually head for, but whether it's the Champion Chase, Ryanair Chase or even the Cheltenham Gold Cup, this Emerald Isle wonder will be a notable challenger.

Peter Casey's stable star Flemenstar will aim to sparkle this year, so find out where he could be heading.

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