I’VE been working Flat out to bring you some special sparklers to light up this summer.
There’s a mixture of youth, experience, speed and stamina in my ten to follow for the Flat season and there’s one thing they all have in common – I’m convinced they’ll pay their way in the next six months.
Blue Point – Charlie Appleby
THE golden summer of sprinting failed to materialise last year with Harry Angel and Battaash not living up to expectations. Part of that was down to Blue Point.
After spending most of his life racing over 6f and further, the drop to 5f worked the oracle. His King’s Stand success at Royal Ascot proved he has more than enough speed for the minimum trip and his third – when, perhaps, not at his best – in the Nunthorpe was another good effort.
He has thrived in Dubai with hat-trick of wins – culminating in a Group 1 win – and a repeat King’s Stand success looks on the cards. I expect him to be the season’s standout sprinter.
Blue Point, ridden by William Buick wins the Group 2 Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup Night at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates.[/caption]
Chablis – Aidan O’Brien
IT’S unlikely too much Chablis has crossed teetotaller Aidan O’Brien’s lips over the years but I’m sure he’ll be raising a glass of something after some of the season’s big races with this well-bred three-year-old. She made a winning debut with the smoothest of maiden victories at Gowran Park in the autumn and looks destined for great things.
O’Brien is going for his eighth win in the Oaks and this sister to The Pentagon promises to be suited by middle distances. I’m expecting to see her in a Classic Trial before heading to Epsom and 20-1 looks a tempting ante-post price.
Cross Counter – Charlie Appleby
IF there’s a Godolphin Hall of Fame Cross Counter’s place in it is already guaranteed. He famously gave Sheikh Mohammed his first Melbourne Cup after 30 years of trying.
His storming run down the home straight was that of a class stayer and there’s no reason why he can’t become a genuine Cup horse in Britain this season. He breezed to a Group 2 win in Dubai last month and could easily be improving as he’s still only a four-year-old.
One thing’s for sure, Stradivarius isn’t going to get it all his own way again this summer.
Enable – John Gosden
IT wouldn’t take Sherlock Holmes to find this one. After winning her second Arc de Triomphe in October she should top any list of horses to follow this summer.
I make no apology for sticking in the obvious. Not only did she become only the fifth horse to win two Arcs since the war, she did it on the back of just one run on the all-weather after injury kept her off the track for much of the season. A smoother preparation will make Khalid Abdulla’s mare the one to beat in all middle-distance races this summer.
The holy grail of a third Arc is a distinct possibility and I certainly won’t be betting against it at this stage.
Forbidden Planet – Roger Charlton
THERE has been few horses to impress me on the all-weather this winter than Forbidden Planet. He started off at the pretty low level with a couple of Lingfield wins before getting caught out in a tactically-run race around Chelmsford. It was a different story when he got a decent pace to run at in last month’s Roseberry Handicap at Kempton.
He showed a great change of gear to put the race to bed with the minimum of fuss and looks to be improving all the time. His one turf run wasn’t very inspiring but I that was nearly a year ago. I see no reason why he won’t be just as good in it and he should do well in good handicaps up to 1m4f.
Our man likes the look of this Roger Charlton (above) four-year-old ahead of the 2019 Flat season[/caption]
Ghostwatch – Charlie Appleby
THE Aussies might get another fright from Godolphin this autumn. There’s a lot of racing before then and I expect Ghostwatch to do well in staying races. Given he won the Melrose Handicap at York last season a return to the Knavesmire for the Ebor has to be high on the list of targets. If all goes well he might even be out of handicaps by then. After all, he signed off last year with a Listed win over 1m6f at Ascot.
That points to him being a Group contender this term and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he were to end up in Australia for the Melbourne Cup. Godolphin finally won that prize last year and they’ve got another likely contender on their hands for the defence.
William Buick riding Ghostwatch landed The Melrose Handicap Stakes at York Racecourse on August 25, 2018[/caption]
Laurens – Karl Burke
THIS filly was undoubtedly one of the stars of last summer. After finishing runner-up in the 1000 Guineas she went up in trip to land two French Group 1s over 1m2f.
It might have appeared she had peaked when she finished well beaten behind subsequent Arc runner-up Sea Of Class in the Yorkshire Oaks but it was lack of stamina for 1m4f rather than anything else that did for her. To bounce back to win the Matron Stakes and the Sun Chariot – both Group 1s – was really impressive.
She’s likely to kick off this term in the Lockinge but wherever she turns up she has the class and attitude to add many more top trophies to her haul.
Karl Burke will be excited with Laurens ahead of the Flat season.[/caption]
Outbox – Simon Crisford
SIMON CRISFORD is a trainer I like a lot. The ex-Godolphin chief has done well since setting up on his own five years ago and Outbox might be the horse to thrust him into the big time.
This four-year-old only saw the track for the first time in September last season but he was worth the wait. Despite showing inexperience he was too good for a decent field by Ffos Las’ standards and he went on to win twice more. He heads into this season unbeaten and he looks a stayer of huge potential.
There’s a fair way to go before he justifies his Yorkshire Cup entry but I’m sure that sort of grade is what we’ll be talking about with Outbox.
Latest in Horse Racing
Tabdeed – Owen Burrows
HAVING finished well beaten on his only try at Group level might suggest Tabdeed’s limitations have been exposed. A look at his overall profile shows that’s utter nonsense. He’ll head into this season with a record of three wins from four races.
That sole defeat came in the Jersey Stakes and he bounced back to easy land a competitive Ascot handicap in October. That was the performance of a smart sprinter.
He’s lightly raced for a four-year-old with a good trainer and I fully expect him to make his mark in Group races. His good record when returning from a break means he should not be missed first time out.
KACH UP All you need for Friday’s card at Lingfield with the Sun Racing preview
Silent Echo – Peter Hedger
MOST of the horses in this list hail from some of the country’s top yards. Not Silent Echo. He’s trained in West Sussex by Peter Hedger, who might not have the numbers of the biggest stables, but he’s no less capable and he looks to have a horse to take him to some of the top meetings.
Silent Echo notched up a brace of Windsor wins before finishing an excellent fifth in the Wokingham. Considering he raced in the smaller stands’ side group and came from further off the pace than ideal that was a cracking run. He wasn’t disgraced in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood having been hampered at the start. I’m sure he’s got a big 6f handicap in him this year.