Handicappers pinpoint six potential stars for 2019

‘If he is not something very special I would be amazed’

  • Wednesday 23 January
  • News
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Subsequent St James’s Palace Stakes hero Without Parole proved a shrewd pick as one of Graeme Smith’s dark horses to follow in 2018. The British Horseracing Authority’s lead two-year-old handicapper and his Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board counterpart Mark Bird have selected six horses they expect to go on to big things in 2019.

Chablis (Aidan O’Brien)

“She won a seven-furlong maiden at Gowran Park in October. There was nothing remarkable about the form. She had a nice trip and had a good draw. She picked up nicely and won in uncomplicated style.

“I think she has the potential to go on over middle distances and I expect to see her in one of the 10-furlong trials in the early part of the season.

“Most of the fillies on the classification list are shorter runners and there is an opportunity for a middle-distance filly to step forward, she could be one.” (MB)

Dancing Vega (Ralph Beckett)

“She made a great impression on her debut. She was racing against more experienced fillies, but she knew her job and it was impressive to see her take control of the race on the bridle and then shoot away with a squeeze. The form stacks up and the second won the Listed Montrose Stakes at Newmarket.

“There is lots in her pedigree that would say she will stay 10 furlongs, but I would not have any qualms about her over a mile. If she were mine, she would stop off in the Guineas en route to the Oaks.” (GS)

Dubai Warrior (John Gosden)

“The one I really like is Dubai Warrior. He won a reasonable race at Chelmsford, but he was impressive. They didn’t go hard in the early stages, but he made up an awful lot of ground on the clock in the last three furlongs and posted a respectable time.

“I don’t think he is going to be a miler. I think he will be going to a Derby trial, then hopefully something better beyond that. He might have only run once, but if he is not something very special I would be amazed. He is a very good horse and one to pen in the notebook.” (GS)

Quote (Aidan O’Brien))

“She is a little more under the radar. She only had one run at the back-end in a maiden at Leopardstown over a mile.

“She finished ninth out of 20, which is fairly unremarkable on the face of it. She was out the back with one or two turning in, but she ate the ground up the straight and was really flying at the finish and was difficult to pull up after the race, which is a good sign. She has a long way to go to be a pattern contender, but I was taken how she came home that day.” (MB)

Skardu (William Haggas)

“The mile division looks strong, but if there is a dark horse that could ruffle a few feathers, I’m pretty sure it’s Skardu.

“The market didn’t point to Skardu on his debut and he was sent off 33-1. He certainly knew an awful lot less than the third and fourth horses.

“Giving them a start in a race where they were quickening in the last two furlongs, not only did he make up the ground but he surged right past.

“I’m hoping he will start in a race like the Greenham then go from there.” (GS)

Sucellus (John Gosden)

“We didn’t see him until Wolverhampton in early December. The striking thing about his performance is that he had absolutely no chance from where he raced. He was too green and he got an awful long way back in a modestly-run race.

“He absolutely shot down the straight to win impressively, even though it was only by half a length. It is hard to pin your colours to the mast on this one and say he is a top horse. There is just something about the way that he quickened from a hopeless position.

“It has got to be a Derby trial for him, and I would be hoping we see him figure prominently in those races before going on to something better.” (GS)

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