A PROVEN method of keeping the gloom of winter at bay is the spectacle of horses jumping fences at national hunt meetings.
An entry in the tote 10 to follow competition gives added interest. There are monthly prizes and the overall winner will pocket almost half a million pounds when the contest closes on April 9, 2005.
Entries cost £10 each and must arrive no later than Wednesday, November 10, so now is the time to select 10 horses from the list available on totetentofollow.co.uk
As points are awarded according to the value of the race, success is more likely by choosing horses who have winning chances in the major jump races of the season.
The following selections are nominated to gain points:
Azertyuiop started this season last week when beating Seebald at Exeter on soft ground, after running keenly in the early stages of the race. The BHB handicapper Phil Smith described the performance in the same league as when Best Mate won his third successive Gold Cup. Sure to feature in top-class two-mile events, this horse will be difficult to beat.
Dancing Bay is a versatile performer who finished second in the Grade Three Swinton Handicap at Haydock Park in May and will continue to pay his way this season. Grey Abbey made all to win the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby last Saturday and his spectacular front-running displays will see him in the winners enclosure again.
Ollie Magern has already won twice this season in novice chasing company for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies. This Alderbrook gelding is effective over trips from two-miles five-furlongs and above with more improvement to come.
Paddy The Piper is trained by Lenny Lungo and the seven-year-old finished last season unbeaten over hurdles. His campaign finished at Kelso, in a Grade Two event, when beating the useful Steppes Of Gold.
Rigmarole made a successful seasonal debut at Kempton on October 23. The Fairy King gelding won four hurdle races last season and may emerge as a leading contender for the Champion Hurdle crown at Cheltenham in March.
Strong Flow could not have been more impressive when winning the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup at Newbury last November by 14 lengths. The gelding followed this up with another easy victory at Kempton Park last Boxing Day. Injury ruled this classy individual out for the rest of the season and, hopefully, a full recovery will enable his successful chasing career to continue at the highest level.
Swansea Bay has reverted to hurdles for his last two outings, winning at Perth and finishing second at Hereford on October 17. The gelding looked very progressive when landing the Edward Hanmer Chase at Hay-dock Park 12 months ago.
Therealbandit ran up a sequence of wins before his lack of experience against more experienced campaigners was exposed last season at Cheltenham. Given the opportunity to progress gradually he could be a top-class chaser in the making.
Tyneandthyneagain is a dour stayer who relishes soft ground. The gelding put in a game front-running performance in the Tote Eider Chase at Newcastle in February and is worthy of support in marathon events when the ground is soft over the coming months.