Just when you think the excitement is over! After an incredibly unpredictable flat season that had everything from shock results to superstars cementing their legendary status, you might think it is time to take a breather. In Ireland, however, there is no such thing when it comes to the sport of horse racing. Currently, the 2020/21 jumps season is upon us, and it's only just getting warmed up. However, meetings at the likes of Kempton on December 26th, Cheltenham in March, and the Grand National in April will surely be building excitement amongst fans. With that in mind, here are the classy nags that are set to make an impact in the next couple of months.
Tiger Roll started life as a flat horse, castaway by the Godolphin syndicate when they didn't think he would amount to anything substantial. Now, he's the toast of Ireland after winning back-to-back Grand Nationals, threatening Red Rum's record as one of the greatest stayers of all time. Trained by Gordon Elliott for Ireland's Gigginstown House Stud, there's no doubt Tiger Roll will have a couple of warm-up races before the big date. He's now aiming for his third consecutive Grand National crown at Aintree, and he's in with a great shout. The bookmakers already have him as short as 12-1 to make history, which, considering his experience and staying power, are low odds. Yes, Tiger Roll was beaten last time out by Easysland at Cheltenham, but he did finish second on a strange and difficult cross-country course.
Cyrname catapulted to fame after defeating the mighty Altior in the Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot in 2019, the first horse to come up against the Nicky Henderson-trained mount and win. Things died down a bit afterwards, and rumors surfaced that he wasn't a world-class horse because he couldn't handle a left-handed track. However, Cyrname put the doubts to bed in his last outing at Wetherby. Cantering from start to finish, he breezed to a two-length victory that put him at the top of the pile for the King George VI At Kempton in December. If he can win on the 26th, Cyrname will almost certainly go to the Cheltenham festival and compete for the Gold Cup. The horse racing betting certainly suggests he can, having placed him as 3-1 favorite against the current champion, Clan des Obeaux. It's the ultimate test of stamina and skill, but considering Cyrname's previous and current form, he could put his name in the history books.
Al Boum Photo
Irish hopes will be at fever pitch again when Al Boum Photo bids to become only the third horse to win triple Gold Cup crowns - Cottage Rake (1948-50), Arkle (1964-66) and Best Mate (2002-4). He has stiff competition in the face of Cyrname, who has already proven that he doesn't care about reputations, yet there's no denying Al Boum Photo's class. With Willie Mullins at the helm, the horse is in the best possible hands to make history, especially as he will take the same path as his last two victories at Cheltenham. A single run at Tramore on New Year's Day in the Savills Chase is all ABP has needed in the past, so there's no reason to break up a winning formula. All eyes will be on Tramore in the New Year as, if he runs well, it will set up a cracker on March 19th, 2021.
These athletes might not be dark horses, and they are certainly tried and tested, but all of them stand to make history, and that's the reason to chart their course for this season's jumps fixtures.