Churchill
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Churchill showed a portent for what was to follow, when losing his maiden tag in the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot. By season’s end, Aidan O’Brien’s son of Galileo was Champion Two Year Old Colt in Europe, having won five straight, including the Group 1 National Stakes and the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, both decisively.

This imposing colt is out of Meow, a Coolmore filly who only ever ran at two and never any further than five furlongs, finishing second in the Queen Mary Stakes and landing a Listed Curragh contest for David Wachman.

Churchill started off in a Curragh maiden over six furlongs on Irish Guineas weekend in late May, running 2 ½ lengths third of 11 to Van Der Decken, a colt who subsequently moved to the UK and failed to shine.

However, much as Gleneagles had been beaten on his debut, Churchill was to come on markedly for that career opener and was not beaten by another horse on the track during 2016.

Churchill beats Isomer in the Chesham Stakes
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His Chesham Stakes victory was far from spectacular as he beat Isomer by ½ a length, but in a manner promising a whole lot more. It was a trait that would become his trademark throughout the rest of the year, as he put up a string of performances that were far from spectacular, but always hinted at a lot more to come if needed.

Churchill beats Radio Silence in the Group 2 Futurity Stakes at the Curragh
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A month after his Royal Ascot success, Churchill followed in Gleneagles footsteps by narrowly winning the Group 3 Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown, beating the useful Alexios Komnenos by a neck.  His races were nicely spread out and in August, Churchill again appeared workmanlike but showed plenty of pace and power when asked for his effort, to beat Radio Silence by 2 lengths in the Group 2 Futurity Stakes at the Curragh.

Churchill beats Mehmas in the National Stakes at the Curragh
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He returned there three weeks later and was much more authoritative on yielding ground, capturing Ireland’s premier two year old race for colts, the Group 1 National Stakes, by 4 ¼ lengths from the admirable and tough Mehmas. On reflection, it is easy to feel that Mehmas did not quite see out the trip, but Lockheed was a useful form guide and Lancaster Bomber would also go on to underline the merits of this form.

Churchill was now successful in his last four starts, having won the same three races Gleneagles had won on his last three starts.

Their pathways separated at this point however, as O’Brien sent Churchill to Newmarket for the Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes in October, whereas Gleneagles had finished first past the post and been disqualified in France.

On paper, it was hard beforehand to assess the merits of Churchill’s Dewhurst Stakes rivals.

Lancaster Bomber had finished well behind his stable mate in the National Stakes, while Blue Point, so impressive in the six furlong Gimcrack Stakes, had been turned over by The Last Lion in the Middle Park Stakes two weeks earlier, and had not yet tackled seven furlongs.

South Seas appeared to have solid credentials; unbeaten in three starts, he had convincingly beaten Salouen in the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown Park, with the runner-up running an excellent second to First Defense in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere subsequently.

Seven Heavens was unbeaten in two starts, but a lot of hype had built up around the John Gosden trained son of Frankel. His successes had come in an Ascot maiden and a two-horses affair at Goodwood, in which he had raced erratically and pulled furiously before outclassing his one rival.

Rivet had impressed in a York maiden on his second start, before beating Thunder Snow by a head in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes. Thunder Snow had won on debut but was well beaten by Caravaggio in the Coventry Stakes, before running 1 ¾ lengths second of War Decree in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.

So the field of seven set off with Lancaster Bomber taking the field along before being passed in the final quarter of a mile. At this point, Churchill was stuck behind a wall of horses, with Blue Point seemingly travelling well to the outside, while Seven Heavens had yet to be asked for his effort, but would find very little, finishing last.

Rivet and South Seas were soon ridden along and Ryan Moore eased Churchill out and the big colt was good enough to take off once given daylight. Blue Point temporarily went with Churchill but rather like Mehmas at the Curragh, his challenge petered out in the final furlong. With nothing else picking up in behind, Lancaster Bomber rallied best of all to finish 1 ¼ lengths second to Churchill, having improved by nearly 8 lengths on their previous meeting.

Churchill wins the 2016 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket
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Again, rather than pulling miles clear, Churchill did enough and sauntered home relatively unchallenged, with no more than 4 ½ lengths covered the rest of the field and in the immediate aftermath there appeared a slight question mark against the strength of this Dewhurst Stakes.

However, subsequent performances from the vanquished seemed to suggest the contrary and that this was rock solid form.

A couple of weeks after the Dewhurst, Rivet won the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster with an authoritative performance from the front.

A day later Thunder Snow and South Seas finished first and second in the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud.

Lancaster Bomber then ran a screamer in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, with his jockey suggesting that he would have won (rather than finishing second) but for a tardy start.

Churchill and Ryan Moore return after winning the Dewhurst Stakes
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What is not in doubt though is that Churchill is a large, scopey horse, who even at Royal Ascot, gave the impression he would make up into a lovely three year old and he certainly seemed to improve as the year wore on. That he was fast enough to excel at two in such a fashion, is a testament to his constitution and natural speed, as he did not give the impression he was too precocious.

The son of Galileo looks sure to start off in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas next May although we feel perhaps 1 ¼ miles might be as far as he wants to race. We do not see him as an obvious Derby candidate, particularly given his dam was only ever raced over five furlongs and showed plenty of speed herself.

At present, obvious 2,000 Guineas opposition seems thin on the ground, at least from the traditional big two year old races, and it may be that any serious rivalry might come from a lightly-raced juvenile who emerges in the spring.

From what we have seen, Churchill appears likely to train on with no problems and whilst we do not see him as one of the great two year olds in history, his performances and the way the form worked out, put him a couple of lengths clear in 2016, with the prospect of more improvement to come next year.

Undoubtedly the way was paved clear for Churchill to shine, once his stable mate Caravaggio had sustained a rib injury, which ultimately ended his season prematurely.

Caravaggio storms home in the Coventry Stakes
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The son of Scat Daddy is unbeaten in four starts and was one of O’Brien’s first two year olds to see the track in 2016.

Despite running green, he made a bold impression on debut when beating Lundy by 1 ¾ lengths in a Dundalk maiden in April, over five furlongs.

Caravaggio impresses in the Listed Marble Hill Stakes
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A month later he was impressive in the Listed Marble Hill Stakes, his first start on turf, at the Curragh, as he powered to a 2 ¼ lengths defeat of Mister Trader.

He then faced arguably the toughest task of his campaign, as he ran in a soft ground, Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Caravaggio was trying six furlongs for the first time and overcame adversity in tremendous style to record a hugely impressive victory against a field that included: Mehmas, Psychedelic Funk, Van Der Decken, Medieval, Thunder Snow, Yalta and Mokarris.

The action developed to the far side, as Mehmas took control, while racing out wider, Caravaggio had neither cover or competition to tow him along, but kept on in a straight line and powered clear to win by 2 ¼ lengths.

Mehmas went on to win the Group 2 July Stakes and Richmond Stakes (beating Blue Point on the latter occasion), to give the form a solid look.

Predictably, Caravaggio became the talking horse among the two year old colts at this stage of the season and was waited with for the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh in early August.

Caravaggio romps to Phoenix Stakes victory over stable mate Courage Under Fire
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On the day though, he faced arguably Group 3 class opposition, scaring off all but four rivals, of which only Medicine Jack, winner of the Group 2 Railway Stakes, appeared to have any serious chance of pulling off a shock.

As it was – and far from the first time during the year, Aidan O’Brien saddled the first two home in a Group 1 race, as the maiden Courage Under Fire, gave vain pursuit to the facile winner Caravaggio, who eased to a 4 length success.

It appeared Caravaggio would take part in a fascinating clash with Mehmas and Blue Point in the Middle Park Stakes, but injury later in August saw him put away for the winter.

Caravaggio was undoubtedly the juvenile star up to the point that he sustained his minor injury and with time running out to get him fit again, O’Brien and Coolmore decided patience would prove the better long term option.

There must be huge doubts as to whether Caravaggio will stay a mile, although the manner of his two six furlong victories suggested that seven furlongs would be within his compass in 2016. Sadly we never got to find this out.

There would at this point seem little sense in speculating as to whether Caravaggio will head to the Guineas next year – indeed Ballydoyle plans are rarely clear until the second half of April, with so many possible options to choose from. It would however be no surprise to see Caravaggio stick to sprinting, with the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup back at Royal Ascot, an obvious first half target.

War Decree was the third member of the triumvirate of O’Brien juveniles to make their mark in the height of summer.

War Decree returns after running second in the Superlative Stakes
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This attractive son of War Front made a winning debut when landing a Leopardstown maiden in early June by 1 ½ lengths from Orderofthegarter, a promising stable mate and son of Galileo, who was not seen out again.

Just over a month later, War Decree took a big step up in class as he travelled to Newmarket’s July Course for the Group 2 Superlative Stakes over seven furlongs.

One of four unbeaten colts in the race, War Decree commanded plenty of respect, although much of the interest surrounded the headstrong Frankel colt Cunco, who had won on debut before finishing 1 ½ lengths third to Churchill in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot.

In the event, War Decree and Boynton went clear of their rivals in the manner of two very smart colts, with the Godolphin charge gaining the day by ¾ of a length, with the pair 5 lengths clear of the useful Scaramanga, White Tower, Cunco and Bin Batutta.

Towards the end of July, War Decree and Boynton met again in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. This time, with the latter carrying a 3 pound penalty, the places were reversed, as War Decree ran out an impressive 1 ¾ lengths winner from Thunder Snow, with Boynton back in third and horses such as Repton, Isomer and Medieval further back.

Sadly we did not get to see War Decree again, but he appears to have strong form lines with Churchill, through his defeats of Cunco and Thunder Snow. He should also stay a mile with no problem, but perhaps would favour top of the ground next spring.

Of course the Aidan O’Brien team has talent in real depth and Capri was another horse to make his mark during 2016.

Capri forges on from Exemplar and Yucatan in the Beresford Stakes
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This grey son of Galileo ran with promise on debut when finishing ½ a length second of 13 to Arcada in a Curragh maiden in mid-July.

A fortnight later he made a pleasing impression when landing a Galway Festival maiden by 2 ½ lengths from Rekindling.

He was back out again just six days later – and took the step up to Listed class in his stride at Tipperary, beating Boyfriend Brian by 2 lengths.

At this point Capri was starting to look like one of the leading contemporaries for Aidan O’Brien’s stable.

That impression was confirmed when he lined-up for the Group 2 Beresford Stakes at the Curragh in late September. However, in heavy ground, Capri was made to work hard to overhaul stable mates Yucatan and Exemplar, getting up to beat the former by ¾ of a length.

Capri’s workmanlike display was in all likelihood largely down to the ground but what could not be faulted was his attitude and willingness and he seems to take his racing well. Yucatan did not run badly in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy on his next start.

Capri however was a little disappointing at Saint-Cloud in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud over 1 ¼ miles, encountering soft ground and appearing to have his speed blunted. He plugged on gamely to finish 1 ½ lengths third of 13 behind Waldgeist.

Capri holds entries in both the English and Irish Guineas next spring, but it would be no surprise to see him bypass those contests in favour of a Derby trial.

Lancaster Bomber shaped as if in need of his debut run, when finishing 5 ¾ lengths 6th of 13 to Arcada in a Curragh maiden in mid-July.

Oscar Performance holds off Lancaster Bomber and Good Samaritan in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf
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The Aidan O’Brien trained son of War Front made no mistake on his next start, beating True Valour by a short head in a Leopardstown maiden in early August. He then ran 5 ½ lengths last of 4 behind Churchill in the Group 2 Futurity Stakes at the Curragh in late August. He again yielded to his stable mate when 9 lengths fifth of 7 to Churchill in the Group 1 National Stakes.

Those runs suggested he was likely to struggle in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in October, but in the event, he cut out much of the running before getting outpaced and then staying on well at the end to finish 1 ¼ lengths second to Churchill.

He then headed over to Santa Anita for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, missing the break but staying on well to finish 1 ¼ lengths second of 14 to Oscar Performance.

His last two starts showed Lancaster Bomber in a different light and suggested that there is a good bit more to come from him and the Guineas Mile looks well within his remit.

Yucatan was slow to get going and shaped as if a little backward on his racecourse debut, but subsequent efforts suggested he had only a little improvement to make to be up there with the top rank of juveniles.

Yucatan
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The Aidan O’Brien trained son of Galileo is out of that exceptional race mare Six Perfections, but was a well beaten seventh on debut behind stable mate Utah, in a Curragh maiden in early August.

Three weeks later he looked to have learned plenty when defeating another stable mate in Taj Mahal by a head at the same course.

O’Brien stepped Yucatan notably up in class in late September as he contested the Group 2 Beresford Stakes at the Curragh on heavy ground.

Only six horses went to post with O’Brien’s Capri heavily favoured to beat a field including three stable mates. The result shows that Capri did win, although he was made to work for it, with Yucatan staying on late to finish ¾ of a length second, with the same distance back to Exemplar in third.

That was an encouraging performance and in late October reports started to emerge that Yucatan was improving at a rapid rate and he was favoured over Capri to represent O’Brien in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

As Rivet quickened from the front, Yucatan became momentarily tapped for toe before staying on nicely in the final furlong and eventually finishing 1 ¾ lengths second of 10 to the William Haggas colt.

Yucatan has shaped as if there is still plenty of improvement to come and he looks most likely to want further than a mile next year, so it would be no surprise to see him in a Derby trial.

Exemplar had run well on debut when finishing ¾ of a length second of 13 to Landfall in a Curragh maiden in August. The winner went on to win a Group 3 contest at Leopardstown and looks a smart prospect, so it was no real surprise to see Exemplar follow-up on his next start.

Exemplar impresses at Galway
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The son of Galileo won by an easy 5 lengths from Itsalonglongroad at Galway in early September and then took a sharp step up in class, contesting the Group 2 Beresford Stakes where he ran a most encouraging race in heavy ground to finish 1 ½ lengths third to Capri.  He looks a horse for next year and it would be no surprise to see him contesting Derby trials in the spring.

There were plenty of other Aidan O’Brien juveniles who showed ability or potential during 2016. Some of the following horses may well make their names next season and some will already be familiar to readers.

Intelligence Cross made a hugely promising debut and capitalised on that experience next time out.

The Aidan O’Brien trained son of War Front ran a head second of 12 to Grand Coalition in a Curragh maiden in early June. He returned there for a similar contest over Irish Derby weekend, beating Khukri by 1 ½ lengths and looking a smart prospect.

He confirmed that impression with a fine run in the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket, finishing ½ a length second of 9 to Mehmas, with a performance that arguably saw him at his peak, on summer ground.

Towards the end of July he again bumped into that smart colt, finishing 3 ¼ lengths third of 4 in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes.

A month he ran out a hugely impressive winner of the Group 3 Round Tower Stakes at the Curragh, beating Holy Cat by 4 ¼ lengths and he appeared to have improved.

However, his season ended with disappointments and the following month he failed to make a big impact in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket, coming home 3 ½ lengths fourth of 10 to The Last Lion.

In later October O’Brien sent him to America for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf over a mile. However, he failed to ever get in a blow and finished 7 ¼ lengths 9th of 14 and well behind stable mate Lancaster Bomber.

It may be that Intelligence Cross has peaked although he could still make up into a Group horse next year over six or seven furlongs.

Peace Envoy looked a smart colt when he beat King Electric by 1 ¼ lengths on his racecourse debut at Dundalk in April.

Peace Envoy beats Psychedelic Funk in the Anglesey Stakes
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However the Aidan O’Brien trained son of Power was turned over by that same rival, when ½ a length second of 4 at the Curragh in early May.

He got back to winning ways when beating Lundy by ½ a length in a Listed race at Naas over six furlongs, towards the end of that month and then ran well in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes, finishing 1 ¼ lengths fourth of 11 to Prince Of Lir at Royal Ascot in June.

Just nine days later was perhaps slightly feeling the effects of that run when ½ a length second of 8 to Medicine Jack in the Group 2 Railway Stakes at the Curragh.

In mid-July he bounced back to form – and looked improved, as he landed the Group 3 Anglesey Stakes at the same track by 1 ¾ lengths from Psychedelic Funk.

That booked his place in the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville in August, where he got badly outpaced early on, before staying on strongly to finish a length third of 5 to Lady Aurelia. He shaped that day as though seven furlongs would suit him well.

He had just one more start in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket in late September over six furlongs and put up by far the worst performance of his season, trailing in 5 ¾ lengths 8th of 10 to The Last Lion.

There may have been legitimate excuses on that day, including not handling the track, being over the top and perhaps also finding the trip no longer suitable.

It would be no surprise to see him bounce back next year in races like the French 2,000 Guineas and Jersey Stakes.

The Anvil has shown promise and ability but perhaps needs a little more time to show his best and is surely one of the best maidens around.

The Anvil
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The Aidan O’Brien trained son of Galileo ran 2 ¼ lengths second of 11 to stable mate Utah in a Curragh maiden in early August.

A month later he travelled to Doncaster for another maiden and travelled well before fading late on and coming home ½ a length third of 8 to Glencadam Glory.

He returned to the UK for the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket in late September and put up a terrific performance, staying on in eye catching fashion to run ¼ of a length second of 8 to Best Of Days. Off the back of that fine run he was expected to progress again in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket in early October, but was a little one-paced when finishing 4 lengths third of 10 to Best Solution.

He was highly tried again in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in late October and ran his worst race of the campaign, coming home 13 ½ lengths last of 10 behind Rivet. That was almost certainly not his running and his previous efforts suggest that stamina will be his forte going into next year.

Whitecliffsofdover showed plenty of promise on debut when finishing 2 ½ lengths fourth of 14 to stable mate Intelligence Cross in a Curragh maiden in late June.

The Aidan O’Brien trained son of War Front was impressive in his subsequent start, landing a Naas maiden by 3 lengths from Lightening Fast at the start of August.

He then travelled to Newmarket for the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes in late September, running a solid race to finish ¾ of a length second of 8 to Larchmont Lad.

Just ten days later he was out for duty in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Chantilly, a race O’Brien traditionally aims one of his best colts at. In the event Whitecliffsofdover ran a solid race without looking at star, finishing 4 ¾ lengths third of 7 to National Defense.

At this stage Whitecliffsofdover does not look a front runner in the Ballydoyle pack, but he does shape as though capable of improvement at three.

Douglas MacArthur had a big reputation before he ever saw a racecourse, but was disappointing on debut when 5 lengths last of 6 behind Currency Converter in a Leopardstown maiden in early June.

Douglas Macarthur
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The Aidan O’Brien trained son of Galileo returned there in late July to beat World War by 5 lengths. However, he was a shade disappointing in a Group 3 contest at the same course over Irish Champions Weekend, finishing 2 ½ lengths third of 5 to Landfall.

Later in September he again failed to fire, although not seeming to get too much cover, when finishing 2 ¼ lengths fifth of 8 to Best Of Days in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes.

Arguably his best run came as he stepped up in trip for the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud over 10 furlongs, on soft ground in late October. He came home 1 ¾ lengths fourth of 13 to Waldgeist.

At this stage it would seem Douglas Macarthur’s forte will be over longer trips as he seems to lack a little brilliance.

Utah was well held by his stable mate Douglas MacArthur, when finishing 9 ½ lengths 6th of 8 in a Leopardstown maiden in late July.

The Aidan O’Brien trained son of Galileo looked much more forward on the occasion of his next start, beating another stable mate, The Anvil, by 2 ¼ lengths in a Curragh maiden in early August. Later that month he contested a Tipperary nursery and ran 4 ¼ lengths second of 4 to Sir Dreamalot.

His final start of the year came in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Chantilly on Arc Day, but he faded in the home straight to finish last of 7 behind First Defense.

Finn McCool was much-heralded before his eventful debut at Leopardstown in early August. The Aidan O’Brien trained son of Galileo was very, very green, jumping a road twice and racing in snatches, having conceded many lengths, eventually finishing 9 ¾ lengths third of 5 behind Brutal.

He was still very novicey when thrown into the deep end in the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh in early September, running 18 lengths last of 7 to Churchill.

A fortnight later he ran a lot better and was short of room when finishing 1 ¾ lengths second of 8 to Vociferous Marina in a Curragh maiden. That run had seemed unlucky, but all the time he was gaining an education. He put that to good use at Navan in early October when narrowly landing a maiden by ½ a length from Harbour Beacon.

That earned him another crack at Group 1 company in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in late October. He acquitted himself well before fading to finish 6 ½ lengths 7th of 10 behind Rivet.

Undoubtedly Finn McCool has shown plenty of ability at home and he has improved on the track, but will need giant steps forward if he is to challenge for Group 1 honours.

Latin Beat showed plenty of potential when landing a Tipperary maiden on debut in late August, beating Son Of Rest by ¾ of a length.

The Aidan O’Brien trained son of Galileo was stepped up for the Group 2 Beresford Stakes at the Curragh in late September, but faded in the heavy ground to finish 22 lengths fifth of 6 to Capri.

For one so inexperienced and on that surface, Latin Beat is certainly worth another chance and he could well be seen to best effect over 10 furlongs in 2017. It would be no surprise to see him line-up in a Derby trial as O’Brien sorts out his hierarchy.

Pedestal is something of a forgotten horse but was one of the early season Ballydoyle representatives.

The son of Invincible Spirit ran fifth behind Van Der Decken in a good Curragh maiden in late May and just four days later got off the mark when dropping to five furlongs in a Tipperary maiden, beating Mayleaf Shine by 1 ¾ lengths.

He then headed to Royal Ascot and ran a super race in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes, finishing 3 ¼ lengths third of 22 to the smart Ardad.

Pedestal was not seen out again in 2016 and assuming all is well, he could make up into a useful three year old sprinter, with the Commonwealth Cup an obvious target.

Sir John Lavery looked a very exciting horse on his second and final start of the year and has plenty of Classic entries for 2017.

The Aidan O’Brien trained son of Galileo shaped well to finish 2 ½ lengths third of 14 to Grandee on his debut in a Curragh maiden in October.

Eight days later he slammed Haripour by 7 lengths in a Gowran Park maiden run on almost heavy ground.

He looks like he will stay well and with normal progression, could develop into a Derby contender.

Cliffs Of Moher was another O’Brien runner to catch the eye, appearing to come on a bundle for his debut.

Cliffs Of Moher impresses at Leopardstown
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The son of Galileo ran 9 ½ lengths fifth of 14 to Spanish Tenor in a Cork maiden in mid-October. A couple of weeks later he was most impressive as he beat stable mate Orderofthegarter by 5 ½ lengths at Leopardstown.

He holds entries in the Irish Guineas and Derby as well as the Epsom Classic and it would be no surprise to see him return to Leopardstown for a Classic trial in the spring.

Orderofthegarter had just the two starts in 2016, with a lengthy absence between starts suggesting that he had an interrupted campaign.

The son of Galileo ran with real promise against one of the Ballydoyle big guns, when finishing 1 ½ lengths second of 7 to War Decree at Leoparstown in early June. He was not seen out again until late October, when running 5 ½ lengths second of 17 to Cliffs Of Moher.

He ought to be open to plenty of improvement and the fact that he was running over seven furlongs in June, hints that he might be at his most effective over longer trips in time.

Spirit Of Valor was late getting started on the racecourse, but crammed plenty of experience into three starts in October, during which time he demonstrated plenty of ability.

The Aidan O’Brien trained son of War Front finished 1 ½ lengths third of 16 to Holistic Approach on his debut in a Curragh maiden in early October.

A week later he got off the mark at Naas with a ¾ of a length defeat of Imagine If (a subsequent winner).

His third run in as many weeks saw Spirit Of Valor step up in class for the Group 3 Killavullen Stakes at Leopardstown, where he ran well to finish a length second of 7 to the smart Making Light.

There ought to be plenty of improvement to come from Spirit Of Valor who will surely appreciate a faster surface in 2017.

War Secretary had just the two starts in 2016 and those performances came at different ends of the season.

The Aidan O’Brien trained son of War Front finished a well beaten seventh of 11 to Van Der Decken in a Curragh maiden in late May and was not seen out again for over five months.

He returned to action in a Dundalk maiden in late October, beating Homesman by 3 ¼ lengths. War Secretary clearly retained plenty of ability despite his absence from the track and holds dual Derby entries.

Homesman, a son of War Front, was having his only start of the year there and looks a lovely prospect going into 2017 after such an encouraging start to his career.

O’Brien also saddled another debutant in that contest, with Iron Mountain, a son of Galileo, shaping with promise to finish 4 ½ lengths fourth of 12. He too should progress in the spring from maidens.

Diodorus is a magnificently bred son of Galileo, out of the brilliant race filly Divine Proportions and would be one of the better raced Ballydoyle maidens.

He ran a length third of 6 to Eagle Spirit on debut at Leopardstown in late June, and returned there in August to run 2 ¼ lengths second of 5 to Brutal.

His one unplaced effort followed in a Curragh maiden in early October, when he was 5 ¼ lengths 6th of 14 to Grandee.

Diodorus had one more start and appeared to improve when finishing ½ a length second of 11 to Dubai Sand in a Listed contest at Leopardstown in late October.

Venezuela showed plenty of promise on his only start but was not seen out after June.

The Aidan O’Brien trained son of Galileo finished ½ a length second of 6 to the useful Eagle Spirit in a Leopardstown maiden over a mile in late June. He has clearly had his issues.

The beautifully bred Venice Beach made a fine debut on his only start of the year.

The son of Galileo finished ½ a length second of 15 to the impressive Titus in a Leopardstown maiden in late October and ought to have lots of improvement to come over middle distances next year.

Ensign had just the two starts and remains a maiden, although he showed ability on both runs.

The Aidan O’Brien trained son of Invincible Spirit is out of a Sadler’s Wells mare and ran 4 lengths fifth of 13 to Landfall in a good Curragh maiden in August.

The following month he headed to Listowel for another maiden and ran 3 lengths third of 6 behind Escape Clause.

There should be plenty of improvement to come from Ensign and he could make up into a nice middle distance performer.

Belgravia is another Aidan O’Brien inmate who failed to make his mark in 2016 having just the one start and finishing 7th of 15 behind Titus at Leopardstown in late October. The son of Galileo will have learned plenty from that race and should progress nicely next spring.

Auckland is a fascinating horse, a son of Galileo out of the brilliantly fast Airwave.

He shaped with real promise in a Gowran Park maiden in October, finishing 8 ¾ lengths third of 9 to his more experienced stable mate Sir John Lavery.

Auckland is entered up in the English and Irish equivalents of the 2,000 Guineas and Derby and could develop into a smart prospect.

North Carolina holds a Derby entry at Epsom Downs and shaped with promise when 8 ¾ lengths fourth of 11 to stable mate Whitecliffsofdover in a Naas maiden at the start of August.

We did not see the son of Galileo again, but being out of a Grand Lodge dam, middle distances should suit him in 2017.

Inca Gold was another to have just the one start – and made a very favourable impression too.

The son of Galileo finished 3 lengths second of 14 to the smart Alexios Komnenos in a Curragh maiden in late June. The winner franked that form and gave Churchill as much to think about as any horse post Royal Ascot, suggesting that Inca Gold could be very useful.

Of course the 2017 two year old scene was dominated by Aidan O’Brien, but not exclusively.

Mehmas certainly made his mark on the year with a series of fine performances at Group 2 level.

Mehmas beats Global Applause at Newbury in May
Image by www.racehorsephotos.co.uk

The Richard Hannon trained son of Acclamation looked a useful recruit when winning a Chester maiden on debut, but looked a potential star on his next start.

He landed his maiden by ¾ of a length from Madam Dancealot in early May; form which the filly would boosts later in the year, but took a big step forward when stepping up to 6 furlongs at Newbury in mid-May, beating Global Applause by 3 ¾ lengths in a valuable conditions race.

That form was overturned later that month as the pair dropped down to five furlongs for the Listed National Stakes at Sandown Park, with Global Applause beating Mehmas by 1 ¼ lengths.

Stepping back up to six furlongs Mehmas met a smart horse in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes, finishing 2 ¼ lengths second of 18 to Caravaggio.

Mehmas (maroon cap) wins the Group 2 July Stakes
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Throughout the spring Mehmas continue to put up solid efforts and he again confirmed that impression when landing the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket by ½ a length from Intelligence Cross.

Before that month was out, Mehmas had added further lustre to his campaign when out-battling the highly-rated Blue Point to win the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood by a neck in late July. This performance underlined the credentials which potential breeders will look for now that Mehmas has gone to stud, as he had to show tremendous tenacity to fight off his less experienced rival.

After a short break Mehmas stepped up to seven furlongs for the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh in early September, running well but appearing to not quite get home as he finished 4 ¼ lengths second of 7 to Churchill.

After that run it was confirmed that Mehmas would retire at the end of the season, a bitterly disappointing decision and one which worryingly appears to be gathering momentum with successful two year olds.

Mehmas had just the one more start, finishing 3 lengths third of 10 behind The Last Lion in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

There is every reason to believe that Mehmas would have gone on to achieve a lot more in 2017, whether he stayed a mile or not. His form was perhaps the most reliable in Group 1 and Group 2 contests all year long.

The Last Lion, who defeated Mehmas in that Middle Park Stakes, was another to annoyingly retire to stud. We actively discourage this practice, thoroughbred horses are bred to race and it seems rather unsporting and unadventurous to pack them off to stud at such an early age, when there is so much more to accomplish.

The Last Lion
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

This Mark Johnston trained son of Choisir was another to prove as tough as teak, he thrived on his racing and got better as the year progressed.

The Last Lion looked a very exciting prospect from the outset, when he landed the Brocklesby Stakes at Doncaster in early April, beating Simmy’s Temple by 1 ¼ lengths.

Towards the end of that month he bumped into a really smart American horse in Create A Dream, but also caused interference and was disqualified, having finished ½ a length second at Ascot.

A month later he ran 1 ¼ lengths second of 6 to the impressive debutant Prince Of Lir in a Beverley conditions race. The pair met again in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot in mid-June, where Prince Of Lir again got the better of the argument by a reduced margin of ½ a length.

The Last Lion underlined the solidity of that form when landing a Listed contest at Sandown Park at the start of July, beating Smokey Lane by 2 lengths. Towards the end of that month he went to Goodwood for the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes and again ran a solid race, although he was no match for his stable mate Yalta, coming home 3 lengths second of 9.

At that stage he looked to be a good early season two year old who had arguably reached the ceiling of his progression.

In August that appeared to be the case as he stepped up to six furlongs for the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes at York, running well to finish 4 ¾ lengths third of 10 behind the impressive Blue Point.

However, The Last Lion very much had the last laugh on such notions, notching an impressive victory in the Group 3 Sirenia Stakes at Kempton Park, blasting his rivals and beating Koropick by 4 lengths in early September.

He was out again quickly the following week and dropped back down to five furlongs in the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster, running his usual solid race to finish ¾ of a length second of 11 to Ardad. His ninth start of the year – and still he had finished no worse than third!

The Last Lion beating Blue Point and Mehmas in the Middle Park Stakes
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Then came the crowning glory, as The Last Lion made just about every yard of the running, showing grit and determination to repel the challenge of Blue Point by ¾ of a length, with the tough Mehmas back in third, in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

With horses like Intelligence Cross, Mokarris and Mubtasim also all in the line-up, this race had a solid look to it form-wise and one can only speculate on what The Last Lion might have achieved next year.

Blue Point in mid-summer had a very tall reputation, but perhaps ended the year as something of a nearly horse, with other Godolphin horses attaining the Group 1 victory that twice eluded him.

Blue Point
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The Charlie Appleby trained son of Shamardal got the better of Tafaakhor at Nottingham in early June, but put up a striking performance when landing a novice contest at Doncaster in mid-July, slamming Shamsaya by 11 lengths.

Later that month he headed to Goodwood with a lofty reputation and ran ¼ of a length second of 4 to the more streetwise Mehmas in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes.

That run confirmed Blue Point to be a smart prospect and he confirmed that impression when dominating proceedings and taking the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes at York in August, beating Mokarris by an authoritative three lengths.

Off the back of that performance, Blue Point lined-up in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes over six furlongs, with solid credentials and plenty of confidence behind his bid.

He ran well, but frustratingly for connections, lacked an extra gear to take him into the lead, eventually finishing ¾ of a length second of 10 behind The Last Lion.

A fortnight later, he returned to the Rowley Mile and stepped up to seven furlongs for the Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes. Blue Point travelled well but late on failed to pick up as Churchill assumed command, coming home 1 ¾ lengths third of 7.

It was an admirable effort but there must be big doubts as to whether Blue Point will stay a mile. Furthermore, he seemed to just lack that extra gear when it mattered most against the elite, with Mehmas, The Last Lion and Churchill all gaining victories against Blue Point.

We feel his best chance, particularly with the former two now retired, might well be in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, with races like the 6 ½ furlong Prix Maurice De Gheest well within the compass of this talented horse.

Save for one disappointment, Rivet arguably did enough to be deemed the leading juvenile trained in the British Isles in 2016.

Rivet (right) beats Thunder Snow in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster
Image by Steven Cargill

The William Haggas trained son of Fastnet Rock ran with great promise on debut to finish 1 ¼ lengths second of 6 to Eqtiraan in an Ascot maiden in late July.

He stepped up to seven furlongs for the always informative Convivial Maiden Stakes at York’s Ebor Festival and impressed greatly as he beat Contrapposto (a subsequent winner) by 3 ¼ lengths.

The following month Rivet stepped up in class for the Group 2 Champagne Stakes, showing great battling qualities to defeat Thunder Snow (himself a subsequent Group 1 winner) by a head in a thrilling finish.

Rivet headed to Newmarket in early October for the Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes, but was under pressure some way from home, before staying on to finish 3 ½ lengths fifth of 7 to Churchill. Afterwards there were murmurs that he had simply not handled the Newmarket track.

Rivet storms home in the Racing Post Trophy
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Doncaster Racecourse

Certainly Rivet looked a different horse at Doncaster two weeks later when making much of the running and finding more from the front to land the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy over a mile, beating Yucatan by 1 ¾ lengths.

Haggas has not entirely ruled out a 2,000 Guineas bid, but Rivet looks likely to come into his own over further and there still remains that doubt regarding the Newmarket undulations. We feel that he just might make up into an ideal horse for a race like the Group 1 Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly.

Thunder Snow made a taking debut when winning a Leicester maiden by 1 ¼ lengths from Parys Mountain in May.

Thunder Snow
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The Saeed bin Suroor trained son of Helmet was one of the early Godolphin two year olds this year and was not disgraced in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes when running 8 ½ lengths 6th of 18 to Caravaggio in mid-June.

He then stepped up to seven furlongs at Goodwood in late July, running a super race in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes to finish 1 ¾ lengths third of 9 to War Decree.

He was not seen again until the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster in early September, running a blinder to finish a head second of 6 to Rivet after a stirring battle.

The pair met again in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in early October, where Thunder Snow finished ahead of Rivet, running 2 lengths fourth of 7 behind Churchill.

Thunder Snow underlined his tough constitution as he was out again towards the end of October, winning the Group 1 Criterium International over seven furlongs, by an emphatic 5 lengths from South Seas and the smart filly Promise to Be True. That race was contested on soft ground and Thunder Snow appeared to improve over longer trips.

It would be no surprise to see Thunder Snow line-up in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas next spring, although he might stay 1 ¼ miles in time.

Boynton was another Godolphin runner to make his mark at a relatively early stage of the summer.

Boynton (noseband) gets the better of War Decree in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The Charlie Appleby trained son of More Than Ready beat subsequent winner Mutawatheb by a neck at Goodwood in early June on his debut.

A month later he took a big step up in class in his stride as he beat War Decree by ¾ of a length to land the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket.

That pair met again in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood in late July, where, on more favourable terms, War Decree gained his revenge, with Boynton finishing 2 ¾ lengths third of 9 to the Ballydoyle colt.

Frustratingly we did not see either horse again in 2016, although the form was considerably boosted by Vintage Stakes runner-up Thunder Snow, when he landed a Group 1 in France in late October.

Boynton looked to have plenty of scope physically and appeared to thrive on a fast surface. He could be an interesting Guineas contender if in good form in the spring.

Syphax heads into 2017 unbeaten in two starts, having looked a really smart prospect at York.

Syphax (left) comes widest of all to claim the Acomb Stakes from Best Of Days
Image reproduced with the kind permission of York Racecourse

The Kevin Ryan trained son of Arch made a winning debut with a ¾ of a length defeat of Lucky Esteem at Musselburgh in early July.

The following month he headed to York for the Group 3 Acomb Stakes, taking on plenty of horses with big reputations. With a furlong to race, Syphax was still well off the pace, but showed a terrific turn of foot to storm through on the outside and beat Best Of Days by a head.

We didn’t get to see Syphax race again, although his performances were enough for Godolphin to add him to their team.

Best Of Days went on to land the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes, giving the form a very positive outlook and Syphax could be an interesting 2,000 Guineas runner.

Best Of Days impressed enormously on his debut and at this point looks a leading British trained contender for the Derby.

Best Of Days holds The Anvil in the Royal Lodge Stakes
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The Hugo Palmer trained son of Azamour slammed Wahash by 6 lengths in a Sandown Park maiden in July and was promptly purchased by Godolphin.

He stepped up in class for the Group 3 Acomb Stakes at York in late August, finishing a head second of 7 to Syphax.

The following month he put up his best performance as he battled hard to repel the staying on The Anvil by a head in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket. It was a performance that showed he had good balance and stamina to play with and connections were happy to put him away for the winter after that run.

A return in something like the Dante Stakes at York would not be a surprise as he bids to enhance his Derby credentials.

Best Solution proved consistent throughout the campaign and seemed to improve in late autumn.

Best Solution beats Zainhom in the Dubai 100 Autumn Stakes
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The Saeed bin Suroor trained son of Kodiac ran with promise on his debut when finishing 2 ¾ lengths third of 15 to Kodiline at Windsor in early July. He got off the mark next time out, winning a Goodwood maiden in late July by a length from the highly-regarded Rich And Famous.

In early September he headed to Turkey for a valuable Listed race, finishing 2 ¾ lengths third of 5 to the prolific local horse Waneta. Towards the end of that month he contested the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket, coming home 1 ¼ lengths fourth of 8 behind Larchmont Lad.

He returned to the Rowley Mile in early October and ran a belter in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes, beating Zainholm by 2 lengths on his first attempt at a mile.

He stepped up in trip again at the end of that month – and again seemed to progress, coming home a length second of 13 to Waldgeist in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud over 1 ¼ miles.

Best Solution was much-travelled in the autumn and ran plenty of times. He clearly has a tough constitution and improved every time he was stepped up in distance. He could well turn into a Derby candidate for next season.

Whilst there is disappointment that The Last Lion and Mehmas have both been packed off to stud, at least Ardad, another sharp two year old, is set to return in 2017.

The John Gosden trained son of Zodiac had a truly meteoric rise as he went from unraced juvenile to Royal Ascot winner in the space of a week.

He landed a Yarmouth maiden in June by a length from Seed Corn on good to firm ground.

Just six days later he made big waves as he landed the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot by 3 ¼ lengths from Savannah’s Dream.

He then stepped up to six furlongs for the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket in early July, but struggled, finishing 7 ¼ lengths last of 9 to Mehmas.

He again disappointed in the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes over six in August, finishing 8 lengths 7th of 10 behind Blue Point.

The following month he dropped back down to five furlongs for the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes, beating Legendary Lunch by ¾ of a length to maintain his unbeaten record over the minimum trip.

Ardad then took on seasoned older sprinters in the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly in early October, finishing a creditable 4 lengths 9th of 17 to Marsha.

With further strengthening up, Ardad should make up into a top sprinter in 2017 and should be capable of challenging for Group 1 honours. However, that may well be over the minimum trip rather than 6 furlongs.

Larchmont Lad looked a terrific prospect as he ran out a convincing 3 ¼ lengths winner from Maths Prize on debut at Sandown Park in early July.

Larchmont Lad has won from Whitecliffsofdover in the Tattersalls Stakes
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The Richard Hannon trained son of Footstepsinthesand was not seen out again until Doncaster’s St Leger Festival in early September, when he ran a short neck third of 7 to Rodaini in a Listed contest.

With the benefit of that recent run, he showed battling qualities to land the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket in late September, beating Whitecliffsofdover by ¾ of a length.

There could be more improvement to come and connections have indicated that they feel he is a Guineas horse.

Alexios Komnenos was seen out just the twice in 2016, but made a huge impression and is an exciting horse for new trainer Fozzy Stack to go to war with.

The son of Choisir, out of a Montjeu mare, made a winning debut when defeating Inca Gold by an impressive 3 lengths in a Curragh maiden in late June, at the massive price of 50/1.

The following month he proved just what a slight that price had been, when giving Churchill plenty to think about in the Group 3 Tyros Stakes, just going down to a ¼ of a length defeat.

A setback ruled Alexios Komnenos out of the big autumn contests, but those two runs illustrated him to be a horse of immense talent and one with plenty of improvement to come.

With Tommy Stack retiring, he looks set to represent Fozzy in Classics next spring.

The first Frankel progeny hit the racecourse during 2016 and one of the early colts to make his mark was Frankuus.

The Mark Johnston trained colt showed a willing attitude to win a Haydock Park contest in mid-June, beating Arc Royal by 1 ¾ lengths, although he did appear to lean on his rival in the latter stages.

The following week he headed to Royal Ascot for the Listed Chesham Stakes, running a respectable race to come home 2 ½ lengths fifth of 13 behind Churchill.

He returned to Ascot in late July for a Listed contest, finishing ½ a length third of 9 to Apex King, but in mid-August was a disappointing 6 ¼ lengths last of 4 to Escobar in the Listed Washington Singer Stakes at Newbury.

He then travelled to Haydock Park in early September, for a first attempt at a mile, in soft ground. That combination seemed to suit him very well as he gamely beat Star Of Rory by ¾ of a length.

A month later he stepped up in trip again, landing the Group 3 Prix de Conde at Chantilly by a neck from Prinz Hlodowig.

Frankuus made his final start of the campaign in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud in late October, but was a disappointing 6 ¾ lengths 8th of 13 behind Waldgeist.

Certainly it is far too soon to dismiss Frankuus and he appears to have plenty of scope for further improvement next year. It would be no surprise to see him return in a Derby trial.

The 2016 season proved a challenging one for many Chantilly-based trainers and certainly Andre Fabre’s big race victories were down on previous years.

He will however have taken much comfort for the performances of the exciting Waldgeist, who ended his season with Group 1 glory.

The son of Galileo is out of a Monsun mare, suggesting that stamina and improvement should be forthcoming next season.

He made a winning debut when beating Called To The Bar by two lengths in a Chantilly maiden in early September.

The following month he returned there for the Group 3 Prix de Conde, running well to finish ½ a length third of 5 to Frankuus.

He reversed form with the son of Frankel when putting up a sparkling performance to win the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud in late October, beating the Group 3 Autumn Stakes winner Best Solution by a length.

Waldgeist at this stage looks to have strong credentials for Classic glory and was a stand-out from what looked to be a relatively sub-standard crop of French juvenile colts.

The other outstanding colt from France was National Defense, who put up a tremendous performance when winning the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Chantilly in October.

National Defense winning the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere

Trained by Criquette Head-Maarek, who had a tough time during the year, the son of Invincible Spirit looked a potentially very smart colt when winning on debut by 6 lengths from On The Rox at Deauville in late August.

However, he was a little disappointing the Group 3 Prix des Chenes at Chantilly in early September, coming home 3 lengths third of 6 to Akihiro.

He showed that run to be wrong when lengthening away from his rivals in France’s main Group 1 race for juvenile colts on Arc day, beating Salouen by 4 ½ lengths. That form look solid, with the runner-up beaten just 2 lengths when third to Rivet in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy, later in October.

National Defense is out of a Kingmambo mare and certainly has the potential to stay the Prix du Jockey Club trip next year, although Head-Maarek has not ruled out the possibility of a crack at the English 2,000 Guineas.

Akihiro was the third French-trained juvenile colt to make a significant mark on the year. The Andre Fabre trained son of Japanese superstar Deep Impact, goes into 2017 unbeaten in two starts.

He landed a Deauville maiden by a short head from Neguev in early August.

A month later he won the Group 3 Prix du Pins by a length from German runner High Alpha, with National Defense back in third.

Akihiro was workmanlike rather than spectacular, but will have learnt plenty from those runs. He may well line-up in the French Guineas next spring but 1 ¼ miles could well prove his optimum trip.

Fabre will also harbour high hopes for the unbeaten Al Wukair going into 2017.

The son of Dream Ahead is out of a Machiavellian mare and could develop into a Prix du Jockey Club contender.

He won his first start by 1 ½ lengths from Deimoss in a Saint-Cloud maiden in late September.

The following month he stepped up to a mile and won a Listed contest at Deauville by 1 ¾ lengths from Gold Luck.

The Freddy Head trained Gold Luck had won his first start by a head from Infiandra in a Maisons-Laffitte maiden in late September.

His second to Al Wukair reads well and this son of Redoute’s Choice could well be seen in the Prix Djebel ahead of a French Guineas bid in the spring.

Harry Angel was only briefly seen during 2016 but made his mark in two starts, four months apart.

Harry Angel comfortably wins the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes
Image supplied by Newbury Racecourse

The Clive Cox trained son of Dark Angel ran a cracker on debut to finish a nose second of 6 to Reach High in an Ascot contest in early May.

He was not seen again until mid-September, when he the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes by 2 ½ lengths from Perfect Angel.

That confirmed the reputation he held in the spring and Harry Angel holds a QIPCO 2,000 Guineas entry in the spring.

He has clearly not been the easiest horse to train but has already confirmed his immense ability. Harry Angel will need more improvement to figure at Classic level but given he won a Group 2 contest on little more than raw ability, he should have plenty of scope for further progression.

Salouen took five starts to finally break his maiden, but put in some good performances along the way and has continued to progress.

The Sylvester Kirk trained son of Canford Cliffs was second on debut, beaten just a nose by Farleigh Mac at Salisbury in June.

After running 1 ¼ lengths third of 14 to Mutawatheb in a Newbury maiden in late June, he ran his only poor race to date when a well beaten 9th to the smart Escobar in another Newbury maiden in mid-July.

Towards the end of that month he contested a maiden at Glorious Goodwood, coming home 4 ½ lengths fourth of 10 to Best Solution.

He got off the mark at Windsor in early August when impressing with a 3 ¼ length defeat of Star Archer. Later that month he ran a belter in the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown Park, finishing 2 ¼ lengths second of 10 to the smart South Seas.

In early September he landed a minor contest at Salisbury by ½ a length from Sea Fox and he continued to thrive with an excellent run in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Chantilly, finishing 4 ½ lengths second of 7 to First Defense in early October.

Salouen had one more start, again putting up a solid performance in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in late October, coming home 2 lengths third of 10 to Rivet.

It transpired that Salouen had bumped into plenty of talented pattern race winners in his early starts and his performances at Group 1 level were commendable.

It would be no surprise to see him have a crack at the English or French Guineas next spring and whilst he perhaps lacked the brilliance of a Classic winner at two, further progression would see him with sound place credentials.

South Seas developed a lofty reputation during the summer and whilst he flopped in the Dewhurst, he redeemed a lot of that regard in his final start of the year in France.

South Seas
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The Andrew Balding trained son of Lope De Vega slammed his rivals by 8 lengths in a Windsor maiden in late June.

In mid-July he headed up to Haydock Park for a novice contest and was well on top in the latter stages, beating Abiento by 2 ¾ lengths.

He then showed his class in the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown Park in late August, beating subsequent Group 1 runner-up Salouen by 2 ¼ lengths.

South Seas appeared to be targeted at the Dewhurst Stakes afterwards, but in the event was one of the first horses beaten, running a very lack lustre 4 ¼ lengths 6th of 7 to Churchill.

He put up a better performance (although beaten further by the winner than he had been in the Dewhurst) when finishing 5 lengths second of 9 to Thunder Snow in the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud in late October.

South Seas remains a colt of huge potential and it would not surprise to see him line-up in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas next spring. His best form seemed to come with give in the ground.

Much has been made of the first crop of Frankel and whilst they have run well to a point, they have come up short at Group 1 level.

Seven Heavens, who runs in those same Abdullah silks carried by his sire, caught the imagination during the summer before blowing out in the Dewhurst Stakes.

Seven Heavens
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The John Gosden colt made a winning debut when defeating the useful Lockheed by a length in an Ascot maiden in early July.

In late August he ran in a two-horse contest at Goodwood, pulling hard for much of the race before lengthening well away from Shabeeh to record a six length victory. There were mixed reactions to his antics and he simply failed to settle.

Seven Heavens donned headgear in the preliminaries before the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in October, but failed to pick up and finished 5 ¼ lengths last of 7 behind Churchill.

Seven Heavens is out of the talented filly Heaven Sent and a mile ought to be his perfect trip next season. Connections may well feel that he is worth another shot at Group 1 glory in the 2,000 Guineas, but he needs to settle better and there is a question mark as to whether he is good enough.

Rich And Famous made a pleasing debut when finishing a length second of 10 to Best Solution in a maiden at Glorious Goodwood in late July.

But it was the manner of his victory on his subsequent start, that caught the attention, as the Mark Johnston trained son of Bernadini beat Father McKenzie by 3 ¼ lengths in a Newmarket maiden in mid-August.

He skipped a number of high profile engagements in the autumn, but his run in a Listed contest at York in October proved disastrous as he trailed in 20 lengths last of 12 behind Sir Dancelot.

That was clearly not his true form and it would be rash to write Rich And Famous off on this performance. He is clearly held in high regard and assuming whatever ailed him at York is resolved, he should develop into a fine three year old.

Sir Michael Stoute is not renowned these days for pitching many juvenile colts into big races, suggesting that he holds Zainhom in high regard.

Zainhom
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The son of Street Cry shaped with promise on his debut to finish 3 ¾ lengths third of 5 behind Berengaria in a Leicester maiden in early August.

He really impressed on his next start, landing a York maiden by an authoritative 2 ¼ lengths from Dick Tracy in early September.

That saw him earn a step up in trip (to a mile) and class for the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket in October, where he performed with great credit to finish 2 lengths second of 10 to the smart Best Solution.

There ought to be lots more to come from Zainhom and it would be no surprise to see him take in a graduation race next spring, before having a crack at a Derby trial.

D’bai performed with great credit before flopping on his first crack at Group 1 competition.

The Charlie Appleby trained son of Dubawi ran well on debut to finish 1 ½ lengths second of 11 to Dubai Hero in a Newmarket maiden at the July Festival.

He returned to that track just over two weeks later and won a similar contest by a short head from Hydroxide.

D’bai took a big step up in class in early September, when contesting the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster, finishing 5 ¼ lengths third of 6 to Rivet.

He got back to winning ways but was made to work hard to defeat Al Hamdany by a short head in a Listed Pontefract race in mid-October.

A couple of weeks later he failed to give his best when trailing in 12 lengths 11th of 13 behind Waldgeist in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud.

D’bai might have been feeling the effects of a busy autumn with that last run, perhaps 1 ¼ miles proved too much at that stage of his career. However, equally relevant might be the term “soft” in the going description, just as it had been at Pontefract.

D’bai might well prove a different proposition next season on summer ground and should certainly stay 1 ¼ miles as the year progresses.

Monticello proved a smart early season juvenile but struggled as the season progressed.

The Mark Johnston trained son of Teofilo won on debut when beating Celestial Spheres by ½ a length at Sandown Park in early June.

He followed up at Musselburgh later that month, slamming Wigan Warrior by 5 lengths.

In late July he headed to Ascot for a Listed race, finishing ¼ of a length second of 9 to Apex King.

A month later he lined up for the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown Park, but put in a disappointing run to come home 6 lengths 6th of 10 to South Seas.

His final start of the campaign came in a Listed contest at Pontefract in October, when he again failed to figure, coming home 10 lengths fifth of 8 behind D’bai.

At this stage Monticello would need significant improvement to make his mark in Group company, but he ought to stay 1 ¼ miles and should have more victories inside him.

Montataire showed promise in his first two starts but flourished subsequently, winning four times and making his mark in pattern company.

Montataire
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The Mark Johnston trained son of Cape Cross ran second to Top Score on his racecourse debut at Ripon in mid-May and in early June finished 3 ¼ lengths fourth of 9 to the smart Boynton at Goodwood.

He got off the mark at Hamilton Park later than month with an impressive 2 ¼ lengths defeat of What’s The Story and made it back to back wins when defeating Mister Blue Sky by ½ a length in an Ascot nursery in early July.

A couple of weeks later he completed his hat-trick in a Newmarket nursery, beating Luduamf by 3 ¼ lengths, before his run came to a halt, thanks to one of his own stable mates, when he finished 4 lengths second of 15 to Bear Valley in a nursery at Glorious Goodwood in late July.

He got back to winning ways with a spectacular performance in a Listed race at Salisbury in August, beating Gemina by 5 lengths.

Montataire then stepped up in grade and was not disgraced in finishing 3 ½ lengths 6th of 8 to Best Of Days in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket in late September.

He returned there in early October for the Group 3 Autumn Stakes, putting up a solid performance to finish 5 ¾ lengths fourth of 10 to Best Solution.

Montataire kept his form throughout a busy season and showed enough ability to suggest he could make up into a competitive middle distance pattern company horse next season.

Mokarris looked a smart prospect when winning on debut by 2 lengths from Tafakoor at Haydock Park in late May.

Mokarris
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The Simon Crisford trained son of More Than Ready then completely flopped in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, coming home a very disappointing 24 lengths 16th of 18 to Caravaggio.

He proved himself far better than that when landing a Listed prize at Newbury a month later, beating Nobly Born by 2 ¾ lengths.

That earned him a step up in class again in August, when he again ran well when 3 lengths second of 10 to the impressive Blue Point in the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes at York.

He was seen out just once more, a month later in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes, when he was a disappointing 4 ¼ lengths 6th of 10 behind The Last Lion.

Mokarris is out of a Street Cry mare and ought to stay a mile comfortably. It may well be that he was racing over a slightly inadequate trip as a juvenile and we would expect to see him do well on a faster surface over 7 furlongs or more in 2017.

Mubtasim had a similar profile to Mokkaris, showing plenty of talent but then flopping at a higher grade.

Mubtasim
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The William Haggas trained son of Arcano beat Jumira Bridge by 2 lengths on debut at Yarmouth in late June.

He followed-up with a most impressive display when landing a minor contest at Haydock Park in early August by 4 ½ lengths from Town Charter.

Later that month he headed to York for the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes, but ran deplorably, finishing 8 ¾ lengths 8th of 10 to Blue Point.

That run looked all wrong at the time and he duly dropped in class for a competitive and valuable sales race at Doncaster in September, beating Mazyoun by 1 ¾ lengths.

Mubtasim had one more start, but again failed to perform in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket in late September, eventually coming home a bitterly disappointing 6 lengths 9th of10 to The Last Lion, racing wide of the rest of the field and on his own.

It may be that his final start can be forgotten, as Mubtasim had no cover and was clearly at a disadvantage, against talented rivals. He is out of a King’s Best mare and should get a mile and it would be no surprise to see him return in something like the Greenham Stakes.

Having shown real promise on his first two starts, Raheen House got off the mark and have a progressive profile by season’s end.

Raheen House
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Doncaster Racecourse

The Brian Meehan trained son of Sea The Stars ran 1 ¼ lengths second of 11 to Genetics on debut, in a Newbury maiden in late August.

He returned to the Berkshire track in mid-September for the prestigious Haynes, Hanson & Clark Conditions Stakes, coming home ¼ of a length second of four to Temple Church.

Raheen House then won a York maiden in early October by 1 ¾ lengths from Native Prospect and earned himself a crack at the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

He put up a fine performance to finish 2 ¼ lengths fourth of 10 behind Rivet – a super effort for such a big leap in class.

Raheen House is out of a Monson mare and one would imagine will relish further next season and he could well develop into a Derby contender.

Koropick looked a smart prospect when winning on debut in mid-August and gave a good account of himself next time out.

The Hugo Palmer trained son of Kodiac beat Prazeres by 4 ½ lengths in a Thirsk contest and then headed to Kempton Park in early September, for the Group 3 Sirenia Stakes.

He ran on well, although no match for the winner, when finishing 4 lengths second of 7 to The Last Lion.

Three weeks later that Sirenia Stakes form was upheld as Koropick finished 4 lengths fifth of 10 to The Last Lion in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket. That was a fabulous effort for a horse with so little experience.

However, on good to soft ground, Koropick ran dismally in the Group 2 Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte in mid-October, finishing last of 7 to Sans Equivoque.

Koropick is out of a Fayruz mare and would look likely to contest sprint races next season, with the Commonwealth Cup and Jersey Stakes viable targets.

Ger Lyons enjoyed a good season with his juveniles and his Medicine Jack showed plenty of ability.

Medicine Jack (left) beats Peace Envoy in the Railway Stakes
Image by www.healyracing.ie

The son of Equiano ran 3 lengths third of 11 to Lundy on his debut in a Leopardstown maiden in early May, but the following week was a disappointing 6 ¾ lengths 6th of 8 behind Mehmas in a hot conditions race at Newbury.

Towards the end of May he was an emphatic winner of a Navan maiden, beating Magnification by 4 ¼ lengths.

He built well on that performance and was a taking winner of the Group 2 Railway Stakes at the Curragh in late June, beating Peace Envoy by ½ a length.

In early August he had his first taste of Group 1 action in the Phoenix Stakes at the same course, but was no match for Caravaggio, coming home 6 ¾ lengths third of 5 to the leading juvenile colt at the time in Ireland.

Just over a month later he ran in a valuable Tattersalls Ireland Sales race at the Curragh on Irish Champions Weekend, finishing 2 lengths third of 30 to Orewa.

He lined up in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on his final start of the year, finishing 5 ½ lengths 7th of 10 behind The Last Lion.

Medicine Jack was a sharp two year old and being by Equiano, it would appear likely that sprinting will remain his forte. He has already proven that he is up to winning Group races, but may just fall short of Group 1 class.

Psychedelic Funk also established himself as one of the leading early 2 year olds in Ireland, with his second success making a strong visual impression.

The Ger Lyons trained son of Choisir got off the mark at the first time of asking, beating Bean Feasa by ½ a length at Naas in April.

The following month he took on other previous winners in the often informative Fishery Lane Race at the same track, beating Ambiguity by six authoritative lengths.

He then headed to Royal Ascot and the Group 2 Coventry Stakes, running a solid race to finish 4 ¾ lengths third of 18 behind the smart Caravaggio.

A month later he ran another decent race when 1 ¾ lengths second of 6 to Peace Envoy in the Group 3 Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh.

After a break he stepped up to seven furlongs in the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh in September, but ran a disappointing race to finish 13 ½ lengths 6th of 7 to Churchill.

Psychedelic Funk showed plenty of speed in his early starts but should stay a little further. Whilst we doubt he is quite up to Group 1 level, he ought to have Group victories in him next season up to 7 furlongs.

Dreamfield will enter 2017 with his unbeaten record intact, although he had to work hard for his second victory.

Dreamfield (right) beats Top Score in the Houghton Stakes at Newmarket
Copyright A.J. Byles

The John Gosden trained son of Oasis Dream is seen as an outright sprinter by his trainer and made a winning debut when defeating Sitar by 8 very impressive lengths in a Nottingham maiden in early October.

Predictably the bookmakers immediately started to mislead the public with stupid Guineas quotes, which proved very far wide of the mark.

Dreamfield stepped up to seven furlongs for the prestigious Houghton Stakes at Newmarket later in October, and had to fight hard to just get the better of Top Score by a short head.

It seemed clear from Gosden afterwards that Dreamfield would not be aimed at the Guineas and would be trained for sprint races in 2017.

Tis Marvellous shaped with promise on his debut when running a length second of 14 to the more experienced Mutwatheb in a Newbury maiden in late June.

The Clive Cox trained son of Harbour Watch made no mistake on his second run, slamming Silent Assassin by an impressive 8 lengths at Windsor in early July.

Later that month he took a huge step up in class in the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte – and stamped himself a smart colt as he beat Al Johrah by 2 ½ lengths.

At that point he looked a leading UK-based juvenile, but he faded quickly and was a big disappointment in the Group 1 Prix Morny a month later, running 3 ¾ lengths last of 5 behind Lady Aurelia.

In early September he dropped back down to five furlongs in the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes, but again disappointed, coming home 4 ½ lengths 9th of 11 to Ardad.

Tis Marvellous drew comparisons with his predecessor Reckless Abandon, but ultimately disappointed in the latter half of the season. He is bred to be quick, out of an Oasis Dream mare, and could well be aimed at the Commonwealth Cup next season.

Yalta was at his best one of the fastest two year olds of the season, having put up one of the best juvenile performances of the year at Glorious Goodwood.

The Mark Johnston trained son of Exceed And Excel beat Repton by 2 lengths on debut at Goodwood in May. Towards the end of that month he followed-up with a 4 ½ lengths defeat of Wedding Dress in a Pontefract conditions race.

He then contested the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at the Royal Meeting, but could only manage 13 lengths 8th of 18 to Caravaggio.  He again disappointed in the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket, coming home 7 lengths 8th of 9 to Mehmas but proved a revelation when dropped to 5 furlongs in the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes at Goodwood in late July.

Yalta
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Yalta showed blistering toe to beat his stable mate The Last Lion by an emphatic 3 lengths.

A month later he ran in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York, but found himself out of his depth against experienced older horses finishing 19 lengths last of 19 to Mecca’s Angel. He again disappointed in the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster in early September, finishing 6 lengths 10th of11 behind Ardad.

In early October he was perhaps a little over the top when running 4 ¼ lengths 6th of 9 behind the flying filly Mrs Danvers in the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes at Newmarket.

Yalta is a big, powerful horse and ought to have further physical development. At his best and on a fast surface, he will command plenty of respect in top class sprints.

Lockheed showed a good level of consistent form and should develop into a useful middle distance horse next year.

The William Haggas trained grey  son of Exceed And Excel ran well on debut in an Ascot maiden in early July, finishing a length second of 12 to the exciting Frankel colt Seven Heavens.

At the end of that month, he landed a maiden at Glorious Goodwood, beating Ray’s The Money by ½ a length.

In late August he headed to York’s Group 3 Acomb Stakes and ran well to finish a length third of 7 to Syphax.

He then travelled over to the Curragh in early September for the Group 1 National Stakes, again running a decent race to finish 4 ½ lengths third of 7 behind Churchill.

His final start of the year was a little disappointing as he ran 8 lengths fifth of 10 behind Best Solution in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket.

Escobar looked a very exciting prospect in two appearances at Newbury this summer and whilst he disappointed on his final start, remains a horse of real potential.

Escobar
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The Hugo Palmer trained son of Famous Name landed a Newbury maiden in mid-July by 2 lengths from the experienced Devil’s Bridge. The following month he added the Listed Washington Singer Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths from Mr Scaramanga.

He was not seen out again until the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket in September, where he failed to pick up and ran 9 lengths 7th of 8 to Larchmont Lad.

Connections revealed that he had returned a dirty scope afterwards and remain confident that Escobar will make up into a Guineas horse, with Palmer suggesting he is likely to start off in one of the traditional trials next spring.

Sir Dancelot made very little impression when running down the field behind Kodiline in a Windsor contest in early July, but did not look back after that effort.

The David Elsworth trained son of Sir Prancelot won a Kempton Park maiden auction by 6 lengths from Tonahutu in mid-August and followed-up with a 1 ½ lengths defeat of War Of Succession in a conditions race at the same track in early September.

Later that month he stepped up in class for the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket, running well to finish ¾ of a length third of 8 to Larchmont Lad. He confirmed his continued improvement at York in early October when winning a Listed contest by ¾ of a length from Dream Of Dreams.

He then headed to Doncaster for the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy and was not disgraced in finishing 4 ¼ lengths 6th of 10 behind Rivet.

That probably exposed him a little bit but it would not be a surprise to see him take his chance in the 2,000 Guineas next season.

City Of Joy took time for the penny to full drop but looks to have plenty of potential.

The Sir Michael Stoute trained son of Elusive City ran 5 ¼ lengths fifth of 14 to Deningy in a Sandown Park maiden in August, but improved to finish 1 ¾ lengths second of 11 to Swiss Dream in a Newbury maiden in mid-September.

He lost his maiden tag on his latest start when beating Archer’s Arrow by ½ a length at Redcar, at the beginning of October.

His final start was bitterly disappointing, as he ran a tailed off last of 13 behind Pleaseletmewin in the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes at Newbury, later in October.

It was a poor effort but it should be noted that Sir Michael Stoute ran very few two year old colts in pattern contests. He should also improve for better ground and over longer trips next year.

Solomon’s Bay looked in need of the run when finishing 5 ¾ lengths 6th of 12 behind Seven Heavens in an Ascot maiden in early July, although at that time the Roger Varian yard was out of form.

Solomon’s Bay impresses at Great Yarmouth from Calibration (white) and Via Serendipity
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Great Yarmouth Racecourse

This flashy son of Exceed And Excel, with a big white face, looked a very different proposition when landing a Yarmouth maiden in mid-September by ¾ of a length from Calibration.

The following month he was stepped up in trip to a mile, for the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket, finishing a remote last of 10 to Best Solution.

It may well be that he just needs more time and he has plenty of filling out still to do. We would see him perhaps coming into his own in the second half of next season.

Rodaini showed that pleasing knack of finding ways to win races as he landed his first four, before finding things tougher when upped in grade.

The Simon Crisford trained son of Exchange Rate landed a Leicester maiden in late May by just a nose from Magillen, before adding a Lingfield Park novice race in mid-August by an impressive 4 ½ lengths from Matthioli.

He completed his hat-trick with a ½ a length victory over Clef in a Newmarket nursery in late August, before stepping up in class and winning a thrilling Listed race at Doncaster in early September, defeating Salsabeel by a short head.

To that point he had not stopped improving and he was a little unlucky in running but well beaten in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes at Newmarket in early October, coming home 25 lengths 9th of 10 to Best Solution.

Rodaini had one more start in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita, finishing a tailed off last of 14 behind Oscar Performance.

On breeding Rodaini ought to get 1 ¼ miles comfortably although his worst runs came over a mile, the longest he raced in 2016. He could well come back to his best in the spring after a long break an looks capable of winning up to Group 3 level.

Pleaseletmewin gained plenty of experience and put up his best performance in his final start in England, before he was sadly sold to continue his career in Qatar.

The former Ralph Beckett trained son of Power was a well beaten fourth of 5 behind Yalta on his debut at Goodwood in May.

At the end of that month he lost his maiden tag when defeating Zamjar by a short head at Wolverhampton.

The following month he headed to Newmarket for a novice contest, finishing 1 ½ lengths third of 8 to Apex King, but his return there yielded his most impressive performance to date at the July Festival, as he won a valuable nursery by ½ a length from Bacchus. Later in July he ran a decent race in a strong renewal of the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, finishing 3 ¼ lengths fourth of 9 to War Decree.

In early October, he stepped up to a mile in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket, but ran by far his worst race of the campaign when finishing 10 ½ lengths 7th of 10 to Best Of Days.

He show no ill effects from that disappointment and later in October dropped back down to 7 furlongs for the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes, beating Kings Gift by 2 ¼ lengths.

Every horse is entitled to one bad run in judging its overall level of form and there was plenty of reason to feel Pleaseletmewin was worth his chance at Group 2 level again, before his sale.

Sea Fox showed promise when second on his first two starts, before going one better in his third race.

The David Evans trained son of Kodiac was a short head second of 13 to Aardwolf in a Newbury maiden in June. Just under two weeks later he was second again, beaten 2 ¼ lengths by Jackhammer, at Salisbury.

He lost his maiden tag when defeating Grey Britain by a length in a Lingfield Park maiden in early July and the following month was far from disgraced in a Listed Salisbury contest, running 5 ¾ lengths third of 10 to Montataire.

He returned to the Wiltshire venue in early September and again ran well when ½ a length second of 5 to Salouen.

A week later, Evans sent his charge to Chantilly for the Group 3 Prix des Chenes, where he finished 4 ½ lengths fourth of 6 to Akihiro, beaten just 1 ½ lengths by subsequent Group 1 winner National Defense.

Sea Fox had a busy few weeks and later in September re-confirmed himself a Group class horse when finishing a length third of 8 to Best of Days in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket.

His last two runs of the year perhaps suggested he was feeling the effects of a hectic autumn, as he ran 9 ½ lengths 6th of 10 to Best Solution in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes and then finished 3 ½ lengths fourth of 13 behind Pleaseletmewin in the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes.

Sea Fox is probably a little short of Group 1 quality but proved himself an admirable and tough opponent in Group company. We would expect him to continue in that vein next season and he is capable of winning a nice prize with careful placement next season.

Arcada took time to find his way but won what looked to be a good maiden last time out.

The Joseph O’Brien trained son of Rip Van Winkle was a well beaten 8th of 13 behind Mirdif in a Leopardstown maiden in mid-June, but showed signs of ability when 4 lengths fourth of 14 to the very useful Alexios Komnenos in a Curragh maiden ten days later.

He got off the mark with a ½ a length victory over the smart Capri back at the Curragh in mid-July, making use of his experience.

The following month he contested the Group 2 Futurity Stakes at the Curragh, coming home 2 ¾ lengths third of 4 to Churchill.

He stepped up to a mile in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket in late September and ran well to finish a length third of 8 to Best Of Days.

Arcada may prove just a little below Group 1 class but demonstrated plenty of talent and should be contesting Group races with regularity in 2017.

Bear Valley was most progressive during the height of summer but disappointed when stepped up in grade later on.

The Mark Johnston trained son of Manduro ran well on debut to finish ¾ of a length second of 7 to Roar at Beverley in mid-June. Towards the end of that month he was second again, beaten 2 ½ lengths by Bacchus at Haydock Park.

He got off the mark when beating Hurricane Rush by 2 lengths at Epsom Downs in mid-July and followed up at Glorious Goodwood with an authoritative 4 lengths defeat of stable mate Montataire, in a valuable nursery in late July.

The following month he headed to the Group 3 Acomb Stakes at York, but was a disappointing 7 ½ lengths 6th of 7 to Syphax.

Bear Valley proved most disappointing on his final starts of the campaign, finishing last in the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes and in the Listed Zetland Stakes, with the suggestion that he perhaps did not handle Newmarket’s undulations.

He should get further next year and appeared to act best on a fast surface.

Salsabeel looked a really exciting prospect on debut and sowed good solid form on which he can build next year.

The Charlie Appleby trained son of Exceed And Excel got the better of Novoman by ½ a length in a Yarmouth maiden in early August.

Just over a month later he ran in a Listed contest at Doncaser, finishing a short head second of 7 to the vastly more experience Rodaini.

A mile should be within Salsabeel’s remit next season and it would be no surprise to see him pitched into a Guineas somewhere next spring.

Whilst Aidan O’Brien dominated the two year old colt scene in Ireland, one horse he was unable to topple was the unbeaten Landfall.

Landfall impresses at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend
Image by www.healyracing.ie

Ken Condon’s son of Myboycharlie put up a bold front-running show on debut, to land a Curragh maiden by ¾ of a length from the smart Exemplar in August.

The following month he won a Group 3 contest at Leopardstown over Irish Champions’ Weekend, defeating Firey Speech by 2 ¼ lengths.

Landfall was not seen out again but will surely be targeted at either the English or Irish 2,000 Guineas next season.

Firey Speech was a well beaten 6th of 10 to Intricately on his racecourse debut in June, but progressed with each start thereafter.

The Dermot Weld trained son of Street Cry looked to have learned plenty next time out as he beat Sportsmanship by ½ a length in a Naas maiden in early July. At the end of that month, he made it two from two in a nursery at the Galway Festival, defeating Sir Edwin Landseer by 2 lengths.

He then contested what is often a hot Group 3 at Leopardstown on Irish Champions’ Weekend, running a fine race to finish 2 ¼ lengths second of 5 to the smart Landfall.

Firey Speech has an Irish 2,000 Guineas entry and it would be no surprise to see him return to Leopardstown for a trial next spring.

Jim Bolger had an uncharacteristically quiet 2016 campaign but ended well when Dubai Sand got off the mark in a Listed race.

Dubai Sand beats Diodorus in the Eyrefield Stakes
Image by www.healyracing.ie

This son of Teofilo out of a Rock Of Gibraltar mare, ran green on debut when finishing 7 ½ lengths 6th of 11 to Utah in a Curragh maiden in early August.

Two months later he showed improvement to finish 1 ¼ lengths second of 14 behind the more experienced Grandee at the same track.

In late October he stepped up to 9 furlongs and landed the Listed Eyrefield Stakes at Leopardstown, beating the promising maiden Diodorus by ½ a length.

Dubai Sand was brought along quietly all campaign and really grew into his role, with that final race a handsome pay off.

We would expect him to improve much more next season, although quite what he is capable of is hard to asses – however he looks likely to be contesting Classic trials.

Eqtiraan looked an exciting recruit on debut and ran on well despite greenness when stepped up in grade on his second start.

The Richard Hannon trained son of Helmet landed an Ascot maiden in late July by 1 ¼ lengths from Rivet – who of course went on to significantly frank the form as the season progressed.

A month later Eqtiraan contested the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown Park, doing lots wrong before running on to finish 3 ¼ lengths third of 10 to South Seas.

He had one more race in a soft ground conditions contest at Salisbury in late September, coming home 1 ¼ lengths second of 4 to Smokey Lane.

Eqtiraan had plenty of maturing to do and with the Hannon team again possessing plenty of strength in depth, it would be interesting to see where this horse returns and if he is deemed worthy of a Classic trial.

Fly At Dawn proved a hugely likeable and progressive Godolphin colt during 2016.

The Charlie Appleby trained son of Discreet Cat landed a Newmarket maiden by a length from Harbour Master in late July and in mid-August made it two from two with a 3 lengths defeat of Northdown in a Kempton Park nursery.

In early September he lost his unbeaten record when 1 ¾ lengths third of 5 to the useful Sir Dancealot in a conditions race at Kempton Park, but he regained the winning thread at Newmarket in late September, when beating Whip Nae Nae by ¾ of a length in a nursery.

Fly At Dawn stepped up to 1 ¼ miles for the Listed Zetland Stakes on his final start of the campaign, finishing a respectable 5 ¼ lengths fifth of 12 to the smart filly Coronation.

Whilst Fly At Dawn might not have stood out among the Godolphin highflyers, he performed admirably and given his breeding, it would be no surprise to see him competing in Meydan this winter.

Cunco was the very first Frankel colt to make the racecourse and immediately generated excitement as a result of his antics and acceleration.

Cunco
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The John Gosden trained colt was very much on his toes and hard to handle in the preliminaries at Newbury in mid-May, but powered through in the latter stages to beat Isomer by ¾ of a length.

His reappearance in the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot was greatly anticipated, but he was beaten 1 ½ lengths into third place by subsequent Champion Two Year Old Churchill.

Cunco then appeared to plateau, finishing a well beaten 6 ½ lengths fourth of 9 to Boynton and War Decree in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket in early July and then 7 ¾ lengths fourth of 10 to Montataire in a Listed race at Salisbury the following month.

In early September he encountered soft ground in a Listed mile race at Haydock Park, running on to finish 1 ¼ lengths third of 6 to Frankuus.

All of the time Cunco was learning to settle better and he ran really well as Gosden stepped him up to 10 furlongs for the Listed Zetland Stakes at Newmarket in early October, finishing ¼ of a length second of 12 to his exciting unbeaten stable mate Coronation.

Cunco had his shot at Group 1 glory in the Saint-Cloud mud, but struggled, finishing 5 ¼ lengths 7th of 13 to Waldgeist in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud in late October.

Throughout the summer we felt that the publicity Cunco received was over the top and put unfair expectations on this admirable horse. He was ultimately an early season two year old, but one who showed good durability as he raced throughout the season and stepped up in class and trip.

We have no doubt he will prove best on good ground next season and probably over 1 ¼ miles. He is certainly up to Group standard, although we will be surprised if he becomes Frankel’s first Group 1 winner.

There were plenty of other exciting but less exposed juvenile colts to make the racecourse during 2016 and here we review some of those names worth keeping an eye on.

Cracksman made a tremendous impression on us on his only start as a juvenile.

Cracksman beats Wild Tempest at Newmarket
Copyright A.J. Byles

The John Gosden trained son of Frankel was not seen until October, when he contested a Newmarket maiden.

The Godolphin runner Wild Tempest came out of the pack, racing wide, whilst Cracksman had the rail advantage and looked the more compact of the two in the Dip, as they drew clear of their rivals.

At the line, Cracksman won by 1 ¼ lengths in the manner of a smart horse.

Racing in the famous Oppenheimer silks, Cracksman naturally drew immediate comparisons with the magnificent Golden Horn. Gosden appeared to rule out a crack at the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas next spring and it will be interesting to see if he decides to further the colt’s experience in a graduation race or to pitch straight into a Derby trial or even the Feilden Stakes, a contest his illustrious former stable mate won en route to Epsom glory.

Wild Tempest certainly put up a fight in that Newmarket contest and came to win his race.

However, the Charlie Appleby trained son of Raven’s Pass appeared a little unbalanced and weak in the Dip and racing without company, found Cracksman too strong.

Even so, this was a super first effort and Wild Tempest, who holds a 2,000 Guineas entry, could well develop into a smart horse next season.

This looked a good maiden and the fourth Stradivarius went on to win subsequently, while the third placed Alfawaris, looks a lovely prospect for Owen Burrows.

The son of Frankel had finished 3 lengths third to another Frankel colt, Swiss Cross, in a Newbury maiden in mid-September. He was 4 lengths behind Cracksman at Newmarket.

He is out of a Peintre Celebre mare and should stay well. He holds a Derby entry and we would expect to see Alfawaris lose his maiden in the early spring and then build towards a Derby trial.

On that same Newmarket card, Cape Byron was another colt to make a very favourable impression.

Cape Byron wins on debut at Newmarket
Copyright A.J. Byles

The Roger Varian trained son of Shamardal made a nice introduction when finishing a length second of 8 to the exciting Utmost in a Leicester maiden in early October.

Eight days later he got off the mark and looked a smart prospect in a Newmarket maiden, slamming Manchego by 2 ½ lengths.

Cape Byron is out of a Mark Of Esteem mare and holds an entry in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas. We know that he handles the track, but at this stage he still lacks experience and it would be no surprise to see Cape Byron line-up in the Craven Stakes next April.

The Hugo Palmer trained Manchego is a horse worth keeping an eye on going into 2017.

The son of Lope De Vega had just the one start in a Newmarket maiden in October, when finishing 2 ½ lengths second of 13 to the more experienced Cape Byron.

He is entitled to come on a bundle for that race and holds a Derby entry. He is still very much at the embryonic stage of his career but should progress well next year.

Utmost got off the mark at the first time of asking in a Leicester maiden, beating subsequent impressive Newmarket scorer Cape Byron by a length, with another Newmarket maiden winner Makkaar finishing third.

The John Gosden trained son of Giant’s Causeway should certainly stay 1 ¼ miles in time and we suspect he will be given just that. It would be no surprise to see him saved and trained with a Royal Ascot target in mind, particularly given that he currently holds no Classic entries.

Makkaar is another son of Raven’s Pass and he progressed nicely towards the back end of the turf season.

The Mark Johnston colt finished 1 ¼ lengths third of 4 to Areen Heart in a Beverley maiden in late September. In early October he was not disgraced when 3 ¼ lengths third of 8 to Utmost and Cape Byron at Leicester.

He got off the mark with a 1 ¾ lengths defeat of Top Mission in a Newmarket maiden in late October.

Makkaar showed plenty of ability, particularly in his second and third starts – and the fact that he seemed to improve and was only seen out late in the year, suggests that he needed time and has lots of improvement to come. He is another colt who does not hold any Classic engagements but he should certainly be up to Listed standard and could well target Royal Ascot.

Top Mission put up a lovely performance on his only start, when finishing 1 ¾ lengths second of 9 to the more experienced Makkaar in a Newmarket maiden in late October.

The Saeed bin Suroor trained son of Dubawi is out of a Nedawi mare, suggesting longer trips will be well within his compass in 2017. He is a maiden worth following next year and with progression, could easily develop into a Group horse.

Eminent was an eye-catching winner of a Newmarket maiden on his only start.

Eminent goes on at Newmarket on debut
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The Martyn Meade trained son of Frankel did it the hard way, racing wide of his rivals and without any cover, but still had a tremendous engine and pulled 2 ¾ lengths clear of Vantage Point. Whilst the form may not be spectacular, this was an impressive performance by the winner who was clearly superior to his rivals.

He holds QIPCO 2,000 Guineas and Investec Derby entries and it would be no surprise to see him line-up in the Guineas.

Time Zone made a very pleasing debut when landing a Newmarket maiden in late September.

Time Zone impresses on debut
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The Peter Chapple-Hyam trained son of Kheleyf beat Doctor Bartolo by 1 ½ lengths.

He remains completely unexposed and could be anything and we would not be surprised to see him take in a Guineas trial next spring.

Emmaus made the perfect start to his career when winning a Leicester maiden in late September.

The Roger Varian trained son of Invincible Spirit beat Sound Bar by a neck over 7 furlongs.

A month later he headed to Deauville for a Listed race over a mile, finishing 4 ¼ lengths fourth of 8 to the unbeaten Al Wukair.

He is out of a Galileo mare and with a little more time to strengthen up, should make up into a useful middle distance horse next year.

Eaton Square made a winning debut when landing a Nottingham maiden in late July by a neck from Rag Tatter.

The John Gosden trained son of Invincible Spirit then headed to Sandown Park for a conditions race in mid-September, running well to finish 2 lengths second of 6 to Rebel De Lope.

He proved somewhat disappointing on his final start in the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes at Newbury in late October finishing 5 lengths 7th of 13 to Pleaseletmewin.

It would be too soon to write off this colt and he could well be trained with Royal Ascot in mind next year.

Executive Force looked a useful recruit when landing a Newbury maiden on debut by 2 ¼ lengths from Dark Power in mid-September.

The William Haggas trained son of Sepoy confirmed that impression when running well in a Listed race at Dundalk in early October, finishing 1 ½ lengths second of 9 to Ambassadorial.

He may well have found three quick runs just a little too much at this formative stage of his career, as he struggled in the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes in late October, coming home 17 ½ lengths 12th of 13 behind Pleaseletmewin.

With a little more time to develop, Executive Force should make his mark over 7 furlongs and a mile next year.

Musawaat made a winning debut when landing a Newbury maiden in mid-September.

The Charlie Hills trained son of Equiano beat Natajack by a head over six furlongs.

The following month he returned to the Berkshire course but in soft ground and over 7 furlongs, disappointed in the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes, running 11 lengths 10th of 13 behind Pleaseletmewin.

We feel he is better than that and it may well be that a faster surface and sprint distance is right up his street next year.

Defoe remains a colt of real promise, despite disappointing on his final start of the year.

Defoe
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

The Roger Varian trained son of Dalakhani is out of a Pivotal mare and should stay well in time.

He made a winning debut when beating Bianca Minola by a head in a Ffos Las maiden in early September.

A fortnight later he ran well in a conditions race at Epsom, coming home 1 ¾ lengths second of 5 to the more experienced Medieval.

In October he contested the 10 furlong Listed Zetland Stakes at Newmarket, but came home a disappointing tailed off 11th of 12 to Coronet.

It may well be that the best is yet to come from Defoe in the second half of next season. He should stay 12 furlongs well in time and we suspect he might end up making his mark in valuable handicap company.

Mirage Dancer caught the eye of plenty of good judges with victory on his only start at two.

The Sir Michael Stoute trained son of Frankel came with a powerful finish to beat Tafaakhor by ½ a length in a Doncaster maiden in late October.

He did not look as precocious as many of the other Frankel colts and will be patiently handled in the spring. He holds a Derby entry but it would be questionable whether he would stay 1 ½ miles, being out of a Green Desert mare.

Swiss Storm is another Frankel colt to have made his mark as a juvenile and looks to have a bright future.

The David Elsworth trained colt ran green when finishing 4 lengths 7th of 10 behind Pennsylvania Dutch in a Haydock Park maiden at the start of September.

Just over a fortnight later he showed a powerful turn of foot to land a Newbury maiden by 1 ¾ lengths from City Of Joy.

Swiss Storm is out of an Indian Ridge mare and should stay a mile well. He holds English and Irish Guineas entries but we have not seen enough of him yet to confirm whether he is up to that level.

Of all the Frankel colts to run during 2016, Monarchs Glen was arguably the one that most impressed us, along with Eminent.

The John Gosden colt is out of a Lear Fan mare and ran well on debut to finish a short head second of 10 to the vastly more experienced Celestial Spheres in a Goodwood maiden in late September.

He made no mistake on his return to the Sussex track in early October, winning a maiden over 9 furlongs by 1 ¼ lengths from stable mate Pealer, with the pair drawing a long way clear of their rivals.

Monarchs Glen has plenty of scope and ought to develop into a really nice middle distance performer next year.

Pealer was only seen out the once, when second to Monarchs Glen.

The son of Campanologist clearly has an abundance of ability, pulling clear of his other rivals at Goodwood and he holds a Derby entry.

We would expect to see him quickly lose his maiden tag and then head to a Derby trial if in good form in the spring.

Another Gosden juvenile to make his mark was Khalidi, who got better with experience.

The son of High Chaparral is out of Bezique, a daughter of Cape Cross, and will have plenty of stamina.

He ran 2 lengths third of 5 to Tamol on his debut at Newmarket in late June. A couple of weeks later he finished 2 ¾ lengths fourth of 11 to Dubai Hero in a maiden at the Newmarket July Festival.

Khalidi broke his maiden with a 2 ½ lengths defeat of Celestial Spheres in a Goodwood maiden in late August.

He then added a Doncaster nursery in early September, with a 1 ¼ length victory over Harbour Master.

It is questionable whether Khalidi is up to Group 1 class but he proved most progressive in 2016 and stamina should prove his forte next year.

Dubai Hero looked set for a promising season when winning on debut, but was only seen out once more.

The Saeed bin Suroor trained son of Dark Angel won what looked to be a hot Newmarket maiden in early July, beating D’bai by 1 ½ lengths on his debut.

Later that month he headed to Ascot for a Listed contest over 7 furlongs, but was a somewhat disappointing 3 ½ lengths 7th of 9 behind Apex King.

The fact that he wasn’t seen out again suggests that he may not have given his true running at Ascot and he holds Classic entries next year.

Summer ground clearly suited Dubai Hero from what we saw, but he must prove he has overcome whatever ailed him in the second half of the season.

Apex King was unable to strike a blow on his debut as he ran 10 lengths 7th of 12 behind Thunder Snow at Leicester in late May.

However, Ed Dunlop’s son of Kodiac looked a different proposition as he beat Hyde Park by a neck in a Newmarket contest in June.

He progressed from that to land a Listed Ascot contest in late July that established him as a useful prospect, as he beat Monticello by a neck.

A month later Apex King finished 3 ¾ lengths fourth of 10 to the smart South Seas in the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown Park.

He was not seen out again but being out of a Rainbow Quest mare, we may not have seen the best of this colt until he races over further next season. He is well entered up in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas and two Irish Classics.

Isomer put in performances full of promise on his first two starts before getting off the mark at the third time of asking.

The Andrew Balding trained son of Cape Blanco ran ¾ of a length second of 7 to Cunco in a Newbury maiden in mid-May, with the first two pulling clear of their rivals.

He then finished ahead of that rival when an excellent ½ a length second of 13 to Churchill in the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

Isomer broke his maiden tag at Salisbury in early July with a 2 lengths defeat of Harmonise.

Towards the end of that month he contested the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, but was a disappointing 5 ¾ lengths 6th of 9 behind War Decree.

Isomer was not seen out again in 2016 and it may well be that he did race up to his best at Goodwood. He holds a QIPCO 2,000 Guineas entry and was full value for that on what we saw in 2016, although it may be that 10 furlongs ultimately proves his best trip.

Atty Persse made plenty of headlines when winning his only start of the year.

The Roger Charlton trained son of Frankel beat Hamada by 1 ¾ lengths in a Sandown Park maiden in mid-September and was subsequently purchased by Godolphin.

He held an entry for the Racing Post Trophy but reportedly scoped badly and was roughed off for the year.

Atty Persse holds entries in the 2,000 Guineas and Derby but is still very much a raw talent and will need to gain more experience before tackling those targets, but is clearly held in high regard.

Dermot Weld enjoyed a memorable year thanks largely to the exploits of his dual Derby winner Harzand. He has a big gap to fill next season and Titus might just be one of the horses to help compensate.

This son of Dansili made a winning debut in a Leopardstown maiden in late October, beating Venice Beach by ½ a length.

He holds entries in the English and Irish Derbies and looks likely to line-up in a Classic trial in the spring.

Once again Richard Hannon has plenty of promising horses for 2017 and the once-raced Barney Roy looks an interesting prospect.

This son of Excelebration made an eye-catching debut when winning a Haydock Park maiden by 3 ¾ lengths from Fujaira Bridge in late September.

He is out of a Galileo mare and ought to stay 1 ¼ miles in time and should have the ability to win more races.

Crowned Eagle ran 4 lengths third to Barney Roy in that Haydock Park race on his debut.

The John Gosden trained son of Oasis Dream is out of Gull Wing, making him a half brother to Eagle Top and Wings Of Desire both of whom improved with time and both of whom also raced in the same Lady Bamford silks.

He finished 4 lengths third of 12 to Century Dream in a Nottingham maiden in early October, before getting off the mark with a 3 ¼ lengths victory over Zumurudee at the same venue in early November.

Unsurprisingly Crowned Eagle holds an entry for the Investec Derby and it can easily be argued that what he accomplished at two was a bonus.

He should make up into a successful three year old and could well take a leading role among the middle distance colts.

Warrior’s Spirit built well on a nice introductory run to win his second start.

The Richard Hannon trained son of Requinto finished 6 lengths fourth of 8 to Mutawakked in a Newbury maiden in late July.

He was not seen out for nearly two months, returning to the Berkshire course to beat Crystal Ocean by a neck.

He does not hold any major entries for next year but should pay his way over 7 furlongs.

Many of Sir Michael Stoute’s juveniles are not fully wound up on debut so the performance of Crystal Ocean at Newbury was note worthy.

The son of Sea The Stars was not seen out again, but holds entries in the English and Irish Derbies in 2017.

It will be interesting to see if Sir Michael opts for a maiden or a Classic trial first time out for this colt.

HM The Queen’s colt Seniority looked a very interesting horse as he landed a Newmarket maiden on debut, but disappointed in his only subsequent start.

The William Haggas trained son of Dubawi is out of a Caerleon mare and ought to stay middle distances in time.

He got off the mark when beating Zefferino by ½ a length in early August, although the runner-up proved rather disappointing subsequently.

Seniority headed to the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown Park in late August, but was himself below par, coming home 9 ½ lengths last of 10 to South Seas.

He was not seen out again in 2016 and it may well be that he did not show his real form on that occasion.

He should come into his own over longer distances in 2017, assuming he returns to his best form.

Her Majesty will also be looking forward to seeing the once-race Frontispiece in action.

The Sir Michael Stoute trained son of Shamardal landed an Ascot maiden by a nose from Make Time in early September, with the runner-up going on to win a Salisbury maiden by 5 lengths afterwards.

Frontispiece has a Derby entry in 2017 although he is not guaranteed to stay. It would be no surprise to see him return to Berkshire for the Royal Meeting in June.

Elucidation is another Derby entry for Sir Michael Stoute. This son of Oasis Dream has perhaps more solid staying credentials, with his dam a daughter of Silver Hawk.

He ran with real promise on debut to finish 1 ¾ lengths third of 10 to the useful Law And Order in a Newmarket maiden in late August.

In early September he got off the mark with a 1 ¾ lengths defeat of Sporting Times at Leicester.

With two runs under his belt, it would not be a surprise if he returned to action somewhere like Chester for one of the Derby trials.

Taamol looked an exciting prospect for Stoute when landing a Newmarket maiden on debut in late June, beating Devil’s Bridge by 1 ½ lengths.

The son of Helmet returned to action in a Listed contest at Doncaster in early September, running a little green when finishing 4 ¼ lengths fifth of 7 to Rodaini.

That was not a bad run and he holds a QIPCO 2,000 Guineas entry, although he will need to improve considerably there.

Adamant appeared in need of the run when a well beaten fourth of 8 to stable mate Elucidation at Leicester in early September.

The son of Dalakhani clearly learned plenty and a month later won a Windsor maiden by 1 ¼ lengths from Munawer.

He ought to be effective over middle distances last season and could well turn into a Royal Ascot contender.

Munawer went on to frank the form from Windsor with a 1 ¼ lengths victory over Royal Melody in a Wolverhampton maiden in mid-October.
The Hugo Palmer trained son of Dutch Art should be effective up to a mile next year.

Pivoine was another Stoute juvenile to win in 2016. The son of Redoute’s Choice is out of a Montjeu mare and should stay middle distances at three.

He ran 13 lengths third of 13 behind Via Egnatia in a Newmarket maiden in early October.

Later that month he impressed when beating Archer’s Arrow by 2 ½ lengths at Kempton Park.

He is another Stoute colt to hold a Derby entry, but was late starting out at two and it would not surprise to see the trainer take time with this prospect.

Karawaan could shape up into a useful horse in 2017, having run a promising if unspectacular race on his only start at two.

The Sir Michael Stoute trained son of Sea The Stars ran 2 ¾ lengths fifth of 9 to Solomon’s Bay in a Yarmouth maiden in mid-September, which often throws up useful horses.

He holds a Derby entry for next year but will need probably two runs to gain more experience and ascertain his ability.

Ekhtiyaar shaped well on debut and won his only other start.

The Roger Varian trained son of Bated Breath finished ¾ of a length second of 11 to Battered in a Yarmouth maiden in mid-September.

He returned to the Norfolk track the following month and recorded a smart performance to beat Secret Agent by 3 ½ lengths.

He could well be a longer term prospect and should be effective at 7 furlongs or a mile.

Baashiq was another to progress from his first start for Varian.

The son of New Approach finished a promising 2 ¾ lengths fourth of 11 to City Of Joy in a Redcar maiden at the beginning of October.

He returned there in the middle of the month and stepped up a furlong to a mile, beating Maghfoor by a head.

He holds an entry in the 2017 Investec Derby but that may come too soon given his inexperience. Baashiq is out of a Green Desert mare and 1 ¼ miles may ultimately prove his best trip.

Zabeel Prince had just the one start in 2016 but showed plenty of promise and should progress during 2017.

The Roger Varian trained son of Lope De Vega finished 1 ¼ lengths second of 8 to Glorious Poet in a Redcard maiden in late October.

He ought to pay his way with more experience.

Dhajeej showed enough ability in two starts to suggest he will win races in 2016.

The Roger Varian trained son of Cape Cross was 3 ½ lengths second of 9 to Wolf Country in a Yarmouth maiden in early October.

Later that month he ran ½ a length second of 10 to Tartini in a Nottingham maiden.

Dhajeej does not hold any Classic entries but ought to be able to build on those fine efforts and should stay 1 ¼ miles.

Bowerman was another Varian colt to show promise.

The son of Dutch Art ran just once, finishing a head second of 6 to Stradivarius in a Newcastle maiden in early November.

On the strength of that run he should be capable of winning in 2017.

Similarly Materialist finished ¾ of a length second of 8 to Trading Point on his only start in a Haydock Park maiden in October.

This son of Dansili, out of a King’s Best mare should be effective over a mile.

Glencadam Glory ran well on debut to finish ¾ of a length second of 5 to Ghayyar in a Newmarket maiden in August.

The John Gosden trained son of Nathaniel improved for that run and won at Doncaster in early September, beating Hydroxide by a head.

He holds a Derby entry and if anything like his sire, will improve with time. He along with Crowned Eagle could be under the Derby radar at this point, but could well enter the Epsom picture in the spring.

Tartini was another unbeaten colt to represent John Gosden during 2016.

The son of Giant’s Causeway won a Nottingham maiden in late October by ½ a length from Dhajeej.

He is out of a Diesis mare and should stay 1 ½ miles in time.

Samharry will take an unbeaten record into 2017 for Gosden.

This son of Exceed And Excel was a Doncaster winner in late July, beating Total Star by 1 ½ lengths over 7 furlongs.

We did not see Samharry again, but the runner-up won twice during the course of the season.

He is out of a Peintre Celebre mare and could be anything.

Eldritch is another completely unexposed, unbeaten colt from the Gosden team.

The son of Dark Angel, out of a Cape Cross mare, beat Dubawi Prince by a length in a Haydock Park maiden in mid-October over a mile.

He should stay 1 ¼ miles and it will be interesting to see where he lies in the Clarehaven pecking order.

Gosden also has the once-raced Middle Kingdom to go to war with.

This son of War Front created a favourable impression when slamming Mukalal by 3 ½ lengths in a Newcastle maiden in late November.

Chessman was another late comer for Gosden who made a winning debut in a Kempton Park maiden in November, beating Esprit De Corps by an impressive 2 ¼ lengths.

The son of Acclamation should see out the mile well next year.

Weekender had just the one start, showing promise of much more with experience.

The John Gosden trained son of Frankel ran 3 lengths fourth of 8 to Trading Point in Haydock Park maiden in mid-October.

He is out of an Empire Maker mare and should stay the 12 furlongs of the Derby, for which he holds an entry. However, he will need to gain plenty of experience before then and if connections decide to go that route he will need the benefit of at least a couple of prior runs

Face The Facts is another fascinating Gosden trained son of Nathaniel who ought to have tons of improvement and stamina in 2017.

He had just the one start as a two year old, running 1 ½ lengths second of 11 to Youmkin in a Nottingham maiden in late October.

Face The Facts holds a Derby entry and one would imagine will try to win an early season maiden before having a crack at a Derby trial.

Fierce Impact is a fascinating horse bidding to make a significant impact for the Japanese bloodstock industry in English racing.

This David Simcock trained son of Deep Impact holds an English Derby entry and victory there would be truly sensational.

He made a promising start to life when landing a Yarmouth maiden by 2 ¾ lengths from Casina Di Notte in early October.

Epsom is still a long way off but one would imagine connections will be keen to have a shot at a Derby trial in the spring.

Saeed bin Suroor’s yard suffered a dip in form in mid-summer but sprang back to form later in the year, with plenty of unexposed and promising juveniles among the winners.

Kananee was a constant through the season, winning four of his five starts and proving a real talent.

Kananee beats Sutter County
Image supplied by Newcastle Racecourse

The son of Exceed And Excel landed a Lingfield Park maiden by 1 ½ lengths from the useful Monks Stand in late April and followed-up at York in May, with a head defeat of the useful Medici Banchiere.

The following month he ran deplorably in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot, finishing a tailed off last of 22 to Ardad. That was clearly not Kananee’s true ability.

He was off the course until November, returning on the Kempton Park all-weather to land a nursery by ¾ of a length from Mutahaady.

Just over a fortnight later he won an All-Weather Championships Fast-Track Qualifier at Newcastle by a neck from Sutter County.

Kananee has won from 5 to 7 furlongs and has the option of a run on Good Friday, but could just as easily make his mark in Meydan this winter.

Big Challenge was only seen once in 2016 but impressed.

The Saeed bin Suroor trained son of Sea The Stars won a Nottingham maiden in early November by 2 ¼ lengths from Melodic Motion.

He holds a Derby entry and one would imagine he will have one or two more starts prior to lining up at Epsom.

Youmkin is another totally unexposed Godolphin colt who made a winning start to life with a 1 ½ lengths defeat of Face The Facts in a Nottingham maiden in late October.

The Saeed bin Suroor trained son of Street Cry is out of a Galileo mare and holds entries in the English and Irish Derbies.

Commander Cole showed promise on the turf, but really came into his own on the all-weather later in the year.

This son of Kyllachy finished 1 length second of 12 to Big Lachie at Sandown Park in early September. Later that month he was a disappointing 6th of 12 to Trick Of The Light in a Nottingham maiden.

In October he headed to Newcastle and ran out an emphatic 6 lengths winner from Re Run. He made it back to back wins on the all-weather at Wolverhampton in November, defeating Masham Star by 2 ¼ lengths in a nursery.

Commander Cole could well continue to excel on the all-weather surface this winter and be pointed at the All-Weather Championships.

Reach High will be forgotten by many, but was a smart early season representative for bin Suroor.

The son of Distorted Humor ran a head second of 9 to Hoyamy in a Doncaster maiden in late April.

The following month he got off the mark with a nose victory over the subsequent Mill Reef Stakes winner Harry Angel at Ascot.

He was not seen out again but holds a Derby entry. Clearly Reach High had issues that kept him off the track and he has yet to race beyond 5 furlongs. He has much to prove but showed plenty of potential in those two starts.

Bin Batutta is another colt whose season was curtailed after he had shown promise.

The son of Dubawi impressed on debut when landing a Windsor contest by 3 ¼ lengths from Sakurajima in early June.

A month later he contested the Group 2 Superlative Stakes over 7 furlongs at Newmarket, trailing in 16 lengths 7th of 9 to Boynton.

He was not seen out again and presumably something went amiss in that last run.

Bin Battuta should certainly not be dismissed on the basis of that run and holds a Derby entry. He may well prove a useful horse given clear health in 2017.

Leshlaa was very late getting started, but made a big impression on the all-weather.

The bin Suroor trained son of Street Cry ran ¾ of a length second of 8 to Giovanni Battista in a Newmarket maiden in late October.

In early November he won a Kempton Park maiden by 6 lengths from Titi Makfi.

Leshlaa is out of a Singspiel mare and should have plenty of stamina. He holds a Derby entry.

High Waves was not seen out until November, but the Saeed bin Suroor trained son of Dream Ahead made a winning debut with a ¾ of a length defeat of the more experienced Ejaaby at Chelmsford.

He should have plenty more improvement to come in 2017 at around a mile.

Tamleek shaped with promise on his only start of the year, finishing 2 ¼ lengths third of 9 to Fierce Impact in a Yarmouth maiden in October.

This son of Hard Spun will probably enjoy a fast surface and holds an entry in the Irish Derby.

Alaik may well have run in a very good maiden in his only run of 2016.

The bin Suroor trained son of New Approach finished 1 ¾ lengths third of 10 to Tartini in a Nottingham maiden in late October.

He holds a Derby entry but it would be no surprise to see him contest a maiden first time out.

Charlie Appleby also enjoyed plenty of two year old success during the 2016 campaign.

Wolf Country proved a progressive colt and looks to have an exciting future in 2017.

The Charlie Appleby trained son of Dubawi ran well on debut to finish 2 lengths 6th of 8 to Glencadam Glory in a Doncaster maiden in early September.

A month later he landed a Yarmouth maiden by an impressive 3 ½ lengths from Dhajeej.

He holds an Irish Derby entry and being out of a Black Sam Bellamy daughter ought to stay well next year. It would be no surprise to see Wolf Country take his chance at Royal Ascot.

First Nation was late getting started and ran 7 ½ lengths 6th of 9 to Red Label on his racecourse debut at Leicester in early October.

The Appleby trained son of Dubawi looked a very different proposition on his second start as he beat Wild Shot by 2 ¾ lengths in a Wolverhampton maiden a month later.

He holds a Derby entry and will need further development, but ought to stay the trip well if good enough to participate.

Rummani  showed plenty of promise in his two starts without winning.

The son of Dubawi finished 1 ½ lengths second of 10 to Law And Order in a Newmarket maiden in late August.

He was not seen out again until October, when he finished 3 ¾ lengths third of 13 to the smart Cape Byron in another Newmarket maiden.

Those runs suggest that he should be more than good enough to win during 2017 and he holds Guineas and Derby entries.

Radio Silence looked a useful recruit on debut.

The Jim Bolger trained son of War Front won at Leopardstown in early July, beating Pipes Of Peace by two lengths.

Nine days later, he ran a decent race for one so inexperienced, when finishing 3 lengths fourth of 6 to Peace Envoy in the Group 3 Angelsey Stakes at the Curragh.

In late August he ran well in the Group 2 Futurity Stakes at the Curragh, finishing 2 lengths second of 4 to Churchill.

He was disappointing on his final start, coming home 5 ½ lengths last of 5 to Landfall in a Leopardstown Group 3 in early September.

The fact that Bolger was willing to pitch Radio Silence into Group company so soon in his career, suggests that he has plenty of ability and is well thought of at Coolcullen. He holds entries in the English and Irish Guineas and it would be no surprise to see him contest a Guineas trial early in the season.

Holistic Approach had two contrasting experiences in his only runs of 2016.

The Jim Bolger trained son of New Approach got the better of the vastly more experienced Ice Canyon by ½ a length in a Curragh maiden in early October, with the very useful Spirit Of Valor back in third.

Two weeks later he was pitched into the Group 3 Killavullen Stakes at Leopardstown, but struggled, finishing a tailed off last of 7 to Making Light.

That race may have come too soon in the career of Holistic Approach and it may also be that he wants a mile in time and found the trip too short on that occasion.

Zorion was only seen on the racecourse once in 2016, but made a big impression.

The Bolger trained son of Smart Strike slammed Joy For Mary by 6 ½ lengths in a Roscommon maiden in mid-August, over 7 furlongs.

He holds entries in the English 2,000 Guineas and the Irish Derby and typically Bolger gives his Classic contenders a warm-up race in the spring.

Red Label proved a very promising colt in two starts in 2016.

The Luca Cumani trained son of Dubawi is out of a Caerleon mare and ought to stay middle distances well in 2017, suggesting that what he achieved at two was a bonus.

He finished 3 ¾ lengths third of 10 to Time Zone in a Newmarket maiden in late September.

In October he got off the mark in a Leicester maiden, beating X Rated by 1 ¼ lengths.

Red Label holds a Derby entry and if Cumani feels he is good enough, he is likely to start off in a Derby trial. Cumani’s two Derby winners both warmed up for Epsom at Lingfield Park and it would be no surprise to see this horse start his quest there.

Cumani has another interesting Derby prospect on his hands in the shape of Manangatang, who was not seen out until mid-November.

The son of Fastnet Rock is out of the Irish Oaks placed mare Mona Lisa and stamina will be his forte in 2017.

He made a winning debut when beating Cosmic Boy by a nose at Lingfield Park in mid-November over a mile. There should be a lot more to come from him.

It was a comparatively quiet year for Richard Hannon but towards the end of the campaign he unleashed a useful looking juvenile who should pay his way next year.

Medahim, a son of Kodiac made a winning debut at Kempton Park in early December, beating Saluti by 3 ¼ lengths.

He clearly had his issues during 2016 and could well make his mark up to a mile in 2017.

On the same card, Hannon unleashed another smart sort as Son Of The Stars defeated Opinionate by 3 ¼ lengths.

This son of the sadly recently lost Delegator should make up into a miler during 2017.

Mustarrid looked a classy gelding on the second of his two starts and was another Hannon runner who was late getting started.

The son of Elzaam finished 1 ¾ lengths third of 13 to Qatar Man in a Kempton Park maiden in mid-November.

In early December he looked to have progressed when landing a Wolverhampton maiden by an emphatic 5 lengths from Espresso Freddo.

Mustarrid could well make up into a useful horse up to a mile.

Mojito made a promising start to his racing career with two starts during 2016.

The William Haggas trained son of Requinto ran well on debut when 3 lengths third of 13 to Gulliver in a York maiden in early October.

Just under 3 weeks later he stepped up to a mile and won a Newcastle maiden by 2 ¼ lengths from Somnambulist.

We suspect that a mile will probably see Mojito at his best next season and he could be a horse for Royal Ascot.

Crushed has a very similar profile to his stable mate Mojito, having run a promising race on debut when 5 ¼ lengths fourth of 14 behind the very useful Raheen House in a York maiden in early October.

He also headed to Newcastle later in October and won a maiden by 1 ½ lengths from Royal Icon.

Crushed is a son of Beat Hollow, out of a Salse mare. He should stay 1 ¼ miles and looks to have plenty of improvement in him.

Across Dubai is something of a dark horse, but made a winning debut for the yard.

The son of Cape Cross beat Dubai Horizon by a length in a Lingfield Park maiden in late October and holds a Derby entry.

Currency Converter was only see in action twice in 2016, but showed a good level of quality.

The Dermot Weld trained son of Exchange Rate landed a Leopardstown maiden on his debut in early June, beating Drake Passage by 2 ¼ lengths.

In late July he contested the Group 3 Tyros Stakes at the same track, finishing a highly creditable 2 ¼ lengths third of 6t to the year’s outstanding colt, Churchill.

We did not see Currency Converter again, but he ought to stay up to 1 ¼ miles on breeding.

Mark Johnston as always had a big team of juveniles, with Time To Study showing plenty of ability in three starts.

The son of Motivator was not seen out until early September, when he landed a Carlisle maiden by 2 ¾ lengths from Kuraka.

Two months later he ran well when 3 ½ lengths second of 5 to Good Omen in a Lingfield Park novice contest.

He got back to winning ways at Chelsmford just 5 days later, defeating Peaceful Passage by 2 ¼ lengths over 1 ¼ miles.

Time To Study could well prove a very useful colt and we would not be surprised to see him make his mark at Royal Ascot.

Love Dreams looked a very useful juvenile in two starts, but was not seen out after June.

The Mark Johnston trained son of Dream Ahead beat What’s The Story by 2 lengths at Hamilton Park in mid-June.

Twelve days later he bolted up in a Pontefract contest, slamming Bolt Phantom by 5 lengths.

He clearly had problems thereafter but should be capable of making his mark up to a mile.

Scots Piper made a very pleasing debut for the Johnston team and holds a Derby entry for 2017.

The son of Shamardal beat Black Redstart by 2 ¼ lengths in a Musselburgh maiden in late September. He will need to progress but should be open to lots of improvement.

We hope you have enjoyed this review of the 2016 two year old colts. Next month we will review the 2016 crop of two year old fillies.