How do you introduce a book in a few words that in itself has an Introduction twenty pages long? Twenty! Perhaps that says enough about the depth and quality you can expect from the new annual? Impossible job? You may as well just skip to the bottom and buy it now! It’s that good. But we’re nothing if not game, so here goes;
The 1,056-page masterwork ‘Chasers & Hurdlers 2016/17’ is the forty-second in the series of Timeform Jumps Annuals which have come to be regarded as the definitive record of the winter game. Lavishly illustrated with photographs of the top races in Britain and Ireland and specially-commissioned posed portraits of many of the leading performers, ‘Chasers & Hurdlers’ deals individually, in alphabetical sequence, with no fewer than 8,890 horses, including every one that ran over jumps in Britain in the 2016/17 season. The individual commentaries range from a few lines on some of the lesser lights to multi-page essays on the top horses – up to nineteen in the case of Grand National winner One For Arthur.
As well as being a permanent record, and a source of entertaining reading, ‘Chasers & Hurdlers’ is also designed to be of practical value in winner-finding. Look up any horse and you have a unique insight in just a few seconds into its form – measured by the all-important Timeform rating - and its racing character, including its distance and going requirements. Timeform ratings and analysis are unrivalled for their accuracy and they make ‘Chasers & Hurdlers’ a must for any punter with ambitions to make their racing pay! The commentaries give valuable pointers to the future, while the extended essays provide more detailed accounts of champions’ careers, as well as discussing current issues in racing and recalling similar achievements from the past.
Every historic moment that held us enthusiasts captive once again throughout the last racing year is uniquely chronicled in 'Chasers & Hurdlers’, including the first ever completion of the Irish Gold Cup/Cheltenham Gold Cup/Punchestown Gold Cup treble in the same campaign by Sizing John. The legendary Arkle (212!) features again, recounting the story of his final race – the 1966 King George – within the essay on the latest winner Thistlecrack. ‘Himself’ was the first horse to have a race named after him at the Cheltenham Festival, with the latest edition won by the brilliant Altior, unbeaten in eleven starts over jumps and only the third novice to be named Timeform Horse of the Year since the start of the 'Chasers & Hurdlers' series – helping Nicky Henderson to a fourth trainer’s championship and fifty-eight Festival winners.
The Gordon Elliott v Willie Mullins battle for the Irish championship features in the essay on Apple’s Jade, as well as coverage of Michael O’Leary’s decision to move sixty Gigginstown horses from the latter at the start of the season. The book always tackles controversial issues in the sport and never pulls its punches. It examines the bleak financial state for run-of-the-mill Irish trainers (Empire Of Dirt), recalcitrant starters (Labaik), whip bans at the Festival (Minella Rocco), Aintree’s Grand National identity crisis, the rumpus over the BHA’s handicapping of Irish horses (Presenting Percy), the proposed closure of Kempton (Thistlecrack) and implications for racing of Brexit (Valseur Lido). The list goes on. And on.
‘Chasers & Hurdlers’ has something for everyone, whether you’re the champion trainer or a keen amateur who follows the game as a hobby. Whatever your angle on racing, the annual represents great value and is a jumps fan’s dream. It’s out on Sat Oct 7th. Order yours today!