Raceolly: 10 Irish Horses To Follow For The 2021/2022 National Hunt Season

Check out Raceolly's 10 Irish National Hunt horses to follow, of which two are trained by Willie Mullins.
Check out Raceolly's 10 Irish National Hunt horses to follow, of which two are trained by Willie Mullins.

Our new contributor Raceolly's first column '10 UK Horses To Follow For The 2021/2022 National Hunt Season' proved extremely popular, and he's back again this week with part 2 of his ones to watch for the new Jumps campaign. In this column, he's selected 10 Irish horses to watch for the 2021/2022 National Hunt Season, so get your notebooks at the ready...

1. Eklat De Rire - Henry De Bromhead

Was a big fancy of mine for the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase last year and went off just 10/1 behind the 1/4 favourite Monkfish. Was travelling well and a close up third when unseating Rachael Blackmore at the 12th fence. Monkfish didn’t run out a very impressive winner in the end and if Eklat De Rire, who had previously jumped superbly, had kept Blackmore on board then I feel he would have gone very close. The win before that beating Escaria Ten and Pencilfulloflead looks decent with Escaria Ten placing in the National Hunt Chase since. Henry De Bromhead had a sensational season last year especially when travelling here with eight of his 39 runners winning and a 1-2 in both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Grand National was the icing on the cake, and if Eklat De Rire turns up for next year's festival then he must have a serious shout.

2. Eric Bloodaxe - Joseph O’Brien 

Eric Bloodaxe beat Ferny Hollow (also makes the list) in a bumper and sadly came back lame when putting his undefeated record on the line in a Grade 2 bumper. He had a 452-day break following that injury before returning in a Punchestown Grade 1 at the Punchestown Festival, where he ran a huge race to finish fourth behind Kilcruit and Sir Gerhard. That run was full of promise against proven Grade 1 performers, who had fitness on their side

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3. Ferny Hollow - Willie Mullins 

Handed Bob Olinger his only career defeat to date and also beat Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Appreciate It at the Cheltenham Festival in 2020. Only managed the one hurdle run last season when beating Bob Olinger before missing the rest of the season. However, Bob Olinger obviously boosted that form enormously and Appreciate It made it even better, so Ferny Hollow has already beaten both the 2021 Supreme and Ballymore winners. This is a exciting season for Ferny Hollow and he could be a major contender to Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle come March with no limit on how good he could actually be.

4. French Aseel - Willie Mullins 

Mrs J Donnelly knows a good horse when she sees one, which is backed up by her record over the last five years in Britain and Ireland. 73 runners of 120 have at least placed (61%) and she purchased French Aseel soon after his impressive win for Ellmarie Holden. She had a well fancied runner in the field that day (Dark Voyager) who tried to go with French Aseel from the home turn, but he finished in a heap in eighth beaten 40 lengths in the end. French Aseel couldn’t have won any easier on debut in a maiden hurdle at Galway beaten Coltor by 22 lengths, who finished a close up fifth in the Boodles (Fred Winter) at the Cheltenham Festival soon after.

5. Gordon Dai Dai - W J Burke

Dysart Dynamo is a name you’re going to see on a lot of horses to follow lists this year and rightly so, as he has won both starts easily to date and the bumper he won last time was packed full of winners. Gordon Dai Dai was a well beaten second that day, but he came from a lot further back than the winner and was running off the back of a big 187-day break. Bucks Boum horses have a solid record in Britain with a near 20% win rate from 244 runners here including winning Gold Cups and his brother Big Buck's was pretty decent too.

Check Out Raceolly's 10 UK Horses To Follow For The 2021/2022 National Hunt Season Here

6. Journey With Me - Henry De Bromhead

Won the race that Henry De Bromhead has previously won with Minella Melody and Bob Olinger, now Grade 3 and Grade 1 winners, the latter at the Cheltenham Festival. Journey With Me has the same owners as Bob Olinger and looks likely to go the same route. The second behind him in the bumper last time out has been named as Harry Whittington’s best horse to follow this year (Galudon) and a horse he’s excited about so the fact JWM has beaten him easily by 13 lengths is another big boost. 

7. Jumping Jet - Barry Fitzgerald

Won a bumper at Gowran Park back in March by 29 lengths with the second being very decent. The second that day Choice Of Words has won since and finished second in the mares bumper Grade 3 at the Punchestown Festival. The debut win was made even more impressive by the fact she was one of only a few making their racecourse debuts that day and she beat experienced horses with ease. Even horses that finished out the back that day have impressed since, most notably the horse that finished 11th, Whosgotyanow, who’s ran twice since and won easily both times. 

8. Lake Winnipesaukee - P G Fahey

Dark Raven was a narrow miss off this list and going down the route that he could be a serious animal it’s worth noting that Lake Winnipesaukee was a long way clear and travelling strongly when taking the wrong track after a saddle slip when they met at Leopardstown. Connections obviously thought they had a serious horse on their hands from that performance also, and went to take on Kilcruit and Sir Gerhard in the Grade 1 bumper at the Punchestown Festival and went off just 20/1. The horse could win a few races for sure now hurdling for a yard who are just 2/38 with their bumper runners over the last five years, but 8/70 with horses over hurdles and chases in that time.

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9. Letsbeclearaboutit - Gavin Cromwell

Kicked off last season by easily winning a bumper at Tipperary before comfortably winning another one at Punchestown under a penalty, a race won last year by The Big Getaway. He went on to a listed bumper following that and gave Sir Gerhard a good race going down by four lengths in the end when giving him 3lbs. Kilcruit was next up in a Grade 2 and again trying to give 3lbs he ran well keeping on to the end, but was well beaten by the winner finishing nine lengths clear of the third. Gavin Cromwell's charge managed to win another bumper under a penalty by the time the season was done, keeping on well again and looking like he will be better over a trip. Kept away from the major festivals at the end of the season and seemingly dependent on soft ground, a race like the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle looks perfect for him.

10. Three Stripe Life - Gordon Elliott

Ran a massive race in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival despite acting up in the preliminaries and being the least experienced. He raced freely through the Champion Bumper, but still stuck on well despite all the negatives to finish an eight length fourth. With that experience now on board a return to Cheltenham next season for a race like the Supreme Novices' Hurdle looks ideal for a yard that despite losing a few big names still have some hugely exciting novice hurdlers to go to war with with Three Stripe Life top of the list.

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