The summer is a relatively quiet time for jump racing fans but there can be a lot to gain from watching flat racing. As the season is now in full swing it’s a great time to look out for horses you believe can make an impact over hurdles during the winter.
We have seen the start of the juvenile hurdle races for three-year-olds and this is always the best place to start. Juvenile hurdlers can be sold for a lot of money from the flat to go jumping and if you can work out which ones are worth following you could find yourself in a position where you can profit from these types of races.
Some horses will improve dramatically for the move while others will not get the hang of it and fail to show their ability but most appear to hold their form well. It is difficult to know whether a horse possesses the ability to jump a hurdle unless you have seen them schooling but you can get a measure of their ability by seeing what they have done on the flat.
One rule I put in place when looking at this is that I swerve horses who have only run over distances of one mile or less. When I am taking a chance on backing a horse over hurdles for the first time I don’t want to add another question mark into the equation which is whether they will stay or not.
The horses I like to look for are those that have shown the stamina to stay 1m2f up to 1m4f on the flat. I don’t like horses that have run shorter because they may not stay while those who have run over further may need an even longer test than the two miles on offer in juvenile hurdles.
When looking at these horses look for ones that have a good attitude, have either won a race or shown the ability to win a race and those who look to be very straightforward. Quirky horses can go onto have good careers, but these horses have the question mark over them about whether they will take to hurdles or not.
Also look for horses that still have improvement in them. This is vital because they are likely to have a long season ahead and if they have more to give then it is their jumps trainer that will reap those rewards.
If you are looking to pinpoint potential juvenile hurdlers then this is the checklist I use:
- Ran at a distance of 1m2f to 1m4f
- Won a race, or gone close
- Shown a good attitude
- Have raced less than six times, so could still be improving
That checklist should give you a number of horses you can write down and follow and if they do go over hurdles during the winter you have already done your homework and you have the advantage over other punters.
This is essentially the point at which potential Grand National stars are born. Many that will be entered for the 2019 Grand National have followed this path, starting at PTP, moving on to juvenile or novice hurdles, to regular hurdles before taking up chases. It’s a natural progression for many and those that do well with each transition are the ones to keep an eye on when the entries are announced each January.