Dark horses that can light up the Flat

As the new season gathers pace next week with a series of Classic trials, Chris McGrath picks 10 to watch

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Captain Cat

4-y-o gelding by Dylan Thomas: Form figures 5/312- (trained by Roger Charlton)

A light career to date, but has had a giant frame to fill. Tested out his handicap rating over a mile at Ascot in October, and tanked along before flattening into second. Bred to stay beyond a mile but cruising speed commends a possible return to the same track for the Hunt Cup.

Dare To Achieve

3-y-o colt by Galileo: 3- (William Haggas)

Had presumably been showing plenty to start favourite for his debut at Newmarket in September, and duly travelled well before fading into sixth of 19. Build and pedigree together promise significant improvement over middle distances.


5-y-o gelding by Elusive City: 05099- (David O'Meara)

Has always travelled with a gusto that suggests he could hold his own in a higher grade and has now moved from Brian Meehan to a trainer with a conspicuous record of improving recruits from elsewhere.


3-y-o colt by Manduro: 231- (Luca Cumani)

Though guaranteed to flourish over middle distances, he was well backed for his debut over just seven furlongs and did really well to get up in a sprint finish on his final start. Has some fancy entries but should first get to work with a rating of 84.


3-y-o colt by Cape Cross: 1512- (Marco Botti)

Can give his trainer a breakthrough Group One success on home soil, having got within a neck of doing so in the Middle Park Stakes. Has every right to improve again at a mile – both on pedigree and the power of his finish.


4-y-o colt by Dansili: 4210- (John Gosden)

Out of the brilliant Cape Verdi, he laid solid foundations in maidens before disappointing at the Newmarket July Festival. Will return as a mature horse and handicapped to make up for lost time.


3-y-o colt by Dansili: 067- (David Lanigan)

Started out in the same maiden as Dare To Achieve but proved very green. Seemed to be learning in both subsequent spins and is bred to come into his own when stepping up in trip.


3-y-o gelding by Raven's Pass: 083- (Roger Varian)

Acquired a handicap mark of 62 in three spins in the mud last autumn. He showed more on each occasion and, well bred, could prove a different proposition on better ground.

Tribal Path

3-y-o colt by Giant's Causeway: 69-1 (Mark Johnston)

Resurfaced for a stylish success round Lingfield in January and promises to prove far better than an opening mark of 75 as he gains strength and steps up in trip.

Yair Hill

5-y-o gelding by Selkirk: 44007- (Kevin Ryan)

Has travelled like a good horse and always had the physique to keep developing. Campaigned almost exclusively at seven furlongs, he has slipped down the weights if his new trainer is disposed to experiment.

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Hartwright (8.30 Wolverhampton) Well backed when putting it all together in a nursery over course and distance in the autumn. Looks ahead of the game on his return.

Next best

Vinnie My Boy (4.00 Wetherby) Won a couple of bumpers last summer and could prove well treated now he switches to handicap company for a trainer right back in form.

One to watch

A return to form from Ted's Brother (Richard Guest) Was anticipated in the betting at Newcastle last Saturday but he was set plenty to do before finishing well for second.

Where the money's going

Betfred have eased Kingsbarns to 5-1 from 4-1 for the Investec Derby as money comes for his stablemate, Mars, now 7-1 from 10-1.