Trainers' level best for Flat season
Top stables tell Richard Austen their horses to follow in the new turf campaign starting tomorrow
Wednesday 21 March 2001
We're hoping Nicobar will get a mile this year and he is running on Thursday in the Listed Doncaster Mile. A maiden who has run once and will make into a decent handicapper at around a mile is Manicani.
Red Carpet was third in the Middle Park and is hopefully a high-class horse - we're going to aim him at the Guineas and see what happens. He's a lot stronger this year and we're quite excited about him. Anne-Sophie is a 3yo filly by First Trump who was very weak and backward last year. She's rated like a selling plater and I hope she's a bit better than that. She could be one for 0-70 handicaps over 1m to 1m2f.
Charlie Parkes was the best 2yo we had last year but he ran in three races and was second every time. A sprinter, he'll go for a maiden first and then hopefully be running in Listed and Group races. We have a 2yo colt by first-season sire Zamindar called Shockland, who is quite precocious and seems a really nice horse. He cost about Ir 3,000 guineas, so he was a cheap 2yo, but he looks worth the money at the moment.
Silver Bracelet is well worth following. She was a little bit unlucky not to have won a 1m2f maiden at Lingfield last time on the AW, she ran a really good race, and I think she's going to be Group class. She'll get 1m4f, so she could end up an Oaks filly. Party Charmer won last year but we didn't see the best of her. She could well be a Guineas filly. She is a bit like Crimplene, who ran well in some good races as a 2yo but didn't quite have the strength to finish. This filly has done extremely well over the winter and I think she'll be beating a lot of the horses that beat her last year.
Whitefoot was a leading fancy for the Oaks and ran disappointingly, and she again ran disappointingly at Royal Ascot. We removed a chip from her near-fore fetlock and hopefully we'll run her in the Doncaster Shield on Saturday. Compton Ace finished third in the Ascot Gold Cup and that race would again be his aim. He does have some soundness problems but hopefully we'd get them all ironed out. They would both prefer good, good-to-soft ground, not firm.
Painted Room coughed most of last year. He was very backward but ran two very promising races and is bred in the purple. Anadonis is a big, late-maturing colt who has not raced yet but should be a nice horse to follow.
I'm very sweet on King Carew. He's in a lot of the big races and I'm very pleased with the way he's gone. He ran disappointingly in heavy ground behind Nayef but you can forgive him for that. I think he'll get the Derby distance. Hotelgenie Dot Com is the one that they don't seem to give any chance to - she's a big price for the Guineas - but she's a classy filly and she's wintered well.
Summer View is a 4yo colt who won twice last year and then progressed into Listed races and was only beaten half a length by Albarahin. He's lightly raced, he's a big horse and we hope he'll improve enough to win Listed and Group races. Aldwych ran twice and won his last race, at Newbury. His breeding would suggest that he ought to improve as a 3yo and he ought to stay well - he's a half-brother to the John Porter Stakes winner Spout. I don't know what his level will be, but I would be disappointed if it's not more than just being high in the handicap.
Saudia had a hiccup last year. She won her only start, at Pontefract. She's one of my few possibles that could run well in the big races, but we like her a lot. She was a bit unsound but she seems fine this year. I trained her dam Bint Pasha to win the Yorkshire Oaks and Vermeille, but Saudia is by Gone West and her trip will be a mile. Camberley is getting stronger all the time, he's genuine and he's fairly handicapped. He was very unlucky several times last year - at Ascot he got shuffled back from fourth of 26 to nearly last and still finished sixth.
Vicious Knight disappointed on his last outing but injured himself in that race, something of a temporary nature. He's perfectly alright. He should at least be as good as his brother Midnight Legend. He will want further than 1m. Duchcov only had one start last year but it was a very hot Newmarket maiden and she finished third. She's a nice big, strong filly and we should see the best of her this year, at 1m2f to 1m4f.
Candice was third in the May Hill. She's always looked a filly that would stay well. She's been entered in various Classics; whether she's quite up to being an Oaks filly only time would tell, but we'd aim to start her off in a Classic trial over 1m2f. Pietro Siena finished fourth on his only start, in a maiden on heavy ground at Yarmouth. The form looks interesting, there were a lot of fancied horses in the race. He didn't quite get home and there is a question whether that was fitness or trip. He could end up being a good-ground, 6f or 7f type.
Millenary - the St Leger winner - hopefully we're going to bring him back to 1m4f. He's done very, very well physically and one hopes that he can be competitive at 1m4f. An initial target would be the Coronation Cup. Puffin had three runs as a 2yo. She ran one bad one for some unknown reason but is quite well handicapped. She's by Pennekamp out of Spring and she'll go 1m, maybe 1m2f; she could even go a bit further.
Four Eagles ran once at Newmarket and he was fifth of 29, beaten four lengths - he was very promising. He will have improved a lot for that, he's wintered very well and I optimistically put him in the Guineas. There's a lot of guesswork attached to that, obviously, but he's a decent horse who should win a race or two. Mersey Sound also ran once. He was third at Newbury in the Haynes, Hanson & Clark, beaten 3 1/ 4 lengths by a horse of Tregoning's they think quite a bit of, called Nayef. That looks very tidy form and our horse will have benefited greatly from the race. Mersey Sound would be a 1m4f horse, whereas Four Eagles might be a miler.
Palatial is a tough filly who was second in her first three starts as a 2yo and won her last three. She should stay 1m and appears to have gone the right way. Father Thames won his maiden at Brighton last October on soft ground. The handicapper has taken no chances and given him a provisional rating of 90, but when the ground is on the easy side he could be a horse to follow.
Crystal Music ran three times last year and won all three. She's being aimed at the Guineas and then we'll be stepping her up in trip. She'll be looking at a race like the Fred Darling. Theatre Script won his only start, a maiden at Doncaster, and did not run again due to soft ground. He was going to run in the Royal Lodge. He will first be aimed for a conditions race, or even a race like the Craven. He'll get 1m2f; I'm not guaranteeing 1m4f.
Dora Carrington's target is the 1,000 Guineas. We're really pleased with her and she will probably go to Kempton for the Masaka. All I Ask is an unraced 3yo colt by Spectrum, and is a half-brother to To The Roof. It's a slow-maturing family, they never do anything at two. He's a very similar build to To The Roof and he's a fast horse as well.
Distant Music came back in good form in the autumn to win at Doncaster and come third in the Champion Stakes and he's done very well over the winter, as has Calcutta who is likely to go for the Lincoln but wouldn't want the ground too soft.
Cracow's first major objective will be at Epsom on Derby Day. Off his current mark he ought to be able to do at least as well as last year and win a couple of races, but what we're aiming for is a decent 1m4f handicap. I've got an unraced colt by Nureyev, called Momentum. I like him a lot. He is a 28 May foal, which is very late, and he didn't come to me until the middle of last year, so he was a little too immature to run. Peaceful Paradise should continue to do well. She won the Sweet Solera and was third in a Group Three in France.
We sent Littlepacepaddocks off at a very high level last year but we always assumed that she'd be a better 4yo. If she was to make anything like the improvement her brother, Yavana's Pace, made with age then she'd be something very special indeed. I still think the sky's the limit with her; we'll be starting fairly steady but we've got big dreams. Royal Rebel improved dramatically last season and became infinitely more consistent than he was the previous year. I grew in confidence with him and so did the jockeys and by the end of the year it was probably bad luck that prevented him from winning a Group One race. He's probably my best chance of a Group One winner this season.
An obvious one would be Sayedah who won the Rockfel. She's got stamina on the dam's side and she's by Darshaan. We'd think about one of the trials, and it might be the Fred Darling. Ahraah ran once and I thought he ran very well. He's a good-looking horse and has made up into a stronger colt this year. He'd be a miler, 1m2f maximum. Nayef is a great prospect to have. You'll see him at his best from mid-summer onwards, I would say, only because he's a big horse and he's strengthening up all the time. He's very athletic, a good mover and he'd be straightforward to get fit because he's clean in his wind. Obviously the Guineas is a first target. Gulch gets horses over all sorts of distances - the stamina is going to come from the dam's side. Horses that get 1m2f and have got enough class very often see out the Derby distance, and he's certainly going to get 1m2f. He'll go on any ground.
Cauvery would be my biggest chance of having a real decent horse this year. He's just got to give himself a chance to settle and do everything the right way, and providing he does that he will be a very, very serious horse. Charmer Venture, a filly by Zilzal, ran once when very backward at Doncaster, and ran on very strongly to finish fourth of 25. She'll win her maiden and then step up from there. She's not the most robust-looking filly, but covers the ground beautifully.
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