Horses to observe for the 2022/23 Nationwide Hunt season: Fergal O’Brien


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  • With the 2022/23 jumps season now reaching full stream, we’re all searching for some horses to observe this winter and Fergal O’Brien’s stables are packed stuffed with equine expertise.

    After combining forces with fellow Cotswolds coach Graeme McPherson, Fergal despatched out a document 128 winners final season, passing the £1million prize cash mark for the primary time. H&H went behind the scenes with the Ravenswell crew to seek out out among the secrets and techniques to the crew’s success (which you’ll learn in Horse & Hound journal difficulty, dated 20 October) and listed below are some insights as to their horses to observe in the course of the 2022/23 Nationwide Hunt season.

    Fergal O’Brien’s horses to observe: Hullnback

    “We went to Chepstow for his first begin [last season] having not likely finished a terrific deal at house,” explains Fergal of the primary of his horses to observe. “He’s owned by a terrific bunch of lads from Hull they usually had been actually eager to again him and I used to be making an attempt to calm them down!

    “Evan Williams had a few runners and he doesn’t have many in bumpers so I used to be pondering {that a} high six end could be a terrific end result and I used to be telling them that. We rode him like that and [jockey] Paddy Brennan mentioned as soon as he gave him a squeeze turning into the straight he simply took off. It does occur generally that horses that present little or no at house simply mild up on the observe. For a bumper horse he completely galloped via the road and I used to be simply pondering ‘jeez’.

    “We then went to Newbury for a Listed bumper and it simply didn’t work as properly for us dropping him in that day,” says Fergal of the son of Schiaparelli. “The house owners took it on the chin and we went to Aintree after that as he’s a giant uncooked horse and he ran a screamer.”

    Captain Cattistock

    “He might nonetheless be on a great mark,” says Fergal of Nic Brereton’s nine-year-old, who completed third in his season opener on the Cheltenham Showcase Assembly (22 October). “His first goal would be the Edinburgh Nationwide [at Musselburgh in February]] as soon as once more. We’ll see how we go there and I’d like to get him into the Grand Nationwide. Nic Brereton who owns him and sponsors me has at all times dreamed of getting a runner in that race, so it could be beautiful if we might try this.”

    Paint The Dream

    “He was smashing final yr and we’ve received a little bit of a divided camp on whether or not he’ll keep or he gained’t keep, our solely method to discover out is hopefully aiming him for the Hennessy [Coral Gold Cup] at Newbury after which we’ll see the place we go from there,” says Fergal of the eight-year-old chaser, a son of Brian Boru owned by David Brace.

    Horses to observe: hurdler Poetic Music

    “She was sixth within the Champion Bumper when it went very heavy; she desires a bit of sentimental floor nevertheless it was very gentle that day,” says Fergal. “She travelled very well down the hill and didn’t fairly come again up it, however she’s solely a four-year-old and she or he ran a blinder. She’s come again in trying a monster and hopefully we will transfer ahead together with her this season, she’ll go over hurdles.”


    “He’s a stunning horse and he’s from a pleasant leaping household,” says Fergal of Grant Leon’s five-year-old, purchased from The Queen. “Charlie Longsdon was only a bit unlucky with him and it didn’t occur for him there and once we received him we had been capable of give him a break as a result of that’s what he wanted.

    “Paddy Brennan was excellent at him at Warwick the primary time and I assumed he was excellent at Newbury final time. I assumed going to the final there that we’d be second, however he completely winged it and put his head down and actually tried. He desires a little bit of reduce within the floor and two and a half miles minimal, however hopefully there’s a pleasant race in him someplace.”

    Horses to follow: Fergal O'Brien's string schooling at Ravenswell in the Cotswolds


    “She was nice for us final yr and she or he’s three from three, she received a coronary heart murmur but when we will get that proper she’s received an enormous engine,” says Fergal. “She’s received a terrific temperament and does every part you’d need her to do, we simply have to recover from that coronary heart murmur. She actually lives with an ECG machine on her and it’s thus far so good.”

    Fergal O’Brien’s horses to observe: Silver Hallmark

    “Nothing went proper for him final yr, he was both proper after which the bottom was improper or the bottom was proper and he wasn’t,” reveals Fergal of the subsequent of his horses to observe, an eight-year-old chaser by Shirocco. “He’s a stunning horse and he’s received an enormous engine in him, he beat McFabulous on his first hurdle run at Chepstow and I in all probability haven’t positioned him the perfect since, however he’s gained a Grade Two Chase for us [Altcar Novices’ Chase] at Haydock Park. On his day he’s excellent and I believe he’s received stronger this yr. I believe if we will get a couple of extra runs into him, there’s a great race in him.”

    Pull Once more Inexperienced

    “He was a celebrity for us final season and he’ll go novice chasing this time period,” says Fergal of the six-year-old, who completed third at Cheltenham’s Showcase Assembly (21 October). “Paddy wished to stay over hurdles with him however he’s such a great jumper that I simply felt that handicap hurdles could be a bit robust for him. He’s a giant lovely horse so fingers crossed he makes up into a pleasant chaser.”


    “We name him the money cow, as a result of he’s gained six for us and he’s been positioned in all of his different races!” says Fergal of the seven-year-old. “He’s been a terrific horse for us this summer time, however I can’t see him going an excessive amount of additional into the season. He’s very simple although and a pleasure to coach.”

    Horses to observe: hurdler Shallow River

    “He’ll need additional in time and I believe he confirmed that in his bumper win at Wincanton,” says Fergal of Mick Fitzgerald Racing Membership’s Ocovango six-year-old. “He was excellent in his hurdle race at Huntingdon [in January], so he’s a stunning horse.”


    “[Jockey] Connor Brace mentioned he was by no means going to get beat that day [at Huntingdon in March], so he’s actually thrilling,” says Fergal of the final of his horses to observe this season, a five-year-old, owned by Sullivan Bloodstock Ltd and Chris Giles. “He jumps very well and I’m trying ahead to him.”

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