Horses to follow for a profit in this new Flat season
BUZZ (Nicky Henderson)
Without trying to show my National Hunt bias, I’m starting with a horse who finished runner-up in the Aintree Hurdle recently, but could be of huge interest if reverting to the level. A rapid-improver throughout his second season over hurdles, he won a handicap off 137 in November, and although he hasn’t contested a Flat race for Nicky Henderson, we know from past experience that he doesn’t mind running these good hurdlers on the level. From a mark of 96, he would certainly be of interest in a feature staying handicap, and with him now relaxing more (and staying well at Aintree), I would love to see him being targeted at the Cesarewitch in October.
DERAB (John & Thady Gosden)
Runner-up on his sole start at two, this beautifully-bred Sea The Stars colt showed distinct promise in a maiden at Ascot, beaten just over a length by subsequent Group 3 winner La Barrosa. With the third and fourth also winning next time, the form has a solid look to it, and this half-brother to Enable should be very tough to beat in a similar contest, in the early weeks of the season. Stepping up to 10 furlongs (and beyond) is sure to bring about significant improvement, and the Juddmonte colt holds entries in both the Dante and the Derby. He looks a smart prospect and should be a Group-class performer this term.
EILEENDOVER (Pam Sly)
Another who ran on the opening day of Aintree’s Grand National meeting, she finished only fourth in the Grade 2 mares’ bumper, but saw plenty of daylight throughout and raced quite keenly in the early part of the race. A three-time winner in that sphere, Pam Sly’s Canford Cliffs filly now switches codes, and it will be disappointing if she can’t make up into a very useful performer on the level. Not short of pace, I would expect her to be campaigned over middle-distances.
ISPAHAN (David Simcock)
A four-year-old but still a maiden after four starts, this son of Lope de Vega has been gelded since last seen, but remains a horse of some potential for staying handicaps. He could, of course, kickstart his second season on the track (didn’t run at two) in novice company and he certainly possesses the ability to win races this summer. An imposing chestnut, he twice finished behind another horse in this list, Zeeband, and from a mark of 81 this half-brother to Triumph Hurdle winner Pentland Hills is one to note in staying handicaps.
NOON STAR (Sir Michael Stoute)
Another who carries the famous Juddmonte silks of the late Prince Khalid Abdullah, this daughter of Galileo is out of the three-time Nassau Stakes winner Midday, and won nicely on her second start in Nottingham last backend. Having shaped encouragingly on debut at Salisbury, she ran out a ready winner on soft ground on her second start, and the runner-up gave the form a boost when winning a novice event at Lingfield in early-December. Entered in the Oaks, it is likely that she will reappear in one of the recognised trials for the second fillies’ Classic, and stepping up in distance looks sure to bring about significant improvement. The high-class Midday has yet to produce a Group 1 winner, but Juddmonte will be hoping that this filly might just be the one.
ROYAUME UNI (Gary Moore)
A horse who has been mixing codes since arriving from France, he was a winner for Andre Fabre and Coolmore before joining Gary Moore, and following a couple of runs in juvenile hurdles, he won a ‘jumpers bumper’ at Lingfield in impressive fashion. He returned to the same track to win a Flat handicap off a mark of 79, leaving the impression that there is plenty more to come on the level. He reverted back to juvenile hurdle company twice during March, latterly when runner-up (wellsupported in the market) in a competitive handicap at Ascot, and there could be a nice payday in him at some stage this season. When he reverts to the Flat once again, he will be doing so from a revised mark of 87,
and he is one to note in handicaps over 1m6f and beyond.
SANTA BARBARA (A P O’Brien)
This Camelot filly looked a top-class prospect when bursting clear to win a mile maiden at the Curragh on her sole start at two. A Camelot half-sister to three-time Group 1 winner Iridessa and Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Order Of Australia, she should possess more stamina than that pair so could end up as an Oaks filly, but is likely to start her season in the 1000 Guineas. Despite her inexperience, she heads the betting for both Classics, and – judged on the visual impression that she created on debut – it will be a surprise if she isn’t a Group 1 performer in her own right this season. She looks very exciting.
TIGER MOTH (A P O’Brien)
A maiden winner on his reappearance last season, the Galileo colt finished runner-up in the Irish Derby before winning a Group 3 at Leopardstown, which teed up a trip to Australia for the Melbourne Cup. Beaten just half-alength at Flemington, he remains very lightly-raced and could easily develop into one of Aidan O’Brien’s leading lights in the ‘older horse’ division this season. Expected to drop back to middle-distances, he holds an entry in the Alleged Stakes (17th April) whilst this feature goes to print, whilst he is also engaged in the likes of the Tattersalls Gold Cup, and Epsom’s Coronation Cup. He looks a Group 1 performer this season, and I expect him to land one at some stage.
WORDSWORTH (A P O’Brien)
Another once-raced maiden who holds entries in the Dante and the Derby, he is a full-brother to the highclass Kew Gardens (winner of the 2018 St Leger) and is another who shaped with an abundance of promise on his sole start at two. Sent off favourite for a mile maiden at the Curragh, he looked the likely winner when coming between horses inside the final furlong, only to be swamped late on by stable-mate High Definition. The winner won the Group 2 Beresford Stakes on his only subsequent start and currently heads the betting for the
Derby, whilst third home Flying Visit won a Group 3 in late-October. Stepping up to middle-distances will help this son of Galileo, who looks a surefire winner before being forced into pattern company.
ZEEBAND (Roger Varian)
Touched upon briefly already, this Sea The Stars four-year-old is another who didn’t race at two, so could be open to plenty of improvement in his second season on the track. The penny dropped with him once upped to 1m6f and entering handicap company, winning at Ripon and Thirsk, before he put up a career-best when runner-up in a competitive event at York in October. He showed more pace that day, suggesting that he will be capable of winning over slightly shorter, and he begins the season at the right end of the handicap on a mark of 87. I would be disappointed if he didn’t end up contesting some of the better middledistance/staying handicaps as the season progresses, and he is in the right hands to enjoy a productive campaign.