The early Jumps prizes are coming into view and our experts Graeme Rodway, Keith Melrose and Robbie Wilders have each provided three ante-post tips for punters to follow through the winter and into the spring.
There isn't a better trainer of a staying chaser than Paul Nicholls and he always brings his runners along slowly. It therefore tells you a lot about the natural ability that STAY AWAY FAY must possess as he became Nicholls' first ever winner of the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham.
Stay Away Fay was having just his third start under rules and stayed on strongly, relishing the uphill finish. There will be only one race for him at Cheltenham next year and that is the Brown Advisory as staying is his game and he won't be quick enough for the shorter races.
He finished fourth at Aintree in April on his final start of last campaign when a hard race at Cheltenham probably took the edge off him and after that Nicholls said: "He will be an awesome chaser".
He has trained enough good ones to know and 16/1 looks like a big price.
Experience is often key in the Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle and Let's Dance won it for Willie Mullins as a second-season novice in 2017.
PAWAPURI represents Nicky Henderson, but has a similar profile to Let's Dance, having been a highly-tried four-year-old who didn't win.
Henderson gave Pawapuri only two starts last season in a Grade 2 and then a Grade 1 and both runs came over hurdles. She was twice well beaten, but showed that she has lots of ability.
Her best run came on her hurdles debut in the Adonis at Kempton in February, when she was matched at a low of 4 in running from an SP of 10/1, but couldn't sustain the effort in fourth.
Henderson probably gave her those runs with one eye on preserving her novice status for this season and she should be able to put that experience to use before going on to this big prize.
JONBON wasn't quick enough to cope with El Fabiolo in the Arkle last season and I find it hard to believe that Nicky Henderson will want to take on that rival again over two miles.
With Shishkin having made a successful step up to 3m1f in the Bowl at Aintree, there is an opening in the two-and-a-half mile division for a horse from the Henderson stable and that is where Jonbon's future lies. His brother Douvan also got that far, so he is bred to stay the trip.
Don't be fooled by him winning a couple of Grade 1s over two miles in the spring. Those were weak races and Henderson loves easy pickings.
He took advantage of his chance, but when the big boys turn up, Henderson will look elsewhere and the Ryanair will catch his eye.
The Lancashire Chase always has a small field and at the time of writing there are only two horses confirmed as going for the race: defending champion PROTEKTORAT and Grand National winner Corach Rambler.
Plenty could join them. People are excited about Gerri Colombe coming over. Shishkin might try to cement his stamina for three miles. Paul Nicholls often uses the race to prep for the King George, which brings Bravemansgame into the equation. And do not forget L'Homme Presse either.
But none of them will have Haydock in late-November as a major target. That might even go for Corach Rambler, who by his trainer's own admission is just testing himself against the big boys on a justified venture into open company.
You know Protektorat will be primed for this. He has shown in the last two Gold Cups that 3m2f on a stiff track does not quite suit him as well as trips around 3m on flat tracks. He also jumps left, which means connections are seemingly reluctant to go for the King George.
Ante-post betting is often about identifying intent. When it comes to the first big Grade 1 for the staying chasers, no one will come close to how thoroughly Dan Skelton will prepare Protektorat, whose winning performance last season would demand any challengers would have to be right at the top of their game.
Before he started training Champion Hurdle winners and the like, the mark of Henry de Bromhead's horses was how well they jumped. Think Special Tiara, Put The Kettle On and Minella Indo, all of whom won their championship races with their jumping.
For that reason, I have been excited about INTHEPOCKET going over fences ever since I clapped eyes on him. Here is a chaser that on looks, is very much the sort of horse about whom you would say 'Anything he does over hurdles is a bonus' if you could keep a straight face while doing so.
Inthepocket was second in a Grade 1 at the Dublin Racing Festival, was fourth in the Supreme at Cheltenham and won the Top Novices' Hurdle at Aintree. Some bonus.
Punters learnt more about Inthepocket from his defeats. At Leopardstown and Cheltenham, he looked just a touch shy of pace against the fastest novices. He is bred that way, his winning half-brother did all of his winning at staying trips.
I expect him to go up in distance this year and he represents a great bet at double-figure odds in the Turners.
The staying hurdlers are clearly a division in transition. The 11-year-old winner of the championship race was a pretty big clue. Sire Du Berlais followed up at Aintree and nearly did the triple crown at Punchestown.
The first three from the last of those races will all be veterans by next spring. The horse right behind them, and right behind Sire Du Berlais at Cheltenham, is only six and looks the obvious answer to the call for a new champion, not that the market is telling us as much at the moment.
TEAHUPOO went off favourite for the Stayers' Hurdle in March. He shaped second-best, was placed second by the stewards but was subsequently demoted to third on appeal. All punters need to know was that he was the second-best horse on the day, on testing ground that brought his older rival's stamina to the fore.
Teahupoo stays three miles. He showed that when winning at Gowran in January, and emphasised it at Cheltenham and Punchestown.
At the last track, where he had run badly the previous year, he even closed on the principals from after the last. He will be seven next year and just coming into his prime.
He can make the three-mile hurdling division his own.
Last season's leading bumper performer A Dream To Share is already a relatively warm order for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, but he is Flat-bred and I expect one or two of the National Hunt types to eventually progress past him.
BALLYBURN certainly fits the bill for Willie Mullins and at 12/1 rates a value play for the Supreme.
This five-year-old notched a Racing Post Rating of 134 when slamming a strong-looking field in a Punchestown festival bumper, and can be marked up for his six-length victory there as he was plenty keen enough in a slowly run affair.
The turn of foot he showed that day was seriously impressive and I'm excited to see what he can achieve in a strongly run hurdle race over two miles.
While there are a number of three-milers in Ballyburn's pedigree, the Supreme distance looks ideal for him at this stage given his tendency to pull hard. He looks all speed.
Gordon Elliott has saddled three of the last nine winners of the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival (would have been four if Galvin's owners didn't briefly switch stables) and the trainer's SALVADOR ZIGGY looks an ideal type for this season's race with the 12/1 on offer making plenty of appeal.
Salvador Ziggy has been on the go in chases since June and ran right up to his best when second off a big weight in the Kerry National at Listowel last time. He is already rated 153 over fences and that puts him in the ballpark of National Hunt Chase winners in years gone by.
This seven-year-old will be heading into the festival with plenty of chasing experience given he has been out so early, which never hurts in such a gruelling contest, and shapes as if marathon distances could be his true calling.
He also has nothing to prove at the course, finishing an excellent second to Good Time Jonny in the 2022 Pertemps off top weight.
Willie Mullins possesses a typically strong team of novice hurdlers going into the new season and TULLYHILL stands out in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival at 12-1.
Thrown in at the deep end against A Dream To Share in the Grade 1 bumper at the Punchestown festival on just his second start under rules, Tullyhill proved in no uncertain terms that he belonged in such company when putting up a stern resistance to the vastly more experienced winner.
It is likely two miles on yielding ground was too sharp a test for this 2m2f heavy-ground bumper winner, who also landed a point-to-point. He should be open to untold improvement for a step up in trip and the Ballymore looks the perfect long-term aim for this youngster.
After just two runs, Tullyhill's ceiling is vast and he can develop into a leading contender for top-level honours this winter.