Flat Horses To Follow 2023: 3-year-old Handicappers

First part of a series that tries to pick out a number of intriguing horses to follow for the new 2023 flat season.

The main focus is going to be on handicappers that may fly under the radar or offer significant upside, judged on their current BHA Official Rating.

Ana Emaraaty
3-yo gelding / Owen Burrows / Awtaad – Sundus

Very green on debut and sole start in August. Gelded in the meantime. Will be interesting once in Handicap company over 10 furlongs.

Looks likely to enjoy softish conditions, appears to have quite a high knee action. Dam’s offspring tends to perform best with cut in the ground, so does Awtaad’s offspring (3yo Handicappers).

3-yo colt / William Haggas / Sea The Stars – Holy Moon

Green on debut, improved effort in strong Kempton race subsequently, travelled quite nicely. Big drifter in the betting on both occasions.

Full-brother to Sea Of Class. Retains a Derby entry but unlikely to turn out that good now. Nonetheless, bound to improve dramatically as 3-year-old compared to what he showed last season, especially if he goes up in trip.

Alhambra Palace
3-yo colt / William Haggas / Le Havre – Lady Francesca

Slowly into stride in both career runs. Bit unlucky on debut, but didn’t get hard ride after becoming short of room over 2f out in heavy going. Finished well under easy ride at Kempton.

Was a £58k foal, a year later sold for £230k as a yearling. Related to some good winners and has pedigree to do well on turf as well as All-Weather, most likely seen to best effect once up in trip as a half-brother to Northumberland Plate 4th place finisher.

As a son of Le Havre he will enjoy races with emphasis on stamina. Needs one more run to qualify for a handicap mark.

3-yo filly / Andrew Balding / Australia – Pure Fantasy

Temperamental, had issues out of the gate on both career runs. Final 2022 performance can be upgraded when unlucky in the home straight.

One to keep an eye out for the opening mark, very much depends on final qualifying start. A mark in the 70’s or lower would be interesting as she steps up in trip. Will likely need plenty of cut in the ground for anything below longer trips.

Australia’s record with 3yo fillies is strong; generally with 3yo’s in lower grade handicaps on stiff tracks, with cut in the ground is noteworthy and ties in nicely with the overall profile of the filly.

Birchmore Len
3-yo gelding / Michael Madgwick / Sixties Icon – Steel Free

Showed absolutely nothing in three runs as a juvenile. Opening mark of 61 is harsh on that basis.

Will only show his true colours once hew moves significantly up in trip, most likely 12 furlongs. Full-brother to modest staying handicapper Steel An Icon. Trainer knows this family well having trained the dam and some offspring.

3-yo gelding / Jim Boyle / Nathanial – Sonnetation

Improved markedly on Handicap debut at Brighton. Found himself multiple times outpaced but kept showing positive attitude as he finished well up the hill and achieved a 53 speed rating.

The performance warrants an upgrade, as the form has worked out well in the meantime, and he starts the season only a pound higher than that day, (OR 55) now as a gelding.

Even more so, as a son of Nathanial you can be almost certain he will improve as a 3-year-old and as he moves up in trip. Could be seriously well handicapped.

Dog Fox
3-yo gelding / Ed Dunlop / Cityscape – Dragonera

Showed nothing in three runs over trips that were clearly on the sharp side. Will improve for Handicaps and going up in trip. Majority of dam’s offspring performs solid once upped to 10 furlongs.

There is also excellent All-Weather form in the pedigree. An opening mark of 63 looks stiff judged on juvenile form, but could underestimate him judged on potential improvement for trip and age.

3-yo filly / D & C Kubler / Camelot – Acquainted

Showed signs of improvement on Handicap debut when last seen in October when also quite well backed. Travelled nicely but didn’t have pace to match in the closing stages over 7 furlongs.

Is a full-sister to a smart Aussie performer over 1m to 10f who improved nicely in her days as a 3yo. She looked quite big last year and is possibly one to be most interested in Spring.

Should improve as she moved up to a mile in Handicap company; 10 furlongs shouldn’t be an issue either. New seasons OR of 59 looks ready to be exploited.

3-yo colt / Jane Chapple-Hyam / Ulysses – Miss Dashwood

Excellent run in third place on final run in 2022 behind very smart winner. Opening mark could be lenient judged on this final run if he moves up in trip.

Vast majority of dam’s offspring improved with age and trip, and stayed 10 furlongs plus.

Folk Star
3-yo filly / David Simcock / Le Havre – Full Opera

Two lovely runs of educational matter in October 2022. Looked much better than bare results. Never asked a question, finished nicely, especially at Yarmouth. Will need one more run to qualify for a mark.

May foal. Plenty of scope to improve, especially as she goes up in trip. A stiff mile could be ideal before moving up further. Beautifully bred, with plenty of stamina on dam side; the mare improved with time.

Le Have offspring improves with age. His 3yo’s have a 21% strike rate overall (A/E 1.2) in Handicaps. Especially potent over 1 mile to 10 furlongs from July on. Ideally stiff or galloping tracks not on a straight track.

Gold Aura
3-yo filly / Richard Hughes / Golden Horn – Lady Haidi

Showed promise in three starts as a juvenile over 7 furlongs. Looks bound to improve for a step up in trip as there is tons of stamina on sire and dam side. Could possibly enjoy the All-Weather, too.

Opening mark of 72 looks more than fair, given her solid juvenile form. Up in trip she could turn out to be well handicapped.

Golden Horn offspring tend to improve dramatically as they step up in trip. His record with fillies is strong.

3-yo gelding / Ralph Beckett / Galileo – Madame Chiang

Unremarkable three runs as a juvenile on the surface of the form. Finished at the back of the field in the Eyetrap race. Badly outpaced but finished seriously well in the final furlong.

Cost 200k as a yearling and had a Derby entry. Gelded in the meantime. Clearly will need to go up in trip to show his best form. Opening mark could be quite lenient as he’s very well bred.

Lady Rascal
3-yo filly / George Boughey / Nathanial – Theladyinquestion

Solid debut and sole run as a juvenile over inadequate trip. Most likely won’t show true colours before she steps up significantly in trip. Full-sister to smart stayer Nate The Great.

Fetched £270k as a yearling back in 2021. Could be seriously underestimated by the handicapper once she had three qualifying runs.

Made seasonal reappearance at Wolverhampton in 9.5f maiden. Encouraging effort without ever threatening.

3-yo colt / David Menuisier / Le Havre – Arendelle

Ran incredibly well in two of three runs as a juvenile, both placed performances can be marked up and look possibly strong form, judged through the winners.

Will be interesting as he goes up in trip. By Le Havre out of a Camelot mare, 10 furlongs will suit really well. Opening mark not a giveaway but with improvement to come as a 3-year-old could have something in hand.

Tribal Master
3-yo gelding / Ralph Beckett / Mastercraftsman – Snoqualmie Star

Gelded before debut run, showed nothing in two starts last year, but 7f way too short. Is a full-brother to smart stayer Tribal Craft (and modest staying handicapper).

Should get a low enough opening mark post qualifying run that could be exploited once he moves up significantly in trip.

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