Flat Horses to note for 2020

Since Mid-March and a lucrative Cheltenham Festival we have been through a lot and after a lengthy wait it appears there’s now some light at the end of the tunnel with UK racing set to resume on June 1st or soon after all being well.

I want to take today to highlight 5 horses that I suspect will go on to bigger and better things this season. A further 5 will follow next week.


Fox Chairman: Trained by Andrew Balding, this King Power owned colt by Kingman will look to follow in the footsteps of late stablemate Beat The Bank who was a stalwart for the stable before losing his life in the Summer Mile at Ascot in July last year. The Andrew Balding stable was a successful source of information for us last season and I am told Fox Chairman will be a horse to follow this season. Having beaten the now 97 rated Migration comfortably on debut he subsequently finished 3rd in the Dee Stakes behind the 112 rated Mohawk and 118 rated Circus Maximus (won a Group 1 since). He has reportedly matured both physically and mentally over the winter and spring and he’s expected to make up into a rock-solid Group performer this year.

Via De Vega: Another Andrew Balding trained horse, this colt by Lope De vega did well to overcome inexperience to win on debut at Sandown in September before understandably coming up short in Group 1 company at Saint-Cloud a month later when failing to handle testing ground. He’s considered a very exciting prospect indeed and will be a horse to follow this year when on better ground.

Waldkonig: Subject of good reports prior to making his debut this colt, another son of Kingman, produced an eye-catching display at Wolverhampton in December to win by an ever-growing 9 length margin. The performance was somewhat reminiscent of Jack Hobbs for the same stable who won over the same C&D before going on to Group 1 success and a rating of 121. It is too early to tell if Waldkonig is going to go on to similar heights, but his homework lately suggests he has the ability to progress into a Group performer this season when stepped up in trip to middle distances.

Impatient: This Ralph Beckett trained horse may be rated just 79 but he produced a much improved effort at Kempton last October having been gelded when winning with something to spare under Harry Bentley. The stable feel his mark of 79 is still a generous one and the gelding operation has transformed him into a different horse for the season ahead.

Duel In The Sun: An unraced colt by Sea The Stars, this Charlie Fellowes trained horse is held in high regard by his stable. A few minor setbacks kept him off the track last Autumn, but following some excellent work at home in recent weeks this breeze-ups purchase will be a horse to follow this season.

Eye-catchers to follow (1st-15th July)

Below I have three eye-catchers that have all run over the past month that are worth following in the coming weeks. We will be having this as a regular update on a weekly/bi-weekly basis.

Lufricia: A filly from the Roger Varian stable that was just chinned last time out having won for us the time before at big odds. She was unfortunate to bump into Queen’s Gift last time at Doncaster who has since franked the form by winning easily at Ripon on the 15th July. For good measure the 3rd has also gone on to win at Catterick next time out. She’s a banker in similar company next time out and looks at least 5lbs+ well in on that most recent run. If kept to 5f she will be a force to be reckoned with wherever she goes next and is considered up to pattern class in time.

One Master: A ‘nearly’ horse for us last time out when arguably she should have won the Falmouth. She had plenty of ground to make up and was arguably delivered a little late by James Doyle on the day. Prior to that she placed in the Group 1 Queen Anne for us at 33/1 and will surely be up to landing another Group 1 before too long with a slightly better judged ride. One to note for the second-half of the Flat Season.

Bullington Boy: From the small but very shrewd Jane Chapple-Hyman stable this three-old colt remains with bags of potential when seen under the right conditions. He failed to handle the AW last time out at Kempton and was positioned on the wrong part of the track on the 10th July (inside was riding the deepest having been harrowed that week). He’s considered a well handicapped horse and on the back of his Newmarket run in a 0-85 earlier in the summer he’ll be picking up a decent handicap this summer back on the turf in a 0-75 or 0-80 handicap.

2000 Guineas: A Preview

One of the biggest fields for the 2000 Guineas we have seen in a number of years and although there’s arguably no stand-out horse in this line-up there are several at bigger prices that remain of interest ahead of the first Classic of the Flat Season. 

There are a few in here that simply don’t have a chance on either ratings or form and I think we can safely rule out a few of these – the horse’s to focus on here in my opinion are the following: Set Piece, Advertise and the O’Brien pair (Ten Sovereigns and Magna Grecia).

The first horse I want to focus on is the Hugo Palmer trained Set Piece. It seems a long time ago now that we were on Galileo Gold for the Guineas from the same stable and although technically on Time Form figures he hasn’t achieved what Galileo Gold had by this stage of his career, he has reportedly come out of the Craven Stakes in excellent order. He travelled into contention that day as if he was going to go very close and although he was run out of things into 3rd there were plenty of positives to take out of his effort that day, not least the fact it was his first outing on the turf. Although Royal Marine was arguably unlucky not to finish ahead of Set Piece that day I have my doubts about connections opting for the first-time hood and with 5 places on offer with Sky and Paddypower I do think Set Piece is overpriced at 20/1-22/1 and certainly shouldn’t be double the price of the re-opposing Royal Marine. The first-time tongue-tie should also help. Skardu was of course the winner of The Craven Stakes and based on that effort deserves to be where he is in the market but just 2L separating Set Piece from that horse I am not convinced he should be 3 times the price. 

If there’s a solid Group 1 horse in this field with form at the track then it’s Advertise. He was a 2nd to what looked a superstar last summer in the Coventry when beaten by Calyx and he made no mistake in recording back-to-back victories in Group 2 and Group 1 company, beating So Perfect in the Phoneix Stakes at The Curragh conceding 3lbs. He will go on the ground, acts at the track and having only found Too Darn Hot too strong in the Dewhurst he deserves to feature prominently in the market for this. At 8/1-15/2 he looks a very solid each way angle to this and it would take an under-performance from this horse not to finish in the first 4 or 5 home. 

The O’Brien trained pair will be an obvious focal point for a vast majority of punters and rightly so with Aidan O’Brien having now won the 2000 Guineas three times in the last four years. Both Ten Sovereigns and Magna Grecia have proven themselves in Group 1 company but what is certain is that Magna Grecia will stay this trip. Ten Sovereigns may have course form but this represents a fair step up in distance for him and despite the fact that he is technically 7lbs clear of Magna Grecia on ratings the reports from the stable are that there’s very little to split the pair at home. This wouldn’t be the first time that Ryan Moore has opted for the wrong O’Brien horse and I’m sure it won’t be the last. At the prices and with proven form over this trip Magna Grecia makes the most appeal. 

From the very outsiders I must finally give a small mention to the James Tate trained Name The Wind. I was forewarned a big run was expected last time and he did well to get the better of Senza Limiti (the work partner of Skardu). Senza Limiti wouldn’t be up to Skardu’s level but the fact that Name The Wind had the beating of that horse at Kempton tells me that he is no 50/1 shot (80/1 with Bet365). We have seen shocks in The 2000 Guineas before – Night of Thunder being one when winning in 2014 at 40/1 and albeit he’ll struggle to compete at this level there’s a small chance he could grab a place if the race falls apart for him. 

Summary of Top 3 selections:

Set Piece (22/1-20/1) – Each Way (5 places Sky, Paddy’s)

Advertise (15/2-8/1) – Each Way (5 places)

Magna Grecia (5/1) – Each Way (5 places)


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The Flat is very much back: April Highlights

The Horse Racing here in Newmarket and the quality of information is now getting stronger as the weeks go on and April has seen us record a number of highlights and with that and the start of the Flat Season comes the re-opening of our weekly blog.

We kicked off April with a maximum selection on the 3rd as LADY KERMIT, trained by Archie Watson, showed us everything we had hoped she would, destroying an 8 runner field by an ever increasing 6 lengths. She has since won again under a penalty and is a filly to follow this season.

It then just 5 days later we had to wait for our next selection as EXCLUSVELY, another well-bred newcomer owned by Qatar Racing, showed a professional attitude to win by a comfortable length or so under Oisin Murphy.

If that wasn’t enough the last 2 weeks have been sensational on all fronts. Firstly with ante-post selection SKARDU (10/1 into 3/1) coming from last to first to with the Group 3 Craven Stakes under James Doyle. He now features prominently in the market for The Guineas and ensured a hugely profitable day for clients.

Just 48hrs later we then added to the pot with a huge drifter in the market. I have long said that drifters are not to be feared in the market, especially if they are from particular stables. LUFRICIA for Roger Varian had improved significantly since last seen and we were told she would be a major player. Having drifted from 7/2 out to 7/1 she won comfortably in the end under Andrea Atzeni and rates an exciting prospect.

Numerous winners since have included COUNTRY (6/4 into 1/2), MOUNTAIN ANGEL (4/1) and HEY GAMAN (5/2).

We now have an exciting week or two planned leading up to the first classic of the season, The Guineas here in Newmarket.

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