The Tote Ten to Follow competition starts on Friday, and I’m finalising my entry before the deadline of noon on 15 November. As ever, the focus it towards an early choice for the championship races at Cheltenham and Leopardstown, with the Grand National, Hennessy and King George VI Chase thrown into the bonus points races for good measure.
Finding the right mix of hurdlers, chasers, soft and good ground performers, over a range of distances is no easy business, and I’ve never yet managed to get anywhere remotely near the top scorers. But it’s a bit of fun and gives a definite interest in some races I won’t be betting on.
If you can find the really progressive horse it helps. I’m not sure if Hunt Ball was on the list two years ago, but he was just the kind of horse to have on your side. I think David Pipe’s Badger Beer Chase winner Standing Ovation could be a similar type of animal He’s already run up a sequence of wins and is 28 lbs up in the ratings over the last month. Sadly, he’s not in the line up.
Plenty of people will have the likes of At Fishers Cross, Cue Card, My Tent Or Yours, Sprinter Sacre and The New One in their line up, and I’m no exception. To them, I’ve added Balder Success, Harry Topper, Our Conor, Sir Des Champs and Turnandgo.
There’s an element in my thinking of doubling up in some types of race, but that can only be at the expense of leaving something else out of the equation. I’m very hopeful that I’ve found the Champion Hurdle winner, but I can’t see a Grand National horse there.
I’ve just quickly scanned through the entries for Cheltenham this weekend, and it doesn’t look as if any of my ten are entered, so those of you who have entered have a good chance of a head start on me. Good luck!