Racing: On the level: the leading stables reveal their hopes

The top Flat trainers tell Ian Davies their horses to follow for the season ahead
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The Independent Online

"Red Symphony is a sharp sort who will be ready to run soon. He is going to be very speedy and is unlikely to stay beyond five furlongs. Queensland Star is another nice sharp sort who is owned by Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United. She's already much faster than Ryan Giggs and I expect her to be winning soon."


"Circus is a nice colt who shaped well on his debut at Yarmouth and then received a knock when unplaced at Newmarket. He's by Caerleon and should stay middle distances and I'm going to start him off in the Dee Stakes at Chester before going for the Italian Derby. Pegnitz finished fifth to Xaar in the Dewhurst Stakes. He will stay a mile and should have few problems in winning."


"Danetime has done really well from three to four and I reckon he can be champion sprinter. He was unlucky when demoted from second in the Haydock Park Sprint and, as he's not won a Listed race, he starts the season able to claim all the allowances in pattern races. I'll start him in the Abernant Stakes before better things. Subtle Influence had fair form in France and has won a maiden. He should be effective over a mile and a half. A two-year-old I like is Cashtara Beach. She is by Danehill, cost a lot of money and, although it is a case of hit and hope with two-year-olds at this time of year, I'm hoping she'll turn out really useful."


"Romanov did really well during the winter and, having not raced as a two-year-old, should show plenty of improvement. A mile and half should be his optimum and I hope there might be a big race in him. I have no Classic three-year-olds - they've all been sold to Godolphin - but another one I really like is Carmine Lake, who won the Prix de l'Abbaye. I'm hoping she'll end up champion sprinter. Five furlongs is her best trip, but I hope she will last six too."


"Tamarisk has grown a great deal over the winter and that pleases me. He was very weak last year and, as a late foal, he needed to strengthen up. He could develop into a 2,000 Guineas or French Guineas candidate but, being by Green Desert - an influence for speed - I think he'll be best at six or seven furlongs. Spanish Fern was beaten two short-heads into third by Pontoon in a maiden at Newmarket. She's a character but, if we can keep her under control, she may be good enough to win a Listed race over a mile and a quarter. She'll start in a maiden over a mile."


"Jibe, a daughter of Slightly Dangerous, is from a family that improves with age. She finished second in the Fillies' Mile at Ascot and, although she is not very big, I am hoping she will be good enough to tackle the 1,000 Guineas. She is a full sister to Yashmak and a half sister to Commander In Chief, who won the Derby for me in 1993, and Warning. Twickenham is a lovely colt who had a setback last year and is unraced. He is well worth following this year."


"Windsor Castle has wintered extremely well and will have a Cup campaign. He won the Northumberland Plate and Queen's Vase as a three-year-old and I'm confident that he will stay extreme distances. Yorkshire has been gelded during the winter and it has done him a lot of good. He's a completely different horse now. He is no longer eligible to run in Group One races but there are plenty of Group Two and Group Threes at around a mile and a half to aim him at."


"High-Rise is a nice three-year-old by High Estate who won a seven-furlong maiden at Doncaster. He is going to stay a mile and a half. Emerald Isle is an unraced filly who has been shaping well and should be suited by a mile and a quarter. She should soon win her maiden."


"Old Tradition had knee problems last year and had spurs removed. She could start in the seven furlong maiden for unraced fillies at Newbury's spring meeting. Man Of Courage is a backward colt by Nashwan, who is a half-brother to the useful Bold Demand. He is a staying type who will not see a racecourse until May or June."


"Elnadim, who won the Diadem Stakes at Ascot, has done awfully well during the winter and will be challenging for top sprinting honours. He will reappear in the Duke of York Stakes in May. Silver Patriarch has also done very well. He's put on weight and strengthened a lot. He will start off in the Jockey Club Stakes at the Guineas meeting and will be aimed at the top middle-distance prizes."


"Muthathir was unsuited by the fast ground when disappointing in the Royal Lodge Stakes. He needs give to be seen at his best. He is likely to prove best at a mile and a quarter. Handsome Ridge, who is owned by the footballer David Platt, ran some good races in Group company in France. He will be campaigned at a mile or nine furlongs and could start in the Chrysalis Mile at Sandown."


"Headhunter was third to Carrowkeel in the Gimcrack. I should have stepped him up to a mile but ran him in Newmarket's sales race over seven where he disappointed in fourth to Tamarisk. He might go for Kempton's Easter Stakes and then the Italian 2,000. Shudder is a smashing colt, who I trained like a berk last year. He ran brilliantly to be beaten a nose in the Prix d'Arenberg at Chantilly and was third to Grazia in Redcar's Two-Year-Old Trophy. I should have put him away after that but ran him in an all-aged race at Newmarket where he disappointed. He wants a mile and should win races."


"Nautical Star won a maiden at Ayr very easily and I was hoping he would go on to better things. However, he had a setback in the summer and, although he had one more run, he had not come back to himself and disappointed. He starts the season on a handicap mark of 83 which could turn out to be lenient. He is by Slip Anchor and is going to be suited by a mile and a quarter to a mile and a half. He still holds a Derby entry and, although that is probably fanciful, I do think a lot of him. Docksider is my best three-year-old. He was runner up to Central Park at Goodwood and second to Daggers Drawn at Doncaster. I'm aiming him at the Craven and, if he goes well, the 2,000 Guineas. He should stay a mile and a quarter."


"Land Of Dreams, who won the Flying Childers Stakes, is exceptionally speedy and will be campaigned exclusively at five furlongs. Lend A Hand, who won the Gran Criterium in Milan, is in great form and will go straight for the 2,000. He should stay a mile and a half."


The trainer's husband Jack, the respected professional gambler, says: "I bought The Real McCoy last autumn for two and a half thousand quid and the problem has been getting him to settle. My daughter Emma did the trick at Southwell in an amateurs' handicap in January and he won by seven lengths. He stays a mile and a half and started the season on handicap mark of only 45 on turf. He was beaten in a 10-furlong event at Doncaster on Thursday, but should be better for the run. Forest Robin is a bit of a monkey, but is rated only 42 and a horse only needs to be able to keep out of its own way to win off that sort of mark. He stayed on well to finish second over seven furlongs, again with Emma riding, which is really a furlong too short for him, at Southwell recently. he wants a mile and is the sort that will run about 20 times during the year. Anstand is a nice big horse who was a bit weak last year but has now had three runs without being placed and is qualified for handicaps. He'll want seven furlongs to a mile and would not want soft ground. He is on a handicap mark of 68 and should be able to win off that mark.


"Teapot Row has not grown much over the winter but he was always going to be compact and I'm not too worried. He has not done much serious work but, if he shapes up, he will be trained for the 2,000. He won the Royal Lodge Stakes in good style but, although he is by Generous, there must be a slight doubt about him getting a mile and half. Not that this would discourage me from training him for the Derby if he goes the right way. Duck Row has done very well physically over the winter. With hindsight, I should have put him away after he won his first race at Newbury. He had gone in his coat by the time he ran in the Horris Hill Stakes and did not give his running. He is likely to be best over a mile and a quarter but, if he suddenly starts to impress on the gallops, I'll work him with Teapot Row to see if it's worth sending him for the Guineas too."