DAQMAN’S ‘TEN’ FOR £250,000 HORSES-TO-FOLLOW COUP: Established stars, sequences horses and lightly weighted improvers. Whether you are playing the Ten To Follow game or not, this is the mix you want for winning money over jumps between now and the Grand National.

They say history repeats itself. Well, I’d be reasonably happy with that, but would prefer a slight historical glitch in the Hennessy Gold Cup record of seven years ago. About one and a half lengths in fact!

Cast your mind back if you will to the Hennessy of November 2004 when a horse called Ollie Magern, a six-year-old trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, is beaten only that length and a half, runner-up off a rating of 146 (the winner was on 142).

Now Ollie’s full brother, Billie Magern, currently on 139, has been left in among the lightweights for both the Hennessy and for Saturday’s Paddy Power Gold Cup, hoping to get a run.

I can see him making a name for himself this season when the ground is on top, having returned to the track in winning form at Cheltenham earlier this month.

I’m including ‘Billie’ in a list of 10, geared to winning the Racing Post Ten To Follow competition. From a Lucky Seven I gave earlier, Alfa Beat, Fingal Bay and Highland Valley are not in the competition list. So I need six more for the ‘Ten.’

I think you must have the champion trio of Big Buck’s, Hurricane Fly and Long Run, with short odds that two of the three – maybe all three, but unlikely – will retain their big-race crowns, pulling in bonus points.

But improvers such as Billie Magern, and my two other youngsters, First Lieutenant and Dan Breen, are sequence horses at a lower level (good for points) or surprise winners in key races at big prices (even better for bonus points).

The survivors of my original seven are Bostons Angel, Mon Parrain, Thousand Stars and Zarkanda, which I summarise in the revised list given below:-

Big Buck’s After 12 straight wins, the triple World Hurdle champion has already seen off the likes of Grands Crus, and we remember that, though Baracouda’s reign ended at eight years old, Inglis Drever was still winning the title at nine.

Billie Magern That’s the one. After four consecutive wins in novice chases, he was down the field in the Kim Muir but his rating peaked after a comeback win at Cheltenham last month and more improvement can now be expected of a horse who has in fact landed a four-timer twice in his career.

Bostons Angel The RSA winner has courage in abundance. On both good ground and heavy, it was his determination that got him home, usually by less than a length. Forget his comeback run with the stable out of form.

Dan Breen Reckoned a sure-fire improver for David Pipe. Seemingly disappointing in the Arkle (seventh) at Cheltenham and in the Maghull Novices at Aintree but had a lot of filling out to do. Still only six.

First Lieutenant has never been out of the frame. Winner of the Neptune over hurdles at Cheltenham in March, he’s already had three runs since the beginning of October, improving every time, significantly reversing a defeat by De Valira.

He’ll be another points-earning sequence horse, definitely with a run before Christmas and, in the words of trainer Mouse Morris, won’t be taking on the big guns at this stage.

Hurricane Fly Six wins in a row, and 11 out of 13, the Champion Hurdle winner – it was his eighth Grade 1 success, jumping superbly – is not going to let go of the crown in a hurry. Acts on any going.

Long Run Never out of the first three, with 12 wins from 18 starts, he became the first six-year-old to win the Gold Cup since Mill House in 1963, a horse obliged to live in the shadow of the mighty Arkle.

There are no Arkles to worry Long Run, who was equally at home on the flat track at Kempton Park, winning the King George in devastating style.

Mon Parrain On only his second start in England, and only five years old, was made favourite for the Topham on the back of a fast-run 22-length Sandown slaughter of the opposition on his debut here.

Though only five, Mon Parrain was the ‘moral’ at Aintree, giving 16lb and being beaten only four lengths by the course specialist Always Waining. He looked the winner a long way out, seemingly only having to stand up, when he went out like the proverbial light and was hauled in by that long Aintree straight.

Thousand Stars The principal danger to Big Buck’s could be Thousand Stars who improved to land the French 3m championship at Auteuil, having bettered his fourth in the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle when runner-up to Hurricane Fly in the Punchestown equivalent, so not out of any contest between 2m and 3m.

Zarkandar The Azamour winner of the Triumph Hurdle and then the Aintree equivalent is the home hope most likely to upset the status quo on the Champion Hurdle scene.

His big double was previously achieved by the likes of Katchit and Binocular, and what Ten To Follow punters will hope is to see him take a different winning (sequence?) route to Cheltenham, avoiding Hurricane Run and Thousand Stars, all three to build up trial successes.

BET 5pts win SOMMERSTURM (1.20 Huntingdon)
BET 10.4pts win (nap) RUN TO FLY (1.40 Lingfield)
BET 8pts win ROYAL MILE (3.30 Sedgefield)
LAY to win 10pts CLAUDE CARTER (4.00 Sedgefield)

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