Cheltenham Festival.co.uk's Totepool Ten To Follow Stable 2013/2014
The Jumps season may have been in full flow for a few weeks now but for many, this weekend's Open Meeting at Cheltenham signals the start of the serious business, including the Tote, who use it as the starting point for their annual Jumps Racing Ten To Follow competition.
Entries can be submitted and full details can be found on the Totepool website, but the essential information you need to know is that the deadline to enter is 12 noon on Friday 15th November and the competition's scoring starts when the tapes go up for the 1:05 at Prestbury Park shortly after.
The rules are fairly simple, pick 10 horses that you think are going to dominate this season and you pick up points every time they win and there are double bonus points available for 15 of the best known Grade One races on either side of the Irish Sea.
This year's prize fund is an estimated £400,000 with six monthly prizes of £10,000 guaranteed. The fact that last season's winner walked away with £250,000 tells us it's worth entering for the sake of a tenner and what better way is there to brag about you National Hunt picking prowess than with a bulging bank balance? As such, here's our stable:
Sprinter Sacre is the cornerstone of every Ten To Follow stable and the most popular selection in this year's competition. Nicky Henderson has yet to indicate the route his stable star will take in his bid to retain the Queen Mother Champion Chase but it's hard to see him getting beat wherever he turns up and he's the first name down on our list.
Two wins from two starts in none other than the Hennessy Gold Cup and Cheltenham Gold Cup after stepping out of novice company 12 months ago was enough to suggest that this eight-year-old is a has a big future in the sport and is more than capable of cementing his place in National Hunt Racing's history books. With engagements in the Betfair Chase next weekend and the King George on Boxing Day, followed by a tilt at a second Gold Cup on the cards, this battle-hardened Nicky Henderson inmate is sure to prove a tough nut to crack for all on comers.
This pick looks to take advantage of the first bonus race, the Paddy Power Gold Cup, where Champion Court is not only our pick to land the Open Meeting's feature race but to also have a solid season chasing. His record over the fences at Cheltenham reads 2-3-1-2-5-1 and that fifth was in the Ryanair Chase. He may not have a Grade One win in him but he should be more than capable of picking up plenty of points over the course of the campaign and is sure to be a contender wherever he chooses to take his chance at the Festival.
The ever reliable Hurricane Fly is a longstanding Ten To Follow pick and the 2013/2014 competition is no different. The Champion Hurdle will once again with the season's aim, of which he's capable of winning for a third time. He should pick up some good points en route to Prestbury, including the Irish Champion Hurdle, which is a bonus race and one the Willie Mullins nine-year-old has landed for the past three years.
The New One
The New One is the main rival to Hurricane Fly's third successful Champion Hurdle bid but the two are unlikely to clash until that showdown on 11th March and as such, the Nigel Twiston-Davies five-year-old is included in our stable as we fully expect him to continue his domination as a second season hurdler and the signs were there for all to see when he bolted up on his reappearance at Kempton last month and a multitude of Grade One options remain open to him over the next five months.
Following a successful season as a novice hurdler 12 months ago, which culminated in landing the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival back in March, Champagne Fever is set to tackle bigger obstacles this term amongst the novice chasing ranks. The Willie Mullins trained six-year-old has yet to jump a fence under rules and is already favourite for the Arkle but the ability he showed over hurdles, together with impressive point-to-point form earlier in his career, is enough to make us believe that he has a bright future and is worthy of inclusion in our Ten To Follow.
Wonderful Charm is another novice hurdler from last season who is making the transition to chasing and the Paul Nicholls runner has already won his first two novice chase starts. With stamina in abundance, it is expected that this French Import will target the RSA Chase at the Festival and he should be more than capable of picking up a couple of decent races along the way and he has the profile of a decent staying chaser in the making.
Following his injury 12 months ago, Big Buck's only ranks 18th on Totepool's most selected Ten To Follow horses from the number one spot last year but we think his inclusion in the stable is a gamble worth taking. With the reports that he's back cantering at his Ditcheat home, it won't be long before he's back on the road to Cheltenham and a tilt at a fifth World Hurdle crown. There's clearly a risk associated with him being as good as he was but there's no questioning his ability and in Paul Nicholls we trust to get him right and he's taken to bounce back.
Sir Des Champs
Another inclusion from the Willie Mullins yard, Sir Des Champs is arguably the best middle distance chaser on the other side of the Irish Sea right now and if for no other reason, we've picked him as we think he'll land the Irish Hennessy (one of the Ten To Follow bonus races) once again on his way to Cheltenham, where he'll bid to reverse the form with Bobs Worth in the Gold Cup after finishing second back in March. He's sure to be a leading player wherever else he lines up and should prove a reliable selection in the stable.
My Tent Or Yours
Hugely progressive as a novice last season, we are taking My Tent Or Yours to continue his upward curve during the 2013/2014 season. The Nicky Henderson trained six-year-old has never finished outside of the top two in nine career starts and his demolition job at Aintree last time out proved the ideal tonic for his disappointing second when favourite for the Supreme Novices Hurdle. Whilst he needs to prove himself at Prestbury Park, he is sure to be leading player over two miles this season right up to and including the Festival and he completes our stable of Ten To Follow.
To enter your Ten To Follow stable, visit totepool.com
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