Racing Post Ten to Follow
The Racing Post 10 to Follow is a competition that requires entrants to select ten horses for the current National Hunt season who are then awarded points depending how their selections perform over the course of the season. There are monthly prizes for the top points’ scorers and then the rest of fund is distributed to the best performers after the last major race of the season.
At the current level of entries ahead of the closing date on November 15 the prize fund for the winner stands at £400,000 less deductions. There is another £60,000 in the pot for distribution to the leading entries each month. It is possible to enter online or by post. The cost of entering online is £10 and two pounds more by post and multiple entries are accepted. Individuals or syndicates are eligible to take part.
Selections winning jump races earn entrants points on a sliding scale based on the value of the race. In the event of a dead heat points will be divided between each winning horse. The official result on the day of the race will be used for calculations even if the result is amended at a later date.
The key to doing well in the competition is finding the winners of 15 bonus races. Additional points are awarded for horses that finish first or second in the 15 most important jumps races of the season. So, a decent strategy for contending is to identify the potential winners of these races.
You will find our picks for 10 of those races below to make up our list. For the purposes of this exercise we will not include the Paddy Power Gold Cup, International Hurdle, Irish Champion Hurdle, Irish Hennessey Gold Cup and Aintree Hurdle.
The key races of the season and our ante post selections which then form our Ten to Follow are listed below:
Hennessey Gold Cup Chase – Newbury, 30 November 2013
Katenko 14/1 with Skybet
Katenko ran well enough in the early part of last season to suggest the ability was there to be a contender in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Injury prevented the horse running in that race so the trainer has to focus on handicaps, though admittedly a high class race of that type in the form of the Hennessey Gold Cup. The horse turns eight at the start of 2014 but began chasing relatively early in several races in France. Three wins before the end of January last season made the Gold Cup an option and potentially this is a Grade 1 horse running in a handicap.
William Hill – King George V1 Chase – Kempton Park, 26 December 2013
Silviniaco Conti 6/1 with bet365
Silviniaco Conti was going as well as anything when falling three out in last season’s Gold Cup. We will never know how the race would have panned out for the horse but it looked odds on that he was about to be placed at worst. In winning the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby and Betfair Chase at Haydock the horse came right into the mix for the Gold Cup. The King George will be informative in the context of this horse’s competitiveness at the highest level but on Gold Cup form before falling Silviniaco Conti looks a leading contender for the major staying chases this season.
Racing Post Arkle – Cheltenham, 11 March 2014
Melodic Rendezvous 16/1 with BetVictor
After Melodic Rendezvous won the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown in January over two miles he became a leading contender for the top races for novices over the remainder of the season. An impressive run at Cheltenham over two miles one furlong also suggested an animal with more than average ability. The horse’s potential was then not tested at the very highest level as injury prevented a run at the Cheltenham Festival. If the chase route is taken the championship two mile races for novices look realistic targets but even over hurdles the horse could figure in some of the Ten to Follow bonus races.
Stan James Champion Hurdle – Cheltenham, 11 March 2014
Our Conor 5/1 with Stan James
Our Conor was the most impressive winner at the 2013 Cheltenham Festival when taking the Triumph Hurdle by 15 lengths. The Champion Hurdle looks like being one of the best races at the Festival in March. Hurricane Fly will be looking to win the race for the third time and last season’s top novices, My Tent Or Yours and The New One, will have their backers. However, Our Conor stormed up the hill at Cheltenham in the manner of a horse that could prove to be the best hurdler for a number of years. A recent warm up race on the Flat showed that the horse is fit and well.
Sportingbet.com Queen Mother Champion Chase – Cheltenham, 12 March 2014
Sprinter Sacre 2/5 with William Hill
There’s absolutely no reason not to include the majestic Sprinter Sacre who won races at the three major spring festivals in 2013. After winning the Champion Chase at Cheltenham the horse then went to Aintree and beat Cue Card by four lengths over a distance further than his ideal trip. The subsequent win at Punchestown was less impressive but proved that the horse has the ability and stamina to run to form several times over a relatively short period of time. Thoughts of running in the King George were dismissed and Sprinter Sacre looks like dominating the two mile division again this season.
RSA Chase – Cheltenham, 12 March 2014
Champagne Fever 14/1 with bet365
Champagne Fever won the first race of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival, over hurdles and a distance of two miles. However, Jezki reversed the form at Punchestown the following month but that could have been due to Champagne Fever losing form after a demanding season. The traditional route for the winner of the Supreme Novices Hurdle is to race against the best hurdlers the next season. However, the two mile hurdle division looks very competitive which means the better option for Champagne Fever is running in chases in which he could prove to be a leading novice from two to three miles.
Ladbrokes World Hurdle – Cheltenham, 13 March 2014
At Fishers Cross 7/2 with Stan James
At Fishers Cross was unbeaten in six races last season, including championship races at Cheltenham and Aintree The horse was the best staying novice of last season and beat The New One at Cheltenham as part of the unbeaten campaign. The next obvious target is the World Hurdle but that race still revolves around Big Bucks. That horse could be good enough to win the race for a fifth time but any weakness will be exposed by At Fishers Cross who can give even a fit Big Bucks a decent race at Cheltenham.
Ryanair Chase – Cheltenham, 13 March 2014
Simonsig 9/2 with Skybet
Simonsig won the Arkle Chase over two miles at Cheltenham last season. After the race a medical problem was identified but the horse had the class to win the championship race despite being handicapped by a complaint that was not obvious at the time. Simonsig and Sprinter Sacre are both trained by Nicky Henderson and although he has to be fair to both sets of owners there seems little point in taking on Sprinter Sacre over two miles. That brings the intermediate distance of the Ryanair Chase into the equation for a horse that won the novice hurdle over 2 miles 5 furlongs at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival.
Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup – Cheltenham, 14 March 2014
Bobs Worth 3/1 with bet365
Bobs Worth is another horse that could maintain championship status but this time over fences in the Blue Riband race of the jumps season. The horse looked in trouble two out in last season’s Gold Cup but got into the race in the straight before powering up the hill to win the race by 7 lengths. Bobs Worth ran just two times last season, in the Gold Cup and Hennessey Gold Cup at Newbury. The novices from last season do not look an outstanding bunch so Bobs Worth will have to beat the same horses to win another Cheltenham Gold Cup in March.
Crabbie’s Grand National – Aintree, 05 April 2014
Tidal Bay 33/1 with Stan James
Tidal Bay will be 13 when this season’s Grand National is run and only two horses have won the race at that age. The horse is proven at the highest level having won a Grade 1 race at the Cheltenham Festival and at the same level in Ireland as recently as December 2012. The trainer has not decided whether to run the horse over hurdles or fences this season and could combine both disciplines. If Tidal Bay focuses on hurdles the World Hurdle would be an option but that is also a bonus race for the purposes of the Ten to Follow so we would be covered in that case. However, the horse has the class and jumping ability to win the Grand National, pending a weight that allows him to be competitive.
All odds quoted are correct at the time of publication and subject to fluctuation.
List of Horses for the Racing Post Ten to Follow:
At Fishers Cross