🍀 The Cheltenham Tracker 2023 🍀
With the National Hunt Season starting to spring into action, I have put together a detailed list of our high profile tracker horses for the season. As the year progresses we will seek to develop the list, tracking the runners in their respective races and having a few bets along the way with all roads leading to the Cheltenham Festival. My additional write ups, anti-post bets etc will be detailed on our forum but I thought I would post the full list here to get started for those who aren't able to subscribe to the paid service.
Abacadabras - I wasn't going to include this horse in my tracker as he just didn't show enough last season to suggest he was capable of mixing it at the top top level. However, he caught my eye massively the last day at Tipperary and it looks to me like Gordon might have tweaked something. He is due to go Chasing soon and I will be watching him closely.
A Plus Tard - An emphatic winner of last year’s Gold Cup and no doubt will be targeted at that race again this season.
Ahoy Senior - A valiant second in the Browns Advisory before winning the Mildmay at Aintree. Both those races lacked strength in depth but it will be interesting to see if he can take a further step forward this season.
Ain't That A Shame - This horse progressed nicely over fences last season before a lack of experience took its toll in the Kim Muir. However, he remains on a workable mark and should win races this year.
Allaho - It is impossible not to love this horse. He was exceptional last season and I can't really see anything beating him again this year unless it is one of his stablemates.
Allegorie De Vassy - Didn’t make it to Cheltenham this season but her form is starting to look extremely strong. Haven’t heard any updates about her targets yet.
American Mike - Second best to Facile Vega on various occasions last year but should develop into a classy hurdler. Will probably be campaigned to avoid FV if possible.
An Mhi - Purchased out of a HIT by Gordon on the back of two solid PTP runs. Has a beautiful pedigree and will probably be seen in a bumper over the winter.
An Tobar - Created a favourable impression when winning an Irish PTP by 20 lengths. Subsequently purchased by the O’Toole family for £72,000. No definitive plans as yet.
Appreciate It - Underwhelming at Cheltenham which was no surprise given that he was returning from a mammoth break. If Willie can keep him fit this season, he may still develop into a top class hurdler.
Ashroe Diamond - A talented Mare who took her form to new heights when winning the at Aintree on her final start. Set for a hurdles campaign this season and will probably be kept at 2 miles and aimed at the Mares.
Ballybay - A horse with a big reputation who flopped massively on his debut at Punchestown back in April. He needs to bounce back from that but I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve seen him run again.
Barry The Butcher - Beat Croke Park (also in our tracker) in a PTP back in March. He is in the care of Gordon Elliot and he could be very, very, smart.
Billaway - The current king of Hunter Chasing and will no doubt be aimed at Cheltenham once again.
Blazing Khal - Suffered a setback last year which ruled him out for the season. He has some very smart form though and if they can get him back on track, he will be a danger to all in that division.
Blue Lord - Maybe just short of being top class in what is a very hot division but will still win his fair share of races this season.
Bob Olinger - Very fortunate to win the Turners and then woefully disappointing at Punchestown. Needs to bounce back this season or he is in danger of falling down the ranks rapidly.
Brandy Love - A very quirky mare but one that is also extremely talented. She put it altogether at Fairyhouse in the first time hood and I am excited to see how she develops this season.
Brazil - A progressive hurdler last season who probably has further scope for improvement. Clearly not top class but an interesting contender for handicaps throughout the season.
Camprond - This horse backed up his 4th place finish in the Coral Cup with a win at Punchestown. It is clear that good ground is a key component for him and whenever he gets his conditions he will be dangerous.
Cato Capone - Purchased out of a PTP by Gordon Elliot for £180,000. Has a nice pedigree and should have plenty of tactical speed.
Champ Kiely - A horse with a lofty reputation who has been faultless in his career to date. A little early to tell just how good he is but we will learn more in the next couple of months as he steps up to G1 company.
Chemical Energy - Whilst this horse was relatively disappointing in his two starts last season, he returned in September with a solid win in a Novice Chase at Listowel. He wasn’t foot perfect by any means but should progress with experience.
City Chief - Underperformed at Punchestown back in April but he remains unexposed and should develop into a solid handicapper in the UK.
Cloth Cap - Below form last season but is now very well handicapped on old form. He may have a few issues but if Jonjo can get him straight, he is no doubt capable of winning some big handicaps and will be campaigned in the Veterans series.
Conflated - I wasn't a huge admire of this horse last season but he surprised me with his runs at Cheltenham and Aintree. He is certainly not on the same level as Allaho (very few are) but he will win races.
Constitution Hill - Arguably the star of last season and his connections were right to be bullish about him. Fascinating to see how he is campaigned this year but I don’t think there is any doubt that he’ll be adding further G1 wins to his record.
Cougar - A flat recruit who was rated 92 prior to moving to Padriag Roche. He won a maiden hurdle earlier this month and is a very interesting recruit for JP.
Croke Park - Sold to Gordon Elliot for £400,000 following a PTP win at Dromahane. Previously beaten by Barry The Butcher who is also in Gordon’s care. That form could prove to be very strong.
Dawn Rising - Another classy turf horse who is now applying his trade over hurdles. He was put in his place by Champ Kiely but won nicely at Listowel back in September and should have a future.
Does He Know - Bitterly disappointing at Cheltenham but I am not ready to write him off just yet.
Dysart Dynamo - Extremely disappointing in the latter part of the season but we will see if Willie can work his magic and get him back on track this winter.
Edwardstone - Had a fantastic season and whilst I’m not entirely sure he will be able to repeat it this year, he remains a top a horse who deserves his place in my tracker.
El Fabiolo - This horse has been a bit of a slow burner but Willie’s decision to skip Cheltenham paid dividends as El F had a fantastic end to the season. I think he ranks pretty highly in the division and looks an exciting prospect.
Energumene - Proved me wrong when beating a below par Shishkin at Cheltenham. It is impossible to fault his record and if Shishkin can’t bounce back, I’d expect this horse to win just about everything in his division this season.
Entoucas - May not be a superstar but he is very consistent and remains competitively weighted.
Fakir D’oudairies - In truth this horse is short of being top class but he is one to always keep on side of when entered up in the slightly weaker graded contests as Joseph does a very good job of placing him to avoid the big names.
Farouk D'Alene - Arguably unlucky at Cheltenham given that he was travelling best when falling at the second last. The form of his second place finish at Naas was also franked by Stattler that day. We didn't see him after March so I am not sure if he suffered an injury that day but he is certainly one to keep on the right side of.
Favori De Champdou - I am not entirely sure what the status of this horse is as he hasn’t been seen since October 21. I will try to get some further details in the next couple of weeks.
Fil Dor - No match for Vauban and multiple occasions last season but he’s still a quality animal who will no doubt win races.
Firestep - Currently undefeated having won two bumper but hasn’t been seen since March 21 so uncertain as to whether or not he remains in training.
First Street - No match for Jonbon at Aintree but may still have a future as handicapper.
Flooring Porter - One of my favourite horses in training. He has won at Cheltenham for me on both occasions and I am sure he will have a chance to make it 3 in a row this season.
Gaelic Warrior - One of the gambles of last season. Unfortunately it didn’t quite come off as he was beaten by Brazil. He was put away after that run and I won’t be at all surprised if he ends up being better than a handicapper this year.
Galopin Des Champs - This horse is one of the most exciting Chasers I’ve seen in a very long time. He has the world at his feet and I think he could prove to be one of the best Willie has ever had which is saying something!
Galvin - I am not sure this horse has another Cheltenham win in him but he will certainly win elsewhere this season especially between now and December when you can be certain that Gordon will place him to good effect in slightly less competitive contests.
Gelino Bello - Franked the form of Blazing Khal when winning at Aintree on his last start. I am not sure he will be able to match the Irish in the big races but should have no problem winning against the Brits early in the season.
Gentleman De Mee - Progressed rapidly last season and now looks to be a very exciting prospect. He missed Punchestown due to a respiratory infection but hopefully it was only a minor setback.
Grangeclare West - A very expensive Cheveley Park purchase who made a perfect start to his career when winning a bumper at Punchestown. He is already 6 so I would expect him to go hurdling sooner rather than later.
Happygolucky - Missed last season due to injury but hopefully will be coming back bigger and stronger this year. He is exposed, has plenty of class, and definitely has scope for further improvement.
Hillcrest - Seemingly hit his ceiling over hurdles last season when disappointing at Cheltenham but he is built for Chasing and should progress again this year.
Hollow Games - A decent enough Hurdler last term but I think he has a bright future as a Staying Chaser.
Honeysuckle - A horse of a lifetime who really is an incredible performer. Punters everywhere are keen to see her clash with Constitution Hill at some point this season and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see her rise to the occasion once again.
Horantzau D’airy - No match for Howyabud on hurdling debut but there is no shame in that given what that horse has done since. With normal levels of progression, he should develop into a graded performer this season.
Hors Piste - This horse always looked a little raw last season and was far from foot perfect at her hurdles. Despite that, she still ran with credit on various occasions and should continue to pay her way this season albeit probably in handicaps.
Hunters Yarn - Largely kept to bumpers last season but is bred to be a smart hurdler and has maintained his novice tag for this season which could prove to be a shrewd move by Willie.
I Am Maximus - Carried a lofty reputation at home but didn’t really bring it to the track last season. I am not sure he’s capable of being truly high grade but I certainly think he could have a big handicap in him at some point.
Il Etait Temps - This horse made a highly promising start for Willie when finishing 3rd at Leopardstown behind Vauban. He really struggled with his jumping for the remainder of the season after that but if Willie can iron out the creases I think this boy has the scope to improve massively.
Imagine - Hosed up in a bumper on his only start last year. Dam is related to some very precocious NH horses in France and this lad could develop into a really nice staying Chaser down the line.
James’ Gate - A decent bumper horse last season who won’t be seen to best effect until stepping up to 2m 4f+ over hurdles.
Jet Powered - Purchased by Mrs J Donnelly and to be trained by Nicky Henderson. Plenty of hype surrounding this horse and I am very intrigued to see what he can do this season.
Jonbon - I think JP will have been pleased by what this horse was able to do last season. He looks a Chaser in the making and whilst he may not be able to live with a few of the Irish horses, he certainly has enough class to pick up a few race in Britain.
L’Homme Presse - An extremely progressive Chaser who had a fantastic season. Things are going to be harder for him this year but he remains a horse to be interested in especially when the rain is falling.
Madmansgame - Came up short in a few high class bumpers last season but he's bred to jump a hurdle and should develop into a nice novice over 2 miles 4+ this season.
Marie’s Rock - A Mare who had a fantastic season last year and finished on a high with wins at Cheltenham and Punchestown. She will no doubt follow a similar route this season and should be a danger to all.
Marine Nationale - A perfect 2 from 2 in his career to date and he is due to go over hurdles at Punchestown. His trainer already has the Royal Bond in mind for him and whilst he has a way to go before I'd be backing him for that contest, he has done everything that's been asked of him so far and I think Barry might have a good one on his hands.
Mighty Potter - Hugely disappointing at Cheltenham but bounced back at Punchestown. I am not entirely sure where he ranks in this division but he certainly has scope for further improvement.
Minella Cocooner - Incredibly consistent last year without looking like the finished article. If they can teach him to settle a little better early on, he could have a few big wins in him this year over 3 miles.
Minella Indo - Was never really in form last year. The jury is now out as a result but he wouldn’t be the first horse of Henry’s to bounce back after a disappointing campaign.
Monkfish - Missed last season having suffered a setback. Will be fascinating to see if Willie can get him back on track this season.
My Drogo - Currently injured.
Pink In The Park - Very hit and miss last season but she’s bred to be a smart hurdler so hopefully she can take a step forward.
Porthill - Fetched £250,000 at the sales having finished 2nd in a PTP. The form of that race is largely untested but this fella certainly has a lovely pedigree.
Porticello - Lost little in defeat in the Triumph and whilst he is clearly not at the same level as the likes of Vauban and Co, I am sure Gary will place him to win races.
Oscar Elite - This horse has his issues but I still believe there is a high class handicapper in there somewhere. Might not be one to trust but on his day I think he is capable of landing a big pot especially in the winter.
Quilixios - Hasn’t looked the same since moving to Henry’s but I’ve left him in my tracker for now to see how he shapes up in his first few starts this season.
Redemption Day - No match for Facile Vega on a few occasions but he is bred to be a better over obstacles and I know that the yard are very fond of him.
Sayadam - Off a mark of 1just 24 this horse has a long way to go before he’s one I would be considering at the big Festivals but he’s shown a bit of spark in his career so far and I know that Kim has high hopes for him.
Saylavee - This five year old put in an impressive performance when shedding his maiden tag at the first time of asking over hurdles. I don’t think that was the greatest race in the world but we will learn a lot more about him on his next start when he steps up in class considerably.
Shishkin - Woefully disappointing at Cheltenham but I’ve ruled a line through that contest completely and I am sure he will be back at his best again this season.
Silver Forever - A very talented Mare who hasn’t been seen since 2021. I am not sure of her current injury status but the last I heard, it was Paul’s intention to have her back this Autumn. She will probably be kept to the Mares division.
Sir Gerhard - A very talented Hurdler but I think he will be even better over Fences and it will be fascinating to see how Willie campaigns him and at what trip.
State Man - This horse has a massive reputation at home going into last season but a fall on debut at Leopardstown set him back slightly. He still had a fantastic campaign though and I think he ranks pretty highly in the division and has plenty of scope for further improvement.
Stattler - This horse surprised me slightly with his performance at Cheltenham when I clearly underestimated him. He is a relentless galloper and that’s a valuable asset in those marathon races.
Telmesomethinggirl - Arguably one of the unluckiest horses in training last season. I think she has bundles of talent and if she can get a bit more luck this year, she may have a big race in her.
Thanksforthehelp - A JP horse with a lowly handicap of 117. He has a bit of talent though and I am sure David will place him to good effect this season.
The Galloping Bear - A revelation for Ben Jones last season and I don’t think we’ve seen the best of this guy yet either!
The Nice Guy - This guy was a bit of a surprise package last season but you certainly can't fault what he achieved. They plan to take him novice chasing this year and it will be fascinating to see if he takes to it.
Vauban - This horse was nothing short of spectacular last season and I think there is almost certainly more to come. He was the best Juvenile Hurdler around by some distance and whilst he will face much sterner tests this season (especially if aimed at the Champion Hurdle) I wouldn't be surprised to see him take it in his stride.
Zanahiyr - This horse ran well last year over all over a trip that is clearly short of what he needs. He fell at Aintree when last seen but if he's none the worse for that incident, I wouldn't be surprised to see him stepping up to three miles this season with the Stayers Hurdle being the end goal.