Flat out of winning ideas? Here's 10 to beat the bookies with this season
On the eve of the first Classic, Chris McGrath finds some lesser lights it will pay to follow
1. Able Master 6-y-o gelding (David O'Meara)
Has joined a young trainer who has made his name by upgrading recruits from other stables, and this looks another who can benefit from the transfer to Yorkshire – despite a poor run in desperate ground at Pontefract the other day. Very well treated now, he had produced a lively finish out of midfield on his comeback at Redcar, looking ready for a return to seven furlongs.
2. Cape Classic 4-y-o colt (William Haggas)
Won only one of his first four handicaps last year but none the less suggested he will surpass his rating this time round, not least as he is a half-brother to one who flourished with maturity. Stepped back up to seven furlongs at Ascot on his final start, he failed to settle in a fairly small field and his fuel ran out against a progressive winner. Given a strong pace over six, he can win a big handicap.
3. Fiorente 4-y-o colt (Sir Michael Stoute)
Disappeared after midsummer but has been working well this spring and conforms luminously to a familiar profile for connections, as one sure to reward their patience by coming of age. Has still only had two starts outside maiden company, set plenty to do against Nathaniel at Royal Ascot and just caught out by a rival with a bit more know-how when again second at Goodwood.
4. High Jinx 4-y-o colt (James Fanshawe)
Beaten in both handicaps to date, including on his reappearance at Doncaster, but that was over 10 furlongs and this son of High Chaparral, out of a sturdy German line, is guaranteed to relish longer distances. Could not be in better hands and sure to be a major player in top handicaps before perhaps, some day, aiming higher still.
5. Lyric Street 4-y-o gelding (Ed Dunlop)
No trainer could be too optimistic of getting more out of a horse than Luca Cumani, but this gelding has changed stables with an air of unfinished business. After solid groundwork over 10 furlongs on his first couple of starts at three, he failed to live up to expectations when stepped up to 14 furlongs – a distance that he had seemed to crave on both pedigree and running style. Could yet turn over a new leaf.
6. Montaser 3-y-o colt (David Simcock)
Light campaign at two was all positive, as was his return in a handicap at Doncaster, meeting traffic on his way through from the rear before closing fast into midfield. That was his first start at 10 furlongs and represented only the tip of the iceberg in terms of his potential for middle distances, as a son of the slow-maturing Arc winner, Rail Link.
7. Protanto 3-y-o colt (David Lanigan)
From a stable going places, notably with the unbeaten Main Sequence, this well- bred colt looks sure to win races after qualifying for a mark in three maiden spins at two. Admittedly he might have started rather lower than 80, had he not shown quite so much of his hand in the last of them, but the way he flew home after the winner had gained first run left no doubt of his ability.
8. Sharestan 4-y-o colt (John Oxx)
In the sagest of hands and has already been drawing attention to his progress over a mile this spring, overcoming inexperience in the Irish Lincoln and unlucky not to beat a reliable operator in listed company since. After just four starts, he is ready to make up for lost time, and warrants another crack at 10f.
9. Suhaili 4-y-o colt (Roger Varian)
After a promising spin at two, could only go on in fits and starts last year, two wins matched by two hollow disappointments. Happily things ended on a positive note, when tongue-tied for his second handicap at Doncaster in the autumn. Though he only got on top close home, his pedigree corroborates the impression that he will find extra for a stiffer test of stamina.
10. Wrotham Heath 3-y-o colt (Sir Henry Cecil)
Was given a spanking on his reappearance at Newbury, but had proved too free in a small field in atrocious ground and retains every right to build on a runaway maiden win at Nottingham last autumn. This son of Dansili has class and stamina in his maternal pedigree and, while out at 66-1 for the Investec Derby, could yet break into the elite.
Chris McGrath's Nap
Judicious (3.30 Musselburgh) Progressed last season, and finished fast after meeting traffic on comeback at Doncaster, suggesting he has more to offer for his new stable.
Imperial Djay (4.0 Musselburgh) From a yard running into form, this one was going smoothly until fading on bad ground last time.
One to watch
Hi There (Richard Fahey) Was nearly brought down on the bend at Musselburgh yesterday and, though spared a hard race, kept on for fifth.
Where the money's going
After a fine debut for Godolphin at Kempton on Wednesday, Colour Vision is 13-2 from 10-1 with Paddy Power for Royal Ascot's Gold Cup.
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