Horse Racing tips: Paul Jacobs’ 10 to follow for the 2020/21 jumps season

The ace tipster has 10 marked for his tracker early doors.

Paul Jacobs Generic


*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing / Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason – you will lose your stake under traditional Antepost rules.

1. A PLUS TARD – (H De Bromhead)

Our opening salvo for this Horses to Follow list is the only charge I would put under the banner as ‘already a star’ following his Cheltenham novice success in the Close Brothers in 2019 and his defeat of Chacun Pour Soi (CPS) in a Grade One at Leopardstown last season. Based on that win, A Plus Tard went off the 7/4 favourite to land the Ryanair Chase, but his jumping was slightly tardy and he didn’t find as much up the final climb as seemed likely.

His novice success at the Festival suggested 2m 4f would be his optimum trip, but I am hoping he will be aimed at the Champion Chase this season. Yes, he had a fitness advantage over CPS when readily beating him, but in my book his fluency over his fences and high-cruising speed makes him a natural for the Champion Chase.

The only obstacle to such a campaign is that his yard have other potential players in the two mile division.

2. BIRCHDALE – (N Henderson)

Just the two runs on soft ground didn’t do justice to this lightly-raced son of Jeremy and he looks a dark horse worth following. The second of those runs came after an 110-day break when he was nibbled at from 33/1 into 14’s during Cheltenham week for the Coral Hurdle.

In the end, the ground went against him, but he still put up a display full of promise to finish under 10 lengths off the winner and stable mate Dame De Campagnie. Given good ground and possibly three miles, Birchdale looks a candidate to win a nice staying handicap hurdle (Betfair Hurdle in Autumn) or possible the Pertemps could be the aim back at Prestbury Park in Spring.

Chasing remains a viable alternative.

3. CASTLE RUSHEN – (N Richards)

I will be hugely surprised if the Penrith handler hasn’t got this well-related youngster near the top of his ‘promising tree’ for this his second season in training. A typically big, raw boned individual that the yard trades in, he ran all over the place when out of his own front when landing his bumper at Ayr.

From very early on in the race, his follow up under a penalty at the West of Scotland track was a forlorn hope as they went no gallop and he was predictably outpaced down the home stretch. I suspect 2m 4f will be a bare minimum for Castle Rushen over hurdles and chasing will ultimately be his game.

By the way, it is worth noting that his half-brother, Marown, is also worth following this season over three miles possibly in the handicap hurdle sphere. A talented family ready to blossom under their shrewd handler.


4. CHANTRY HOUSE – (N Henderson)

The forgotten member of the Nicky Henderson school of novices after he finished a hugely creditable third in the Supreme Novices Hurdle, an event that would have been a sharp enough test for him. A bad mistake at the top of the hill hugely compromised his chance, but this rangy son of Yeats still finished a cracking 11 lengths third to stable mate Shishkin.

The debate is whether he will be campaigned over 2m 4f or 3m this year and I hope it is the former as I have planned all of my ante-post wagers around the Marsh Chase next March, but whatever distance he runs over, Chantry House should take high rank in the novice chase division.

5. DANNY WHIZZBANG – (P Nicholls)

Sometimes we make the assessment of a race horse too complicated and in the case of this son of Getaway it seems fairly straightforward to me. He needs time to grow into his immense frame, good ground and a distance.

On a sound surface he made the smart Reserve Tank look positively slow at Newbury in the John Francome Chase and then soft ground was simply no good to him in both the Kauto Star (Kempton) and Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot after travelling strongly through each contest. Both  and both times looking like the best horse in the race.

Currently rated 145, Danny Whizzbang he has a big pay day in him at around three miles before the deep winter ground sets in.

6. EASYLAND – (D Cottin)

For plenty of punters, amateur and professional alike, the going is the main factor in determining whether to support a horse with our hard-earned cash.

And in the case of this French gelding, the more give in the ground the better for him as we saw when he sauntered away with the Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Of course there were mitigating circumstances that day as the mighty Tiger Roll (beaten 17 lengths) had a stop start prep for the race he has made his own and then seemed to lose his action in the latter stages.

But make no bones about it, this was a seriously classy performance by the six-year-old and by my private ratings, had Easyland run in the Gold Cup he would have been placed at the very least.

My first thought was to back him for the Grand National such is the stamina he showed that day and fluent jumping, but should the ground turn up testing again in March, he could be a big danger to all the best staying chasers in training.

7. EKLAT DE RIRE – (H De Bromhead)

If there was a prize for the best jumper of a hurdle in the novice division last year then this fella would be right up among the best.

We only saw him on the racecourse on two occasions following a maiden point-to-point success but he looked a natural on both starts coming second at Punchestown on his debut and stepping up markedly when taking care of a field of 11 at Thurles.

Beautifully made and a real athlete too, Eklat De Rire, he could well go straight over fences, although novice hurdles are also a possibility. Wherever the son of Saddex goes he is sure to make his mark.

8. FORGED IN FIRE – (J O’Brien)

Cheltenham Champion Bumper winner, Ferny Hollow was beaten on his opening two starts and this son of Presenting was one of his conquerors when he outstayed him on his only start at Leopardstown in December.

Forged in Fire was one of the first under pressure in that contest, when his young amateur rider asked him for more a full four and a half furlongs out, but his partner really knuckled down and from looking one of the first one beat, he stayed on dourly up the final climb at the Dublin track.

Not seen out again since that run, the word from the yard is that all is okay with this son of Presenting and along with stablemate Uhtred, could make a big mark in the novice hurdle division this year.


9. JON SNOW – (W Mullins)

Of the big four Championship races at Cheltenham, the Stayers Hurdle regularly offers up the weakest division with many of the best staying novice hurdlers embarking on a chasing career. Unless the likes of Monkfish, Latest Exhibition and Fury Road all blow out over the larger obstacles then Albert Bartlett fourth Thyme Hill could be the leading novice to try and make his mark.

Looking at Paddy Power’s Future Racing lists for next season’s Festival, that pattern is set to continue and as such it may be worth putting up a young, progressive horse to make his mark and this five-year-old Jon Snow could well fit the bill.

Impressive when winning a maiden hurdle at Leopardstown last year (strong at the finish), he really found his feet when upped in distance this summer and recorded a career best when sauntering 35 lengths clear of his four rivals in a novice hurdle at Killarney. The sky could be the limit for this youngster this season if as I expect his esteemed trainer keeps him to a timber-topping regime.

10. SHANG TANG – (E Lavelle)

Probably the least obvious entry in the 10, none the less Shang Tang is well worth keeping a close eye on in the first half of the new season, indeed he is entered in the Silver Trophy at Chepstow on Saturday, October 10th.

I was at Chepstow last November when he took time to warm to his task in a novice hurdle over two miles. However, from three out he made huge strides to finish second to Getaway Fred and would have won in another 100 yards. The very fast pace that day may have flattered him slightly as he ran past some tired horses, but he confirmed that promise when behind Chantry House at Cheltenham next time out.

Following a strong finishing second at Taunton, his final outing came in the big EBF NH Novices Handicap Hurdle Final (switched to Kempton from Sandown), but a bad mistake three out put paid to his chance there just as the race was unfolding and he was given an easy time down the stretch by Adrian Heskin.

I expect that kindness to be repaid this season and any give in the ground seems to suit him well over 2m 4f. A handicap mark of 126 looks very reasonable.

*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing / Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason – you will lose your stake under traditional Antepost rules.

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