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Horses to follow: by the handicappers

24 Jan 2017

Get those notebooks at the ready!

Tartini wins - handicapper pick

Could Tartini be the answer in John Gosden’s hunt for two-year-old superstars? Pic: racingfotos.com 

Following the news that Churchill had been crowned the European champion two-year-old, handicappers in both Britain and Ireland wasted no time in following up their coronation with predictions for who could take the mantle this time next year.

Aidan O’Brien‘s charge gave him his ninth champion in the past 18 years, so it is little surprise that Irish Turf Handicapper Mark Bird starts his search at Ballydoyle, but could a relation to an Irish Classic winner also be worth noting?

“In Ireland, potential improvers also abound and I would highlight two as particularly worth following,” he said. “Sir John Lavery is a Galileo colt out of a half-sister to Hawk Wing and coped well with bad ground in breaking his maiden at the second attempt.

“Also, Awtaad’s half-sister Aneen put up a performance that was pregnant with promise in taking a back-end Curragh maiden on her second start.”

Aidan O'Brien

Aidan O’Brien chats to reporters – pic:focusonracing.com

It was a quiet year for John Gosden in the two-year-old stakes, with no youngster in the top ten, but Graeme Smith, the handicapper responsible for two-year-olds at the British Horseracing Authority has seen a couple from Clarehaven Stables which may thrust him back into contention.

“The flip side of a quiet year for British-trained two-year-olds is that there’s a host of horses with major untapped potential. One of the more interesting could be John Gosden’s Tartini, who won his only start to date at Nottingham in late October. A seemingly unconsidered 25/1 shot behind a short-priced stablemate, he looked to need the experience for most of the race and it was surprising just how much ground he made up as he got the message.

“The first three drew some six lengths clear of a couple who’ve won subsequently, and this half-brother to the Great Voltigeur winners Lucarno and Thought Worthy could be one for the Derby trials. Other once-raced horses to watch out for include Owen Burrows’ filly Talaayeb, Gosden’s Cracksman and Richard Hannon’s Excelebration colt, Barney Roy”.

Whilst you have those notebooks open, check out who Oisin Murphy is looking forward to partnering this year, and also our own take on five to keep an eye on this coming QIPCO British Champions Series campaign.