At the first sign of morning frost, National Hunt fans know that the better quality jumping action is just around the corner, and there’s no better way to prepare for the long season ahead than picking up a copy of Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow (buy your copy – JP). He still hasn’t learnt his lesson from last year, Wilde Blue Yonder a shocking omission once again, but the time I’ve spent over the last week or so putting his forty horses to follow in a tracker, will certainly be time well spent during the coming months. Paul isn’t swayed by hype, some talking horses may get a mention here or there, but those that do make his 40 Leading Prospects, each one backed up with a thorough review of their form, pedigree, even purchasing traits. Paul Nicholls’ Emerging Talent being a good example:
“…won a Naas bumper in March for TJ Nagle Jnr, after which Paul Barber purchased him in a private sale. Along with fellow leading owner Graham Roach, Barber bought Just A Par from Nagle…”
His 40 Leading Prospects have certainly paid off in recent seasons; Faugheen was the shining light, but he unearthed some corkers in the form of Clondow Kaempfer, Court Minstrel and Very Wood showing that he certainly delves a little deeper when trying to unearth a prospect. But away from Paul’s Leading Prospects; Nick Schofield, Jane Mangan, Brendan Powell and Irish point-to-point champion, Jamie Codd offer their thoughts on horses to follow, which is already paying dividends with one of Jane’s five to follow scoring already, Sizing Italy. Experts Forum Q&A Session, a feature that this year involves Gina Bryce, Nick Robson and Rory Delargy is worth the £9.95 alone. Rory’s answers in particular, not only because it offers him the opportunity to declare his love for Knockara Beau, but one response sees him open with “This is something of a bee in my bonnet…” With Jumpers To Follow going from strength to strength year on year, trainers are open with Paul when it comes to discussing their charges. He calls it a whistle stop tour around the yards of the country, but if you want to keep track of the many number of bumper horses that no doubt made his long list in May, then they’ll be within these 34 pages. Before the season gets into full swing, this book is well worth the price of a placepot. You’ll no doubt whittle his 40 down to 10 when Tote Ten To Follow competition time comes around, and curse when one of the other 30 does you on the line in the Neptune Novices Hurdle. Even throughout the season it’ll be a valuable reference point when it comes to picking out those handicap plots, and with over 300 horses mentioned in the book, they’ll be plenty. On a completely unrelated note, you’re still missing a Green and Gold section Paul. Anyway, while waiting for Paul’s book to arrive, my five to follow from the 300+ horses that get a mention in Paul’s book are: Carraig Mor, Gilgamboa, Jollyallan, One Track Mind and The Tullow Tank. Who makes your five? Let’s have a discussion in the Comments below…. Jumpers To Follow is available from www.cc-publishing.co.uk and www.weatherbysshop.co.