Which Fergal O’Brien horses to follow have impressed our experts?
Cheltenham Bet give punters seven Fergal O’Brien horses to follow for the rest of the season en route to the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.
Trainers can hardly get more local to Cheltenham to Fergal O’Brien, whose Naunton yard is about half-an-hour’s drive from Prestbury Park.
Such proximity to the Cotswolds horse racing venue means running his inmates there is natural.
It’s already been an amazing season for this particular stable, so which Fergal O’Brien horses to follow should you look out for?
Although filly Cap Soleil lost her unbeaten record in a Listed contest during the Winter Carnival at Newbury last time out, she retains plenty of untapped potential.
The four-year-old won two Listed bumpers earlier this year and landed her hurdles bow in November.
While Cap Soleil couldn’t go with the front-running Dame Rose when previously in action, bookmakers may have overreacted to her nine-length defeat.
Once an early ante post fancy for the Grade 2 Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, her odds drifted.
Cap Soleil is a top-price 16/1 with Paddy Power, yet Daphne Du Clos – a horse she beat by a head in a bumper at the course – is shorter in the betting.
Two runs over hurdles tells us very little, so expect more to come from her and read our detailed piece on Cap Soleil.
Chase The Spud
Connections of nine-year-old staying chaser Chase The Spud are looking at another crack at the Welsh Grand National at Chepstow.
Although pulled up in the 2015 renewal (run in January 2016), he got hampered following the first fence and never recovered.
Chase The Spud proved he had a big prize in him when landing the Listed 4m 1 1/2f Midlands National at Uttoxeter in March.
That form looks strong as he and other horses have come out and won or performed well since.
BetVictor are a best-price 14/1 about him in the Welsh Grand National, which puts Chase The Spud among the market principals.
Winning first time up this season at Haydock in a handicap over the Betfair Chase course and distance stands him in good stead.
Perhaps the most exciting of Fergal O’Brien horses to follow is mare Colin’s Sister, because of the confidence he has in her.
The way she took on the boys on reappearance in the 3m Grade 2 West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby was impressive.
Colin’s Sister beat Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle third Wholestone by two lengths on Charlie Hall Chase day, then franked the form.
O’Brien was prepared to take on top staying hurdlers like Unowhatimeanharry in another Grade 2 event at Newbury.
While Colin’s Sister was only a nine-length fourth to shock Long Distance Hurdle winner Beer Googles, she finished ahead of Thistlecrack.
Whether she continues down the Stayers’ Hurdle route (33/1 with BetVictor) or goes back against her own sex in the Mares’ race at the Cheltenham Festival remains to be seen.
O’Brien landed a Listed mares’ bumpers at Huntingdon last season with Oscar Rose on her fourth start in National Hunt flat races, and Grageelagh Girl takes the same path.
This six-year-old mare has the advantage of a 3m point-to-point win, but been unlucky since winning her rules debut at Perth.
Grageelagh Girl was disqualified after hanging across Posh Trish when winning at Aintree.
While that rival backed up the stewards by beating the O’Brien charge off level weights in a Listed affair at Cheltenham, Grageelagh Girl got hampered in the back straight.
She also had to race wide in search of better ground at Prestbury Park, so these are mitigating circumstances.
It’d be no surprise at all to see Grageelagh Girl follow in her stablemate’s footsteps on Peterborough Chase day.
Like Grageelagh Girl, six-year-old gelding Global Stage is an Irish point winner who was a 10-length fourth to Finian’s Oscar in the Grade 1 Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown last season.
That was his bow over the obstacles and the form is rock solid.
Both Finian’s Oscar and Tolworth runner-up Capitaine also made winning transitions to fences.
Even Claimantakinforgan – the horse Global Stage lost his sole bumper at Haydock by 1 3/4 lengths to – has come out and won his hurdles debut this season.
On top of all that form working well, Global Stage also landed a 2m 4 1/2f maiden hurdle at Ayr on reappearance.
After enjoying such elevated company earlier in the year, he is among Fergal O’Brien horses to follow and the 2m 5f Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle at Newbury is a festive target.
Five-year-old Herecomestheboom has a Cheltenham bumper win back in October on his first start under rules.
Given how he was hampered 6f out, still made headway to challenge two from home and kept on well to win, it was a taking display.
Herecomestheboom was previously a two-length runner-up in an Irish point and the winner went on win his hurdles bow.
While that bodes well for the future, more bumper runs look on the cards for this O’Brien charge.
Course winning form supports a crack at the Champion Bumper at the Festival.
Herecomestheboom is a 33/1 chance for that with Paddy Power.
And finally, Persian War Novices’ Hurdle winner Poetic Rhythm still qualifies for such events despite running in the Neptune this past March.
A local point winner back in April last year, the six-year-old has that Chepstow win and two placings in other Grade 2 events.
O’Brien sees his future as a 3m chaser, so stepping up in trip looks likely.
The Persian War is over 2m 3 1/2f, while he was then third over 2m 5f in the Hyde Novices’ Hurdle to On The Blind Side.
Although just headed in the last 100 yards of that Ballymore trial, if produced later then the 33/1 with BetVictor about Poetic Rhythm in that Festival race has potential.
If he steps up in trip again to 3m, then the same firm go the same price about the Albert Bartlett in March.
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