NATIONAL HUNT: FIVE TO FOLLOW

The national hunt season is currently in the early stages, nothing can be completely ruled out with total confidence. Our sub-editor Jamie Lindsey has given us five jumpers that he thinks are worth following.

1Black Op: One of the favourites for JLT Novices Chase at the Festival is the big and imposing frame of Black Op. Tom George has trained some nice horses over the years and Black Op could turn out to be thebest. He ran a huge race behind Samcro at Cheltenham in the Ballymore whensecond. Then, a few weeks later he won a Grade 1 at Aintree. He looks a realchaser to me and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do.

2Coeur Sublime: Gordon Elliott’s charge made a winningdebut in what looked a good Juvenile hurdle at Down Royal at the beginning ofthe month. The Son of Elusive Pimpernel beat St Leger placed Southern France ina maiden on the flat back in April. So that gives you a rough idea of his ability. He can only improve and is an exciting prospect.

3Kalashnikov: Last season’s Betfair Hurdle Winner and Supreme Novices runner up is stepping up to the larger obstacles this season with the Arkle being the main goal. Young and upcoming trainer Amy Murphy’scharge is a horse with a huge amount of ability and he showed that time and timeagain last season. Kalashnikov made a winning debut over fences at Warwick ingreat style recently and he looks set for a big season.

4Laurina: Willie Mullins’ Mare announced herself at the Cheltenham Festival this year when she won the Mares Novice hurdle on the bridle by 18 lengths. It was the performance of the week in my eyes. She followed that up with a Grade 1 win at Fairyhouse in similarly comfortable style. Willie is pointing her towards the Champion Hurdle and I believe that she can follow in the footsteps of Annie Power and win the blue riband race for Hurdlers. The world is at her hoofs.

5Tornado Flyer: Another big prospect from the Mullins yard is Punchestown Champion Bumper Winner Tornado Flyer, who will be embarkingon a Novice hurdle campaign. I suspect we will see him make his debut overhurdles very soon and he can take high rank amongst the best novices inIreland. The big goal will be the Supreme Novices Hurdles.

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