Horse Racing tips: Paddy Power’s 10 Irish National Hunt horses to follow this season

PPTV presenter James Shortt is here with the inside track from the Emerald Isle.

Allaho Rachael Blackmore Ryanair Chase Cheltenham March 18, 2021


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Allaho (Willie Mullins & Cheveley Park Stud)

ALLAHO has plenty of miles on the clock and will only turn eight year old in January having had a total of 13 career starts, with eight of them coming over fences. Despite winning over hurdles at 3m, middle-distance trips have proven to be his best distance as shown at Cheltenham in the Ryanair in March.

The Champion Chase trip at Punchestown in April was always going to be sharp enough and I would imagine Mullins and the team will aim for a return at the John Durkan in early December.


A Plus Tard (Henry de Bromhead & Cheveley Park Stud)

A PLUS TARD was my fancy for the Gold Cup back in March and battled hard to finish second behind stablemate Minella Indo, with both horses clearly aimed for another crack at the Cheltenham showpiece next March. The son of Kapgarde is another relatively young horse for the Cheveley Park team and I’ve no doubt Henry de Bromhead will build him up slowly throughout the winter.

He proved his stamina for 3m and beyond when winning the Savils Chase last Christmas, and it will be interesting to see where de Bromhead starts him off having begun last year in the Fortria Chase.

Appreciate It (Willie Mullins & Miss M A Masterson)

Willie Mullins recently indicated that APPRECIATE IT would go over fences this season having schooled nicely which is no surprise from this powerful point-to-point recruit. He made it four-from-four over hurdles last season with victory in the Supreme despite not moving up in trip.

He looked an obvious staying chaser for the future after winning his point-to-point in Dromahane, so it will be interesting to see if Mullins starts him off at the minimum trip. He’s currently ante-post favourite for the Arkle Chase next March. With Bob Olinger more likely to run in the Marsh, perhaps I’ve answered my own question and we’ll continue to see him stay at 2m over fences in his novice season.

Bob Olinger (Henry de Bromhead & Robcour)

One of the most impressive winners at the Cheltenham Festival in March, BOB OLINGER will head over fences this season having summered well according to Henry de Bromhead. He’s another point-to-point recruit on the list who again produced progressive performances over hurdles last season, which culminated with a stunning success in the Ballymore.

A mid-November debut awaits before hopefully heading towards the Drinmore at Fairyhouse over the Winter Festival weekend. The Robour owned six-year-old is an exciting horse for the season and is currently ante-post favourite for the Marsh Novices Chase at next year’s Cheltenham Festival.

Galopin Des Champs (Willie Mullins & Mrs Audrey Turley)

GALOPIN DES CHAMPS was clearly a type that bloomed late last term and appreciated the step up in trip at both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals. Audrey Turley’s French import ran away with the Martin Pipe when beautifully placed by the Mullins team, before hacking up in the 3m Grade 1 at Punchestown.

It’s unclear at present if he’ll head over fences or remain over hurdles with either a tilt at the Stayers Hurdle an option or a Festival Novices Chase target on his agenda. Mullins and team have previously sent horses back over hurdles if not taken to fences, so there are plenty of options for a horse who is progressing and has a bundle of raw talent.

Galvin (Gordon Elliott & R A Bartlett)

The next horse of mine is the Gordon Elliott-trained GALVIN, who races at Down Royal on Saturday. The seven-year-old is now six from 10 over fences having made a seasonal return with victory at Punchestown earlier this month.

The Aintree Grand National has been suggested as his main target for the season by Elliott and the manner of his victory at Cheltenham in the National Hunt Chase would echo those thoughts, with the horse currently one of the ante-post favourites for the Liverpool showpiece. He has plenty to find on ratings with Minella Indo ahead of Down Royal, but he’s certainly a progressive animal and is a horse going places for the Cullentra House team.

Grangee (Willie Mullins & Syndicates Racing)

Brian Purcell and the rest of the Syndicates Racing team will be looking forward to the campaign ahead with their talented mare GRANGEE. The daughter of Great Pretender had a lovely opening season on the track winning three of her five starts in bumpers, which included two graded victories at Leopardstown and Punchestown.

She wasn’t disgraced behind Sir Gerhard in the Champion Bumper, and there’s no doubt Willie Mullins will plot another route towards the Cheltenham Festival. She spent some time with Sonny Carey in pre-training for her novice hurdling season and she’s currently a valuable ante-post price for the Mares Novice Hurdle.

Honeysuckle (Henry de Bromhead & Kenneth Alexander)

There are not many superlatives left to describe the wonderful HONEYSUCKLE, who is a once-in-a-generation horse for owner Kenny Alexander having left us in awe last season. It was her best campaign to date with stunning victories in both the Irish and English Champion Hurdles’ before ending the season unbeaten at Punchestown.

Despite the array of talents which include a Gold Cup winner, I would imagine Henry de Dromhead perhaps feels a little more pressure when it comes to this classy mare compared to others within the stable. She stays over hurdles this season having summered well with Peter Molony, and it’s a case of copy and paste with a cyclical approach this campaign by starting off at Fairyhouse for the Hatton’s Grace before trips to Leopardstown and Prestbury Park once again.

Kilcruit & Sir Gerhard (Willie Mullins & Miss M A Masterson / Cheveley Park Stud)

I conclude my horses to follow for the National Hunt season with two novice hurdles, both trained by Willie Mullins in Closutton. KILCRUIT for many, including our Racing Ambassador Matt Chapman believe this horse is better than stablemate Sir Gerhard with Rachael Blackmore in his opinion giving the Cheveley Park horse a better ride when winning the bumper at Cheltenham.

I’ve no doubt Mullins is more than delighted to be training both and they’ll be kept apart over hurdles with different routes taken before the big races next year.

Derek O’Connor described Kilcruit as “a good stayer” after his Punchestown victory over Sir Gerhard and many believe the Mullins team will test his stamina and target a route towards either the Ballymore Novices Hurdle or Albert Barlett Novices Hurdle next March.

SIR GERHARD will most likely remain at the minimum trip with a Supreme aim his most likely target. However, don’t be surprised if that plan changes if all doesn’t go according to plan in the coming months. It’s important to remember that this horse did win a 3m point-to-point at Boulta and the ante-post price for the Albert Barlett might be worth having in your back pocket as a little saver.


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