PUNTERS and pundits across Britain are picking horses to follow between now and next spring during the National Hunt season. The top horses have started making seasonal reappearances and everyone is full of hope and expectation.
So which horses do I think might be the standouts in coming months? Here are a few that should be fun to support, some of them with particular connections to Cheshire.
Amberleigh House: He may turn 13 years on January 1 but don't be surprised if the Grand National winner and apple of trainer Ginger Mc-Cain's eye is still in the headlines. Anything is possible when this veteran - trained at Cholmondeley - races at Aintree.
Our Vic: Champion Trainer Martin Pipe would have people believe that he doesn't have many good horses. Don't be fooled. This could be his best. Watch out for him in the first major steeplechase of the season at Cheltenham - the Paddy Power Gold Cup on November 13.
Comply Or Die: Another Pipe inmate and a hugely impressive winner at Bangor-on-Dee last month. A narrow defeat at Cheltenham last week in only his second race over fences shouldn't put anyone off backing him for the novices' 'Gold Cup' - the Royal & SunAlliance Chase back at Cheltenham in March.
Paddy The Piper: Trained by Len Lungo in Scotland for top Scottish jumps owners Mr & Mrs Ray Green, this seven-year-old will go chasing some superb wins over hurdles.
Bear On Board: Trainer Alan King's hope for the Grand National. His win at Bangor-on-Dee last December advertised just what a good staying chaser he is.