The flat season is nearly upon us in the horse racing calendar and there’s plenty of top-drawer racing heading our way. Here is my look at the top 10 horses to keep an eye on over the next few months as the flat season takes centre stage.
(John and Thady Gosden) 3-y-o filly
(Frankel – Dream Peace) 1-
Made a winning racecourse debut at Doncaster’s final meeting of last season last October when going off at 6/1 she led in the final strides to beat the Haggas filly Doom be a head pulling some 4 1/2L clear of the remainder on soft ground over a mile. A half-sister to four useful winners with her dam a 10F Group 3 winner in France and also grade 1 placed in North America later in her career. She’ll be suited by 10F+ and still holds a 1000 Guineas entry. Owned by Lady Bamford she’s been working well at Clarehaven Stables recently and will probably take in a 1000 Guineas trial.
(John and Thady Gosden) 3-y-o colt
(Dark Angel – Handassa) 1-
Owned by Shadwell Estate Company Ltd he made a scintillating racecourse debut when a winner at Kempton in a 1M novices stakes last November under the owners retained jockey Jim Crowley. Leading two out he was pushed out to go clear and winning by 4L. The quicker by 0.38 secs of the two divisions run that night he looks smart and could go to the very top. A half-brother to dual group one winning miler Nayef and three-time Group 3 winner Mostahdaf he’s bred to be useful and holds a 2000 Guineas entry.
(Dermot Weld) 3-y-o filly
(Siyouni – Tarana) 11-
Looked exceptional when winning a Galway maiden by 5 1/2L on her debut (7F, good to yielding) in a maiden and when stepping markedly up in trip when winning the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at The Curragh in September on soft ground beating multiple group winner Meditate who ended the season winning the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. A half-sister to the same connections Tarnawa, a triple group one winner and who finished runner-up in the 2021 Prix De L’ Arc de Triomphe, she has the potential to be every bit as good as her smart relation. Entered in the English and Irish 1000 Guineas as well as the Irish Oaks she must be followed wherever she goes and is the horse I’m most looking forward to seeing this season.
(Sir Mark Prescott) 3-y-o filly
(Sea The Moon – Best Friend) 0000-
One out of the leftfield. A typical Prescott plot horse possibly! Showed very little in four starts in six weeks last Autumn over 7F at odds of 100/1, 66/1, 125/1 and 100/1. Owned by John Pearce Racing she’s a half-sister to the same owner’s Arcadian Friend who won on his first foray into a middle-distance handicap last July. Her dam is an unraced full sister to 1m – 1m 4f Group 1 winner Lush Lashes and she looks the type to go straight into handicaps at 10F+ and to run up a sequence as she moves up in trip. An initial handicap mark of 71 could look very lenient by the end of the season.
(Archie Watson) 3-y-o colt
(Tasleet – Russian Punch) 110-
This very smart colt had his season cut short after injuring himself when exiting the stalls in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at The Curragh in August. He had looked a two-year-old of immense talent when absolutely blitzing his field at York on his racecourse debut in May coming home 9L to the good. He was next seen upped in grade when winning the Group 1 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot from the likes of smart performers Persian Force and Royal Scotsman. The word from Watson’s Upper Lambourn stables is that he’s fully recovered from his injury and is working like a top-class horse again. Apparently, the plan for him is the Pavilion Stakes at Ascot at the end of April followed by a tilt at the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, a race that he’s currently priced up at 16/1 (Bet365/Paddy Power/Unibet) which is a price most definitely taking.
(James Tate) 4-y-o colt
(Dark Angel – Ceaseless) 2411-1
Owned by Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum this bay colt has already been seen out this season when completing a hat trick of victories when winning at Kempton on the all-weather last month having been smashed off the boards winning at 8/11 in a 7F class 2 0-105 handicap. That came off of a handicap mark of 96 and he can still be competitive when reverting to the turf (he’s already won by 5L at Thirsk on good ground). He strikes me as one to follow and he can make his presence felt in some of the better 7F Handicaps this Spring with something maybe like the Victoria Cup at Ascot a possible target.
(Ralph Beckett) 3-y-o filly
(Camelot – Emulous) 1-
Beckett is a past master with the Classic generation fillies and may have another Oaks contender in the shape of this Juddmonte-owned filly. She’s only seen the racecourse once and that came on good to soft ground at Salisbury last September when making a striking winning debut. Easy to back and racing mainly against colts she was slowly away and only really got going when the penny dropped inside the final furlong pulling away to win by a going away 1 1/2L. The trainer stated afterwards that she would be put away and return in an Oaks Trial in the Spring before hopefully taking in the Epsom Oaks. She does have a 1000 guineas entry although Beckett did state recently that she will miss the 1000 and go still for an Oaks trial. With her dam being a group 1 winner she looks destined for a big year.
(Charlie Appleby) 3-y-o colt
(Frankel – Anna Salai) 41-
A full brother to Appleby’s 2021 Epsom Derby winner Adayar he made a pleasing debut at Newmarket last October when fourth in a maiden when going off a well backed odds on favourite. He stepped up from that when taking a one mile novice stakes at the same track 18 days later from stable mate Ancient Rules. That strangely enough is the exact same profile as his brother Adayar who was 4th on his debut before winning as a juvenile. He looks all about stamina and there’s positive gallop reports emanating from Moultons Paddocks recently. The plan apparently is to go for a conditions contest before a Derby trial and then onto the big one itself at Epsom in June. The only surprising factor about him is the fact that he wasn’t entered for the race! He can be supplemented mind. An exciting horse for the boys in blue this season.
(Sir Michael Stoute) 3-year-old filly
(Sea The Stars – Waila) 2-
Owned by Sir Evelyn De Rothschild in his famous navy blue silks with yellow cap this half sister to all weather winner Traila who’s dam was a listed winner at 12F and is related to that Rothschild family consisting Crystal Ocean and Hillstar looks a highly promising sort who’s in excellent hands. She made her racecourse debut at Doncaster last October on soft ground in a one mile maiden where she was slowly away but steadily made up the ground to come and challenge the eventual winner of Andrew Balding’s Sea Of Roses (runner up in Group 3 in France on her only subsequent run) going down by a short head. It was a race full of promise where she appeared to be crying out for further. She has been well supported in the past few days for the Epsom Oaks which following a trial one would think would be the obvious target for her. She’s currently a top priced 16/1 chance for the Epsom Oaks.
(Ralph Beckett) 3-year-old gelding
(Galileo – Madame Chiang) 699-
One for handicaps. Cost 200,000 guineas as a yearling out of a Group 1 Fillies & Mares winner on Ascot’s Champions Day on heavy ground and a half brother to three winners. Originally entered in the Derby but has shown nowhere near that level in three starts on the racecourse so far beaten around 12L on all three outings over a mile. Gelded since last seen at Kempton in November he’s been allotted a very nice handicap mark of 61 which surely his canny trainer Ralph Beckett can exploit when stepping him up in trip more in line with his breeding. The type to run up a sequence in handicaps at up to 1m 6F.
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