The return of the jumps is fast approaching, with the Paddock Picks team looking forward to the National Hunt season already.
Our squad of writers have thrown their bold shouts out there, in hope of landing a big-odds gamble heading into the new Jumps season.
Here are another three brave but interesting predictions our team have made.
Latest Exhibition could be a Grade 1 winner at Cheltenham – but over hurdles
In a normal year in the novice chase division, Paul Nolan’s Latest Exhibition could have surely guaranteed success in Grade 1 competition over fences – but he was unfortunate to move into the frame at the same time as the talented Monkfish.
The rivalry between the two runners formed after the Albert Bartlett back in 2020, after Willie Mullins’ gelding just prevailed in the three-mile novice hurdle by a neck and Nolan’s gelding has suffered defeat to him on two occasions over the larger obstacles since.
The eight-year-old swerved the Cheltenham Festival for that reason and competed in the Irish Grand National instead, finishing fifth. Latest Exhibition clearly has some staying power and there have been whispers that he could be tried over hurdles once again – with the Stayers’ Hurdle potentially being a target.
His price for the contest is hovering around the 33/1 mark, and he could well be one to watch out if his connections opt for the smaller obstacles this season.
Nube Negra could be one to note in the Champion Chase – if the ground is soft
Nube Negra delivered arguably his best performance to date in last season’s Champion Chase, running on well to close the gap to half a length behind Put The Kettle On to finish second in the two-mile chase.
Dan Skelton’s recruit burst onto the scene in December, when overturning Altior in style in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton during the festive period.
Both of those runs came with some cut in the ground and if we do have a wet March, he could be bang in the frame for the Champion Chase once again.
Nube Negra’s price of 25/1 currently looks huge value and it might be worth taking a chance on him and whether the rain hits Prestbury Park in the spring months.
Classic Getaway has the staying ability for the Albert Bartlett
With the news breaking in the week that Classic Getaway will be going novice hurdling this season, attention now turns to the potential Cheltenham contests he could feature in come March.
With only one start under his belt, it’s not clear what level the five-year-old is at after he obliterated his rivals in a 2m4f bumper at Tipperary back in May.
The one thing to note from that contest was his staying ability and it makes sense that connections are opting to go straight over fences instead of running in the Champion Bumper.
Classic Getaway’s pedigree does suggest that he will stay the three-mile trip for the Albert Bartlett and it could potentially be the target, with his price of 25/1 holding some appeal currently.