Richard Birch says Saint Roi could spring some surprises in Tote Ten To Follow
The beauty of the Tote Ten To Follow is that players get the opportunity to win a significant sum for a small outlay by selecting a string of their favourite horses.
It is basically a ‘fun bet’ with the potential to create a whirlwind of excitement through the long, dark days of winter to its conclusion in the spring.
You can enter the £150,000 Tote Ten To Follow here
My team is built around top-class horses who have the ability to accrue plenty of points in Grade 1 and 2 contests and the vital bonus races.
Chacun Pour Soi was my strong fancy for the Queen Mother Champion Chase last March until he suffered an injury on the eve of the great race.
The manner in which he disposed of Defi Du Seuil at Punchestown in May 2019 remains fresh in the memory.
Envoi Allen “will win everything”, according to a punting pal of mine. Who am I to disagree! There’s more than just a sprinkling of stardust over this supremely talented six-year-old, who seems sure to accrue a bumper haul of points for supporters.
Another unbeaten Irish-trained superstar, Honeysuckle, is still only six, and her versatility in terms of trip means she will have the option of the Champion Hurdle or Mares’ Hurdle once again at Cheltenham.
Prior to the festival there will be Grade 1 events on home soil, the Hatton’s Grace and Irish Champion Hurdle, to aim for.
Lostintranslation has relatively low mileage for an eight-year-old, and last season’s Gold Cup third is sure to be placed to significant advantage by the Tizzard team before his date at Cheltenham.
Minella Indo is another top-class staying chaser who merits inclusion. He ran a mighty race against Champ in the RSA Chase last season, and the best is most emphatically still to come as he steps out of novice company.
The majority view among entrants is likely to be that either Epatante, Goshen or Abacadabras should be selected as their ‘Champion Hurdle horse’.
I’ll swim against the tide by advocating the claims of the Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old Saint Roi, impressive winner of the County Hurdle last term and open to any amount of improvement.
He very much looked the part on his Tipperary reappearance and boasts star potential.
Talking of stars, I have loved Shishkin from the day he destroyed a Kempton bumper field in the style of a horse destined for the top.
Plenty went wrong for him but he still managed to outgun Abacadabras in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle to confirm that impression and I can’t wait to see him resume his progress this campaign.
Who wins the Stayers’ Hurdle? I’ll give an early shout for dual Pertemps hero Sire Du Berlais, a horse ideally suited to the demands of a fast-run stamina test at Cheltenham.
His victory in the three-mile handicap in March under 11st 12lb was one of the best weight-carrying performances of the entire campaign.
The sky is the limit over fences for The Big Breakaway, who simply oozes class. Expect him to mop up in novice chases prior to Cheltenham.
Siruh Du Lac is only seven, and looks the type with whom David Pipe will excel this season. He has already achieved plenty, with his Plate win at Cheltenham the highlight, but you get the distinct impression the best is still to come. He will surely improve further when stepped up to 3m and he completes the list.
I hope you have as much fun compiling your list as I have.
RICHARD BIRCH'S TEN TO FOLLOW
Chacun Pour Soi
Sire Du Berlais
Siruh Du Lac
The Big Breakaway
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