With the Jumps season nearly upon us, I took some time out last week to catch up with trainer Jamie Snowden to discuss his team of horses.
Jamie had some big winners last season, with Ga Law winning the Paddy Power Gold Cup and You Wear It Well winning the Mares Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham. He was kind enough to discuss the plans for his stable stars this season and tell me more about his latest exciting recruit, who will run in the Royal colours.
After a record-breaking 2022/23 season for Folly House, Jamie comes into the new season with a number of winners already under his belt and with some serious potential in the yard. The team have started well and the soft ground that seems to have come early this season has enabled them to get some of their runners out a little earlier than usual. Jamie seems more than ready to go to battle, he has some clear Cheltenham Festival aspirations and I cannot wait to see how his horses get on this year.
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Jamie Snowden and I have put together a quickfire look at some of his 2023/24 runners, so that you can familiarise yourself with his squad ready for the up and coming season. It's worth reading through them before you watch the video. Also, don’t forget to have your trackers ready, because at the end of the episode, Jamie gives us three dark horses to follow for the season.
Ga Law is a very nice horse who enjoyed a fine season last year. He won the 2022 Paddy Power Gold Cup and he also finished fifth in a very deep Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He is a wonderful traveller, who finished the season on a mark of 152 and there could still be more improvement to come from him during the 2023/24 season.
Interestingly, a possible starting point for him is the West Yorkshire Hurdle late October before deciding whether to take a chance on running him in the Hennessy Gold Cup at the end of November. He is currently running off a mark where staying over Hurdles could be an option and Jamie has not ruled out a crack at the Stayers’ Hurdle in March. Whichever path he takes this season, Ga Law is definitely one to keep on side.
Datsalrighgino is another lovely horse, who has done really well since switching to fences and now has an official rating of 149 after winning a Grade 2 at Aintree to finish last season. He seemingly improved for the step up to 2m 4f, despite being a very speedy type and was sent off favourite for the Handicap Plate at the Cheltenham Festival, but probably found the ground too soft.
The plan seems to be to start off over 2m 4f this season, possibly in the Old Roan Chase and then go from there. He could then go down the Paddy Power Gold Cup route, like his stablemate Ga Law, if all goes to plan. However, the weather will have a big part to play in the decision-making process and the Hennessy is another possible option for him.
After winning the Mares’ Novice Hurdle at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, You Wear It Well has plenty of options open to her this coming season. She won the Mares’ under a penalty and not only did she beat the Mullins and Elliott runners, she pulled clear up the hill and evidently has bags of stamina.
She is a seriously talented mare who has loads of scope for improvement and Jamie seems to like the idea of sticking to the Mares’ programme this season, with the target again being Cheltenham. She will probably start at Wetherby, then go to Warwick before we get to see her at Cheltenham in March.
Colonel Harry is a lovely six-year-old who is going to go Chasing this season. He is a big imposing type, who finished fourth in the Tolworth, then second in a Grade 2 behind Feronily, who has a massive engine, so the form looks good.
He is an excellent traveller, but two miles on soft looks to be his optimum conditions and Jamie has no firm plans for him at the moment. Potentially, he could go to the King Henry Novice Chase in early December, before the team decide on the latter part of the season.
Six-year-old Guinness Affair is a very likeable horse who doesn’t seem to know when he is beaten. He has won seven of his 10 races and has only gone up 2lb for his most recent win, so there could still be plenty more to come from him. He has a mark of 129, which is very workable and he’s sure to do plenty more winning. Guinness Affair is definitely one to keep on side this season.
Sea The Clouds is currently seeking a hat trick, following on from his recent win at Warwick off a mark of 113, which seems very fair for him. He’s a really honest horse who looks like he is going to continue improving this coming season and who seems to thrive when he gets into a battle. He is still learning on the job at the moment, but he’s open to plenty off a very lenient mark.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing runners for Jamie Snowden this season will be Reach For The Moon, who is jointly-owned by HM The King and HM The Queen. During his career on the Flat he reached a rating of 114 when finishing second at Royal Ascot and was also the Derby favourite at one stage.
Regrettably, he suffered an injury which scuppered his chances of reaching his potential on the Flat, so he is now going to be campaigned over Hurdles instead. There are no specific races that Jamie has his sights on at this stage, he’ll just be aiming for a nice Novice Hurdle introduction to see how he takes to the new discipline. No reason why he shouldn't with the class he possesses.
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