Beat That among our National Hunt horses to look out for

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As the nights get shorter, and the mercury plummets, fans of jumps racing will be rubbing their hands with glee as they look to shortlist their selections for their ‘10 to Follow’.

Luckily for those struggling, here at Ladbrokes News we have pinpointed a plucky quintet that could be in for a decent season over the obstacles.

Read on for our selections and why they could be worth following in the season ahead.

Beat That

The form of Beat That’s maiden win at Ascot back in November last year certainly looks good now. 10-lengths runner-up Champagne West won his next three before finishing third in the Albert Bartlett, while the next six home have won 10 times between them.

The sole blemish on the record of Nicky Henderson’s charge was when making a big mistake at the last to throw away victory in a Sandown Group 2. However he did right that wrong when running out an easy winner in the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.

With the look and breeding of a chaser, bright things could be in store over the larger obstacles in years to come, but for this season, a crack at the World Hurdle, for which he is a 10/1 shot, looks the ultimate aim.

Djakadam

Willie Mullins’ charge was two from two over the larger obstacles before he lined up in the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He was going well before falling four out, tarnishing his unbeaten record.

He previously had subsequent duel Graded winner Bright New Dawn behind him in the Killiney Novices’ Chase in January and will surely pick up some big prizes over the course of the season.

The Hennessey Gold Cup could be the starting point this season, with the King George likely to be the main target, with the five-year-old a 33/1 shot for glory on Boxing Day.

Altior

This one has to be filed in the ‘could be anything’ camp, but we certainly like what we saw in this one’s only racecourse appearance.

Leading from start to finish, Nico de Boinville had to fight the hard-pulling son of High Chaparral in the early stages, before the pair pulled away with significant ease to run up a 14 length victory in a Market Rasen bumper.

That form is admittedly nothing special, but the instantaneous and devastating turn of foot Nicky Henderson’s gelding displayed that day marks this one down as a real possibility for the 2015 Supreme Novices Hurdle.

Fingal Bay

Having been beaten just once over timber, a switch to fences was shrouded in enthusiasm and he looked like being a useful chaser, finishing a respectable four lengths behind Dynaste when giving him 5lbs.

A subsequent run saw him crash out through the railings at Exeter, and subsequent injuries put paid to his 2013.

A return over the smaller obstacles in January show the spark is still there for Philip Hobbs’ horse, with victory off top weight in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham a courageous and battling effort.

Whether he stays over the hurdles, or has a second crack at chasing is yet to be seen, but he will be winning races this season.

Creepy

A Grade 2 winner over hurdles, his form tailed off towards the latter end of last season, culminating in a limp effort in the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival, beaten a whopping 64 lengths.

However, a switch to fences could be the making of this son of Westerner. He certainly looked impressive when running out an easy 20 length winner at Chepstow last month, jumping like a stag throughout the contest.

If reproducing that sort of performance consistently into next spring, a decent placing in the RSA Chase could be within reach for Martin Keighley’s charge.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.