Tag Archives: John Gosden

Saturday Selections: St. Leger Day 2017

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1.30 Chester: Class 4 Handicap, 5f

This type of race in this type of conditions won’t suit many in this field, but favourite Show Palace has a prime chance to bounce back to form. He already won three times this year and loves the mud plus looks still to have a bit more to offer with the right conditions.

Franny Norton in the saddle is another bonus, while the positive draw enhances his chances even further.

Selection: 
10pts win – Show Palace @ 3/1 Skybet

……

2.40 Chester: Listed Stand Cup Stakes, 1m 4f 

Group 3 winning Duretto proves popular with punters though the well exposed and less sexy Soldier In Action is a better bet in my book. He thrives in tough conditions like the ones to expect at Chester today and stays all day long.

He didn’t land a blow in the Ebor, however won a tough handicap the same month of a mark off 106. So he’s clearly a smart operator. Rated within three pounds of Duretto, match fitness might prove and advantage for Mark Johnston’s inmate, I believe.

Selection:
10ts win – Soldier In Action @ 11/4 Paddy Power

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3.35 Doncaster: Group 1 St. Leger, 1m 6.5f

This years St. Leger shapes as an intriguing contest with five, six horses closely matched on ratings. No doubt, Irish Derby winner Capri warrants plenty of respect, though the ever improving Crystal Ocean, Stradivarius, Defoe and the filly Coronet all real chances to improve again with a big shout over the Leger trip.

However is the forgotten horse in the race another Ballydoyle runner? Venice Beach doesn’t get any love leading up to the race, even though he has some excellent form in the book too.

Sure, he looks short of top class over a mile and a quarter, however he shapes like a grinder who’s crying out for the trip. Watch back the Grand Prix de Paris, where he looked outpaced and beaten in the home straight. Yet he fought back gamely, found more and more and finished an excellent third.

At York in the Voltigeur he wasn’t a match for Cracksman. But he finished a clear second of some decent individuals. It might turn out that he simply is not a Group 1 animal, that says the trip and ground in combination make him a big danger to anyone in this field, I feel.

Selection:
10pts win – Venice Beach @ 14/1 Bet365

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5.15 Musselburgh: Class 3 Handicap, 1m 6f

I’ve been keen on Dominating the last time at York in the Melrose Handicap, though he flopped that day. We can draw a line through that I feel, though, given it was a very hot race. This is easier and it remains the fact that Irish St. Leger winner Jukebox Jury has an outstanding record with his first crop of three year old’s in Britain.

Contributing towards this has been the Mark Johnston trained Dominating himself, as he has won already three times this year, including over the 1m 6f trip and at Musselburgh.

I don’t think conditions will be an issue for him, in case the rain arrives. He didn’t perform the one time he raced on soft ground, but on pedigree it looks fine and he’s a different horse now, I believe.

Selection:
10pts win – Dominating @ 9/2 Bet365

Seven Heavens: Make Frankel Proud

A son of Frankel that looks identical to his prominent daddy? Yep, that’s right. Seven Heavens, a three times raced colt by the wonder horse looks quite like his father and even seems to have inherited some of his traits, like being a bit overly keen and a habit for pulling hard.

That doesn’t make Seven Heavens a less exciting prospect to look forward to when he goes to post on Wednesday in the European Free Handicap over  7 furlongs at Newmarket – the place of Frankel’s arguably most “WOW” like performance.

While Seven Heavens is not the favourite in the race, he is the least exposed in the field. How good he is remains to be seen, of course, but he certainly created  a big impression on debut putting away subsequent National Stakes third Lockheed.

We didn’t learn allot about him in his next two starts: at Goodwood in a 2-runner race he made clearly no mistake against a rival now rated in the 70’s, while in the Racing Post Trophy he pulled his chances away, so that form is one to excuse I suggest.

There is a fair chance that Seven Heavens will be a much better three year old given he was a very late foal, nonetheless looked  strong and scopey as a juvenile. His trainer concluded on that matter:

“He did well to race three times as a youngster as he was a late foal.”

And there is Frankel, the father, who has made a tremendous start to the year with his first three year old’s hitting the race course – albeit only on the All-Weather so far.

But that could be a key indicator: last season not a single of his two year offspring got even placed on the sand, whereas this season an eye popping 50% of 14 starters ran into the money for an impressive 36% win rate. Interestingly the overall SP’s stayed basically the same, so his sons and daughters were not simply better fancied than last season.

I suspect this Listed contest might only be a stepping stone for Seven Heavens. He’s from an excellent family non only on the sire but also the dam side suggesting he and can step up in trip.

But I’ve no worries in terms of race fitness here, though. John Gosden said this race was the early season target for quite some time. And that makes sense. This is a real test against fine opposition.

Selection:
10pts win – Seven Heavens @ 7/2 Bet365

…….

5.45 Beverley: Class 4 Handicap, 7.5f

Plenty unexposed individuals lining up here. Fahey’s Areen Heart could be too good if improved over the winter while the Shamadal filly Salamah deserves another chance, particularly at this course where her daddy has a tremendous record.

However I take a chance with race fit Lualiwa. This lad progressed nicely as a juvenile and his 2l beaten fourth in a hot Doncaster nursery on Handicap debut looks particularly strong form given the winner is now a 101 rated horse.

Lualiwa returned at Chelmsford last month in a rather poor maiden. He did no make a mistake, though. Storming out of the gates to make all from the front, travelling super strongly and putting the race to bed easily.

His current mark of 79 could underestimate him taking into account his juvenile form and strong visual impression last month. He’s expected to improve as a three year old and is a nice scopey type.

Selection:
10pts win – Lualiwa @ 6/1 Paddy Power

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6.20 Beverley: Class 5 Handicap, 8.5f

Bottom weight Make On Madam must have a tremendous chance to get up in this race. Her win record isn’t all that impressive and her record over this sort of trip isn’t either. However she’s going really well at this track, runs consistently well off higher marks here and won of 1lb higher last season a 7.5f Handicap at Beverley

On fast ground – which is fine for her – she has probably a pretty decent chance to stay the trip from a good draw, even more so in a slightly easier race, here against her own sex.

She had an excellent pipe opener last month at Newcastle over 7f too, finishing third, when staying on strongly in the end. With age she simply might have a bit more stamina than before.

Selection:
10pts win – Make On Madam @ 13/2 PP

……

Another nice winner today. Bushel got up at 13/2 advised. It was a real thriller but thankfully Bushel found enough in the closing stages to get his head in front when it really mattered: on the line!

It didn’t quite end that way for Majestic Hero, who was headed in the dying strides of the race, denying us the double at tasty odds of 12/1.

Big Race Preview: Juddmonte International

Wings-of-desire

It shouldn’t feel easy to oppose a horse with an ultra impressive record reading something like 11-111 for the last five starts. Even more when those wins came in either Group 1 or 2 company. It shouldn’t be easy…..

But it is! Postponed, red hot favourite to land the Juddmonte International today, developed into a serious world-class horse, no doubt. He’s going to be a prime contender to win an Arc this year,should connections opt to go down this route.

That’s the future – but what about today? Well, I’m leaning wide out of the window – potentially making a fool of myself – nonetheless I have to say Postponed should not be clear cut favourite today. He really shouldn’t!

See it this way: except for a maiden success, Postponed has actually never won below 11 furlongs – in fact all his wins on Group level came over one mile and half a furlong!

He’s not a slow horse. And yes, given his impressive performances lately, it appears that he could well have enough pace to be competitive over 1m 2f – yet he simply hasn’t shown it in the past – or at least it was never good enough to get his head in front.

Now, he looked super impressive in the Coronation Cup at Epsom. Naturally that form should give him a major chance. One the other hand I feel the drop down to 10 furlongs at flat York on fast ground is an entirely different test. He’s meeting some speedier sorts and I suspect he’s get rolling way too late.

So if not Postponed, who then? Well, Globetrotter Highland Reel must play a big role. He is not a flashy superstar by all means, but developed into a consistent top level performer.

He’s excelled over 12 furlongs lately, though I believe he has enough pace to ensure a drop in trip is no big deal. Let’s not forget Highland Reel won the Goodwood Vintage Stakes over seven furlongs as a juvenile, where he produced a stunning turn of foot.

However the most likely winner of the race is Godolphin’s Hawkbill. His Coral Eclipse success, subsequently franked by The Gurkha in the Sussex Stakes, is the strongest piece of form on offer in this field over the 10 furlongs trip.

As a three year old with weight for age advantage he must have a tremendous chance – as long as he acts on fast ground. As a son of Kitten’s Joy you would think he’s got no issues with that.

However looking closer, Kitten’s Joy offspring actually has not been all that successful on fast ground in the UK over the years. Only 9.6% of his daughters and sons won races and even less of those won on fast ground over 10 furlongs.

John Gosden’s Wings of Desire gets another chance today to prove he is a proper Group 1 horse. The Dante Stakes winner and Derby fourth was far from disgraced in second place behind Highland Reel at Royal Ascot but seemed not to get home over 12 furlongs – so dropping him back in trip is a positive.

I feel this is his best chance to win a Group 1 to date. In fact today he really has to show what he’s made of. No excuses. He has to improve a bit, of course, but with conditions very likely to suit, he has every chance to find the bit of improvement needed to challenge hard.

Interesting side note: Wings Of Desire is a son of Pivotal, whose offspring performs incredibly well over this trip and ground at York – a small sample size it is, but a 60% win- and 100% place strike rate in pattern races seems significant.

Anyone else with a chance? Well, you can’t rule out Mutakayyef. He won two on the bounce and tries to bring this form to the highest level now. Dariyan has been disappointing lately, but on his best, could finish in the money.

That says at the prices, I think Wings of Desire is the most compelling bet in the race. I really do expect him to run a huge race.

Selection: Wings Of Desire @ 12/1 Ladbrokes

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Best of the Rest:

2.20 Chepstow: Island In The Sky @ 7/4 Skybet
2.30 York: Courage Under Fire @ 7/1 Bet365
2.45 Carlisle: Senator @ 5/6 Skybet
2.55 Chepstow: Hidden Stash @ 11/4 Bet365
3.30 Chepstow: Curriculum @ 11/8 Coral
4.55 York: Kamra @ 16/1 Bet365
7.40 Kempton: Certified @ 9/1 Bet365
8.40 Kempton: Saborido @ 14/1 Bet365

Photo: Britishchampionseries.com/Racingfotos.com

Lingfield Preview – Churchill Stakes

Wet Dundalk Polytrack

3.10 Lingfield: Churchill Stakes (Listed)

An ultra competitive race with plenty of pace – it should suit lightly raced favourite Let’s Go down to the grounds. He was only beaten by the best All-Weather horse in the country when last seen and should enjoy the new trip.

That says he is a very short price in a very hot race. There is better value to find. I like a couple but for pure price reasons find it impossible to ignore John Gosden’s Tempus Temporis. He’s made a name for himself as a really good horse on the synthetics last winter, winning two and being placed in a super-competitive All-Weather Championship Finale.

He wasn’t disgraced when last seen at Newmarket when third behind two smart horses either. Off since then it’s hard to know what to expect today from him as a fresh horse. However Gosden has his string is excellent order so one would assume Tempus Temporis will have a fair shot at this.

He tried the 10f trip for the second time. The jury is out whether he truly stays it. From a pedigree perspective he’s got every chance. With a top jockey in the saddle I feel this lad is massively overpriced.

Tempus Temporis @ 20/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

Arc Review: Golden Horn spoils the party

Golden Horn

That’s not the result we all wanted. Record bidding wonder mare Treve beaten. A rather disappointing fourth place – it ends the career of the two-times Arc champion on a slightly sour note – given the immense hype in the build-up to the race. Her scintillating turn of foot – not there. Instead she looked a tricky ride and Thierry Jarnet never comfortable.

The French jockey has been slated in some corners for this ride on Sunday afternoon. Rightly so, to an extend at least. He wasn’t aware of the pace scenario and the fact that the quick ground can make all the difference to bring back classy contenders who are up with the speed.

On the other hand he rode Treve exactly the same way as he did when she was so utterly impressive in the 2013 Arc. With the difference that this time she didn’t make ground on the outside in the same impressive way as she did back then. She looked a tricky ride for Jarnet in the closing stages too. He could never get her organised for a big finish.

Maybe she peaked a couple of weeks too early? Remember her stunning performance in the Prix Vermeille weeks before. Maybe it was the ground though. On the quick side of good, which seemed to inconvenience her in the past, seemingly didn’t suit on Sunday yet again.

But: she remains a two time Arc winner. A fantastic mare, one we’ll remember for a long time. An all-time great? Who knows. Let’s put away with this rubbish of comparing horses from different generations with the purpose to establish who is great and who isn’t. Treve has been a brilliant race horse. That is what matters and that is the way we shall remember her.

What a brilliant ride by Frankie, wasn’t it? He may not be quite as strong in the saddle as he used to be 15 years ago, but his brain works as well as ever. It was pure genius to mitigate the obvious disadvantages of Golden Horn’s wide draw; moving forward right away, on the far outside of the field. He avoided any hassle, kept the colt relaxed, got right to the top of the field without any problems and only seconds after the race started Golden Horn was suddenly in the best possible position.

The fast ground clearly helped him to float over the grass easily and effortless. The pace was good, kept him at ease, interested, but wasn’t too quick either. We know Golden Horn stays, and after the first quarter of the race I said to myself: he’ll be hard to peg back once he kicks on in the home straight. That’s exactly what happened.

The conditions clearly helped Golden Horn but it also helps if you’re the best horse in the race, I guess.

Credit where credit is due: John Gosden has done a phenomenal job with Golden Horn. He kept him well and fit throughout the season, campaigned him bravely and didn’t duck away from challenges. Now a Derby, Eclipse, Irish Champion Stakes and Arc winner – Golden Horn deserves the tag of a superstar. Next stop Breeders Cup?

Preview: Royal Ascot – Thursday Selections

Twilight Son

Wednesday turned out to be a pretty horrible day from a betting point of view. I guess you could say Bossy Guest was an unlucky loser in the first. A better pace and he probably wins it. Can’t fault the horse, finished well enough. The rest of the day…. well, it didn’t get any better, That’s probably fair to say. So let’s look ahead. There is great racing on tomorrow.

>>Comprehensive Preview for the Gold Cup: Read Here <<

Tercentenary Stakes, 1m 2f

Excellent renewal for this Group 3. Favourite Time Best is a very exciting colt. He won a good Handicap at York recently; couldn’t done that in any better fashion. He’s lovely bred and has all the right credentials to win this race. Only slight concern is the fast ground which he never encountered before.

Main dangers should come from Peacock and the only filly in the race, Irish raider Bocca Baciata. The former one is a Paco Boy son and has improved nicely this year from a fine Kempton run on his seasonal debut, over a runner-up effort behind subsequent Derby winner Golden Horn, to an authoritative Listed race success at Newmarket when upped in trip last month. He stays 10f and acts on quick ground. Good chance.

The Irish filly won a really good 10f race at Navan earlier this year, which is extremely strong form. She lacked the speed in the Irish 1.000 Guineas afterwards when dropped in trip, though. But she travelled really well that day and back up in trip must be taken seriously. Although it’s never easy against the boys.

Couple more could feature, like progressive Disegno or even Mustadeem, who may find this race more suitable than when second behind Peacock in a trappy affair.

One shouldn’t forget to mention the Dermot Weld’s runner Don Camillo. Lightly raced and progressive on the All-Weather, he won a Dundalk maiden in great fashion and travelled all over older more experienced rivals in a Handicap off a mid-90 mark the next time. He was outstayed eventually but should have learned plenty.

He was thought to be good enough to warrant an entry for the US Triple Crown series, though he didn’t take it up eventually. Nonetheless quite well bred, by a Breeders Cup Classic winner, Don Camillo is likely to relish the fast conditions at Ascot. With further improvement to come, he’s a very lively outsider in this field.

Don Camillo @ 33/1 Stan James – 5pts Win

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Ribblesdale Stakes, 1m 4f

Irish 1000 Guineas winner Pleascach is a warm favourite for this Fillies’ Group 2. She steps up markedly in trip, though is expected to take to it without a problem. She won over 10f earlier this year and the Guineas was run as a real test of stamina, which suited her. She’ll take plenty of beating if she runs to her official rating.

Second favourite Pamona was a bit unlucky in a Listed event recently. But she doesn’t strike me as a filly who wants much further than 10 furlongs. The same goes for progressive Curvy, who was able to beat a well fancied stable mate the last time.

Aiden O’Brien’s Wedding Vow has been a disappointing favourite in the Lingfield Oaks trial. She didn’t get the run of the race there and seemed to lack focus in the closing stages. Blinkered for the first time she could be much sharper here. But she is still a maiden and her form is far from special.

If you want to take on the top notch Bolger filly – and I am prepared to do that – you better don’t underestimate John Gosden’s charge Gretchen. Only a one time raced maiden winner to date, one should really watch her debut run at Newmarket, where she made a very big impression on me.

She was green – naturally – slowly out of the gates too, but then settled well and made gradually progress. I liked the way she went through the gears travelling on the outside to increase the heat step by step. She was only pushed out, never saw the stick, but won a useful maiden in authoritative style in the end.

This filly looks exceptional from a physical point of view and is equally bred to be a star; she is open to any amount of improvement. John Gosden must think allot of her to throw her in at the deep end here, but if she can overcome inexperience, she must be one who is able to give the favourite something to think about.

Gretchen @ 11/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

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Britannia Stakes, 1 mile

As always in these big Handicaps, the race may be decided where the pace is coming from. It’s hard to break it down in this field I’ve to admit – it could go either way.

Two horses stand out from a value perspective in this huge field: Certainly it’s Mr. Halford’s lightly raced Portage. I missed the 14’s but still think 12/1 is rather big – as long as he gets a run; he’ll be hard to beat by any horse here. I come to this rather bold conclusion because I believe this lad is extremely well handicapped.

He earned glowing reports from his trainer after winning a Curragh maiden second time out towards the end of last season. It’s pretty strong form but he was always sure to improve for the step up to 1m. He reappeared at the Curragh over 1m in a hot Handicap in May, taking on some older, experienced and seasoned horses. He travelled really well, made eye-catching progress but never got a run on the inside and was eased eventually.

It’s rare to see in Ireland, but here the Handicapper has been lenient. He dropped Portage by 2lb! Of course I might be wrong but to me this individual looks a good 10 to 15 pounds better and could easily turn out to be a Stakes performer.

Second horse to highlight is another Godolphin charge: Emirates Airline. He absolutely demolished a 1m maiden field at Chelmsford on his seasonal debut and followed up at Newmarket in a good Handicap over 10f with a fine performance. He was very keen early on – that’s why the hood is added this time – and was let lose by his jockey soon after the start. He just got outstayed in the dying strides.

The drop in trip back to 1m will suit him I feel, so should the likely fast pace in this race. It should keep him settled and occupied throughout. I fancy him to outrun his big price tag.

Portage @ 12/1 Coral – 5pts Win
Emirates Airline @ 33/1 Coral – 5pts Win

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King George V Stakes, 1m 4f

Surprisingly many of these 19 runners look vulnerable from a pure stamina point of view. Only four distance winners in the field, which one could rather easily oppose on form, while the rest tries the trip for the first time in most cases and only very few seem actually suited by the 1m 4f distance. That says two individuals stand out for me in terms of the improvement like to come for the new trip.

First one is Dartmouth – he is out of a Group 3 winning Galileo mare, so should be capable of getting 12 furlongs. He finished 4th in the legendary 10f Sandown Handicap which made Jack Hobbs a temporary favourite for the Epsom Derby. He subsequently won a Handicap himself; same place, same trip. Positive tactics worked and he just held on to win in a photo.

He’s far from flashy but looks one who’ll be better with time as well as when stepping up in trip. His revised mark off 83 seems more than fair. In fact it might underestimate his true potential given his sexy breeding.

As an alternative, but equally sure to improve for 12 furlongs, I select Maxwell. He’s not a quick horse by any means, but has been progressive this season, starting with a success on the Wolverhampton playtrack over 9f. He followed up at Salisbury on his Handicap debut when upped to 10f.

Both times he was going away in the final 100 yards or so, clearly indicating his superior stamina reserves. There is indeed enough stamina on his dam side to support the visual impression and I expect him to improve for the new trip. A mark off 86 doesn’t need to be the end for him.

Dartmouth @ 14/1 Paddy Power – 5pts Win
Maxwell @ 20/1  Paddy Power – 5pts Win

Preview: Sandown – Brigadier Gerard Stakes

Twilight Son

Godolphin’s exciting Tryster is back on turf after an extremely prolific winter on the All-Weather where he landed the Winter Derby as well as the AW Middle-Distance Championships. Can he be as effective on the grass? We’ll find out soon. He’s to beat some very tough opposition, that’s assured.

Most notably Sir Michael Stoute’s Arab Spring. Progressive last year and successful on his return to the track last month, he took a Group 3 over 12f and is one who’s expected to have a big season ahead. Not sure if the drop in trip to 10f will suit, though. He seemed to need every inch of the 1m 4f trip in the John Porter Stakes.

John Gosden’s Eagle Top was a runway winner of the King Edward VII Stakes last year but subsequently wasn’t in the same mood in the King George. Lightly raced and talented, he remains with loads of potential, but again, the drop in trip seems not to suit. He has never races shorter than 11f in his career.

Western Hymn won the Gordon Richards Stakes over course and distance last month. He beat some really good horses and this form works out well. He may have had race fitness on his side that day but proved that he can cope with a faster than soft surface. He showed guts and class, and seems to have physically improved over the winter.

Tullius was a long way beaten in the very same race and the trip is a big question mark. Niceofyoutotellme shouldn’t be good enough in this class.

Verdict: It may turn out at the end of the season that others have progressed past Western Hymn, but he seems to have found an ideal opportunity to get another Stakes win on the boards here. With race fitness assured, he seems overpriced to my eyes, particularly given that he is a true mile and a quarter horse, which can’t be said about all his rivals.

Western Hymn @ 5/1 Coral – 5pts Win

Flat Horses To Follow

The start of the flat season is looming…… the ‘real’ start I mean! Yes, the Doncaster Lincoln is the traditional kick-off, but let’s be honest, the focus is still very much on the jumps – thanks to the all overshadowing Grand National. However you’ll see, time is flying.  A blink of an eye later and horses are already thundering down the Rowley Mile at Newmarket on Guineas weekend!

That is reason enough for me to write down my personal “Flat Horses To Follow List”! I have worked myself through a large list of horses in recent weeks – to be more specific: I’ve been actually assessing the more or less promising two year old colts and geldings of the 2014 season. Based on that, I’ve come up with a 12 To Follow list…..

I know, everyone is coming up with ten to follow these days – that’s why I have twelve horses on my list! … Well, no. To be honest, I just couldn’t endure the pain to cut down the list to ten.

Archangel Raphael – 2 Starts, Aiden O’Brien

This lightly races son of Montjeu was unlucky not to win on debut but made amends at the Galway Festival. He looked pretty green on both starts and was outpaced halfway through but was particularly impressive on his second outing when he had many negative factors to overcome but won in the manner of a talented individual. There’s bit lack of stamina on his dam side, but 1m 2f should be possible for him. Much further looks unlikely.

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Christophermarlowe – 2 Starts, John Gosden

Big, powerful, galloping sort with plenty of scope. Was still very much learning the game in both career starts, but looks to have some raw ability that could propel him into a top class performer. He handled Epsom well enough when winning a Conditions race on his second outing. Looks sure to get 1m 2f, could potentially get the Derby trip as well.

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Chemical Charge – 2 Starts, Ralf Beckett

Made a belated debut in October. Was visually impressive and followed up with minor win on the All-Weather weeks later. Showed a nice  turn of foot on Lingfield’s polytrack. He has a lovely middle-distance pedigree which should ensure he gets better with age and distance.

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Consort – 1 Start, Sir Michael Stoute

Impressive runaway winner of a hot Newmarket maiden last autumn. Produced strong turn of foot from the front but should be suited by stiffer test. Step up in trip should suit. He’s very likely to enjoy a mile and may even develop with time into a top class runner over a bit further. Out off the Guineas though as trainer said he need a bit more time.

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Endless Drama – 1 Start, Ger Lyons

Astonishing debut run late in the season when producing serious change of gear. Very well bred out of a Listed winning mare. Looks to have loads of speed and not sure if he would get a mile, but he has potential to do loads of damage over sprint trips if he fails to show enough stamina for further.

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Fannaan – 2 Starts, John Gosden

Utterly impressive in two career outings. Beat 104 rated individual under hands and heels in soft conditions at Newmarket over 7f on second start. Bred to be top class miler who should be even more suited by quick underfoot conditions. Exciting prospect.

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Full Mast – 3 Starts, Head-Maarek

Already a multiple Group winner in France over seven furlongs  in his short career, including the Group 1 Prix Jean Luc Lagardere (actual winner Gleneagles demoted). Lovely bred and sure to improve with age and distance. Exciting middle-distance prospect.

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Golden Horn – 1 Start, John Gosden

Was slowly away and trailing on debut but produced great run to win in the end. Beat smart runner-up (was 2nd on debut behind subsequent Racingpost Trophy runner-up). He is a half-brother to a 10f Listed winner and is bound to excel over middle-distance trips this season once stepping up in trip.

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Giovanni Canaletto – 2 Starts, Aiden O’Brien

A full-brother to Ruler Of The World, he is obviously very well bred. He has been quite green in his two career starts but finished strongly on debut behind a potentially smart winner. He produced a blistering turn of foot on his 2nd start, despite an awkward head carriage. He will improve with experience and distance.

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Mohaayed – 2 Starts, Kevin Prendergast

Very green on both starts. Completely unaware of what his job is supposed to be on debut. Very impressive winner on second start, beating smart Ballydoyle horse in third. Was looking- and wandering around in closing stages but showed some class. Future seems to be over middle-distance on pedigree.

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Highland Reel – 2 Starts, Aiden O’Brien

Very Green and raw and first two starts. Yet run out impressive 12l winner stepping up to one mile on second outing. Third of that race beat exciting prospect JFK subsequently. He went on to win Group 2 over seven furlongs at Goodwood on his last start in 2014. In a rather slowly run race he produced a blistering turn of foot. He should relish a stiffer test over further on pedigree. To my eyes he looks the real deal if he trains on. Serious Guineas prospect.

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Zawraq – 1 Start, Dermot Weld

Gutsy debut winner against potentially smart Sir Isaac Newton. Showed great attitude to fight back when under pressure. Trainer is very upbeat and rates him as best 3yo in the yard. More to come once stepping up in trip. He should get up to 1m 2f but looks to have enough speed for a crack at the Guineas as well.

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It would have been easy to put a list together with all the super sexy Aiden O’Brien prospects. And boy, he has aplenty on his hands! Equally John Gosden, who seems to have some very strong individuals at his disposal. Now, three horses each have made it into my list nonetheless. But I tried to provide a bit of variety and left out the obvious ones like John F Kennedy or Sir Isaac Newton & Gleneagles.

I suppose, if you nail me down to the ONE horse to follow for 2015 – It would be undoubtedly Highland Reel. I was so impressed with his maiden win, where he was more interested in anything else around him, than the actual job he had to do, yet he pulled clear by 12 lengths…. easily….. effortless.

This speaks volumes. He is a hugely talented individual. Mind you, the third of the mentioned maiden race won subsequently a maiden where he beat none less than John F Kennedy. Okay, it’s fair to say JFK needed the run and was green and of course will be better over further. Yet, it is still telling that such an exciting Ballydoyle prospect was a good deal beaten by a horse that was simply demolished by Highland Reel weeks before. Keep the winning margin always in mind: 12l+!

The son of Galileo stepped up in class almost as effortless weeks later at Glorious Goodwood. He dropped down to seven furlongs, right into a race where the pace wasn’t really on, he pulled hard early on, yet when asked for everything, he produced a blistering turn of foot and the race was over.

Highland Reel is the real deal! Yes, there are extremely positive vibes about Gleneagles, who is a short favourite for the 2.000 Guineas. But no doubt, the value lies with his stable mate. Aiden O’Brien confirmed already that HR will go down the Guineas route. And that make sense. From there he may can step up in trip. Coral Eclipse as the most likeliest next target?

But step by step. He’s 12/1 for the Guineas at the moment, and if he starts on the day indeed, he’ll have a much better chance to win. So I backed him ante-post and nominate him as my selection for the race. Highland Reel will win the Guineas.