The Lincoln at Doncaster may be the opening big race of the flat season, but throughout the campaign there is many a top prize to be won.
Looking down the ante-post markets for races like the Guineas and the Derby, a certain A P O’Brien seems to hold all the aces, but is that the case?
True the Ballydoyle master may hold plenty of strength in depth, but that quantity of horses means there’s room for other trainers to fly under their radar to bag those winners.
We’ve picked out five dark horses (in some cases literally) that could rack up their fair share of prize money this season.
Christophermarlowe – John Gosden
The fact that a few winners have come from this one’s two impressive victories as a juvenile certainly frank the form that sees him hold a Derby entry for June.
There’s reason to believe there is plenty more to come as a three-year-old as well.
His sire Tapit was responsible for Breeders Cup Distaff winner Untapable last year, Belmont Stakes victor Tonalist, while Tapiture was second in the Breeders Cup Dirt, all as three-year-olds.
And with his dam a Group 3 winner by Galileo he is certainly bred for success and could be an emerging contender for the Epsom showpiece, for which he is currently a 33/1 shot.
The Tin Man – James Fanshawe
You need to take a bit of a punt with this one, but if he’s anything like his brother he’s one to follow in the sprinting stakes.
Deacon Blues was a dominant force over the shorter distances as a four-year-old in 2011. He racked up a sequence of five victories, four in Group races against his fellow speedsters.
The Tin Man has a tough act to follow, but James Fanshawe has stated that over the winter he has really turned into a big horse and looks set for a bright future, if avoiding injury.
Judicial – Roger Charlton
Another sprinter that could emerge as a leading player in the handicap division is Judicial.
Three from three as a juvenile, his form looks fairly solid.
The horse he beat into second on debut (after the original winner was disqualified) ran some big races in a number of competitive handicaps, and wasn’t beaten far in a Newmarket Group 3 at the back end of the campaign.
His inability to settle last year may have held him back, so get him to switch off in his races and Charlton could have a really good one.
Hathal – William Haggas
Running in the colours of Al Shaqab racing there is sure to be plenty of intrigue in William Haggas’ daughter of 1997 1000 Guineas winner Sleepytime.
The fact that her progeny tend to improve with time could prove interesting for this once-race maiden.
Under Frankie Detorri at Newmarket, the filly was slowly away on debut but did quicken up nicely to take second ahead of five other subsequent winners.
Over time this filly could be a very smart miler, with a 1000 Guineas entry already in hand.
Mustadeem – Brian Meehan
Brian Meehan has previously spoken about how this “very good horse” can keep “going on and on”, and it is apparent from his profile that he has done nothing but improve.
He raced green and looked very babyish on debut, staying on well for seventh when realising he was in a race, before going down ½l to subsequent dual Group 2 winner Estidhkaar at Newbury next time.
He finally got his head in front at Sandown in July, and although that form is nothing to shout about, he did it well.
If he continues to prove he could repay connections for giving him a Guineas entry.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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