The Flat season is very much upon us, so I have trawled through the notebook and gone back over the video replays to pick my 10 horses to follow for the season ahead. There is a nice mix of classic horses, classy improvers and unexposed horses.
Obviously it’s the unexposed horses that could be worth following the most as they could land a sequence of victories as most have pretty lenient handicap marks should connections of each horse decide to go down that route.
The Class Act
Form: 111/11- Trainer: John Gosden Owner: K Abdullah
We are unlikely to see too much of Enable all year, with all eyes firmly on a record-breaking third Arc in what would be an absolutely astonishing achievement. She only graced the track on three occasions last season but fitted in a victory in the Arc and at the Breeders’ Cup which is beyond impressive.
She could make her first start of the season in the Coronation Cup at Epsom at the end of May and let’s just collectively hope she makes it to France in one piece later this season.
Too Darn Hot
Form: 1111- Trainer: John Gosden Owner: Lord Llyod Weber
He lived up to his reputation and name last season proving too hot for his rivals to handle on all four racecourse forays. On his final starts, he demolished a classy looking field in the Dewhurst and it looked like all roads lead to the 2000 Guineas.
However, John Gosden revealed that he suffered a setback and although he’ll be fine the Guineas will come too soon. The Dante or Irish 2000 Guineas were mentioned as the likely targets now. I have no doubt that when Too Darn Hot returns he’ll be winning races and most likely classics. He could very much be one of the most exciting horses in training.
Form: 211-1 Trainer: Marcus Tregoning Owner: Hamdan Al Maktoum
It looks like Marcus Tregoning is finally back in the big time with Mohaather who was a surprise winner of a Group 3 at the end of last season at Newbury. However, he proved this was no fluke by running out a ready winner of the Greenham earlier this month.
Tregoning is well capable of training a good horse having won the Guineas with Sir Percy previously and the 2000 Guineas is the target for Mohaather. It will be a huge test of his Group 1 credentials and if he fully stays the mile but he’s earned a right to go there and regardless of what happens he’s an exciting horse.
Form: 32111- Trainer: John Oxx Owner: Anthony & Sonia Rogers
She was one of the “good news” stories in Irish racing last year, giving Patrick Prendergast his first Group 1 victory in the Moyglare at the Curragh in September. The upwardly mobile trainer has joined forces with John Oxx this season and although it will be Oxx’s name over the door, I’m sure Prendergast is still hugely involved.
The filly herself really improved when stepped up in trip last season winning a Group 3, Group 2 and then Group 1 in succession. She was as impressive winning in Group 1 company than she was when taking her maiden and just keeps on improving.
I see no reason why she won’t relish a crack at the mile and she’s a real classic contender for the season ahead, with the 1000 Guineas her main target.
Form: 1 Trainer: William Haggas Owner: Anthony Oppenheimer
This daughter of Frankel is out of a 12f listed winner and quickly upheld the family name by racing enthusiastically throughout her maiden win on racecourse debut at Yarmouth. She is out of the family of Golden Horn and will be seen in her best light when stepped up in trip.
It was quite taking how strong Frankellian was when making her debut and she could be a dark horse(33/1) for the Oaks
Form: 114- Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute Owner: K Abdullah
The nicely-bred son of Kingman made a perfect start to his career, winning maiden and listed races at his apparent ease. The wheels came off the train a bit in the Dewhurst where he finished over eight lengths behind Too Darn Hot.
That was still only his third run in public and there was still plenty of promise in the run. He’s still in the Irish 1000 Guineas but I know connections view him as more of a middle distance horse, with the Dante his likely first port of call this season.
Form: 1/101- Trainer: Owen Burrows Owner: Hamdan Al Maktoum
Owen Burrows colt won his first two starts and only lost his unbeaten record in the 7f Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot. He travelled better than most that day and just faded late on to finish midfield. Tabdeed travelled well to win despite meeting traffic over 6f back at Ascot on his next start.
The manner of that victory was very taking and he screamed patter horse that day. It will be very interesting where connections go with him next as there could still be a handicap up for grabs before he progresses on.
Form: 221- Trainer: Ralph Beckett Owner: Chelsea Thoroughbreds
the son of Pour Moi has always been held in high regard by connections. He showed steady progression last season, finishing runner-up on his first two starts and then putting in a very nice performance at York to shed his maiden tag.
A step up in trip looks on the cards this season and it should bring further improvement. An opening mark of 85 looks quite lenient and he’s a horse definitely worth following this season.
Form: 315- Trainer: Bryan Smart Owner: Clipper Logistics
This mare has the potential to become a Group 1 winner if her breeding is anything to go by. She is a half-sister to Alpha Delphini(Nunthorpe) and Tangerine Trees(Rated 115) who were both trained by Bryan Smart.
She was turned over at odds of 1/6 on debut where the ground may have been to quick but she made no mistake the second time of asking at Thirsk. A fine run in a listed race followed to round off the season where she finished fifth and with that experience behind her she should win when next seen in action.
I think there is a big handicap in her this season at the very least as she is very lightly-raced for her age and should improve with every run.
Form: 2200-1 Trainer: Kevin Ryan Owner: Mrs Angie Bailey
He finally broke his maiden at the seventh attempt, having been very frustrating last season. I know that the Ryan operation has always thought a lot of Rathbone with Amy recently saying:
“He’s a horse who has always shown us a lot at home so I’m hoping he can transfer his homework on to the track this year”
Rathbone wasn’t beaten far in the Doncaster Two-Year-Old-Stakes last season and with a novice win under his belt already this year, i think he could be a progressive horse to follow in handicaps.