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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Vote now: who will you choose to be Jumps Horse of the Year?

Native River (left) gets the better of Might Bite in a thrilling finish to this year's Cheltenham Gold Cup
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The Racing Post is delighted to have once again teamed up with Sandown Park to stage the 2017-18 Jumps Horse of the Year award.

Seven worthy nominees have been shortlisted, including the gallant Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Native River and the versatile Grand National hero Tiger Roll, with the winner determined by the vote of Racing Post readers before the award is presented at the bet365 Jump Finale at Sandown Park on Saturday, April 28.

Completing the line-up are a trio of Nicky Henderson stars – dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D'Air, Champion Chase hero Altior, and the incomparable Might Bite, as well as Ruth Jefferson’s exciting young prospect Waiting Patiently, and the Paul Nicholls-trained Politologue, last seen narrowly beating Min in a thrilling finish to the Melling Chase at Aintree.

To cast your vote for your Racing Post Jumps Horse of the Year, simply visit by midnight on Tuesday (April 24). All voters will be automatically entered into a prize draw to win a pair of tickets to see the award presented at Sandown a week on Saturday.

8yo owned by Mrs Patricia Pugh

The power-packed surge he produced at the business end of the Champion Chase encapsulates everything to be admired in Altior. Having been kept off the track by a wind operation until Newbury in February, he overcame an 11th-hour lameness scare at Cheltenham to preserve his unbeaten record over fences, a sphere in which no horse has ever been within four lengths of him at the line.

Altior: unbeaten chaser

Buveur D’Air 
7yo owned by JP McManus

Unbeaten all season, Buveur D’Air took his career collection of Grade 1s to six with wins in the Fighting Fifth, Kempton’s Christmas Hurdle and a second success in the Champion Hurdle. What we learned at Cheltenham is that, along with the slick jumping and the Rolls-Royce engine, Nicky Henderson’s classy campaigner had the guts to get down and fight in defence of his crown when pushed all the way up the hill by Melon.

Barry Geraghty celebrates after winning the 2018 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on Buveur D'Air

Might Bite
9yo owned by The Knot Again Partnership

If a truly memorable Gold Cup counts as a blemish, it was an otherwise perfect season for Might Bite, who won the King George and Aintree Bowl like a horse who should be champion. What's more, the quirks that made him famous last season were nowhere to be seen.

Native River
8yo owned by Brocade Racing

He ran only twice, but that was all that was required. Native River put up a Gold Cup display where every facet of his bold jumping, stamina and guts was required to repel the otherwise irresistible Might Bite. Jockey Richard Johnson, set to be champion for a third time, wasn't bad either.

7yo owned by John Hales

Seasons that span the Haldon Gold Cup all the way to Aintree are an increasing rarity these days, but Politologue managed it, along the way beating Fox Norton and Min to record Grade 1 victories in the Tingle Creek and Melling Chase. He might not end the season with quite as many admirers as Altior, but he'll have plenty more than he started with.

Politologue: finished his season with victory in the Melling Chase at Aintree

Tiger Roll
8yo owned by Gigginstown House Stud

For sheer versatility it is hard to think of a horse in the modern era that matches Gordon Elliott’s second Grand National winner. Tiger Roll warmed up for Liverpool with a stylish success in the Cross Country Chase at Cheltenham, adding to previous festival wins in the four-miler and the Triumph Hurdle. And how he battled to repel Pleasant Company up the Aintree run-in.

Tiger Roll: Grand National winner is the definition of versatile performer

Waiting Patiently
7yo owned by Richard Collins

A monument to the unhurried skill of his late trainer Malcolm Jefferson, Waiting Patiently outpointed Cue Card in a thrilling Ascot Chase on only his sixth start over fences. Victory came just 15 days after the popular Jefferson had died at the age of 71 and, amid the outpouring of emotion, his daughter Ruth showed plenty of inherited determination to do what she felt was right by the horse when shunning a trip to the festival.

Waiting Patiently: won at Ascot just 15 days after the death of his trainer Malcolm Jefferson

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He might not end the season with quite as many admirers as Altior, but he'll have plenty more than he started with
E.W. Terms
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