10 horses to follow this Flat racing season 2012
Racing Editor for bettingexpert. Always searching for winners "against the crowd" and trying to find the value.
With the flat racing season upon us, today on the blog BettingExpert's racing analyst Stephen takes a look at the upcoming season and delivers his 10 to follow in 2012.
The flat turf season gets under way at the end of March, and here at BettingExpert we have trawled the video archives to find ten horses to follow through the year at all different levels.
1- DISCOURSE - 3-y-o Mahmood Al Zarooni Godolphin
Lived up to all the hype on the gallops when winning the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes over 7f at Newmarket last August. She appeals as the type to progress with racing and has reportedly been pleasing at home during the winter. Her seasonal debut is expected to be in the Group 3 Nell Gwynn in April and she is expected to reach the very top as she matures.
2- LYRIC OF LIGHT - 3-y-o Mahmood Al Zahrooni Godolphin
An unbeaten Godolphin filly after just three starts last season and currently quoted at only 12-1 for Oaks glory at Epsom. As a juvenile this beautifully bred filly won the May Hill and Shadwell Stakes in impressive fashion and can go all the way to the top granted normal progression.
3- CAMELOT - 3-y-o Aidan O'Brien Mr Derrick Smith
Attracted a £100,000 wager with Betfred in March for the 2000 Guineas (at 3-1) and clearly has been pleasing his ultra shrewd connections at home during the close season. He won his maiden readily in July and confirmed the high regard in which he is held by landing the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster. After the Guineas he is sure to be aimed at the Epsom Derby if things go smoothly and he is a must on any ten to follow list.
4- HARBOUR WATCH - 3-y-o Richard Hannon Jnr Mr H Robin Heffer & Qatar Bloodstock
Richard Hannon has more ammunition than anyone in the juvenile ranks and he campaigned this precocious colt at a high level in three unbeaten starts last season. His win at the Glorious Goodwood meeting in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes over 6f marked him down as a useful prospect (despite hanging markedly right when coming under pressure to assert). His stamina for a mile is not assured on run-style at least but the Guineas is reportedly his early season target.
5- BERTIEWHITTLE - 4-y-o David Barron Norton Common Farm Racing
David Barron has been rejuvenated on the all-weather this winter, coupled with a Group Race victory at Meydaan, and it is to be hoped the ultra shrewd stable translates this upturn to the turf. As a 3-y-o this hardy sort landed three handicaps off marks of 72, 79 and 84 and his efforts afterwards in defeat strongly suggest he can defy the assesor further still this term. One to be with when the market indicates he is fit and readied.
6- DESERT LAW - 4-y-o Andrew Balding Mr J C Smith
Andrew Balding seems set to have a fantastic season in 2012 and this progressive handicapper appeals as the type to make the breakthrough into Group class as he matures. He won readily at Bath in a competitive sprint and made gradual improvement on each of his six starts thereafter, doing particularly well at Newmarket in some valuable prizes.
7- EXPOSE - 4-y-o William Haggas The Royal Ascot Racing Club
This gelded son of Compton Place begins the season off a mark of just 82 which is sure to have the astute Haggas yard plotting his campaign this season with the usual military precision. He ran just twice last term, throwing his chance away first time out at Windsor by pulling far too hard in a muddling five runner contest and unable to pick up when asked at the furlong pole. However, he showed his true colours in a competitive Newmarket sprint next time when storming clear from the dip to win by an unextended three lengths, and is very much an unexposed handicapper to follow up the ranks.
8- HALLELUJAH - 4-y-o James Fanshawe Chippenham Lodge Stud
James Fanshawe's unbeaten filly has been very lightly raced to date, winning both starts impressively, and seems sure to be capable of surpassing a potentially lenient opening rating of just 81. Training difficulties presumably are the reason for he appearing so infrequently, but she looked a Group performer in the making when coming from last to first on the all-weather at Kempton (ran green and overcame a poor wide draw). If the astute Fanshawe can keep her sound she is very much one to follow in 2012.
9- ULTRASONIC - 3-y-o Sir Michael Stoute Mr K Abdulla
Sir Michael endured an "annus horribilis" last season where his horses never seemed at their peak at any stage and his strike rate dropped dramatically based on his usual very high standards. This highly regarded type deserves extra credit for showing a useful level as a juvenile and is open to progress when his stamina is drawn out further. He won a useful York maiden first time out in September, always going smoothly and just nudged out to assert in the closing stages, and was not discredited behind Pimpernel in the Listed Radley Stakes at Newbury three weeks later. The way he stuck on having been briefly outpaced suggests that a mile plus will be needed in time, and he is just the steadily progressive type that the yard has excelled with in the past.
10- MARINE COMMANDO - 4-y-o Richard Fahey Mr M Wynne
Richard Fahey continues to dominate the Northern scene but will be without his usual partner in Paul Hanagan this season for the first time. The yard had a fantastic 2011 and have a potentially well treated sprinter to go to war with this term in Marine Commando. A useful 2-y-o (won the Windsor Castle at Ascot) he was rated 102 at his peak, but has slid down to 92 after just 12 career starts to date. Last season he won at Haydock and competed with credit in all the top sprint handicaps at Grade One courses thereafter, and appeals as the type to more than pay his way in 2012.
You can follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenh61
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