Three eye-catchers from Chepstow’s Jumps Season Opener

Chepstow hosted its two-day 'Jumps Season Opener' at the weekend.
Chepstow hosted its two-day 'Jumps Season Opener' at the weekend.

With Jumps racing returning with a bang at Chepstow at the weekend, we’ve picked out three horses who could be worth keeping an eye on in the coming weeks and months… 

Paris Dixie (Second, 14:45 Friday)

While Paris Dixie doesn’t dazzle on paper in terms of her pedigree, she was a comfortable winner of a bumper for the Julie Camacho team at Carlisle earlier this year, and made a good start for her new yard in this mares’ novice event on Friday afternoon. Now with Nicky Henderson, Paris Dixie showed plenty to work with on her first try over timber despite showing signs of inexperience, running on well to pick up the lead in the closing stages before just being reeled herself in the dying strides. This initial outing should teach her plenty, and with that form having a pretty solid look to it at first glance, it would be a surprise should Henderson be unable to find a novice event or two within her reach this season. 

Friend Or Foe (Second, 14:12 Saturday)

Friend Or Foe showed some useful form in his three starts as a novice in 2018-19, winning twice, and having missed the entirety of last season through injury, he impressed when finishing second on the back of a 537-day break on Saturday afternoon. Travelling sweetly into affairs, he just seemed to tire in the closing stages, being passed by a race fit rival, and should come on leaps and bounds for this as a consequence. A lightly-raced five-year-old, he still looks open to improvement after just four starts over timber on these shores, and it would be no surprise should he put together a little sequence for Paul Nicholls off this kind of mark - provided he isn’t punished too heavily for this effort on reappearance. 

Sir Psycho (Fifth, Silver Trophy, 15:57 Saturday)

The highlight of the two-day meeting was Saturday’s Silver Trophy, a Grade 3 handicap over just shy of two and a half miles. Like with the majority of the races on the card, the good-to-firm ground meant that there were a host of non-runners (seven to be exact), and Paul Nicholls’ Sir Psycho caught the eye with his effort to finish fifth on the particularly quick going. 

A talented juvenile last season, winning three of his six starts over timber, Sir Psycho signed off with a fine effort to finish fifth in the Triumph Hurdle, and although he was ultimately beaten eleven and a half lengths here, he shaped well for a long way off a top weight of 11-11. Having shown his best form in testing conditions last term, winning twice in heavy going, Sir Psycho deserves plenty of credit for this run on the back of a lengthy break, hitting the front over the final flight before just falling away in the closing stages. He will improve plenty for this, and bearing in mind that his current mark of 146 looks well within his reach (yet to be revised at the time of writing), it isn’t hard to envisage Nicholls finding him plenty of good opportunities for him when the rain comes this term.

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