The flat kicks into gear. Here are five three-year-old horses I’m excited to follow throughout the year.
Putting the list together I have been aiming to identify individuals that have shown something significant on debut – visually and on the clock – who can be expected to improve with experience.
Not all of these individuals will go on to achieve great things. The bubble can burst quickly. Hence the list is not to be understood as a “follow to bet” instruction. Circumstances still matter.
However, I am personally intrigued to follow the progress of these horses given the early promise they have shown. No doubt all of them are capable of winning races this year.
3-y-o Colt / John Gosden
90 Topspeed on debut – Soon established himself up with the pace, despite having to travel four wide. Big move to grab the lead halfway through the race as the pace slowed down significantly. Never saw a rival again to land the race hands and heels ridden by 6 ½ lengths beating a bunch of more experienced rivals.
The form is nothing special. However, taking into considerations the obstacles Aldous Huxley had to overcome – including greenness, as was reported by Rob Havlin post-race – this was a fine performance backed up by an excellent FTO topspeed rating.
The overall time looks pretty good in comparison to the Listed Magnolia Stakes over course and distance on the same card. This big, galloping type is a full-brother to a smart Group performer (2022 Al-Maktoum Challenge R2 runner-up Al Nefud).
I reckon a step up to 1m 2f will be ideal next time. He’s got a Dante entry.
3-y-o Colt / Roger Varian
84 Topspeed on debut – Impressive winner on sole start in September at Newmarket. Inexperience showed at the start, though, he was quickly up with the pace, travelling on the outside and tracking the leader, racing without cover.
Asked to increase his effort from three furlongs out, Subastar responded well to the urgings of Andrea Atzeni in the saddle. He was firmly in control from two furlongs out and was able to win in dominant style.
This form looks strong and has been multiple times franked. The second, third and fourth have won in the meantime and should to be decent horses in their own right.
Subastar is a May foal and has a big frame to fill. He should have tons of scope, particularly if he steps up in trip, given there is plenty of stamina on the dam side. He got entries for the Epsom- and the Curragh Derby.
3-y-o Colt / Charlie Appleby
87 Topspeed on debut – quite green throughout the race. After a slow start he never seemed to fully grasp the task at hand. Was still capable to win.
They raced hard from 4 furlongs out. New London looked in trouble and flat footed with three furlongs to go. Once he found his stride, though, he galloped relentlessly to close the gap and get up on the line. The final furlong split was more than half a second faster than the vastly more experienced runner-up.
The form doesn’t look overly exciting but the fact he achieved a fast TS rating on debut, overcoming inexperience over a trip potentially on the sharp side, he’s got to be considered an exciting staying prospect.
New London is a big, imposing sort, seemingly a grinder who gallops all day long without possessing a flashy turn of foot. No surprise, given he is out of a Manduro mare and a full-brother to Queen’s Vase (1m 6f) 3rd placed Al Dabaran. 1m 4f looks the minimum for him. He’s got entries in the Dante and Derby.
3-y-o Colt / Jane Chapple-Hyam
83 Topspeed on debut – awkward at times, certainly raw when landing a Newmarket maiden over 7 furlongs on debut. After an awkward start he moved rapidly to the front of the field breaking his rivals from the halfway mark with ever increasing sectionals.
Claymore continued to look raw and inexperienced in the closing stages but nothing could get to him. He won easily in the end. The form looks solid thanks to the runner-up.
In the aftermath connections mentioned they gave this lad plenty of time to fill his frame, didn’t rush him as a juvenile, because they expect good things next season.
He’ll have no issues staying 1 mile for sure, even though we may even see the best of him beyond that. He’s got Guineas and Derby entries.
3-y-o Colt / David Simcock
87 tospeed on debut – keen, green and raw, particularly early on. Once pulled to the inside he travelled supremely well and made eye-catching progress through the field.
Still, victory looked rather unlikely two furlongs out. Only when approaching the final furlong marker he finally got a clear run. Once things opened up he never looked back.
Visually stunning. Speed rating matched the visual impression. Sectionals are strong. In addition this was a superb educational ride. The form looks proper having beaten more experiences rivals – the third was a fine 3rd placed finisher behind New London.
Cash was a 100k yearling and subsequently sold for €162k to David Simcock in a Breeze Up Sale. He is likely to stay well beyond the mile trip given the dam won over 1m 6f. Has Dante and Derby entries.