A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Summer Jump Racing rarely produces a star of the future. The leading lights of the National Hunt scene are normally on vacation at this time of the year, out in the field. The likes of Sprinter Sacre, Bobs Worth and Hurricane Fly are likely to be laying in the long grass, still months away from entering into the new campaign. An overwhelming majority of March and April Festival winners started their Jumps Racing season in October, November or even December of 2012. Simonsig didn’t jumps a fence until a few days before Christmas. Just occasionally a star of the Winter can be seen competing at this time, with the sun on his or her back. Last year’s summer action saw Countrywide Flame strutting his stuff on the Flat, in preparation for a stunning winter jumps season. There’s often a chance that a decent bumper horse may have a run in July or August over in Ireland, taking advantage of the better ground. But horses such as Baily Green are rare. He started his education over fences during the Spring and Summer of 2012, culminating in a stunning Cheltenham Festival runner-up slot in the Arkle Chase. Roscommon and Limerick are unlikely places to spot a Winter Festival contender, but he proved that on occasion it can happen. He clearly enjoyed the better ground, and went on to run a career best when it mattered. So to this summer. Whilst messrs O’Brien, Bolger, Stoute and Gosden take centre-stage, and rightly monopolize the attention of race fans, have any Jump Racing trainers unleashed a future star, sneaking one along the rail, relatively unnoticed to a distracted eye? Next week Killarney hold their Summer Jumps meeting. The likes of Willie Mullins, Noel Meade and Jessica Harrington will have runners. One of these in particular has a very interesting runner, having already shown a good level of ability. Beachdale Lad is due to run on Tuesday in the Christy McSweeney Memorial Novice Chase. Trained by Jess Harrington he is 2/2 over fences, having won both in impressive fashion. He was a fair sort over hurdles, but by Carroll House out of a Over The River mare, his future always lay over fences. Of course, he could prove to be no more than a decent Summer jumper. But he looks likely to add to his two wins over the coming months, and who knows what may lie ahead. Another horse that has caught my eye over recent weeks is Benemeade. Trained by Noel Meade, sired by Beneficial, out of yet another Over The River mare, he has been winning novice hurdles. At Wexford and earlier this week at Roscommon, he showed a great attitude to win. He should stay further and again should be even better over a fence. Dreaming of Cheltenham Festival winners at this time of year may seem strange to many. But Summer meetings at Killarney and soon at Galway, are to be enjoyed by Jumps Racing fans no matter what level of horse competes. Whilst the Flat season rightly makes the headlines at this time of year, Jumps fans can still get their ‘kicks’, and maybe on a barmy summers evening, dream of glorious Winter winners that lie ahead.