Racing: Value lies with Asset to collect Guineas

Chris McGrath, Britain's top tipster, selects 10 horses to follow for the Flat season which steps into top gear next week
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The Independent Online


Three-year-old bay colt

By Marju out of Snow Peak

Trainer: Richard Hannon

At 25-1, Asset still looks overpriced for the Stan James 2,000 Guineas, having outclassed his rivals for the Easter Stakes at Kempton on his reappearance. They simply could not go fast enough for him, and it is naïve to dismiss a Classic contender simply because he has run on a dirt track. Richard Hannon has won the Guineas three times already and is adamant that this colt has the necessary class. Moreover Asset is demonstrably thriving whereas most of the leading fancies will have gone missing since last year.


Three-year-old bay colt

By Sadler's Wells out of River Saint

Trainer: James Fanshawe

This colt is fortunate to be in the care of a trainer who will build patiently upon the promising foundations he laid on his sole start at Newmarket last autumn. He looked a little green and uncertain as the pace quickened, but found renewed momentum on the rising ground to finish fifth of 22 in the maiden won by the very promising Rampallion. His dam is a half-sister to the American champion, Serena's Song, and - like so many in the stable - he can be expected to keep progressing.

Hard Top

Four-year-old bay colt

By Darshaan out of Well Head

Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute

From the family of Spectrum and Petrushka, this slow maturing type could have a major say in the top middle-distance races this year. Making only his fourth start, he found the St Leger in gruelling ground far too crude a test. But he had previously shown his class when beating a battle-hardened rival in The Geezer for the Great Voltigeur Stakes, his first start outside maiden company. His trainer has plenty of previous form with this type.

Heaven Knows

Three-year-old chestnut colt

By Halling out of Rambling Rose

Trainer: William Haggas

This is a brother to Notnowcato, whose excellent progress last autumn also makes him one to follow, but he has shown rather less of his hand in three starts over six furlongs at two. He ended up picking up a moderate maiden at Wolverhampton in November but can be expected to prove much better than the rating he acquired there when stepped up in distance. He is the type to keep developing physically, has a fine pedigree, and will be placed with due care by his trainer.


Four-year-old bay colt

By Compton Place out of Watheeqah

Trainer: David Nicholls

By a one-dimensional speed influence out of a five-furlong winner, Kenmore is a sprinter on pedigree and often ran like one for Barry Hills, who mostly campaigned him over seven furlongs. Kenmore tended to run with the choke out in those races, but his engine nonetheless got him home from a big field at Newmarket on his final start. He has now gone to a trainer with a record of improving recruits from other stables when dropping them in trip, and Kenmore must be kept in mind for the big sprint handicaps.

King In Waiting

Three-year-old bay colt

By Sadler's Wells out of Ballerina

Trainer: John Oxx

Closely related to Millenary and Let The Lion Roar, he will come into his own given a test of stamina but made a flawless start when routing a big field of maidens over a mile at the Curragh a fortnight ago. The ground was testing that day, but his sober trainer does not mistake the quality of his horses and is inclined to run him in the Ballysax Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday week.


Three-year-old chestnut colt

By Lomitas out of Eversince

Trainer: Sir Mark Prescott

This colt has a high-class staying pedigree, being closely related to the top German runner Caitano by the strong stamina influence, Lomitas, but he will start off in handicaps with the mark of a selling plater. Following his trainer's industrial formula with stoutly bred two-year-olds, Liberate qualified for a rating with three runs over seven furlongs in just 10 days last autumn. Understandably, he showed little, looking green and backward, but will undoubtedly prove a different proposition with physical maturity and extra distance.

Serre Chevalier

Five-year-old bay gelding

By Marju out of Ski Lodge

Trainer: Walter Swinburn

Made rapid progress through the handicap ranks last season and his failure in soft ground when tried in Group company on his final start could prove misleading. The remarkable acceleration he had shown off a strong gallop suggests that he should not be underestimated in any company, granted a fast surface.


Three-year-old bay colt

By Kingmambo out of String Quartet

Trainer: Marcus Tregoning

With reservations about Sir Percy's stamina for the Vodafone Derby, his trainer may well have a better Epsom hope in this colt, who took a positive step with each of his three starts at two. He finished up thrashing a field of maidens at Newbury in an excellent time, having previously finished purposefully behind the more precocious Winged Cupid. A physically progressive type, Shahin has plenty of stamina in his maternal pedigree and looks the type to thrive as the season goes on.


Four-year-old bay gelding

By Pivotal out of Alessia

Trainer: Walter Swinburn

Appeared to make striking improvement on the sixth and final start of his first season, bolting up in a mile handicap at Salisbury in October. He had won a Doncaster maiden by five lengths in the summer, and being a backward type physically, he is entitled to further progress this year.