The year ahead: Racing

Click to follow
The Independent Online

It is said that the golden age of Flat racing was at the beginning of the 1970s, when the likes of Nijinsky, Mill Reef and Brigadier Gerard were around to entertain. Now, 30 years on, a comparable era has arrived.

On the bridge into the new millennium first Sinndar, Giant's Causeway and Montjeu showed their excellence. Then, last year, the show was carried by Galileo, Fantastic Light and Sakhee.

Godolphin's horse, along with the younger Johannesburg, promises to further extend the magical times. Sakhee was last seen in cruel defeat in the Breeders' Cup Classic in New York, when only a nose prevented him from collecting the second most prestigious prize in American racing. Sakhee will quite simply be a match and more for any other horse on the planet this season, on grass or dirt, from a mile and a quarter to 12 furlongs.

The most coveted prize in the United States, the Kentucky Derby, is under serious threat from Johannesburg. The colt won Group One races in four countries, culminating in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Belmont. The Americans were getting excited about Officer before that race and Siphonic since, but the reality was that Johannesburg thrashed them both that clear October day.

If the Irish horse can nurture his lightning speed to 10 furlongs then 4 May at Churchill Downs will be an enchanting date, especially as the unbeaten Johannesburg still carries the promise of becoming the mythical "wonder horse".

Prediction: Johannesburg to win Kentucky Derby.

Comments