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Horses to follow for the 2014/15 National Hunt Season

With the 2014/15 National Hunt season now getting into full-swing, here is a list of 10 lightly- raced and unexposed horses that I expect to be winning plenty of races in the months ahead:

Alpha Des Obeaux
4-y-o gelding
Trainer Mouse Morris (Ireland)
Won his sole start in a 3m point at Tinahely by 20 lengths, crusing home by 20 lengths in a race run 15 seconds faster than average on the day. Joined Mouse Morris after that success and surprisingly got turned over at odds-on on hurdling debut when runner-up at Cork. However he stuck to the task well over a 2m trip which was too sharp, and remains a very exciting prospect who should be capable of winning plenty of races when his stamina is brought into play.

Altior
4-y-o gelding
Trainer Nicky Henderson
Looked a very smart prospect when running out an impressive winner on debut in a bumper at Market Rasen, travelling on the bridle throughout and showing a smart turn of foot to quicken clear and win by 14 lengths without coming out of second gear. The son of High Chaparral is held in extremely high regard by connections and has the scope to make up into a cracking hurdler. Should be capable of wining plenty of races and it would be no surprise to see him make up into a Cheltenham Festival candidate come next March.

Benenden
6-y-o gelding
Trainer Michael Scudamore
Cost £100,000 after getting off the mark at the third time of asking in an Irish point-to-point and has shaped with plenty of promise in three runs over hurdles. The son of Moscow Society particularly caught the eye in the last of those when a not knockked about sixth of 16 in a decent contest at Ascot. Looks the type who will do well in handicaps, and should be up to winning races off what could well be an opening lenient mark of 113.

Blue Fashion
5-y-o gelding
Trainer Nicky Henderson
Won juvenile events at Cagnes-sur-Mer and Auteuil in 2012/13 when trained in France by Francois Cottin, and ran a blinder on his first start for Henderson when finishing fourth to Diakali in a Grade 1 at Auteuil. Backed that up with an excellent second to More Of That in a very competitive handicap hurdle at Haydock when attempting to give the subsequent World Hurdle winner 6lb. Not seen in action after that but is in the right hands and has a big future over hurdles/fences.

Champagne West
6-y-o gelding
Trainer Philip Hobbs
Developed into a smart 143-rated hurdler last season, landing a hat-trick before posting a career-best effort to finish fourth in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett at the Cheltenham Festival on his final start. Has the build to make an even better chaser and has been schooling well at home over the larger obstacles. Regarded as one of the stables’ best hopes in the staying novice chase division and could develop into leading contender for the RSA.

Chatez
3-y-o gelding
Trainer Alan King
Alan King has a tremendous record with juvenile hurdlers, and Chatez is a classy recruit from the flat who won the valuable Silver Bowl Hanidcap over a mile on soft ground at Haydock and is currently rated 96 on the level. The son of Dandy Man is going to win plenty of races if translating that level of form to the obstacles and has reportedly been schooling well at home. If all goes to plan he could turn out to be a live Triumph Hurdle contender.

Gaitway
4-y-o gelding
Trainer Nicky Henderson
Looked one of the nicest propsects I have seen for along time when readily beating Tea For Two by a length in an 18-runner bumper at Newbury, travelling ominously well throughout and only having to be shaken-up to get the job done. The front two pulled 34 lengths clear of the third to give the form a solid look and the plan this season is for Gaitway to go straight over hurdles. It would be no surprise to see him become a leading contender for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle which opens the 2015 Cheltenham Festival.

Hello George
5-y-o gelding
Trainer Philip Hobbs
Shaped with plenty of promisee when placed in his first two bumpers runs before getting off the mark when showing a game attitude to beat Flying Eagle by 1/2 a length. Made a smooth transition to hurdles when readily landing a 17-runner contest at Exeter on seasonal reappearance, staying on strongly to score by 4 1/2 lengths despite racing keenly. Should be capable of winning plenty more races judged on that effort and considered one the yard’s leading novice hurdle hopes.

No Deal
7-y-o gelding
Tainer Lucinda Russell
Has had just three career starts to date under rules, finishing second on debut in a Tipperary bumper in May 2012 before moving to Russell and landing a bumper at Carlisle and following-up on hurdling debut at Ayr in January 2013 when making all. He missed the entire of last season through an inury sustained in the latter but is now back in full training. The seven-year-old is an exciting prospect and should make up into a cracking novice chaser.

Wounded Warrior
5-y-o gelding
Trainer Noel Meade (Ireland)
Winner of a point who showed some very smart form in bumpers before developing into a 130-rated hurdler last season. Trainer has made no secret that he believes he will be an even better chaser, and as a half-brother Sword Of Destiny he is bred to do the job. The Gigginstown House Stud-owned gelding has plenty of speed but stays 3m well and is a very exciting prospect to go to war with this season in novice chases.