Five Horses To Follow This Weekend - 29/01/2019

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1. VINNDICATION

Kim Bailey's unbeaten Vinndication once again put his records on the line this weekend - where he expected to either fulfill his entry in the Grade Two William Hill Towton Novices Chase at Wetherby, or more likely the Grade One 888Sport Scilly Isles Novices Chase at Sandown.

The lightly-raced 6yo skipped the Cheltenham Festival last year, but looks to set to finalise his destination this term with an appearance this weekend.

Last seen winning the Noel Novices Chase before Christmas, one would have thought the JLT beckons, but needs to spring up yet another top performance.

Always looked a chaser in the making, and is very quickly becoming a fan favourite.

2. FOOTPAD

Footpad surely looks the last contender to challenge Altior's supremacy in the two-mile division this year, and goes for the Grade One Ladbrokes Dublin Chase at the Irish Gold Cup meeting this weekend.

It's been a disappointing season for last year's star novice, who sparkled in the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival nearly twelve months ago.

After that victory, everyone was rubbing their hands together at the prospect of a clash with Nicky Henderson's Champion Chaser this season, but it has not worked out that way.

He fell when well-held on his return in the Poplar Square Chase behind Saint Calvados, before failing to land the Grade One Sugar Paddy Chase over Christmas - headed close home by the veteran Simply Ned.

Last chance to make amends, against a sea of challengers - most from his own yard.

3. APPLE'S JADE

Jack Kennedy is unfazed by the Irish Champion Hurdle speed test set for Apples Jade this weekend, as she drops to two miles for the first time since losing to Irving in the 2016 Fighting Fifth at Newcastle.

The star 7yo mare has once again been on a roll this term, winning three times - all in Grade Two or higher company.

However, many punters hoping they have a 'dead cert' will be reminded what unfolded at the Festival last term, when she flopped in the Mares behind Benie Des Dieux.

She was beaten again by the Mullins mare at Punchestown in April, so her race this weekend will hopefully provide us with the answers we require, and if she is in tip-top condition ahead of this years meeting in March.

4. BALLYMOY

Ballymoy followed up his December win at Haydock by scoring in competitive Grade Three just last weekend at Ascot, and could go again in the 888Sport Heroes Handicap Hurdle at Sandown.

Six wins from his last seven, his only defeat came in a strongly run race from the front end in a Listed contest at Newbury.

All his other races where he has won, he has been prominent early on, signifying he needs to be up with the pace to dictate things in his own matters.

Owners and trainer are both flying, and another quick-fire success could be on the cards.

5. BUVEUR D'AIR

Buveur D'Air proved he was beatable on his route to a potential third straight Champion Hurdle over Christmas, and will give racing fans one last look of him before this years Festival in his usual preparation race - the 888Sport Listed Contenders Hurdle.

His dismisser and conqueror - stable companion Verdana Blue may well be heading to the Mares at the Festival, but Buveur D'Air will faces several leading contenders from Ireland who are all competing this weekend as well.

The 8yo - winner of eleven hurdle races and almost £900,000 in prize money will probably win by the length of the track on Saturday, but will prove to his backers that he still holds the ability to win any major Championship race, and that he goes to Cheltenham fit, well and ready to fire again.

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