Horses To Follow » Horses To Follow


Recoletos was impressive in landing the Group 2 Prix du Muguet over 1m.  Carlos Laffon-Parias’ colt was settled in midfield early on by Olivier Peslier, fourth of the seven runners behind a good pace that his stable companion Oriental set.  He travelled well in the middle of the well stretched-out field into the home straight, and he picked up well when his rider asked him to at the 2f pole.  The Godolphin colt, favourite Jimmy Two Times, hit the front a furlong and a half out and struck for home, but Recoletos showed a smart turn of foot to get out after him, and it always looked like he would catch him.  He did so with 110 metres to run, and he kept on powerfully all the way to the line to move almost 2l clear by the time he got there.

It was a fine performance by the Whipper colt.  Jimmy Two Times won this race last year, and he had had a run this term already, while third-placed Taareef ran Ribchester to three parts of a length in the Group 1 Prix du Moulin last September, and he rounded off his season by winning the Group 2 Prix Daniel Wildenstein.  Those two set a fair standard, and Recoletos beat them well.

Recoletos raced just once as a juvenile, but he was progressive last season as a three-year-old.  Winner of the Group 2 Prix Greffulhe and third in the Prix du Jockey Club, he won a Group 3 contest at Maisons-Laffitte in September, and he finished fourth behind Cracksman, Poet’s Word and Highland Reel in the Champion Stakes at Ascot on his final run last season.  He was well beaten by Cracksman, but he was only beaten a total of a length and a quarter for the runner-up spot, and he had Jockey Club and French 2000 Guineas winner Brametot behind him.

This run was hugely encouraging, dropping down to a mile for the first time, and he could progress again now at four.  He is entered in the Queen Anne Stakes and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, and either is a legitimate target.  He looked very good here over a strongly-run mile.  By Whipper, he will always be of interest when there is at least a little bit of cut in the ground.

Saint-Cloud, 1st May 2018

Laugh A Minute

Laugh A Minute can be marked up significantly on the bare form of his run to finish fifth (promoted to fourth) in the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes over 6f.

Weak in the market beforehand, he travelled well through his race in behind, a little keener than ideal if anything.  The only horse still on the bridle as they ran inside the 2f pole, he picked up when Andrea Atzeni gave him a squeeze, but the gap between Abel Handy and Fighting Irish through which he appeared set to deliver his challenge closed suddenly, and his rider had to snatch him up.  That ended his winning chance but, once back on an even keel, he ran on nicely under a hands and heels ride to the line to take fifth place behind Invincible Army.

He was beaten about 5l in the end, and it may be stretching it to say that he would have troubled the winner had he enjoyed a clear passage, but he would have been a lot closer than he was.  Roger Varian’s horse raced just four times last year as a juvenile, and, while he didn’t get off the mark until the fourth of those runs, he progressed with each race.  Second behind subsequent Acomb Stakes winner Wells Farhh Go at York in July, he stepped forward from that to finish third behind Dream Today in the Convivial Maiden at York’s Ebor meeting, the most valuable maiden on the calendar.  And he put up the best performance of his two-year-old season on his final run when he won the valuable Weatherbys sales race at Doncaster in September.

This was his seasonal debut, and there is every chance that he will progress from it.  He has won over six and a half furlongs and he has run well over seven, but it appeared that he had the pace here to travel well over six.  He holds an entry in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, and he could be an interesting outsider if he took his chance in that race.

Ascot, 2nd May 2018

Altyn Orda

Altyn Orda ran a big race to finish fifth in the 1000 Guineas.  Never far off the pace, she picked up at the two-furlong marker when Frankie Dettori asked her to, and she arrived there with a chance as they raced into the Dip.  But she was racing on the left wing, a fair way away from where the race unfolded.  She kept on well to take fifth place, but it is possible that she would have done even better if she had been able to race further towards the far side.  The winner Billesdon Brook emerged from stall eight, but she was delivered with her challenge on the far side, and the next three home were drawn, respectively, five, four and one.  Altyn Orda raced from stall 12 and raced towards the near side.  The fillies drawn higher than her finished, respectively, 15th, 11th and ninth.

Roger Varian’s filly raced just three times last season as a juvenile, she finished second in her first two races, both Newmarket maidens, and she sprang a 25/1 shock in the Group 3 Oh So Sharp Stakes on her third and final run last year.  She started off this season encouragingly too by finishing second to Soliloquy in the Nell Gwyn Stakes, when she shaped as if a stronger pace and perhaps a step up from that seven furlongs to a mile would bring about improvement.  Her Guineas run was another step forward, and she should be able to continue to progress.  She would be of interest if she took up her entry in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot, despite the fact that she would probably meet some of the fillies who beat her in the Guineas.

Newmarket, 6th May 2018


Yucatan only finished third in the end in the Group 2 Mooresbridge Stakes, but there was a lot of encouragement to be gleaned from Aidan O’Brien’s colt’s performance.

Settled in second place early on behind confirmed front-runner Success Days, Seamie Heffernan sent him up on the outside of the leader as they raced to the home turn.  It appeared as if he was travelling better than Ken Condon’s horse as they raced up the home straight, but he had no answer as his stable companion Cliffs Of Moher swooped on the outside deep inside the final furlong.  He was almost two lengths behind the winner in the end, but he was only beaten a head by Success Days for second place.

The Galileo colt was a top-class juvenile, he finished second in the Beresford Stakes and he finished second in the Racing Post Trophy.  He shaped in the early part of last season as if he would make up into a high-class middle-distance three-year-old too, he finished third behind subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling in the Ballysax Stakes on his debut, and he was beaten just a head in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, but he didn’t race again after that last term.  He didn’t run badly on his debut this season, his first run in almost a year, when he finished fourth behind Irish Derby and St Leger hero Capri in the Alleged Stakes at Naas, when he had Cliffs Of Moher a half a length behind him in fifth, and this was another step forward in a race that Aidan O’Brien has won eight times in the last nine years now.  Regally bred, by Galileo out of triple Group 1 winner Six Perfections, he is relatively lightly raced, so he should be able to continue to progress, and he should do even better when he gets to race on even better ground.  He holds some lofty entries, and there should be more to come from him.

Naas, 7th May 2018

Forever Together

Forever Together could only finish second behind her better-fancied stable companion Magic Wand in the Cheshire Oaks, but she ran really well in defeat.  Settled in fourth or fifth and along the rail by Donnacha O’Brien, she came under pressure when her stable companion quickened from the front as they started around the home turn, but she was short of room between Shailene and Princess Yaiza when she wanted to go forward.  Her rider had no real option but to sit and suffer until they straightened up and, even when they did, there was no gap between horses so she had to come around Princess Yaiza.  She did though and, while the winner had flown, she stayed on well to take second place.

A full sister to Fillies’ Mile winner Together Forever, she didn’t win in two attempts last season, but this was just her third race ever and it was her seasonal debut, so she should come on for it.  She could still be a lively Oaks outsider, she saw out the trip well here, or she could be a Ribblesdale Stakes filly.  She will be of interest wherever she goes next.

Chester, 9th May 2018

Young Rascal

Young Rascal was impressive in winning the Chester Vase.  He wasn’t that quickly away and James Doyle had to settle him back in fifth place, behind his two market rivals Hunting Horn and Ispolini, and that wasn’t ideal.  He tried to take closer order as they started to run around the home turn, but you can’t really make ground around that turn, so his rider had to wait.  Still only fifth as they straightened up for home, he switched widest of all in order to deliver his challenge.  As he did, Dee Ex Bee arrived up on his outside and almost hemmed him in, but he was brave and he had enough energy in reserve to hold his position.  Once he did, and once he got balanced and running on, he stayed on really strongly and in the end, James Doyle was able to ease down and get home by a cosy half-length.

It was an impressive performance by William Haggas’ horse, and the form is solid, with the Sandown Classic Trial second and third, Hunting Horn and Ispolini, finishing third and fourth.  He had been impressive too in winning an 11-furlong maiden at Newbury on his debut this season.  He was a little green through the early stages of that race, but he stayed on strongly and powered home by five lengths from his closest pursuer, and that race had already worked out well.

This was another significant step forward from the son of Intello, racing at a track that is very different to Newbury, where he won his maiden.  But he handled it well, he overcame minor adversity and he won well.   This was just his third run too, he can probably improve for this run and for the experience, and he deserves his place in the Derby picture. He is owned by a co-founder of Investec, sponsors of the Derby, so it would be surprising if the Derby was not his primary objective now.

Chester, 9th May 2018

Count Calabash

Count Calabash did well to win the 12f handicap as well as he did, given how free he was through the early stages of the race.  He raced up on the outside of Croquembouche from early, and it looked like he was doing more than Charles Bishop wanted him to do.  Still keen as they raced to the home turn, he moved up on the outside to hit the front as soon as they straightened up for home. He kicked for home at the 2f pole and he kept going strongly all the way to the line to win well.

Winner of his last three races as a juvenile for Paul Cole, the Big Bad Bob gelding joined Eve Johnson Houghton last summer, and it appears that he is an improved horse this season as a four-year-old.  He battled back well to win a Kempton handicap on his debut this season off a mark of 86, and he was able to win again on Saturday off a 4lb higher mark. The handicapper raised him by another 6lb for Saturday’s win, but he deserved a decent hike. He has now won five of his 12 races, and he could step up again. He should do better if he can learn to settle a little better. The Duke of Edinburgh Stakes back at Royal Ascot is reportedly his next target and, now one for one at Ascot, that is a legitimate target.

Ascot, 12th May 2018