The Flat season hits it stride with the first Classics of the season this weekend with the Newmarket Guineas.
And as the Cheltenham, Aintree and the Punchestown Festival smash-ups start to fade in our rear view we’re gearing up quicker than J-Lo’s wedding planner as the Flat racing festivals at Chester, the Curragh, Epsom and Royal Ascot take centre stage.
Here’s 10 horses we expect to hear a lot more about over the summer.
Roger Varian’s colt was a massively impressive maiden winner at Newbury a fortnight ago. Supplemented for Saturday’s 2,000 Guineas in which he has a serious chance – his sire’s strong stamina influence could mean the Epsom Derby should be on his radar too.
Was beaten by her own inexperience in the Group One Moyglare Stakes at the Curragh and her trainer Aidan O’Brien (above) rates her very highly. Misses Sunday’s 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket after a setback but looks tailor made for the Epsom Oaks.
William Haggas’s charge was highly progressive in sprint handicaps last term. Still relatively unexposed and looks set for a big year in Stakes company.
Trainer Freddie Head suggests that he needs trips at around a mile and has run up four wins on the bounce. Beat the The Grey Gatsby in Dubai and already favourite for the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. Looks set for a huge year.
Dermot Weld’s colt has only run on easy ground but his free-flowing action suggests he could easily improve when the sun shines and the Factor 20 comes out. Connections seem to be edging towards Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown ahead of the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh as the stepping stone to the Epsom Derby in June. A top prospect.
6. Elite Army
Massively talented as a three-year-old despite the inclination to take a fierce hold. If trainer Saeed Bin Suroor can curb these exuberant tendencies he could be a real ace in the pack for Godolphin over middle distances at the highest level.
Probably the best horse ever to run on the all-weather with his rating of 112. Has a withering turn of foot and if he proves as effective on turf the top 1m 2f races could be within his range.
8. Famous Kid
Won over 1m 6f in Dubai in February and is relatively unexposed. His style of running suggests he can will be prove effective over extreme trips. Has a long way to go yet but could see him making up in to a Cup horse this year for Godolphin.
Andre Fabre’s four-year-old still has scope to develop and there is a good programme for older fillies. She could dominate at trips from 1m to 1m 2f as the season progresses.
Jim Goldie’s colt shapes like a dour stayer but the soft ground was against him on his comeback at Musselburgh. The lightly-raced four-year-old should be a factor in all the major staying handicaps this season.