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National Hunt Horses To Follow 2013/2014 Season

As the weather begins to deteriorate the national hunt stars will be gradually being finely tuned for another exciting season over obstacles with all trainers, owners and jockeys alike looking towards bagging some of the premier races of the calendar with the Cheltenham Festival a major destination for what is set to be a superb 2013/2014 season.

In this section we pick out 10 horses that will be showing their class over hurdles and fences and are definitely worth following for the entire season and they could well be fighting out for the major silverware come March at Prestbury Park and picking up big race wins along the way.

Sprinter Sacre

No list can be made without the golden boy of the national hunt arena and Sprinter Sacre is set to be the shining beacon again this year as the Nicky Henderson-trained superstar looks to maintain his unblemished record over fences and he will be the one they all have to beat in the two-mile division for the 2013/2014 season.

Having won at the Cheltenham Festival, Aintree Grand National meeting and the Punchestown Festival, the Seven Barrows inmate could well take the same path yet again and the bookmakers already have him as an odds-on shot to retain the Queen Mother Champion Chase on the second day of the Prestbury Park extravaganza and if he can come through his prep races unscathed then will be a major obstacle for his rivals to pass.

Our Conor

Dessie Hughes’s Our Conor was sensational when storming to an emphatic victory in the 2013 Triumph Hurdle and the progressive youngster could well propel into the big time this year with his ultimate goal likely to come on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival as he locks horns with fellow Irish star Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle.

It’s still not easy to assess his runaway success last year as a few rivals may have underperformed, but the way he quickened for Bryan Cooper up the run-in at Prestbury Park suggested that he could be a genuine Grade One contender for the 2013/2014 season and if he can come on for his debut season over timber then will be an intriguing one for the notebook.

At Fishers Cross

Rebecca Curtis appears to have a wonderful talent on her hands in the shape of At Fishers Cross and the 2013 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle winner could well look to grab more Grade One success in the imminent season and come March could be taking on the returning World Hurdle hero Big Buck’s in a clash of the titans in a mouth-watering three-mile duel.

The JP McManus-owned gelding was mightily-progressive when landing the 3m novice event at Cheltenham in March, but he appeared to have a lot more in the tank that day when beating the likes of African Gold and if he can blossom as the season progresses will be a defining factor in the staying division this term.

Bobs Worth

Nicky Henderson’s second member of our elite horses to follow list comes in the shape of reigning Cheltenham Gold Cup and three-times Cheltenham Festival winner Bobs Worth, who is fully expected to try and bag back-to-back renewals of the blue riband race on the final day of the Prestbury Park extravaganza and he is already a leading figure in the betting.

Having stormed to victory in the Hennessy Gold Cup before landing the Gold Cup, Bobs Worth was only seen twice on the track, but Henderson expects to give him a bit more racing this year and the top staying chases could be on his radar with the likes of the Betfair Chase and King George VI Chase just a couple of races potentially on his stellar list.

The New One

Nigel Twiston-Davies relishes having winners at the Cheltenham Festival and The New One provided him with another at the 2013 event as he launched up the hill to land the Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle and he could now be bound for a season over the shorter distance and a possible tilt at the 2014 Champion Hurdle.

He showed a phenomenal turn of foot to land that Grade One prize last season and was only touched off by Zarkandar in the Aintree Hurdle, but the Naunton raider should improve this campaign with more experience under his belt and is one definitely to keep the right side of and the likes of the International Hurdle could be used as a stepping stone to the Champion Hurdle itself.

My Tent Or Yours

Coming down the hill it appeared that My Tent Or Yours would swoop past Champagne Fever in the 2013 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, but the gutsy Willie Mullins-trained raider battled with Nicky Henderson’s star and came out on top, but My Tent Or Yours has certainly shaped like he could be a top class hurdler in the 2013/2014 season.

A smooth traveller, he is still a relatively inexperienced performer, so Henderson is sure to want to get some races into him throughout the season, but he could be nailed on for a place in the Champion Hurdle and even though that event looks red-hot on current form he could be a major factor and is another entering our elite list.

Un De Sceaux

Willie Mullins has a sensationally strong team assembled for the new jumps campaign and along with his proven performers like Hurricane Fly and Quevega he could well have some up-and-coming jumpers and one that stands out is Un De Sceaux, who will head into the new season unbeaten.

Two wins last season may not have set the world alight, but the way he pulled clear in the closing stages of his last win at the Punchestown Festival suggest that he could be a surprise package from the Co. Carlow yard this term and he may even become an outside proposition for the 2014 Champion Hurdle if blossoming into a prestigious talent as the season goes on.

Blackmail

Tony Martin’s Blackmail is another who could well fall below the elite category at the moment from what he has shown on the track, but the shrewd handler speaks very highly of this youngster and he showed when winning at the Galway Festival that he has a lot more to give.

Stepping into the novice arena he has shown fluidity over his hurdles and if he can continue to improve as the winter months come then he could well be a leading challenger for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, which is sure to see a strong travelling contingent from Ireland for the Cheltenham Festival curtain-raiser.

Annie Power

Annie Power may have to live in the shadow of the five-times David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle winner Quevega, but Willie Mullins’ mare is a class act in her own right and she could be the heralded female this year from Co. Carlow and she could even take on her stablemate in the aforementioned David Nicholson come March.

She heads into the 2013/2014 season unbeaten and has shown flashes of brilliance and Mullins has the option of either keeping her over hurdles or alternatively go novice chasing with her and if she takes to that game will be a major player and a mouth-watering recruit to the sphere.

First Mohican

A decent performer on the level, First Mohican could well make the switch to the national hunt game and if he can show the same class over timber then he may be an intriguing horse to follow and he rounds off our 10 to follow for what should be a cracking few months for jumping fans to enjoy.

Speed and stamina look to both be prominent and he has already gain quotes for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle and with new handler Alan King there all the way to help him learn his trade then the former Lady Cecil-trained runner can bag some coveted prizes this season.