A real favourite of mine and I would be shocked if he was unable to pick up at least a win this winter. It was a busy yet unsuccessful summer for Ornate running eight times and never managing even a place. This has subsequently seen his mark drop 13lbs to 86 which is the lowest it’s been since January 2019.
The main reason for him underperforming was the ground, he’s a horse who likes to race on a quick surface and five of his eight runs were on good ground or worse. When getting his conditions he ran in the group one ‘Kings Stand’, finishing 7L behind the winner. He also ran in a small handicap at Doncaster where not disgraced back in 5th.
This wasn’t too dissimilar to last year, when not managing a win in 9 starts during the flat season proper but when switching to the AW he won twice and placed three times from 12 starts. The optimum conditions for this horse look to be a low draw around Lingfield but Newcastle is also a track that suits.
Daheer was unable to manage a win this summer but this may not be the most unsurprising thing given he’s yet to record a win on the turf. Following a gelding operation in the spring Daheer started the season off a mark of 85 running well at Nottingham. He was unable to back that effort up but you can make excuses for him given the ground and the class of race he took in.
He’s a real All-Weather specialist, who thrives around Wolverhampton, a track that has seen him pick up all his wins. His most recent start was at the course which saw him finish 5th, it was a run which they can build upon and he looks like a winner in waiting.
One of the most unreliable horses on this list but I can see him winning and landing a large gamble in the process. Without a win since August 2020 (13 starts) he’s currently off a career-low mark of 60 (10lbs below his last win)
It’s clear that he’s a well-handicapped horse and the trainer/owner combo are known for readying one. The question isn’t if he will win, it’s when and here are a few things I’m looking out for.
Jockey Booking, I think the team will likely stick up Adam Kirby for the ride given his record on the horse is 0011355222. Oisin Murphy is also a jockey to keep an eye out for as he was the last jockey to win on the horse and boasts a 50% strike rate for connections in the past 5 years (which goes up to 75% when riding for them on the AW). I also think he’s likely to win at Lingfield or Wolverhampton as these are courses he’s acted well at before.
4. Zoltan Star
Starting his season in April with a very promising effort at Windsor, I think if you told Richard Hannon that Zoltan Star would still be a maiden at the end of the season he would’ve laughed in your face.
Given an opening mark of 80 in June he has since dropped 7lbs to 73 and has shown a liking for an artificial surface. Running well at Lingfield off 76 two starts ago he was drawn out wide and stayed on with real purpose to only be beaten a couple of lengths.
He took a sideways step on his next start when pitched back into maiden company. but I think Hannon will be looking for a nice handicap now and potentially stepping him up in trip.
5. Land Of Legends
The final horse on the list won’t be taking up small engagements at Lingfield, instead, he will be looking to scoop a big pot at Meydan or Riyadh.
Heading into the spring festivals earlier this year he hadn’t recorded a win since 2019 but the gelding operation and a return to 7f seemed to do the trick. Starting off with a Group 2 win over D’Bai and Glorious Journey, he was then sent to Riyadh for the Turf Sprint where he most probably got caught too far back and finished well for 5th behind Space Blues.
They ended his Spring campaign stepping him up to 1m1f where he ran with credit in Group 1 company finishing 5L behind Lord North. I think they will likely follow the same route as last year and hopefully, he can run well in some of the world’s richest races.