Flat 2012 – Ten Horses To Follow

CATFISH – 4yo filly
(One Cool Cat – Castellane (Danehill))Brian Meehan
This is a filly I’ve got plenty of time for, and although she is rated 91 I feel there is room for improvement and a couple of races are to be won with her before the season is out. After signing off last season at Goodwood in July with a win in a fast time, she returned at York at the May meeting and after travelling nicely she came home with a strong challenge after being briefly checked for room. The time once again was good, and signalled she had trained on and a win wouldn’t be far away. Her next run came at Epsom when third to Stone Of Folca in the fastest five furlongs ever run on record. She was well drawn but didn’t enjoy the clearest of passages throughout her race before finishing off her race strongly. Forget her latest run at Newmarket where she trailed in last of six, Brian Meehan reported after the race that she was in season. Hopefully she’ll turn up in a decent handicap over five or six furlongs next time, and she’ll be a good price and will almost certainly go close off this sort of rating.

CHEVIOT QUEST – 3yo gelding
(Sir Percy – Cushat Law (Montjeu))William Jarvis
A likeable chestnut and one which has been showing improvement with each run for trainer William Jarvis. The form of his comeback run at Nottingham is working out really well, and caught a tartar at Beverley when second to the seriously well handicapped Bridgehampton. He then turned up at Salisbury and was doing all his best work late in the day in what was a stop-start race and was better than the finishing position suggests. He was then run down late at Yarmouth in a good time, before finishing second to Mubaraza at Newmarket in another good time. He travelled the best throughout the race, but hung left just inside the two furlong marker, which took Harry Bentley a while to straighten him out but he galloped all the way to the line, only to be beaten by a better handicapped individual. I expect him to be playing a big hand in races over this distance for three-year-olds this season, and can easily see him winning two or three off this lowly mark of 62.

IBTAHAJ – 3yo colt
(Invincible Spirit – Maroussies Wings (In The Wings))Saeed Bin Suroor
This is a horse I like a lot, but seems to need to lead in his races. He was ridden with too much force on his return in desperate ground at Newbury, before an impressive second to Mukhaddram (very well regarded) at Newmarket where he ran all the way to the line (5L back to third place). He readily made amends with a facile success at Brighton in a fairly average maiden, and although he only won by 3.5 lengths, he could of won by triple that if he’d wanted. His most recent and most arguably impressive success throughout his career came at Kempton where he set a fast pace under a forceful Mickael Barzalona, before readily sprinting clear of his field to win by three lengths unchallenged. The speed figure for that race was big, and I expect him to continue to improve through the ranks before a crack at Listed company. He looks to have the scope to step up to ten furlongs before long, and given the way he wasn’t stopping on either of his last three starts it would be well worth a go. He is currently rated 85, but after his win the other day I can see him going up around 10lbs for that. He is entered at Kempton on Wednesday off a 6lb penalty, where he looks a shoe-in.

JOHNNO – 3yo colt
(Excellent Art – Vert Val (Septieme Ciel))John Hills
Made a very pleasing return when going hopelessly wide on seasonal reappearance at Wolverhampton back in April. He had to make his effort a little earlier than the principles, and from much further back before being forced extremely wide around the final bend, and despite that he almost got up. His next run at Kempton was another noteworthy performance in a race which has worked out fairly well, he was stuck behind the weakening Tidal’s Baby early in the straight before getting a clear run when the principles had early flown, he stuck on well though, suggesting a win wasn’t far away. His next effort at Sandown where he was ridden much closer to the pace was disappointing, but it could of been the ground was just too quick for him (although his relatives all liked quicker ground, he seems a gross sort who hits the ground fairly hard) so I’m willing to forgive him that effort. A return to form at Newmarket last time on the July course suggested once again a win is just around the corner, and encountering soft ground for the first time ran all the way to the line after leading throughout. I think what this horse needs is either Ascot or Doncaster to be seen at his best, or back on the all-weather. I would seriously consider his chances of winning a race from this rating of 79 at either of those two tracks, and I note he has a provisional entry at Doncaster in four days time.

JWALA – 3yo filly
(Oasis Dream – Kangra Valley (Indian Ridge))Robert Cowell
Trained by an emerging sprint king in Robert Cowell, Jwala showed solid form as a juvenile rounding off with a close third to Galician (now rated 88), before beating Pale Orchid (now rated 91) off levels easily. Her comeback run came at Bath in a fairly trappy three-year-old handicap, where Shane Kelly sat a scorching pace throughout and the daughter of Oasis Dream responded with an all-the-way success in cosy style. Given the nature of the race I can’t see her going up much from her current rating of 81, and she would be of interest either back on the all-weather, or at track which favours all-weather form. Certainly a filly to keep on side and could progress into something quite useful.

KUANYAO – 6yo gelding
(American Post – Nullarbor (Green Desert))Peter Makin
A horse which won six races on the spin as a four-year-old, he has taken a while to come back to hand but showed signs of a revival with a gutsy display under Seb Sanders at Yarmouth last time out, in a race which is working out and which a really good time was clocked by the winner. Given the position in which he raced that day it suggests he is ready to return to winning ways, and providing the sun comes out and we get some decent ground it should happen – wouldn’t be the sort to follow off the end of a cliff though.

MUBARAZA – 3yo colt
(Dalakhani – Mokaraba (Unfuwain))John Dunlop
A half brother to the mare below (Qaraaba) who has taken time to come to hand, but showed resolute stamina when running down the well-handicapped Cheviot Quest at Newmarket last time. Off the bridle quite some way out he gradually wound up under Paul Hanagan to get on top inside the final half furlong, to win in the style of a horse capable of improving over this sort of distance. At a time where John Dunlop’s horses aren’t running great this piece of form looks fair, and considering he took this off a mark of 79, you’d expect him to remain competitive up to around the low 90’s and is worth following on his next start.

NAABEGHA – 5yo gelding
(Muhtahir – Hawafiz (Nashwan))Ed de Giles
An import from France made an eye-catching return to action over seven furlongs at Lingfield on all-weather debut. Missing the break early he finished with a rattle to fill second behind My Freedom, showing he has plenty of ability. His next run came over seven furlongs on rain softened ground and he disappointed after travelling well. It looked to me that day he failed to see out the trip, and it was no surprise when Ed De Giles dropped the gelding back to six furlongs on his next start. Ridden prominently he was just run out of things in the closing stages, finishing sixth in a good time to Palace Moon in what rated a solid effort on the clock. He followed that effort up with a narrow second at Catterick after setting a strong pace under a forceful ride by Chris Catlin, and followed that effort up with an explosive performance dropped back to the minimum trip at Salisbury. He clocked a good time that day (as good as the Newbury run) and the manner of victory suggested there is plenty more up his sleeve down at this distance and given his vein of form he is currently in I think he is a sprinter worth following.

QARAABA – 5yo mare
(Shamardal – Mokaraba (Unfuwain))Seamus Durack
A mare which has improved out of all recognition this year for trainer Seamus Durack who is rapidly making a name for himself as a trainer. Two early wins at the start of the season followed up with a solid second to the well regarded Danadana at Newmarket in a good handicap. She then went to Doncaster and dispatched Dragonera (second in listed race next time) in a good time. Her run at Ascot came in another big time and she came with a huge run down the outside under George Baker but the line came too soon. She is a real improving sort, who looks capable of playing a strong hand in pattern races against her own sex. I’d like to see her aimed at the race Mirror Lake won at Doncaster last November, and I think she is pretty much unbeatable in that sort of grade, against her own sex, on a track like Doncaster or Ascot.

RUBY NIGHT – 3yo gelding
(Red Clubs – Stop Out (Rudimentary))Michael Bell
A horse which showed fairly decent form as a juvenile, made an eye-catching return at Leicester on his seasonal debut. Gelded over the winter, he travelled through the race with consummate ease and looked the winner for quite a way. Race fitness gradually took its toll though where he was overhauled by a more ‘race-fit’ rival in Lady Loch but put a distance of five lengths between himself and the remainder of the field. Given that he’ll come on plenty for the run, this was a pleasing return and although he has since risen 6lb in the weights for that comeback effort I think he’ll still remain competitive and looks likely to win a race or two this campaign.

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