Ben Morgan with his top ten to watch out for this season
I couldn’t believe this horse went off 18/1 for his reappearance at Leopardstown recently given how strong his two year old form is. Being a son of Australia, he wouldn’t have been suited to the softer ground he encountered in the Beresford Stakes on his last run of last season and that disappointment may have contributed to the negative vibes ahead of his reappearance. However, after being dropped out the back he made eye catching progress up the straight and fairly flew home but couldn’t quite reel in the smart Poetic Flare.
That was over 7f and I am excited to see him step up in trip in the near future as I think he could be a really nice horse on good ground this summer. He is entered in the Derby but whether he will develop into that sort of horse remains to be seen. I can certainly see him running in a race such as the Hampton Court at Royal Ascot and being competitive.
Nigel Tinkler’s horse impressed me greatly last year as a two-year-old, but took his form to a whole new level through the winter in Dubai. He looked a real speedball last year but ran two mighty races in top company in Meydan over 6f (including when making his own running last time on the wrong side) which will please connections as they would rather split up
Ubettabelieveit and this fellow than clash heads. I think this lad would be more than comfortable over 5f and I would love to see him in a Kings Stand where you have to stay 6f in order to win but I think he may be destined for the Commonwealth Cup.
Whichever way connections decide to go I think he will be a force to be reckoned with in the sprinting division and mustn’t be underestimated.
Away He Goes
Another horse who excelled in Dubai through the winter was Ismael Mohamed’s Away He Goes. He seemed to really improve when hold-up tactics were employed and when getting a fast pace to run at he proved quite useful. He was unfortunate not to get his head in front during his time in Dubai and although you can’t always trust the Meydan form during the summer I do think connections learnt how to ride him and that could be quite important as he could run very well in competitive handicaps when there is a strong pace. Races such as the Ebor come to mind but there should be plenty of opportunity for him to get his head in front this summer.
A fairly obvious one for the sake of this column but I do really like this horse albeit I am biased as his Mum was one of my all time faves. Being out of
Found he was always going to have some ability but the cross with War Front is really interesting. Positive vibes led to me lumping on him in the Chesham last year and he duly obliged before going on to win the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood. A trip to Keeneland proved fruitful as he finished second which was some effort considering where he ran on from. I suspect he has made huge strides during the winter considering his dam improved with age and the majority of Aidan O’Brien’s do train on, so I am very excited to see him in action this season and I expect him to be a force in the mile division although it wouldn’t surprise me if connections try their hand at 10f at some point.
Michael Dods would have been cursing his luck as his new stable star bumped into the classy Haqeeqy in the Lincoln which denied him a nice early season prize. He was a progressive three-year-old last term, winning at York before putting in a number of solid performances at a higher level and his return at Doncaster gives the impression there may be more to come from him this term. He shapes as if further may suit and it might in time but a strongly run mile looks to be his gig at the moment and I think he may bag a big one at some point this summer. Some of those good handicaps over the straight mile at Ascot
may suit and maybe even the Group 3 Strensall Stakes at his beloved York over 1m 1f might be an option if all goes to plan.
I couldn’t put Brunch in without also putting his Doncaster conqueror in as well. I fortunately tipped and backed John Gosden’s horse in the Lincoln but despite already half expecting him to be a group horse in a handicap, I was mightily impressed with his performance. A furlong out the race was still wide open and I couldn’t be sure of a place with my selection but Benoit De La Sayette activated ‘beast’ mode in the last 200 yards and this horse sprouted wings. He really took off and powered through the line to gain a big early season success. You can never be sure of the form in these sorts of races but the Lincoln has worked out in recent seasons and to the eye it looked like a strong renewal this season with all the right horses finishing in the first 7 or 8. I think there could be plenty more to come from this horse this season as he progresses up the ladder.
I haven’t heard much said about this colt in the build up to the 2021 Flat season but if he is still in training then he is a must for this shortlist. His debut win last year couldn’t have worked out much better with the aforementioned Ace Aussie finishing second, Wembley in third and Mac Swiney in 5th. All of which have gone on to boost the form since then but the winner disappointed at Newmarket after that and hasn’t been seen since. Maybe something went wrong at Newmarket that day hence the absence or Aidan O’Brien decided that was enough for now. Either way I think he could develop into a really nice horse which is what you would expect from a horse
who is out of Mecca’s Angel by Galileo. I mean as breeding goes that is somewhere near a perfect mix of speed and stamina and for that reason alone I just hope we get to see this fellow again to see how he progresses.
Boring, I know, but she might just mop up the middle distance races this year and is still freely available at 7/1 for the Arc in October which she unfortunately had to miss last year. She was simply too good for them last year and it all started in the Guineas at Newmarket. I’m surprised more people didn’t take note of the fact he was Aidan O’Brien’s only runner in the race which is quite rare and clearly showed the regard she was held in. After she won that, people began to winder what was possible as she wasn’t bred to win a Classic over a mile so to do that she must be a serious filly. She went on to prove herself just that and you can be as sure as hell that she would have come on again over the winter. Her route to the Arc will undoubtedly be the tried and tested one and I will be very surprised if anyone can get past her on her way to emulating a few good fillies before her.
Me and Mogul have a love/hate relationship in the way that I love him but he hates me. I was heavily invested on him for the Derby last year but the race just didn’t work out for him and from then on we just got on the wrong side of each other. Whenever I was on, he lost and whenever I wasn’t, he won. For that reason you think I’m a bit silly for including him in this column but I genuinely believe he could be a star this year, especially if dropped back to 10f. Aidan O’Brien has always said he is built like a miler and he does have plenty of boot so the drop back shouldn’t be an inconvenience at all. He may be aimed at the Eclipse/Juddmonte International and I would be interested to see how he fares.
Sir Ron Priestley
Missing the 2020 season might work out to be a blessing in disguise for Mark Johnston’s impressive young stayer. These staying types tend to have a hard time of it at 4 and always seem to be better at 5 where they have had the chance to strengthen up and mature to a level playing field with horses such as Stradivarius. That certainly looked the case anyway when this lad returned at Nottingham in early April when comfortably holding the classy Ocean Wind. That run would have put him spot on for his next assignment before connections undoubtedly will look to the Ascot Gold Cup. On good ground, I think he could cause some damage in that division this season.
So often the bridesmaid last season, I think Wembley should be able to get his head in front this season and develop into a high class horse in his own right. He caught my eye on a few occasions last season when staying on from unpromising positions to grab second and it’s those sort of horses which do go under the radar as a three year old. He could be the O’Brien second or third string in some big races this season and it wouldn’t surprise me if he were to cause an upset or two.