Review: 5 To Follow 2022

At the start of 2022 flat season I followed the trend of many racing fans and compiled a personal list of Five to Follow for the new season ahead.

It’s December, and the 2022 flat season belongs to the history books – a good time a look back and check how the five horses have fared this year.

Aldous Huxley

Despite the great name and a highly promising debut on the Kempton polytrack that landed him a spot in my list, Aldous Huxley has not quite fulfilled the early promise.

A fine runner-up behind fellow Godolphin colt New London (more on him later) in a Novice event at Newmarket, followed a neck beaten 2nd place finish in the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood.

Despite enjoying the run of the race, Aldous Huxley wasn’t good enough to win at that level. No surprise, because he never bettered the strong speed rating achieved on debut (90) either, suggesting he wasn’t really an improving sort.

He hasn’t been seen since this run in May and was gelded in the meantime.

It remains to be seen whether he can find improvement as a gelding next year. I would certainly hope so. He was a May foal, and his dam was a late bloomer as well.

  • Final Official Rating: 101
  • Best Speed Rating: 90

Cash

The David Simmcock trained colt seriously caught the eye when he blasted home in a Newmarket maiden at the backend of the 2021 season.

Unfortunately, he was only seen twice this year. That was at Sandown in the Group 3 Classic Trial. He was a desperately unlucky runner-up behind a certain Westover.

The French Derby and later QEII were targets subsequently, but neither materialised due to injuries. A real shame as he was so impressive on his debut and clearly trained on.

He made a belated comeback on the Kempton polytrack in November where he was a disappointing third of four starters. He travelled sweetly but hang in the closing stages.

I believe he stays in training. At least that’s what the owners mentioned a few months ago. One would hope so. This talented grey deserves a chance to show his very best. And I’d be more than hopeful he’s better than this last run.

  • Final Official Rating: 108
  • Best Speed Rating: 78

Claymore

He made seasonal reappearance at the place that saw him earn a spot in my 5TF list: Newmarket. A good 2nd place behind 2000 Guineas ante-post favourite Native Trail promised something for the season ahead.

The colt, trained by Jane Chapple-Hyam, subsequently finished last in the French Derby, but that was largely down to being drawn in the car park.

However, he then delivered on the big stage, when next seen, as he went wire to wire to win the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot.

This remained the highlight of his season as he was soundly beaten in the Group 2 York Stakes the next- and the last time we’ve seen him this year.

  • Final Official Rating: 111
  • Best Speed Rating: 89

New London

Without a shadow of a doubt the horse that turned out the best from my 5FT list. It didn’t look like it, initially. Even though, he won at Newmarket on his season debut, a subsequent rather lackluster run in the Chester Vase saw his Derby credentials evaporate.

He dropped into Handicap company the next time, obliged duly, proving to be a pattern horse running in a Handicap. He then went on to land the Group 3 Gordon Stakes at Goodwood as he stepped up in trip.

He was subsequently installed as the new favourite for the final Classic of the season: the St. Leger at Doncaster.

Going into the Leger as the 11/8 favourite, it was clearly an anti-climax when New London only managed to finish third. He had every chance in the home straight, but wasn’t quite good enough on the day. Perhaps the softish ground wasn’t quite ideal, given his very best performance came in much faster conditions than those present at Doncaster that day.

  • Final Official Rating: 111
  • Best Speed Rating: 108

Subastar

Big things were expected after the Roger Varian trained colt impressed on his sole run as a juvenile. However, he got beaten by over nine lengths on what turned out to be his only start this season, when third of four in the Listed Newmarket Stakes in April.

Connections mentioned they would take their time with this “really nice prospect”. He had subsequent entries at Royal Ascot – the Hampton Court touted as the likeliest race to run in the week leading up to the Royal racing event. He was never seen again, though.

This colt by Sea The Stars was a May foal. I would hope we may see him next year as a 4-year-old. He has been gelded in October, which may be a positive sign for a campaign in 2023.

  • Final Official Rating: 101
  • Best Speed Rating: 61

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