15 horses to follow for the 2020 Flat racing season: Part 3
From top Group races to low-grade handicaps, Chad Yeomans reveals his list of horses to keep a very close eye on once the Flat season gets under way.
In part three of three, Chad Yeomans reveals his final five horses – in alphabetical order – to jot down in your notebook for when the Flat season begins...
Populaire (3YO) – Amanda Perrett
There can’t be many horses being tipped to watch closely with a rating of 69, but I’m sure Populaire is yet to show her best form and, now she has her first handicap mark, I don’t think it will be long before she’s winning.
There was talk of this horse doing some strong work in the spring and there was some money around for her debut at Newbury in August when she ran a blinding race at 40/1 to finish fourth.
She ran OK on her second start back at the same course, which is to be expected from these young fillies, who don’t always improve from their first run to their second. That, however, doesn’t mean that should be forgotten.
She ran at Kempton Park in October, but her wide draw gave her an uphill task over 6f, though she still finished a respectable sixth before being put away.
I expect her to be plotted for a handicap on her seasonal debut off her mark and, in a weak race, perhaps confined to her sex, she should be getting herself in the winners’ enclosure.
Station To Station (3YO) – Clive Cox
Much like Populaire, Station To Station is rated as low as 70 and, with form figures of 780 in three starts last year, is not an obvious horse to follow.
However, he showed something on each of those three starts, especially on his first run at Newbury, where he travelled very well in a good maiden.
He was then tried in the Convivial Maiden at York – which was won by Molatham, who was second in a maiden at Ascot – before finishing off with a six-length 10th-placed finish at Chelmsford.
It was obvious his connections were keen to get a mark by getting that third run into him, and he seems like an obvious horse to follow in handicaps at places like Windsor when the season gets going.
I think he’ll finish the season on a higher mark than 70, that’s for sure.
Thunderous (3YO) – Mark Johnston
🏇 Thunderous extends his unbeaten record to three wins in as many starts with a gutsy performance to capture the Listed Denford Stakes @NewburyRacing— Racing TV (@RacingTV) August 17, 2019
4️⃣ victories for trainer Mark Johnston in the seven-furlong event now pic.twitter.com/UvfoKxd0sI
Sadly, Thunderous picked up an injury midway through the season last year, which brought his campaign to an end rather prematurely following three wins from three races.
Each of those three starts were over 7f and you’d be shocked if he didn’t stay further this season. I actually think he’ll get 1m2f without a doubt.
That injury, while halting his two-year-old season, may have benefitted him in the long run, giving him time to strengthen up.
Reports are that he’s wintered very well and has been impressing his connections.
Volatile Analyst (3YO) – Keith Dalgleish
Volatile Analyst made his debut in a competitive five-runner affair at Ayr in July when, despite being very noisy and coltish in the paddock, he still managed to win the race in the style of a smart horse.
His connections then pitched him into a Group 2 at Glorious Goodwood where he didn’t let himself down, finishing an excellent fourth behind Golden Horde.
We didn’t see him again, but I expect him to feature in all of the better races up north in the early part of the season.
It wouldn’t surprise to see him feature heavily at any York fixture – a course where his trainer seems to do particularly well.
Zmile (3YO) – Michael Bell
There were plenty of good words around for Zmile before she made her debut at Haydock, when she ran a race full of promise to finish 1½ lengths back in fourth place.
Instead of going on to win a maiden, which should have been a formality, she then went to Royal Ascot to ran in the Chesham Stakes, where she was obviously outclassed on her second racecourse start.
We didn’t see her again, but she showed enough in the way she moved and travelled in those two races to suggest she won’t be long in winning.
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