Our trader gives us six flat horses to follow for the 2020 season

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With Horse Racing in Britain set to resume at Newcastle on Monday 1st June, it’s time to look at some of the flat horses that could be worth adding to your tracker for the season ahead. 

We can’t wait to see the likes of Pinatubo, Enable and Stradivarius back out on the track. But which less obvious names should Horse Racing fans be adding to their tracker when racing resumes?

We’ve enlisted the help of top trader Johnathan Priddey, who’s kindly given us six horses to follow in the 2020 flat season.  

Intervention (Charles O’Brien)

One of the most interesting ‘under the radar’ horses to take out of this winter’s Dundalk action was Intervention. From the family of the rapid pair Adaay and Mullionmileanhour, speed is unsurprisingly Intervention’s main asset.

A combination of factors meant he wasn’t seen anywhere near best effect in his four runs between November and February.

6f looked too far, sometimes he was too keen, he was often poorly-drawn and the only ‘luck in running’ that came Intervention’s way was bad luck.

Now gelded and set for an opening handicap mark in the low 70s at worst, he looks an ideal type to let rip over 5f on a turning track. Watch out Ballinrobe, Bellewstown and Galway!

ROMANTIC PROPOSAL (Eddie Lynam)

This filly was in danger of becoming disappointing after frustrating defeats at SPs of 11/8f and 7/4f last summer, having previously gone toe-to-toe with subsequent Group 3 winner Miss O’Connor at Gowran Park (arguably travelling best as well!).

Thankfully, ‘Fast Eddie’ then decided to drop Romantic Proposal down to 7f from 1m. She duly asserted in a Cork maiden, beating impressive Curragh winner Lovee Dovee, and made light of a mark of 71 when last seen in October.

Even after a hefty whack from the assessor (she is now rated 83), Romantic Proposal will still scream out ‘Group horse in a handicap’ next time we see her on a racecourse. 

SIR OLIVER (Richard Hughes)

Even more than followers of Romantic Proposal, backers and connections of Sir Oliver must have been on the verge of losing the faith before he blitzed his rivals over 5f at Kempton in February.

The full brother of dual Nunthorpe winner Mecca’s Angel flashed plenty of the family speed in his first five runs at 6f and 7f but was too much of a lunatic to run a complete race, including when tried in blinkers.

Then gelded, dropped down to 5f and allowed to let rip from the front, Sir Oliver finally appeared something like the finished article and ran out an impressive winner.

His SP of 11/10 that day suggested strong stable confidence that they finally had their horse sussed, so they should have some fun off a mark of 82. Sir Oliver could climb the ranks quickly once the season gets started.

INVINCIBLE BERTIE (Nigel Tinkler)

Invincible Bertie could be a sprint-handicapper to follow in the north this year. He did the groundwork in three maidens and might have added to his trainer’s fine record in nurseries but for three carbon copy luckless runs.

Spotted travelling well in all three attempts in nurseries from marks in the mid-50s, he found trouble each time before getting a clear run all too late and making late gains.

It’s worth noting that Nigel Tinkler’s yard were also going through a particularly cold spell at the time, so he gets extra credit for his good work in the background.

Tinkler is adept at getting his horses to rattle up winning runs once the floodgates are open and has a good group of claiming apprentices to help the cause, so this could be one to add 25lbs to his rating in quick time. 

SALTONSTALL (Ado McGuinness) 

As a six-year-old who has been to the racecourse 21 times, Saltonstall is at the more ‘exposed’ end of the spectrum versus the rest of the horses on this list.

Still, this classy handicapper is one who’ll need to be near the top of the shortlist in those valuable Irish mile handicaps this season.

Adrian McGuinness is quite an artist when it comes to winning valuable races with his pickups from other trainers and it only took him six races to capture the BMW Handicap at Galway with Saltonstall.

That win came from a mark of just 89 (he was rated as high as 103 when trained by Mick Halford) and he looked capable of getting right back to his peak in his next few outings.

Forgive a lesser run after a quick turnaround next time at Galway and focus on his luckless sixth in the Irish Cambridgeshire and good third when just failing to last out at 1m 2f in the Northfields Handicap.

Two lesser runs at the end of a long season are also easy to give him a pass on. There’s every chance he’ll land a big pot at some point this season.

WILLYWAMPUS (Donal Cummins)

Rounding off with another one from a small yard, Willywampus must be the horse who makes Thurles permit holder Donal Cummins get out of bed in the morning.

Cheaply bought at just £7,000 despite a decent pedigree (he’s related to Speedy Boarding), the son of Zoffany outran odds of 66/1 with an encouraging fifth on debut at Limerick.

Then he came within a length of an almighty giant killing at Naas, snapping away on the heels of bluebloods from the Aidan O’Brien and Ger Lyons stables and having other expensive sorts in behind.

That said, he failed to fire when tried at Dundalk last time out. It’s hard to know quite what M.O. Mr. Cummins will adopt with this horse, but his form reads well, and he ought to stay beyond a mile this season.

He could be overpriced when next pitched in against second and third tier horses from the big operations. 

All odds and markets correct as of date of publication

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Nick Murphy

Nick is a graduate of the UEA where he doubled up as the sports editor of the student newspaper. He supports Dagenham & Redbridge and previously edited the matchday programme at Victoria Road. Darts and Horse Racing are among his other favourite sports.