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Trader’s Tips: Six flat horses to follow in the 2020 season

Our trader picks out six to add to your tracker

It’s been a long time between drinks but Horse Racing in the UK will restart with a ten-race card at Newcastle on Monday 1st June. When the action does resume, we’ll be thrust straight into the thick of the new flat season. 

With that in mind, we’ve enlisted the help of trader Johnathan Priddey, who has picked out six horses he thinks we should be to adding our trackers for the season ahead. From potentially smart handicappers to Group horses in the waiting, here are his six of the best.

KHALIFA SAT (Andrew Balding)

As a weak and unfurnished looking juvenile with a middle distance pedigree, it was encouraging to see Khalifa Sat achieve so much in his first season. Having visibly learnt on the job behind Kenzai Warrior on debut at Salisbury, he then showed huge improvement to glide through heavy ground and win a strong 1m 2f maiden at Goodwood.

Khalifa Sat should have strengthened up a great deal over the winter and, as a half-brother to St Leger runner-up Unsung Heroine with a 10f win already on the CV, he should improve further as he goes up in trip. Whether he attacks the best three-year-old handicaps or dives straight into Group company, he’s a very exciting colt.

MADAKET MYSTERY (Jack W Davison) 

I love it when horses from smaller yards find their way into the tracker because you know you’re more likely to get a nice price than you would with an obvious one from a top yard. Jack Davison’s cheaply-bred Madaket Mystery is a perfect example. This filly showed good tactical pace on debut to get across from the nightmare stall 15 draw at Listowel and kept on for a good third place.

She shaped as though the drop from 7f down to 6f wasn’t ideal on her next two starts (strong through the line both times) while adding two more honourable thirds.

An initial mark of 72 looks like a lovely starting point to attack in those 20+ runner 7f handicaps. A big field and a strong pace should bring out the best in Madaket Mystery assuming she trains-on this year.

NOBLE DAWN (Ivan Furtado)

Ivan Furtado stated his intent to join the top trainers last year when moving into a bigger base at Averham Park. Looking for potential flagbearers among his string, the most likely candidate must be Noble Dawn. Fifth on debut at Newcastle in a race that has thrown up a hatful of winners, he stepped up with a staying-on fourth over 6f at Haydock before cutting loose to win over 7f at Wolverhampton.

He has a long stride and was lengthening nicely at the finish there. By the miler Dawn Approach with middle distance horses on the damside, you’d expect Furtado to stretch him out over further in 2020.

An initial handicap mark of 72 looks like an attractive starting point and he should be going much higher.

GREEK OASIS (Chris Wall)

This may be more of a slow burner. Sent off at 50/1 and 66/1 on her two starts as a two-year-old, this daughter of Oasis Dream was just out to lay her foundations in 2019. Trainer Chris Wall has only trained one two-year-old winner in the last five seasons but is adept at bringing horses through steadily and is particularly profitable with his handicappers in the second half of the season.

With that in mind, it was encouraging to see Greek Oasis being arguably the last horse to come off the bridle before dropping away to finish 8/16 over 7f at Newmarket second time out.

There’s certainly a good engine inside her and, so long as the cover isn’t blown too much in her third qualifying run, she should start life in handicaps on a nice low mark. Being by Oasis Dream with stamina for 1m 4f and beyond on the dam side, she should be quite versatile in terms of distance.

STAG HORN (Archie Watson)

By Golden Horn and related to thorough stayer Star Rider, Stag Horn must have looked the odd one out among Archie Watson’s string of speedy ready-made juvenile winners. He wisely chose to just give Stag Horn only three runs, just making the frame each time.

He showed plenty while understandably looking a little too weak and raw to quite see his races out. It would be a surprise if Stag Horn doesn’t progress hugely in 2020 and there should be no distance beyond his reach. He could well be the type to contest events such as the Melrose Handicap later in the season.

WHAT AN ANGEL (Richard Hannon)

Turning slightly off-piste, I just have a suspicion that What An Angel will pop up at a big price in the next few months. You need to be a little creative and very forgiving to see the case for him, but I think he has what it takes to pick up a decent handicap from his current mark in the 70s.

Recent form figures of 68033 have turned ugly but this son of Dark Angel has repeatedly been let down by his refusal to settle. The one time he did consent to race sensibly (four starts back at Newmarket), he was emerging from midfield and looking a potential threat when baulked and forced to ease off a furlong from home.

Soft ground was a valid excuse three starts ago and ill-advised experiments with making the running completely backfired in two all-weathers attempts over the winter. He has at last been gelded and has eased to a mark of only 73, which looks fair given the horse looked capable from 81 not too long ago.

A strong pace and plenty of cover in a big field will probably be essential but that stars could align for him soon at a hefty price.

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