my TOP 10 FOR THE FLAT

Paul Fer­gu­son with the horses he’s watch­ing for this sea­son

Racing Ahead - - PAUL FERGUSON -

ALKHAWANEEJ BOY (KEVIN RYAN)

Fourth on de­but at Thirsk dur­ing Septem­ber, Alkhawaneej Boy bolted up in heavy ground at Le­ices­ter just 16 days later and looks a nice prospect for trainer Kevin Ryan.

There wasn’t too much depth to that novice con­test, but the run­ner-up did fin­ish sec­ond in a nurs­ery off 79 next time, and it was a case of vis­ual im­pres­sion over sub­stance. Clearly at home on test­ing ground, he has been handed an en­try in the 2,000 Guineas and, whilst that level might be be­yond him, there are sure to be races to be won with him in a lower grade.

AMEDEO MODIGLIANI (A P O’BRIEN)

Third on de­but be­hind sta­ble-mate and sub­se­quent Su­perla­tive Stakes win­ner Gus­tav Klimt (re­cently won the 2,000 Guineas Trial at Leop­ard­stown on his reap­pear­ance), Amedeo Modigliani was a facile win­ner of a Gal­way maiden and looks a high-class prospect.

By Galileo and out of a Dane­hill Dancer mare, he looked as though he could de­velop into a lead­ing con­tender for the Ep­som Derby, but he was sadly ruled out of that con­test re­cently. I was, there­fore, tempted to leave him out, but such was the im­pres­sion he cre­ated at Gal­way, I de­cided to leave him in as one to fol­low in the sec­ond half of the sea­son. As ever, Ai­den O’Brien looks to pos­sess a plethora of very smart three­year-old colts, and I think Amedeo Modigliani could be fairly high up in the peck­ing or­der.

CON­TIN­GENT (D K WELD)

The first of two fil­lies to ap­pear among this year’s Ten to Fol­low, Der­mot Weld’s daugh­ter of Frankel cre­ated a good im­pres­sion when win­ning a back-end Leop­ard­stown maiden and should de­velop into a very smart three-yearold.

Hav­ing moved well through­out, the re­sult looked rather in­evitable once Pat Smullen an­gled her out half­way up the home straight, and she ran on strongly to beat Al­ghabrah, who won a Dun­dalk maiden on her re­cent reap­pear­ance.

Con­tin­gent boasts a high-class pedi­gree, with her dam Pro­por­tional the win­ner of the Prix Mar­cel Bous­sac back in 2008 and, while she has been men­tioned as a likely Oaks con­tender, she ought to have the pace to be com­pet­i­tive at the top level over shorter. I would ex­pect her to start off in a trial for the 1,000 Guineas.

EX­PERT EYE (SIR MICHAEL STOUTE)

Im­pres­sive in win­ning a novice event at New­bury on de­but last June, Ex­pert Eye looked a star of the fu­ture when land­ing Goodwood’s Group 2 Vin­tage Stakes in even more em­phatic fash­ion. The form of that suc­cess has sub­se­quently worked out re­ally well, with Za­man (2nd) win­ning at Listed level at

Mey­dan re­cently; Milden­berger (3rd) was a Listed win­ner at Sal­is­bury on his next out­ing; James Garfield (4th) won New­bury’s Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes in Septem­ber; and Sea­henge (5th) won the Group 2 Cham­pagne Stakes at Don­caster on his next start. This looks a rock-solid piece of form.

The Ac­cla­ma­tion colt was sent off odds-on to land the Group 1 De­whurst Stakes on his fi­nal start at two, but was un­able to jus­tify favouritism, blot­ting his copy­book by fin­ish­ing last of nine. He didn’t take the pre­lim­i­nar­ies very well that day, so I would be pre­pared to put a line through that run and give him an­other chance on his re­turn at three, such was the im­pres­sion he cre­ated ear­lier in the cam­paign. He could still have a big say in the open­ing Clas­sic of the sea­son, for which he is cur­rently priced at 10-1.

EX­TRA ELU­SIVE (ROGER CHARL­TON)

A win­ner on de­but at New­bury in lateOc­to­ber, Ex­tra Elu­sive im­pressed with the way he went through the race and he strode away in tak­ing fash­ion in the clos­ing stages, to score by 2 ¾ lengths. The form isn’t easy to as­sess, with four of the front six debu­tants, but it was im­pres­sive on the eye and he is a half­brother to Gim­crack win­ner Ajaya. Hav­ing won over a mile on soft ground, he clearly pos­sesses more stamina than that sib­ling and the Master­crafts­man colt looks as though he should get fur­ther.

En­tered in the Dante at York and the Derby, he is likely to reap­pear in a con­di­tions event be­fore be­ing stepped up into group com­pany. He looks a bright prospect for trainer Roger Charl­ton.

HUMBOLT CUR­RENT (WIL­LIAM HAG­GAS)

A Fast­net Rock colt, bred and owner by The Queen, Humbolt Cur­rent ran a race full of prom­ise on his race­course de­but – and his sole start to date – in a Yar­mouth novice event dur­ing Oc­to­ber.

He was slowly away and, there­fore, had no choice other than to be held up in last place (15-run­ner race) for the ma­jor­ity of the race. Switched stands side, he fol­lowed the even­tual win­ner through and picked off horses in the clos­ing stages to fin­ish a hugely en­cour­ag­ing sec­ond. He holds an en­try in the 2,000 Guineas and he looks a sure-fire maiden win­ner in the early part of the sea­son.

JAMES COOK (A P O’BRIEN)

A full brother to the high-class Found, James Cook is an­other Ai­den O’Bri­en­trained three-year-old colt that I am look­ing for­ward to. Like Amedeo Modigliani, the Galileo colt was a maiden win­ner on his sec­ond out­ing, when given an un­com­pli­cated ride to land the odds at Leop­ard­stown.

The run­ner-up was beaten on his re­cent reap­pear­ance, which was slightly dis­ap­point­ing to see, but both him and the third look sure-fire maiden win­ners (sta­ble-mate Gar­dens Of Baby­lon was an eye-catcher back in third) and James Cook is a pos­si­ble Derby con­tender – cur­rently priced at 40-1.

He holds an en­try at the Craven meet­ing (Feilden Stakes) whilst this month’s mag­a­zine goes to print and is also in the Dante Stakes. He seems sure to head down the Derby Trial route and looks an­other ex­cit­ing prospect for his lead­ing con­nec­tions to go to war with.

STEPHENSONS ROCKET (ED WALKER)

Run­ner-up to Crossed Ba­ton (al­ready reap­peared and won at Kempton dur­ing March) on his de­but at Sandown,

Stephensons Rocket got off the mark with the min­i­mum of fuss at Red­car the fol­low­ing month.

Sent off at 2-5, the Te­ofilo colt never looked in dan­ger and, de­spite hav­ing raced a shade keenly, he eased to the front and read­ily drew clear to score with plenty in hand. The form prob­a­bly isn’t any­thing to get ex­cited about, but he looks yet an­other lightly-raced and promis­ing three-year-old to fea­ture here. He holds plenty of big race en­tries – as well as also fea­tur­ing among the en­tries for the Listed Feilden Stakes – and he cer­tainly ap­peals as the type to get 10 fur­longs or more.

VERACIOUS (SIR MICHAEL STOUTE)

An­other who holds an en­try at the Craven meet­ing whilst this fea­ture goes to print – in the Nell Gwyn Stakes – Sir Michael Stoute’s Frankel filly was a re­ally tak­ing maiden win­ner at HQ dur­ing Oc­to­ber and she could eas­ily de­velop into a live can­di­date for the 1,000 Guineas.

Bred to get a shade fur­ther, this half­sis­ter to Mu­takayyef might be best at around a mile for the time be­ing. She fin­ished full of run­ning when get­ting off the mark at the ex­pense of Win­ter Light­ning, who has since won twice at Mey­dan.

WIL­LIE JOHN (ROGER VAR­IAN)

De­feated his then-sta­ble-mate Humbolt Cur­rent on de­but at Yar­mouth, the Dan­sili colt changed hands in Fe­bru­ary for a stag­ger­ing 1.9 mil­lion Guineas. Pur­chased by Roger Var­ian on be­half of lead­ing owner Sheikh Mo­hammed Obaid Al Mak­toum and he will sport his yel­low and black spot­ted silks when he re­turns. En­tered in the 2,000 Guineas, I would think he might head down the Derby Trial route in­stead and wher­ever he turns up, Wil­lie John will be of huge in­ter­est.

He re­ally im­pressed with the way he quick­ened up at Yar­mouth, putting his stamp on the race in tak­ing fash­ion. De­spite the fact that a cou­ple from in be­hind have failed to advertise the form al­ready this sea­son, he re­mains a hugely ex­cit­ing prospect.

Ex­pert Eye (pink)

Veracious

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