Paddy’s Punt: The 10 dark horses the traders are keeping onside for the new jumps season

Champions Day at Ascot this weekend - but there's a few champions-in-waiting in our list for next season's Cheltenham Festival


In your mind’s eye imagine a human with the traits of a Panda. Bashful, illusive, eats it’s body weight in bamboo on a daily basis. This is the modern day Racing Trader.

With the Jumps season cranking up a few notches I’ve coaxed and cajoled a Ten to Follow out of the Traders.  It’s short, but could be very sweet. Here’s what the great minds on the Trading Floor have to say.

Jenkins (Nicky Henderson)

Ran to a very high level in Bumpers last season for Nicky Henderson. Should make a seamless switch to hurdles with his main aim being the Supreme Novices Hurdle next March.



Buveur D’air (Nicky Henderson)

Always held in high regard at Seven Barrows and after finishing third to stable-mate Altior in the Supreme Novices hurdle went on to win the Grade One Hurdle (Limini back in third). An exciting recruit to the novice chasing division this season and should be a force over fences.

Yanworth (Alan King)

A big-talking horse last season after an impressive win on Cheltenham Trials Day in January before finding Yorkhill too good at the Festival in the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle. Stays hurdling and should be a big player this season in the staying hurdle division and high up in the quotes for the World Hurdle 2017.

Barters Hill (Ben Pauling)

Unbeaten until he disappointed slightly at Cheltenham when favourite for the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle where he finished fourth to Uknowhatimeanharry. A dour stayer he looks a very exciting prospect over fences this season.

Willie-Mullins-Cheltenham-Open-Day-at Closutton, Co Carlow

Gallop over to all the latest odds on

Castello Sforza (W. Mullins)

Won a Fairyhouse bumper in April 2015 and didn’t run again until fourth of Mullins’ 2-3-4 to Ballyandy in last season’s Champion Bumper. Should be a shining light in the novice hurdle division in the distinctive JP McManus’ colours this season and already high up in the Supreme Novices Hurdle betting at the Festival again next March.

Killultagh Vic (W. Mullins)

Was being aimed at the JLT Chase last March before being ruled out for the season after a jaw-dropping win at Leopardstown when Ruby Walsh got him up on the line after what looked a race-losing fall at the final fence. A Grade 1 winning hurdler at Punchestown over 3m (beating Thistlecrack) in April 2015 could prove versatile in the staying chase division this season.

Invitation Only (W. Mullins)

Won two bumpers for Andrea & Graham Wylie at Navan and Punchestown last year after winning a point-to-point at Ballynoe. Sure to be a leading player among the Closutton trainer’s conveyor belt of novice hurdlers.

Gallop over to all the latest betting on

Apple’s Jade (G. Elliott)

Backed up a mind-blowing 41 length victory in the Grade One Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree on soft ground from Triumph Hurdle winner Ivanovich Gorbatov with an equally impressive win at Punchestown.

‘The best juvenile I’ve trained’ said Willie Mullins after but his fall out with Gigginstown House Stud means Gordon Elliott will oversee her campaign aimed at the Champion Hurdle next March.

Identity Thief (Henry de Bromhead)

Won the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth hurdle at Newcastle before finishing sixth to Annie Power in the Champion Hurdle and second to Vroum Vroum Mag at Punchestown. Definitely one to keep on the right side if and when he heads down the novice chase route.

Brahms De Clermont (P. Nicholls)

A French import who won a Taunton bumper by 16 lengths hard-held last April. Nothing has franked the form since
but he was clearly different class and looks an exciting prospect for this season.

So there you have it! And I didn’t even have to draw my whip. What a ride!

What do you think?