So, there are few excuses for not concentrating on a glorious summer of racing, beginning with that annual staple, the Coral-Eclipse, at soggy sandown Park this weekend. OK, racing still has to compete with Wimbledon, The Open and England’s Test series against Pakistan. And then there is the small matter of the Olympic Games in Rio on the horizon.
But this is one of the most exciting times of the racing year in the UK as major festivals at Newmarket, Goodwood, York and Doncaster grab our attention in rapid succession. Therefore, as well as a good book or two for your annual holidays, why not arm yourself with a list of horses to follow for the coming weeks?
Here are 25 improving animals, mainly three-year-olds and mainly handicappers, who could make the great British racing summer as profitable as it is enjoyable.
Jeremy Noseda’s lightly-raced 3yo miler was just a whisker away from Royal Ascot glory in the Britannia Handicap, despite ground far too Soft for his US pedigree.
A date at Glorious Goodwood probably awaits Luca Cumani’s 3yo, who has improved for every run so far this term. Quickened to beat older rivals last time, despite pulling too hard.
Defying top weight to win at a quiet evening meeting during Royal Ascot, Hugo Palmer’s progressive 10f+ colt is still flying under many radars. Not for long.
Remain supporter Luca Cumani backed the wrong one in the EU vote but will win more races with this son of Galileo, especially when upped to 12f and further.
Charlie Appleby’s 3yo 1m/10f colt enhanced his potential despite defeat at Musselburgh last time when he paid for his inexperience but still ran on eycatchingly.
Missed Royal Ascot after pulling a muscle when defying traffic trouble to win impressively at Newmarket. Martyn Meade’s 3yo is a Group horses in the making.
Back-to-form trainer William Haggas sidestepped a tempting engagement at Royal Ascot with this Edinburgh Cup winner, who handles any ground. But more middle-distance prizes are pencilled in.
Speedy 3yo sprinter who hails from the family of the mighty Lochsong for the same connections of owner Jeff Smith and the training operation of the Baldings. She is almost certainly Pattern class.
The Ebor at York might be on the agenda for David Simcock’s smooth-travelling, hold-up 4yo, who has rattled off a four-timer, is improving with experience and boasts a touch of class.
Stepping up from sprint distances unlocked the best performance of the career so far from Tommy Stack’s 3yo filly. Given lots to do in rear, she weaved her way through in the style of a winner waiting to happen.
Sir Michael Stoute’s expensive colt, opwned by Al Shaqab Racing, found dramatic, and unexpected, improvement to land a 1m maiden at Nottingham. Look out for more when he switches to handicap company.
Forget his flop at Royal Ascot when nothing went right. Dean Ivory’s 7f/1m 3yo had been an unlucky, fast-finishing loser on his previous two runs and is still considered well-handicapped.
Once considered for the Derby, Charlie Appleby’s Godolphin-owned son of Dubawi also missed Royal Ascot, but has the exciting potential to match his eye-popping yearling price tag of 1,6 million guineas.
The Richard Hannon yard might appear to be in decline, but he can still have some fun with this gelded son of Paco Boy, given the way he won a 7f handicap at Haydock. There’s scope for more from his mark of 85.
One of many who couldn’t handle the Soft surface at Royal Ascot, he had previously been developing into the star of Dominic Ffrench Davis’s small stable. A fast-ground 3yo with a genuine turn of foot.
Sir Mark Prescott, racing racounteur par excellence, has a serious sprinter on his hands, judged by the startling speed this filly showed when dropped to the minimum trip at Ayr. Don’t under-estimate her.
Appearances by David Lanigan’s four-year-old have been limited by his need for cut in the ground. But on the evidence of his effort at Royal Ascot in the Royal Hunt Cup, more success is in the pipeline.
Trainer Robert Cowell’s touch with sprinters is becoming the stuff of legend. This 5yo looked a different horse when dropped to 6f to take Royal Ascot’s Wokingham Handicap and he can progress to Pattern grade.
Unfancied and unheralded, James Fanshawe’s 3yo filly raised many an eyebrow when smoothly easing to victory on her belated debut at Newmarket. Her opening handicap mark of 90 is workable.
Give in the ground might be essential for William Haggas’s 3yo filly, but she is climbing the handicap in style and can find more openings at around 7f and 1m.
Saeed Bin Suroor’s 3yo has a lovely cruising speed, as befits a son of top-class sprinter Dream Ahead. But he stays further than his sire and is progressing at a rate of knots in the handicap sphere.
Bred by the Aga Khan and with a dam who is a half-sister to Derby and Arc winner Sinndar, this 5yo is finally making up for lost time at Keith Dalgleish’s yard after only one run in Ireland.
A taking victory on his handicap debut at Leicester confirmed the potential of Roger Varian’s Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned sprinter, who is considered capable of developing into Group class on fast ground.
Don’t give up on John Gosden’s middle-distance 3yo just because a setback ruled him out of Royal Ascot. His form was still franked at the Berkshire track, and he remains one of the most exciting prospects in training.
Just a couple of 1m maiden runs so far for Martyn Meade’s 3yo filly, but she’s shown enough, on quick and slow ground, to suggest she will be smart over further.
Harzand and Minding prove they are exceptional talents
I do not susbscribe to the view of some within racing that a good Flat season is defined by whether or not it unearths a superstar. In the mould, maybe, of GOLDEN HORN last year. The wish-list of most punters and racegoers is more for a consistent menu of good-quality, competitive racing. However, there is no doubt the mood is raised when exceptional talent surfaces, and it’s fair to say that HARZAND and MINDING can be confirmed within such a bracket after last weekend’s Irish Derby meeting when they followed up their impressive successes at Epsom. Derby hero Harzand proved he is steely hard, as well as classy, while Oaks heroine Minding proved that all trips from 1m to 12f seem to come alike to her. A clash between the two in the Arc at Chantilly in October is now top of that wish-list.