'Mad Rush is the sort that responds to Cumani – raw, but simmering with ability'

Chris McGrath, Racing Journalist of the Year, selects horses to follow throughout the Flat season which starts tomorrow
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The Independent Online

DOCTOR FREMANTLE

3yo bay colt Sadler's Wells – Summer Breeze

Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute

Eligibility for a list such as this seemed a remote prospect when this colt was beaten at 1-3 on his second start, at Salisbury in the autumn. It seemed possible that a mile was too sharp for him that day, given his stout pedigree – his dam is by Rainbow Quest – but he proved otherwise at Nottingham later the same month, accelerating through the field before going away by five lengths. He has a similar profile to the same stable's Regal Flush at the corresponding stage last year, and he could end up making giant strides of his own through valuable three-year-old handicaps.

GAME PARK

3yo chestnut colt Elusive Quality – Careless Cheetah

Trainer: James Fanshawe

Spacious gives her excellent trainer every right to hope for a Classic success this spring, but in the meantime the annual search is on for the stable's candidate for Royal Ascot's Britannia Handicap. This might yet develop into one, having shaped nicely in three sharp tests last term, not least when short of room at Lingfield. As a big, handsome brute, he was always going to respond well to his trainer's patient approach, and his initial rating seems unlikely to match his pedigree as his dam is a sister to Arkadian Hero.

HAYDENS MARK

3yo bay gelding Efisio – Lady In Colour

Trainer: William Haggas

Having shaped nicely when green on his only start last year, he resurfaced at Lingfield last month to win his maiden despite doing everything wrong. Still keen and green early, he took a while to get organised but, come the finishing line, was well on top of a filly who has since bolted up in another maiden. Whether he simply needed more experience, or craves a more galloping track, he certainly has more to offer and in disclosing it will no doubt be placed with customary care by his trainer.

MAD RUSH

4yo bay colt Lemon Drop Kid – Revonda

Trainer: Luca Cumani

It is good to see that this colt remains in training, his first season having come to an abrupt end in midsummer. In the four starts he did manage, Mad Rush looked exactly the sort that responds best to his trainer – raw and backward, but simmering with ability. Having learned his trade over 10 furlongs, he was stepped up in trip for what proved to be his final start, in a handicap at Salisbury, and failed only in a photo to give 4lb to Hi Calypso – subsequently unbeaten in two Group races. One valuable prize, cherished by his stable, volunteers itself even at this early stage: the Totesport Ebor Handicap.

MANY VOLUMES

4yo bay colt Chester House – Reams Of Verse

Trainer: Henry Cecil

Apparently exposed as useful, and as such with little room for manoeuvre in the handicap, this colt could yet break into the elite if only his connections would try returning him to a mile. They are reluctant to do so because his dam won the Oaks, but his pedigree also includes a lot of speed, and Many Volumes repeatedly hinted that he was not truly getting home over 10 furlongs last season. Both his wins over that trip rather fell into his lap, and he looked sure to beat a useful rival at Pontefract on his final start, until found out by his enthusiasm early in the race. Could be a Hunt Cup type, given the chance – or even better.

ONE GREAT CAT

3yo brown colt Storm Cat – Blissful

Trainer: Aidan O'Brien

There are many three-year-olds with bigger reputations at Ballydoyle, but this colt could well sneak under the radar. Out of a sister to Fusaichi Pegasus, he very much had the air of a mere "marker" when sent to Britain for two Group races at two, finishing third on both occasions. But he rallied nicely over the sharp six furlongs at Goodwood, before circling the field – without feeling the whip – over a seventh at Doncaster. Physical maturity and a mile could enable him to surprise a few people this time round.

PRESIDENT ELECT

3yo bay colt Imperial Ballet – Broadway Rosie

Trainer: David Barron

From a stable that excels with progressive young sprinters, this colt laid some promising foundations in three maidens last season. With a physique that guarantees more to come, he shaped nicely on his debut before pulling clear of the pack at Catterick, just shaded by a subsequent nursery winner. Tried against winners at the same track next time, he was marooned early by a wide draw before squandering energy trying to retrieve ground. Should make his presence felt in northern handicaps at the very least.

SMOOTHLY DOES IT

7yo bay gelding Efisio – Exotic Forest

Trainer: Richard Fahey

In view of his progress over hurdles since arriving in the yard, soaring 29lb in the ratings, it would be disappointing if his new trainer could not transfer that improvement to the Flat as well. So far he has been confined to two visits to Southwell, where the tough surface does not seem to agree with him. Despite plenty of miles on the clock with previous connections, he remains unexposed over middle distances on the level and will surely pay his way off a microscopic rating.

SPEED TICKET

4yo bay colt Galileo – Kassiyra

Trainer: Luca Cumani

This one may have stretched the patience even of a trainer who gives horses all the time they need, but suggested that he will be catching up his peers sooner rather than later when making a very promising debut at Kempton in the autumn. Though 10 furlongs round there was never going to reach even the first seam of his stamina, he kept on strongly from off the pace for third without being given a hard race. By one Derby winner from the family of another (Kahyasi), he will surely come into his own given a test this year.

UPPER CLASS

3yo bay colt Fantastic Light – Her Ladyship

Trainer: Mark Johnston

It may seem to defeat the point to include in this list a colt that has already won two of his three starts, and been beaten at Wolverhampton in between. But his pedigree gives him no right to have shown so much, over just six and seven furlongs. The way he won a handicap last month, after being first off the bridle, guaranteed continued progress once he is finally raised in trip. Do not be surprised if he has done so – and is still progressing – come Goodwood time.

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