2019 was indisputably the year of Darley stallion Shamardal. His juvenile colt progeny dominated the Group One scene in the UK, Ireland and France.
Heading a trio of top class colts was Pinatubo.
Named after an active volcano, the Charlie Appleby-trained colt confounded his home work and took the racing public by storm as the summer progressed.
Having started out in a minor contest at Wolverhampton, Pinatubo went from strength to strength, finishing the year unbeaten in six starts, including two Group One victories. His success in the Dewhurst Stakes crowned him Champion Two Year Old Colt for 2019.
Pinatubo’s journey began at Wolverhampton, in early May, when he readily beat Platinum Star by 3 ¼ lengths. That colt went on to finish second in the Windsor Castle Stakes and July Stakes, later winning the Listed Ripon Champion Two Yrs Old Trophy.
At the end of that month, Pinatubo was somewhat workmanlike in disposing of Oh Purple Reign by 1 ½ lengths in the Woodcote Stakes. If that contest proved one thing, with the bigger picture in mind, it was that Pinatubo handled Epsom.
Whilst the Woodcote had proved the perfect platform for Buratino to land the Coventry Stakes, Appleby instead chose to step Pinatubo up in trip for the Listed Chesham Stakes, at the Royal Meeting.
This was the day when we got the first inkling that Pinatubo might be something out of the ordinary.
After a short battle with Lope Y Fernandez, the final furlong saw Pinatubo assert and draw away for an impressive 3 ¼ lengths victory over the Aidan O’Brien colt, with good yardsticks like Highland Chief, Harpocrates and Year Of The Tiger further back.
Whilst the Chesham Stakes carries Listed status, the manner of Pinatubo’s success suggested he might be a Group One horse.
That feeling was fully vindicated by his next race – and a scintillating performance in the Group Two Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.
Once again, Lope Y Fernandez was in opposition, along with the Group Two Superlative Stakes winner Mystery Power, Platinum Star, the Mark Johnston-trained Visinari and the highly-regard Clive Cox colt Positive.
This was the moment that the volcano truly erupted, as Pinatubo turned the race into a procession on the South Downs.
From two furlongs out, he was fully in control, hitting the front and quickening away for an emphatic five-lengths win over Positive and Lope Y Fernandez.
It was a performance that drew comparisons with the 2017 winner Expert Eye, who later in his career won the Breeders’ Cup Mile. For his part, Charlie Appleby remained unassuming about his charge, indicating that his racecourse appearances were in contrast to his effective, yet quiet work at home.
But Pinatubo could only head into Group One competition after that Goodwood victory – and that appearance took place in a showdown with some of Aidan O’Brien’s leading juveniles.
After a break, Pinatubo took his place in the field for the Group One Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes, at the Curragh, on Irish Champions Weekend.
If the meeting had been lacking a wow moment, it would not have much longer to wait.
In opposition to Pinatubo was the highly-rated and exciting Armory – and Aidan O’Brien’s Coventry Stakes winner Arizona, who had flopped in the Prix Morny, but was stepping up to seven furlongs here.
William Buick sat handily off the pace and eased Pinatubo to the front with two furlongs to run. What happened next is perhaps the most enduring image of the entire 2019 season.
The colt quickened in sensational style, leaving Armory and Arizona floundering in his wake.
He relentlessly powered on, past the furlong pole, becoming ever more distant from his pursuers and passing the line a stunning nine lengths clear of Armory, who just won the battle for second from Arizona.
It was a performance that left William Buick’s face wreathed in smiles and evoked memories of Arazi’s stunning juvenile victory at the 1991 Breeders’ Cup.
Pinatubo was given a rating in excess of Frankel’s at two.
Whilst previous Godolphin winners of the National Stakes – Dubawi and Quorto, were put away afterwards, Pinatubo was aimed at the Group One Darley Dewhurst Stakes, traditionally the end of season race that defines Europe’s Champion two year-old colt.
Pinatubo’s claims were clear enough for championship honours, but as we shall see, two other Godolphin colts, trained in France, also had their fans.
Pinatubo had to deliver one more performance out of the top drawer to cement his reputation – which did not scare off eight rivals at Newmarket.
Chief among those were four Aidan O’Brien horses, as Arizona, with more than nine lengths to find, re-opposed. Also in the line-up were Wichita, who had impressed over course and distance in the Group Three Tattersalls Stakes, the American Pharoah colt Monarch Of Egypt, stepping up to seven-furlongs for the first time – and Year Of The Tiger.
Two others taking on Pinatubo again were Positive, who had subsequently won the Group Three Solario Stakes, and Mystery Power.
There were three questions that Pinatubo had to answer ahead of his sixth task of the year: was he over the top? Would he handle the Rowley Mile? Would soft ground prove a problem?
The imposing Arizona cut out much of the running and had many of his rivals under pressure approaching the Dip.
Buick had ridden a patient race on Pinatubo and eased the colt out wide and into a challenging position. Yet the instant acceleration, on this occasion, was blunted by the ground.
The brilliant turn of foot was not there, but gradually Pinatubo ranged alongside Arizona and passed his rival. At the line, he was pulling away for a two-length victory and it was a further 2 ¾ lengths back to Wichita in third.
The immediate reaction from some quarters of the media was that Pinatubo had been made to work hard for his success.
But that statement does not factor in the ground and the rigours of a long, hard season. Not since Dawn Approach (another Godolphin colt) had won the Dewhurst in 2012, had a Dewhurst winner gone through as many races, been on the go so long – and retained his unbeaten record.
Dawn Approach went on to land the following season’s 2,000 Guineas and looks the obvious first target for Pinatubo, who beat all challengers. His form appears rock solid and he is a well-balanced colt who won on a flat track and undulating surfaces.
Pinatubo won on the all-weather, on good ground and on soft ground, so he is versatile as regards ground conditions.
The manner of his Dewhurst victory suggests he will comfortably stay a mile.
In fact, his dam Lava Flow, is by Dalakhani, a renowned source of stamina, suggesting that a return to Epsom would not be out of the question.
The only real question is whether or not Pinatubo will train on and there is no reason why he wouldn’t. It is highly unlikely he will be asked to race in Dubai and he is not overly small in size, although dwarfed by Arizona.
Charlie Appleby will have an exciting winter in prospect as he nurtures the seemingly unflappable colt in preparation for next spring’s Classics.
But that is some way off, he has more than earned his berth at the top of our review of 2019 and we should appreciate the talent that is Pinatubo.
Remarkably, Shamardal produced two more outstanding juveniles during the 2019 season, in the shape of Group One winners Earthlight and Victor Ludorum.
Both colts were trained in France, for Godolphin, by Andre Fabre.
In a normal year – without Pinatubo, Earthlight would have held strong claims to be the leading juvenile colt of the season.
The small, stocky chesnut, with the white face, goes into the winter with an unblemished record of five wins from as many starts.
From an early stage, Fabre could not contain his excitement in this colt.
He made his debut in the second half of June, scraping home by a neck from Dutch Chop, in a 5 ½ furlong maiden at Maisons-Laffitte, on good to soft ground.
A couple of weeks later, he encountered good ground in a Deauville conditions race, slamming Les Hogues by 3 ½ lengths over six furlongs.
It was Earthlight’s third start, in the Group Three Prix de Cabourg, also at Deauville, when people began to really take notice.
Back on good to soft ground, he routed his rivals with a powerful display, beating the well-regarded Well Of Wisdom by four lengths. It was a majestic performance which had Fabre delighted and talking his charge up in public.
Earthlight was about to be tested against some of the season’s best, in the Group One Prix Morny.
For the third race running, Earthlight headed to Deauville – and this time the ground was heavy, making the six furlong race a real test of stamina.
But that was arguably the least of his problems, as he faced a field containing three Royal Ascot winners: Coventry Stakes winner Arizona, Norfolk Stakes winner A’Ali and Queen Mary winner Raffle Prize, while Golden Horde had run out an impressive winner of the Molecomb Stakes at Goodwod.
The filly Raffle Prize took the field along and with two furlongs to race, had many of her rivals in trouble.
But Earthlight began his run and came to join the filly, the two enjoying a fine battle, before the colt passed the long-time leader. He drifted on the run-in and the winning margin was only a neck, but the two had pulled 2 ½ length clear of Golden Horde, with another two lengths back to Arizona.
Surprisingly, given his star-studded career successes, this was just the second time Fabre had won the Prix Morny. His first success had come 27 years earlier with the mighty Zafonic, who went on to win the 2,000 Guineas the following year. Fabre suggested that Earthlight could be something special.
Initial indications were that Earthlight would head to Newmarket in the autumn and a date with destiny in the seven-furlong Dewhurst Stakes, which Zafonic had also won.
However, such was the impression that Pinatubo made in Ireland, that plans changed and Earthlight was re-routed to the Group One Middle Park Stakes two weeks earlier, so that the former could run in the Dewhurst.
On paper, it looked a stern test and a race to savour for the Middle Park. Once again, Earthlight was competing over six furlongs, this time on good ground. But would he handle the Dip? Was he good enough in a field that contained the unbeaten Siskin, Mums Tipple, Gimcrack and Champagne Stakes winner Threat, Lope Y Fernandez and Monarch Of Egypt?
Sadly Siskin reared up in the stalls and was withdrawn.
When the race did get underway, King Neptune and Mums Tipple set the tempo, while Earthlight appeared to lose his place and dropped back.
However, as Mums Tipple dropped away, Earthlight came on strong for Mickael Barzalona and began his run towards the stands side.
Meanwhile, Golden Horde had got first run on the French colt and hit the front with a furlong to race.
But Earthlight had a little extra and went on to win by a neck, with Summer Sands – subsequent winner of the Redcar Two Year Old Trophy, coming home third.
It meant that Earthlight was five from five and afterwards, Fabre talked of potentially bringing the colt back to Newmarket for the 2,000 Guineas and even talked of Derbies being within his remit.
The dam of Earthlight is Winters Moon, a useful filly who won on debut over seven furlongs but did not win again. She raced at up to 1 ¼ miles and was by Darshaan, who often injected stamina into a pedigree.
But Earthlight is a small, muscular colt, with not too much scope for further development. He looked like a ball of speed and showed as much, winning over no further than six furlongs in 2019.
There must be question marks about his future physical development and ability to stay a mile. The manner of his victories were far less dominant than those of Pinatubo.
Earthlight was an outstanding two year-old and takes high order in this year’s review, but falls just short of Pinatubo’s achievements.
Earthlight has interestingly yet to race around a bend and if he is to contest longer races or a French Guineas, this is an unknown aspect.
Completing the trio of Godolphin colts at the top of this list is Victor Ludorum.
Like Earthlight, he is a son of Shamardal and is trained by Andre Fabre.
Unlike his two contemporaries, Victor Ludorum was much less raced and has more scope to develop into a three year-old.
Victor Ludorum did not race until the start of September, when he looked a very smart prospect, winning a ParisLongchamp one-mile maiden by 3 ½ lengths from Twist.
It was an eye-catching debut, but Fabre wasted no time in getting more experience into the colt, running him just 13 days later in a one-mile Chantilly conditions race, once again on good ground.
Again, Victor Ludorum looked a talented colt, as he quickened well to beat Dexter by 3 ½ lengths.
Any suggestions that Victor Ludorum might be wrapped in cotton wool and put away for the winter, were soon dispelled, as he took a huge step up in class for the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at ParisLongchamp, in early October.
Barely five weeks after his debut, Victor Ludorum was taking on some of the best colts around, on very soft ground.
Alson took the field along, but Mickael Barzalona was able to move up with relative ease on Victor Ludorum, taking over with around half a furlong to race, to beat the long-time leader by ¾ of a length, with Armory and Ecrivain finishing next.
What Course Specialist noticed afterwards, was that rather than looking tired after a hard race in testing conditions, Victor Ludorum was still full of himself and proving a handful for Barzalona.
Remember this is a colt who had been virtually unheard of five weeks earlier and in that space of time, had a three-race unbeaten record including a Group One.
Victor Ludorum, unlike Pinatubo and Earthlight, has already proven he stays a mile. His dam’s sire won over 12 furlongs and he looks a lively contender for the English Derby or Prix du Jockey Club.
After running a promising third to Justifier on debut, Armory developed into a really smart colt, representing Aidan O’Brien in contests that the trainer has historically targeted with his best Classic prospects.
The son of Galileo got off the mark when defeating Arranmore by 2 ¼ lengths at the Curragh in late June.
A month later, he contested the Group Three Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown, a race O’Brien has won in the past with the likes of King Of Kings, Rip Van Winkle, Cape Blanco, Zoffany, Gleneagles, Churchill and Anthony Van Dyck.
The result was never in danger from the home straight, as Armory powered away from stable mate Toronto, winning by five lengths, with a performance that generated plenty of excitement.
Armory’s races had been nicely spaced-out and it was another month before we saw him again – in another race O’Brien had farmed, the Group Two Futurity Stakes at the Curragh.
Armory was produced with around a furlong to run – and despite perhaps unsuitably yielding ground, he showed a good turn of foot to seize control and then kept on nicely to defeat Rebel Tale by ¾ of a length, gaining revenge on Justifier in the process.
For his next assignment, O’Brien targeted one of Ireland’s main two year old contests, the Group One Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh.
Beforehand, this looked an intriguing contest over seven furlongs, with O’Brien’s Coventry Stakes winner Arizona, stepping up in trip.
However, the race turned into a rout as Charlie Appleby’s Pinatubo seized control and stormed away for a staggering nine-length victory which on the face of it, brooked little argument.
Armory simply had no answer to the Godolphin colt’s turn of foot but his stamina kicked in late on for him to pass Arizona for second.
Coolmore decided against taking on Pinatubo in the Dewhurst Stakes and instead sent Armory to ParisLongchamp for the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.
Very soft ground prevailed on Arc Day and perhaps blunted some of Armory’s speed and he looked a little one-paced, although keeping on gamely, to finish a length third to Victor Ludorum and Alson.
Three weeks later, Armory again took on Alson in the Criterium International, over seven furlongs, also at ParisLongchamp.
In the event, it turned into a race that can probably best be forgotten. The withdrawal of Wichita in the morning, on account of heavy ground, was followed by the withdrawal of Lady Penelope, who became upset in the stalls.
That turned the race into a match, with Armory doing too much early on.
By the home straight, Donnacha O’Brien was driving his mount, as Alson revelled in conditions and cruised alongside.
Alson went on and O’Brien eased his mount down, so the 15-length margin of superiority was probably exaggerated.
Alson stayed and coped with the conditions far better than Armory.
Despite his season not ending with Group One victory, Armory was clearly well-regarded at Ballydoyle and close to the top of the pecking order. There should be more to come in 2020.
Armory is out of the French 1,000 Guineas fourth After and whilst he will stay a mile no problem, there would be a slight question mark against him getting the Derby trip.
Arizona had an interesting season, looking hugely exciting, losing his way a little in the middle and then finishing strongly.
His size suggests that he is going to improve with time – a point that Seamie Heffernan endorsed after his excellent second in the Dewhurst Stakes.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained son of No Nay Never was an early two year-old runner, finishing second in early May behind Sunday Sovereign at the Curragh.
He returned to the Kildare track three weeks later for a maiden on Irish Guineas weekend and routed his rivals with a blistering 8-length defeat of King Of Athens.
That saw the colt book his place in the Group Two Coventry Stakes against 16 rivals, on rain-softened ground.
In a field containing the likes of Golden Horde, Well Of Wisdom, Ropey Guest and Royal Lytham, Arizona got up late on to beat Threat by ½ a length, with Guildsman a further neck back in third.
Royal Lytham would soon advertise the strength of the form by landing the Group Two July Stakes at Newmarket, while Threat would later win the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes and Champagne Stakes.
Arizona meanwhile, was not seen again for two months, returning in the Group One Prix Morny at Deauville, in heavy ground. He never travelled that day and trailed in 4 ¾ lengths behind Earthlight and seemingly not handling the ground.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien decided to step the colt up to seven furlongs for his next start, in the Group One National Stakes at the Curragh, in September.
Arizona raced prominently and held every chance with two furlongs to run, before Pinatubo swept by and careered away. He had no answer to the Godolphin colt, finishing 9 ¾ lengths behind him, but kept on well and was only just beaten for second by stable mate Armory. It was a performance that cast Arizona very much in the upper echelons of Ballydoyle’s armada of juvenile colts.
As Armory was aimed at ParisLongchamp, Arizona headed to the Dewhurst Stakes and a rematch with Pinatubo.
Also representing Ballydoyle was Wichita, but it was Arizona who cut out the running.
With two furlongs to run, Pinatubo was at work to reach Arizona’s withers and although he got past, Arizona put up a protracted fight and gave the Champion plenty to think about, pulling clear of the rest of the field.
At the line, Pinatubo had two lengths in hand of Arizona, some turnaround in previous form. It was 2 ¾ lengths back to Wichita in third.
Did Arizona improve? Did the soft ground bring Pinatubo back to his rival? Either way, Arizona has plenty of scope and in our opinion is likely to develop more over the winter than his great rival.
Either way, Arizona’s season was not yet over and he made the long trip to Southern California for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita.
As always, early track position was crucial and Arizona found himself towards the back of the pack on the home turn.
Arizona powered down the short home straight and eventually finished 1 ¾ lengths fifth to Structor. It was a run that had an element of misfortune and Arizona lost little in defeat.
Arizona’s US pedigree suggests that he will stay a mile but not much further. He could potentially have a good bit more improvement to come given his size and reminds us a little of another past O’Brien Coventry Stakes winner – Henrythenavigator, who appeared exposed after Royal Ascot, but returned the following year to dominate the Mile division. He is a horse with an impressive cv but remains one with huge potential.
Wichita had looked a nice prospect when winning on debut, by a head from Fiscal Rules, at the Curragh, in late August.
However, the son of No Nay Never was beaten fair and square when ½ a length second to the highly-regarded Molatham, in the Flying Scotsman Stakes at Doncaster, in September.
Aidan O’Brien sent the colt back to England later that month, for the Group Three Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket.
Taking on horses like Persuasion, Ropey Guest and Oh Purple Reign, Wichita looked a very different proposition.
From two furlongs out, Wichita led and then lengthened out of The Dip, pulling further clear.
At the line he beat Persuasion by seven lengths, proving he handled Newmarket’s Rowley Mile, with a performance which screamed Group One candidate.
Just over two weeks later he got his chance, with a crack at Pinatubo, in the Dewhurst Stakes. Racing against the stands rails might not have been the best track position, as he finished 4 ¾ lengths third to racing’s newest superstar and stable mate Arizona.
Wichita has plenty of experience of Newmarket now and O’Brien felt after the Dewhurst that there was no reason why his two colts couldn’t return to the Rowley Mile for the Guineas next spring, where better ground might just play to Wichita’s strengths.
Being out of a Dashing Blade mare, a mile is likely to be the optimum trip for Wichita.
Until late October, the only Group One race open to juvenile colts in England, Ireland and France, not won by Godolphin horses, was Siskin’s triumph in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes.
The Ger Lyons colt ended his campaign under a slight cloud, but unbeaten in four starts and a Group One winner to boot.
Not overly big, but beautifully put together, Siskin is a son of First Defence.
He made a winning debut when beating Harpocrates by 2 ¾ lengths at Naas, in early May.
Just 13 days later he looked a potentially smart colt when beating King Neptune by the same distance in the Listed Marble Hill Stakes at the Curragh.
Lyons elected to miss Royal Ascot and give Siskin more time after his second run. His next start came in late June in the Group Two Railway Stakes, where he faced a stern test in the shape of once-raced Monarch Of Egypt, who had created huge waves with an impressive debut win.
Siskin quickened in taking fashion and easily out-pointed the Aidan O’Brien runner by 2 ½ lengths, to take top rank among the early season juvenile colts.
After a break, Siskin was aimed at the Group One Keeneland Phoenix Stakes back at the Curragh, in early August.
Aidan O’Brien runners represented three of the four other runners, with the Ballydoyle trainer fielding July Stakes winner Royal Lytham and Monarch Of Egypt, who he reported to have improved since the Railway Stakes.
On unsuitably rain-softened ground, the result was the same, as Siskin asserted his authority to beat Monarch Of Egypt by ¾ of a length.
Lyons stated that a step up to seven furlongs for the National Stakes was a possibility, but at a late stage, Siskin was taken out and waited with, for the Group One Middle Park Stakes, over six furlongs, at Newmarket.
Siskin was a fascinating component to what was arguably the race line-up of the season. However, having entered the stalls, he became unruly and reared over, temporarily becoming trapped under the stalls. Thankfully he was released and appeared unscathed, but was withdrawn.
There remain a number of questions to be resolved subsequently.
Has he mentally recovered from that experience? How far will he stay? How good is his early season form? Certainly Monarch Of Egypt’s subsequent runs, whilst respectable, were not out of the top drawer.
Siskin has not raced over further than six furlongs and has a lot to prove if he is to prove a Guineas candidate. With his dam Bird Flown, a daughter of Oasis Dream, there is plenty of speed in this Juddmonte family. It would be no surprise to see Lyons take his time with Siskin next spring, to wait for better ground and prepare him for the Commonwealth Cup. There is a precedent, as Prince Khalid’s Calyx missed the Guineas and was trained for this year’s Commonwealth Cup before injury intervened.
Positive held solid form during 2019 and his trainer Clive Cox, very much felt he was going to make more of a three year-old.
The son of Dutch Art made a striking debut when slamming Hexagon by five lengths at Salisbury, in late June.
On the strength of that performance, a month later he was pitched into the Group Two Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, faring best of the rest behind Pinatubo, in finishing five lengths second, with quality horses like Lope Y Fernandez, Mystery Power, Visinari and Platinum Star behind him.
Hopes were high for Positive in the Group Three Solario Stakes at Sandown Park, at the end of August.
In the event, he had to work hard to defeat Kameko by a nose, with Al Suhail close-up in third, in a muddling finish.
However, that form took on a decidedly rosier look later in the year and Cox was delighted with Positive, who he was already describing as “next year’s horse”.
Even so, Positive was given one more outing at two – and was disappointing in the Group One Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, in early October.
On soft ground and coming out of the Dip, he failed to pick up and eventually came home 12 lengths sixth of nine to Pinatubo.
It was a flat run but there ought to be plenty more to come from him and the subsequent Group One victory of Kameko indicates that Positive is far from a back number. He is out of a Makfi mare and a mile should be his perfect trip in 2020. He holds an Irish Guineas entry and prove a smart miler.
Threat proved a smart horse and enjoyed a fine campaign which yielded two Group Two victories.
The Richard Hannon-trained son of Footstepsinthesand, made a big impression when beating Electrical Storm by 2 ¼ lengths in a minor contest at Newmarket’s Guineas Meeting, in early May.
Next stop was the Group Two Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, where Threat was ½ a length second to Arizona.
He was expected to make amends in the Group Two Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, at the beginning of August. However, on the day he found Golden Horde ¾ of a length too good.
Threat gained a deserved big race success when winning the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths from Lord Of The Lodge, at York.
In September, Hannon stepped Threat up to seven furlongs, for the Group Two Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.
He was held up and came through with a strong finish to defeat Royal Crusade by a neck.
Hannon then dropped his charge back down in distance for the six-furlong Group One Middle Park Stakes.
However, Threat never really got involved and was a somewhat lacklustre 3 ¼ lengths fifth of 8 to Earthlight and old rival Golden Horde.
That final start may have been one race too many at the end of a long campaign and Hannon retains faith that Threat will stay a mile and is a Guineas horse.
Hannon also fielded Mums Tipple in the Middle Park Stakes and the latter is another prospective Guineas horse for 2020.
The son of Footstepsinthesand got off the mark at the first time of asking, when beating Molatham by a neck, at Ascot, in late July. The latter went on to frank the form with a Listed victory later in the year.
Mums Tipple was sent to York for his second start in a competitive 21-runner sales race. What followed was simply stunning – and one of the most vivid images of the season.
Mums Tipple simply annihilated his rivals, romping to an eleven-length success in a six-furlong contest on good ground.
It was a remarkable performance that had some harking back to Mill Reef’s Gimcrack Stakes victory almost 50 years before.
Was Mums Tipple a new wonder horse?
He earned an immediate elevation in class and duly lined-up for the Group One Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.
Having been up with the pace through the early stages, Mums Tipple faded to finish 4 ¾ lengths seventh of the eight runners, behind Earthlight.
It was a brutally disappointing let down, but it later transpired that Mums Tipple returned lame.
Hannon remains bullish about his Guineas prospects and being out of a Xaar mare, he should get a mile.
Mystery Power had looked a leading juvenile in high summer.
After defeating the useful Subjectivist by a length at Haydock Park, in late June, Hannon sent the son of No Nay Never to Newmarket’s July Festival.
The race chosen was the seven-furlong Group Two Superlative Stakes.
Mystery Power came with a strong finish up the hill to defeat Juan Elcano by a smooth length, with smart horses Ropey Guest and Year Of The Tiger further back.
Next up was the Group Two Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, where we were about to witness the arrival of Pinatubo.
Mystery Power, along with the rest of the field, couldn’t live with that horse and he eventually came home a disappointing 15 ½ lengths sixth of the seven runners.
Hannon gave his charge a break afterwards and when he did return, it was over the shorter six furlongs in the Group Two Mill Reef Stakes.
He had every chance two furlongs from home but was no match for the imposing Pierre Lapin, finishing 1 ½ lengths second of eight.
That was an encouraging return and put the Goodwood run in the past. So Hannon decided to have another crack at Pinatubo in the Group One Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, in early October.
But the result was the same as before – and he was 15 lengths behind the Godolphin colt, finishing seventh of the nine runners, on soft ground.
Mystery Power is out of a Haafhd mare and a mile should be no problem next season. The balance of his form suggests he is below top class, but he is a proven Pattern performer who could be effective at up to 1 ¼ miles.
Temple Of Heaven goes into the winter with a fine record of three victories from four starts.
The son of Iffraaj was an early juvenile runner for Richard Hannon, landing a Nottingham five-furlong contest in April.
He then headed to Newbury for that good conditions race over six, on Lockinge Stakes Day, defeating Fort Myers by a short head. At that stage he was arguably the leading juvenile colt seen.
However, things went wrong for Temple Of Heaven at Royal Ascot, as he trailed in 13th of 21 to Southern Hills, in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes, back over the minimum trip.
We didn’t see him again for four months and he return victorious in a Newcastle conditions races in late October, slamming Desert Safari by five lengths, back over six furlongs.
Temple Of Heaven does not have any Classic entries and a logical target looks to be the Commonwealth Cup in 2020.
Al Madhar is more of a dark horse and a very interesting colt from the Hannon team.
We only saw this son of Siyouni once – but he made a striking debut in an always informative maiden at Newmarket’s July Festival.
Al Madhar beat the highly-regarded, Pattern-class Al Suhail by a neck, with horses like Tsar, Kipling, Tammani and Eshaasy behind him that day.
He wasn’t seen out again, but looks a very interesting colt for 2020 if he comes to hand early in the spring. Al Madhar is out of a Galileo mare o ought to stay a mile well and could be effective up to 1 ¼ miles. He holds an Irish 2,000 Guineas entry and is a bright prospect.
Roger Varian has enjoyed a terrific 2019 campaign, with two Group One wins, Royal Ascot success and over a century of winners.
His juvenile filly Daahyeh takes high order in that category, but he also had a couple of smart two year-old colts.
Pierre Lapin falls into the “sky is the limit” category as a real dark horse – and has already demonstrated his immense talent with Group Two success in the Mill Reef Stakes.
This big, imposing colt, was an early two year-old runner for the Newmarket trainer, beating Visible Charm by 3 ½ lengths in a Haydock Park maiden, in late May, on good to firm ground.
Varian took his time with the promising son of Cappella Sansevero and held back any desire to run the colt at Royal Ascot.
Other big summer races came and went and still we did not see Pierre Lapin.
In fact, four months elapsed before Pierre Lapin headed to Newbury for the Group Two Mill Reef Stakes over six furlongs.
Against more exposed horses – including the Group Two winner Mystery Power, Pierre Lapin was something of a mystery horse, a big, raw, once-raced colt.
However, the engine was unquestionable as he quickened well on good to firm ground, to beat Mystery Power by 1 ½ lengths. The third home, Shadn, would later win the Group Two Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte.
Varian is keen to continue to take his time with Pierre Lapin and he remains a fascinating horse. His sire was best at sprint distances and the dam, Beatrix Potter, is out of July Cup winner Cadeaux Genereux, suggesting that the Commonwealth Cup and July Cup could be possible targets for 2020.
Molatham was another Varian colt to make his mark as a juvenile.
This son of exciting freshman sire Night Of Thunder, ran a hug race on debut when beaten a neck by Mums Tipple, in an Ascot maiden in late July.
The following month, both colts ran and won at York’s Ebor Festival. Mums Tipple firmly underlined the strength of the form with an 11-length demolition of a big field of horses in a sales race. It was a stunning performance that had some people reminiscing about Mill Reef on the Knavesmire.
That seemed to endorse Molatham’s credentials ahead of the Convivial Maiden Stakes, always a high class contest.
In the event, Molatham had to work hard to beat Celtic Art by a neck, but he progressed and got the job done.
The colt was out again in the not too distant future, in the five-runner, seven-furlong Listed Flying Scotsman Stakes, a race formerly won by Frankel.
Molatham came with a smooth run to outpoint Wichita by a comfortable ½ a length, with the likes of Visinari and Tomfre in arrears.
In the aftermath, both Varian and owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s racing manager Angus Gold, indicated that they thought Molatham was a prodigious talent.
The Dewhurst Stakes was mooted as his next target, but in the event, Molatham ran on Future Champions’ Day in the one-mile Autumn Stakes.
Earlier on the card, Tomfre had endorsed Molatham’s form, but the biggest compliment had been paid by Wichita, two weeks earlier, when that colt slammed Group Three rivals by seven lengths in the Tattersalls Stakes.
The portents were good for Molatham, as he stepped up in trip, however, rain-softened ground proved his undoing. He briefly threatened to get involved, but then flattened out, unable to quicken, finishing 7 ¾ lengths fourth of 8 to Military March and Al Suhail.
Straight after the race, Varian affirmed the notion that he thought the ground had probably been to Molatham’s detriment. He later suggested that a Guineas bid was not completely blown out of the water.
Molatham is out of a Pivotal mare, so a mile should be no problem and he will probably stay 1 ¼ miles in time and remains a bright prospect.
So what do we make of Military March? His profile is understandably somewhat in the shadow of other Godolphin juveniles in what has been an exceptional year for the operation.
Saeed Bin Suroor commented that he felt he had his best batch of juveniles for some time this year.
This son of New Approach, out of the brilliant race mare Punctilious, made a good impression when winning a maiden on the July Course in late July, by 1 ¼ lengths from Jacksonian.
He was not seen out again until the Group Three Autumn Stakes on the Rowley Mile, in early October.
This time, Military March stepped up in trip to a mile, on soft ground.
His stamina came into play in testing conditions, as he became embroiled in an epic battle with Al Suhail.
The pair pulled clear of a classy field, including Molatham, Ropey Guest and the previously unbeaten Cherokee Trail.
Al Suhail refused to knuckle under, but in the final half a furlong, Military March wore down his rival to win by ½ a length, with the pair seven lengths clear of Ropey Guest.
Military March does not hold any major entries for 2020 but Bin Suroor feels he could develop into a Group One colt.
Al Suhail was very much a talking horse ahead of his Newmarket debut in July – and he certainly proved up to Pattern class during the rest of the season.
The son of Dubawi ran well on his bow to be beaten just a neck by Al Madhar, with talented horses like Tsar and Tammani in behind.
Al Suhail built on that debut to win a Great Yarmouth contest by four lengths from Imperial Empire, a month later.
That saw Charlie Appleby step him up in class for the Group Three Solario Stakes at Sandown Park, at the beginning of September.
He acquitted himself well to finish a length third to Positive and Kameko.
We only saw Al Suhail once more, as he stepped up to a mil for the Group Three Autumn Stakes at Newmarket.
It was a compelling race and Al Suhail and Military March drew clear of their rivals in an enthralling battle through the final quarter mile. At the line Military March just out-lasted his rival by ½ a length on soft ground, with the pair seven lengths clear of Ropey Guest and Molatham.
Al Suhail holds entries in the 2020 Irish 2,000 Guineas and Irish Derby. He is out of a Shirocco mare and as such, could be more effective from 1 ¼ miles upwards. He could also be open to more improvement on pedigree, having already shown considerable ability.
Aidan O’Brien’s record in the Group Two Beresford Stakes is impressive, but the winners have had mixed future records.
Innisfree became the trainer’s 18th winner of the race and follows in the hoofprints of the likes of Saratoga Springs, Septimus, Eagle Mountain, St Nicholas Abbey, Capri, Saxon Warrior and Japan.
The son of Galileo ran a promising race on debut, when finishing 4 ½ lengths second of 8 to stable mate Year Of The Tiger, in a Naas maiden, in early July.
Towards the end of that month, he got off the mark when defeating Shekhem by a neck, in a Galway maiden, over seven furlongs.
Two months later, the pair locked horns again, on heavy ground and over a mile, in the Beresford, at the Curragh.
Shekhem attempted to make all, but Innisfree stayed on well and gradually overhauled him, beating his rival once again by a neck.
The colt was then sent to the Group One Vertem Futurity Stakes – re-routed to Newcastle’s Tapeta track, when Doncaster was abandoned.
In the event, Innisfree came out best of his stable’s five runners in the Futurity – finishing 3 ¼ lengths second to Kameko and just winning the scramble for the minor places from Year Of The Tiger and Mogul.
The form may not be world-beating at this stage, but Innisfree gives the impression he is very much a work in progress.
That he was able to win a Group Two contest at two, is a sign of his ability and perhaps something of a bonus. He looks a potential Derby and middle distance colt for next year.
Mogul has been quietly brought along and is another Aidan O’Brien horse who could have Group One and Classic pretensions.
The son of Galileo ran 5 ½ lengths second of 10 behind Geometrical in a Gowran Park maiden in mid-August.
A couple of weeks later, he looked to have progressed, when handing out a 3 ½ length defeat to the useful Shekhem, at the Curragh.
Mogul then headed to the Group Two KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown, on Irish Champions Weekend. This is a race O’Brien has targeted with some of his best juveniles down the years.
Mogul did not let him down, running on strongly in the final quarter of a mile to defeat the useful Sinawann by 1 ¼ lengths.
He looked to be well on top at the end and being out of a Danehill mare, one can envisage Mogul entering the Derby mix next spring.
He was earmarked for the Group One Vertem Futurity Stakes at Doncaster – and when that meeting was called off, was re-routed to the race at Newcastle, on the Tapeta.
Track position perhaps played its part and Kameko had flown with Mogul never really threatening, although he was in the mix for the minor placings, eventually finishing fourth, beaten around 3 ¾ lengths by the winner and narrowly behind stable mates Innisfree and Year Of The Tiger.
When Royal Dornoch landed the Group Two Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket, it was seen by many as a surprise.
But Aidan O’Brien has a track record for stepping horses up in trip and eking out improvement and the son of Gleneagles had run well in Group races as a maiden.
He had needed his debut run and on his third start, over an inadequate six-furlongs, finished 3 ¾ lengths third to Golden Horde in the Group Three Richmond Stakes at Goodwood. That underlined Royal Dornoch’s latent talent.
O’Brien then pitched him into Group One competition in a hot renewal of the Prix Morny over six – and he failed to shine in Deauville’s heavy ground in August, finishing well behind Earthlight.
In early September, Royal Dornoch was dropped in class but stepped up to seven-furlongs to land a Gowran Park maiden by ½ a length from Edward Hopper.
Ten days later, he stepped up to Group Two level in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster – and whilst finished last of the five runners, he was only beaten 4 ¾ lengths by Threat.
A fortnight on and he moved up to a mile for the Royal Lodge and showed stamina to be his forte. Royal Dornoch hit the front with just over a quarter of a mile to race, handled the Dip well and kept on gamely to hold off Kameko by a neck, with Iberia and Year Of The Tiger further back.
He is entered in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and the Derby next year and being out of a Danehill Dancer mare, it is touch and go whether he will quite get the trip in the latter.
Kameko well and truly franked the Royal Lodge Stakes form on his final start of the campaign and looks an exciting talent for Andrew Balding, going into 2020.
The son of Kitten’s Joy got off the mark in good fashion at Sandown Park in late July, beating It’s Good To Laugh by ½ length.
Just over a month later, he returned to Esher for the Group Three Solario Stakes and was just beaten by a nose by Positive, with Al Suhail a length further back.
It was a race of huge promise, against a horse with proven Group form.
Nearly a month later, Kameko lined-up for the Group Two Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket. He looked set for victory, but was denied by the tenacity of Royal Dornoch, going down to a neck defeat.
However, Kameko looked a very different prospect in the Group One Vertem Futurity Stakes at Newcastle, in early November.
Originally he was the sole British-trained representative in the line-up scheduled for Doncaster. But when that meeting was abandoned, the race was re-scheduled and the entries re-opened.
In the event, Kameko faced ten rivals on the Tapeta, over a mile. Once again, the bulk of the opposition was fielded by Aidan O’Brien, including the Group Two winners Innisfree and Mogul, plus Year Of The Tiger and New World Tapestry. The field also included the impressive Newmarket maiden winner Kinross, Listed Deauville winner Tammani and John Gosden’s Verboten.
But they were all playing second fiddle to Kameko, who seized control from two furlongs out and drew right away, looking in a different league to his rivals.
He crossed the line an easy 3 ½ lengths clear of Innisfree, with a performance that had the wow factor.
It looked to the naked eye as though Kameko had come on significantly for the Royal Lodge run and will be interesting to see what the plans are for Kameko next spring.
Jockey Oisin Murphy suggested afterwards that Newmarket’s Dip may not have fully suited Kameko, while the flat track at Newcastle certainly did. So a Guineas bid is not a foregone conclusion. There is plenty of reason to believe that 1 ¼ miles will be his optimum trip – that other son of Kitten’s Joy, Roaring Lion, seemed to improve for that trip. So perhaps a trip to the Prix du Jockey Club could be on the cards for Kameko in 2020.
Golden Horde enjoyed a fine season and looks to be another smart sprinting prospect for Clive Cox, who certainly knows the time of day with precocious talents.
The son of July Cup winner Lethal Force, ran fourth of 12 to Light Angel on debut at Newbury, in mid-May.
Later that month he impressed in slamming Indian Creak by 4 ½ lengths at Windsor, setting up a visit to Royal Ascot.
Cox chose the Group Two Coventry Stakes at the Royal Meeting and Golden Horde ran well to come home two-lengths fifth of 17 behind Arizona and Threat.
He gained his revenge on Threat with a battling ¾ of a length victory in the Group Two Richmond Stakes at Goodwood.
Later in August, Golden Horde took part in a thrilling contest for the Group One Prix Morny, at Deauville. With three Royal Ascot winners in the field, Golden Horde fared well to come home 2 ¾ lengths third of eight behind Earthlight and the filly Raffle Prize – with old adversary Arizona, in arrears.
Golden Horde had one more run in 2019 – and got a lot closer to Earthlight in the Group One Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket, in late September.
The pair fought out the finish to a contest that also included Threat, Mums Tipple, King Neptune, Monarch Of Egypt, Lope Y Fernandez and Summer Sands – and Golden Horde went down by just a neck to the French colt.
That run underlined Golden Horde’s credentials and he looks a likely candidate for the Commonwealth Cup and July Cup next year.
Cox may have another genuine contender for those races in the shape of Streamline.
The son of Due Diligence finished 2019 with three victories from four starts, culminating in his win at Group Three level.
He got off the mark when defeating Fanzone by ½ a length at Bath, in July.
In early August he was an emphatic winner of a minor Kempton Park contest, beating Force Of Impact by 3 ¾ lengths over five furlongs.
Those performances saw Streamline stepped up to Listed company in the Roses Stakes, at York, in late August. He ran a commendable race to come home a length third of 12 behind Alligator Alley.
Perhaps Cox felt that the Knavesmire five furlongs was just on the sharp side for his charge, as his final run of the year saw him step up to six furlongs for the Group Three Sirenia Stakes, at Kempton Park, in early September.
He took the move with aplomb, defeating Oh Purple Reign by a length.
Being out of a Compton Place mare, Streamline should be in his element at six furlongs and is an interesting horse.
Summer Sands caused something of a shock for many people, when finishing a close third in the Middle Park, at odds of 100/1.
However, Richard Fahey clearly had plenty of faith in the son of Coach House, who a week later would frank the form.
Having finished third to Bomb Proof at York in May, Summer Sands got off the mark with a ½ a length defeat of Oh Purple Reign, at Beverley, in early June.
He ran a fine race in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot, coming home two-lengths sixth of 21 to Southern Hills.
After a break of a couple of months, Fahey stepped Summer Sands up to six furlongs for the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes at York and he was six lengths fifth of 12 behind Threat.
A month later, he confounded his odds with a terrific effort in the Group One Middle Park Stakes, finishing two lengths third to Earthlight and Golden Horde, with a number of highly-regarded horses behind him, including old rival Threat.
He consolidated his reputation a week later, when impressively beating Troubador by 2 ¾ lengths in the Listed Redcar Two Year Old Trophy, on heavy ground.
Summer Sands has plenty of speed but perhaps his best performances came with a little give in the ground. He could be a contender for spring races like the Sandy Lane Stakes and then on to the Commonwealth Cup.
Monarch Of Egypt started his career in sensational fashion, making a splash around the world as the first American Pharoah horse to hit the track – and the manner of his victory suggested there was a whole lot more to follow.
In truth, Monarch Of Egypt’s subsequent runs have proved somewhat disappointing and he was well beaten in the Middle Park Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes. However, O’Brien was not afraid to pitch him into Group One contests and it could be that he is showing more at home and could yet improve.
Another son of Gleneagles to make his mark was Royal Lytham – and his form reads well.
The Ballydoyle youngster was a first-time out winner, at a time when many of his juvenile stable mates needed their first run.
He beat Dark Vader by ¾ of a length in a Navan maiden in early June – and perhaps the Coventry Stakes came too soon afterwards for him, as he ran a respectable 3 ¾ lengths seventh of 17 to stable mate Arizona.
Royal Lytham underlined his ability next time out with a narrow victory in the Group Two July Stakes at Newmarket, beating Platinum Star by a short head, with a neck back to Visinari in third. Guildsman, who had finished ahead of him in the Coventry Stakes, was further back this time.
Royal Lytham was then seen in the Group One Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh, in early August, running a super race to finish a length third behind Siskin, on his first attempt on soft ground.
Whilst his form was against early season horses, Royal Lytham stood up well against the best of those and could be open to more improvement when he steps up in trip. Like Royal Dornoch, Royal Lythem is entered in the Irish Guineas and the Derby next season.
The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Highest Ground went into many notebooks following an eye-catching and eventful debut at Leicester, in late September.
The son of Frankel completely blew the start in the seven-furlong contest, losing several lengths.
Ryan Moore took his time and switched Highest Ground across the track and gradually, he worked his way into contention.
Late on, Highest Ground his top stride and was in front before the furlong pole, drawing away, the further he went. At the line, he was 2 ¾ lengths clear of Macho Boy and will have learned plenty.
It was a performance that impressed most onlookers and with more experience, he is another colt for whom the sky appears to be the limit.
Highest Ground is out of a Sunday Silence mare and should have no problem staying 1 ¼ miles, with the Derby a reasonable target with progression.
Sir Michael will surely take his time with this colt and will not step him up in class until he feels he has sufficient experience and maturity.
Aidan O’Brien of course has strength in depth amongst his juveniles and inevitably, some of these are going to emerge from the shadows to become well-known three year-olds.
Among these could be New World Tapestry, who only got off the mark at the third attempt, but had run well against some of his yard’s best two year-olds before then.
The son of War Front ran 10 ½ lengths third of 9 to Arizona on debut, in a Curragh maiden in late May.
A month later, at the same track, he bumped into Armory, finishing 2 ¾ lengths fourth of 11. Given what that colt went on to do, that suggested New World Tapestry is above average.
We didn’t see New World Order again for three months and when he returned, it was in a competitive looking Newmarket maiden over seven furlongs.
The colt looked more grown up as he beat Colour Image by ¾ of a length.
He made a quick reappearance in the Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy at Newcastle, in early November.
He was up with the pace and briefly led with two furlongs to run, before fading to finish eighth behind Kameko. That might have been a step too far and too soon with hindsight and we would expect to see plenty of improvement next spring, although he may be better on a sound surface.
Fort Myers proved a colt of great consistency who ran eight times, mainly in Pattern company – and was never out of the first four.
The son of War Front won on debut at Dundalk, in late April.
He then headed to Newbury a month later for a valuable conditions race over six-furlongs, finishing a short head second to the useful Temple Of Heaven.
Fort Myers lost little in defeat in the Group Two Coventry Stakes, finishing 1 ¾ lengths fourth of 17 to stable mate Arizona.
Just eleven days later he was out again, running 4 ¾ lengths third of 5 behind Siskin, in the Group Two Railway Stakes at the Curragh.
After a break, Fort Myers returned to action in the Group Three Round Tower Stakes, also at the Curragh. He again put up a solid performance to come home 1 ½ lengths third of 12 to stable mate Lope Y Fernandez.
A couple of weeks later, Fort Myers stepped up to seven furlongs in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster. He again acquitted himself with credit, leading early on and keeping on to finish 1 ½ lengths fourth to Threat.
In early October, Fort Myers returned to the all-weather for a Listed contest over seven furlongs, beating the useful Justifier by a length.
A month later, he accompanied Arizona to the Grade One Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita, holding a good position throughout the early part of the race and keeping on at the finish. He had a rough passage late on and eventually finished seventh, beaten less than three lengths by Structor and within ¾ of a length of his stable mate.
Fort Myers is unbeaten on the all-weather and his overall level of form marks him out as a smart prospect.
It will be interesting to see if O’Brien considers a North American campaign with this colt in 2020.
Lope Y Fernandez was in mid-summer, one of the leading juvenile colts seen out from the Aidan O’Brien stable and got closer than many to Pinatubo.
The son of Lope De Vega made an eye-catching debut to land a Curragh maiden in early June, beating Kipling by 3 ¾ lengths over seven furlongs.
On the strength of that run, O’Brien sent him to the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot, where he put up a resolute battle with Pinatubo, only wilting late on to finish 3 ¼ lengths second of 14.
That raised high hopes that Lope Y Fernandez might be top drawer and he duly took on the Godolphin colt in the Group Two Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.
However, this time the outcome was disappointing and he had no answer to Pinatubo’s blistering turn of foot, finishing ten lengths adrift in third.
A month later, O’Brien dropped Lope Y Fernandez to six furlongs for the Group Three Round Tower Stakes at the Curragh.
Racing over this trip for the first time, Lope Y Fernandez revelled in the good to yielding conditions and beat Guildsman by a comfortable 1 ½ lengths, with stable mate Fort Myers further behind.
Lope Y Fernandez clearly seemed to enjoy the drop in trip and O’Brien sent him to Newmarket for the Group One Middle Park Stakes and an exciting clash with the likes of Earthlight, Golden Horde, Mums Tipple and Threat.
But in the event, Lope Y Fernandez seemed a little one-paced at this level over six – keeping on to finish 3 ½ lengths sixth of 8 to Earthlight.
It was far from a disastrous run and throughout the year, there were hints that there might be more to come. Lope Y Fernandez is out of a Dansili mare and ought to stay a mile next season.
The sensationally-bred Year Of The Tiger is by Galileo, out of the Group One winner Tiggy Wiggy.
After running a promising second to Lil Grey on debut, Year Of The Tiger was pitched into the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot, finishing 8 ¾ lengths seventh of 14 to Pinatubo.
A couple of weeks later, in early July, he put his racecourse experience to good use by trouncing subsequent Group Two winner Innisfree by 4 ¾ lengths, in a Naas maiden.
However, a week later, at Newmarket, he ran too bad to be true when tailed off behind Mystery Power, in the Group Two Superlative Stakes.
Year Of The Tiger was not seen again until late September, when he stepped up to a mile in the Group Two Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket.
In the event, he kept on well to finish four lengths fourth of 7 to stable mate Royal Dornoch.
A fortnight later, Year Of The Tiger returned to the Rowley Mile for the Group One Dewhurst Stakes, running with credit to finish 6 ¾ lengths fourth of 9 to Pinatubo, on arguably unsuitable ground.
Year Of The Tiger was not quite done for the year and reappeared in the Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy at Newcastle, in early November.
He kept on well to finish 3 ½ lengths third to Kameko and Innisfree, just ahead of Mogul.
The last two races underline the regard for Year Of The Tiger at Ballydoyle and he closed the gap on Pinatubo from their earlier race.
Whilst his form is not sensational, Year Of The Tiger mixed it with the best in 2019 and is open to more improvement. There are Pattern races to be won with him in 2020, whether that is in Ireland and the UK, or further afield, will be interesting to see.
With eight starts in 2019, Harpocrates appears exposed, but put in some fine performances.
The son of Invincible Spirit won just the once, but got within seven lengths of Pinatubo at Royal Ascot and 3 ¼ lengths of Siskin at the Curragh. His best run came when he finished a neck second to Valdermoro in the Group Three Acomb Stakes at York. On pedigree, he should improve for middle distances in 2020.
King Neptune is another who gained lots of experience, with nine races. The son of War Front won on debut but failed to add any more victories. His best subsequent efforts came when he finished 2 ½ lengths second to Siskin in the Listed Marble Hill Stakes in May – and 2 ½ lengths fourth to Earthlight, in the Group One Middle Park Stakes. King Neptune made much of the running on that occasion and kept on well. He should be effective at up to a mile next in 2020.
Santiago built well on his experience to win at the third time of asking. The son of Authorized ran second on debut to Howling Wolf and filled the same position behind the smart Alpine Star (beaten 3 ¼ lengths) at Galway, in August.
He got off the mark with a 1 ¼ length defeat of Sunchart at Listowel, in early September.
Out of a Cape Cross mare, he will stay a mile well and could develop into a useful horse over 1 ¼ miles.
Louisiana ran with great promise on his first three starts and got off the mark on his next run.
The son of Galileo, out of a Danehill Dancer mare, ran third to Geometrical on debut. He was then 2 ¾ lengths second to Shekhem, who subsequently ran well at Group level.
In late September, Louisiana ran well when ½ a length second of 19 to the smart looking Pablo Diablo.
He lost his maiden tag when beating In From The Cold by 4 ¾ lengths at Thurles, in October.
Cormorant is another who could take a big step up from two to three.
The son of Kingman looked in need of his debut start when 6 ½ lengths fourth of 8 to Free Solo, in a Leopardstown maiden in late July.
He returned there in early August to beat Agitare by a short head.
O’Brien stepped him up notably for his final start of the campaign, in the Group Two KPMG Champions Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown, over Irish Champions Weekend.
In the event, Cormorant ran an OK race, leading to 1 ½ furlongs from home, when stable mate Mogul took over. He came home 4 ¾ lengths fifth.
Cormorant is out of a Dansili mare and looks like he will excel at around 10-furlongs. He was not given a hard campaign and raced on all three starts over a mile.
Southern Hills looked a very smart colt in the early summer, but was not seen after winning at Royal Ascot.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained son of Gleneagles was a well-beaten last of five behind Siskin on debut.
He came on for that run to finish a neck second of 6 to Air Force Jet at Navan, at the start of June.
Southern Hills then headed to Royal Ascot for the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes. He put up a super performance over the five furlongs, defeating Platinum Star by ½ a length.
That was the last time we saw Southern Hills and intriguingly he holds a Derby entry in 2020, having not raced over further than six furlongs.
His speed suggests that the Commonwealth Cup might be a more viable option but he has clearly had his problems.
San Pedro’s first two starts didn’t give many pointers to his ability, but he put it all together impressively on his final start of 2019.
The son of Gleneagles was unplaced behind Royal Lytham on his debut in early June, over 5 ½ furlongs.
O’Brien backed off him thereafter and he was not seen out again until mid-October, when, racing over a mile, he was 6 ½ lengths fourth of 13 to Celtic High King in a Leopardstown maiden.
Returning to the same venue a week later, San Pedro took his rivals apart with an emphatic performance, beating Joven by 5 ½ lengths and looking very progressive.
O’Brien had him back in action in early November, when he took part in the Group Three Horris Hills Stakes, re-routed to Newmarket.
However, the colt dropped right away into the Dip and the combination of the course, heavy ground and three races in quick succession, may have taken their toll in a competitive heat.
He is out of a Lawman mare and holds a Derby entry. It would be no surprise to see him lining up in a Derby trial in the spring.
Kenzai Warrior goes into 2020 with an unbeaten record intact and the Qipco 2,000 Guineas firmly in his sights.
In 2018, trainer Roger Teal trained Tip Two Win to finish second to Saxon Warrior in the Guineas; he is dreaming of going one place better with this son of Karakontie.
It was early Septmeber when Kenzai Warrior made his debut – beating subsequent Listed winner Max Vega by a neck at Salisbury.
He was not seen out again until early November, when he took on more experienced rivals in the Group Three Horris Hill Stakes at Newmarket, on heavy ground.
Kenzai Warrior handled the conditions and the track well to get up late on and defeat Ropey Guest by ½ a length.
It was a performance that delighted his trainer and having proven he handles Newmarket and is Group class, the Guineas looks the natural target in the spring.
Ropey Guest is already building a public following for his exploits – and it remains an enigma and something of an injustice that he remains a maiden.
The George Margarson-trained son of Cable Bay had ten starts, finishing in the first four on seven occasions.
But it was the level of race that he competed in, that delivered notable prize money and underlined him to be a serious colt.
He started out finishing last of seven to Oh Purple Reign at Nottingham, in late May. Later that month he was 2 ½ lengths fourth to Boccaccio in a minor Yarmouth contest.
Those runs belied the belief Margarson had in his charge and his performance in the Coventry Stakes, when finishing 2 ½ lengths sixth of 17 to Arizona, fully vindicated that faith.
In July, Margarson stepped Ropey Guest up to seven furlongs – and he again acquitted himself well in finishing fourth of 8 to Mystery Power, in the Group Two Superlative Stakes at Newmarket.
On King George afternoon, Ropey Guest again showed his talent in the Listed Winkfield Stakes at Ascot, coming home 2 ¾ lengths third of six to Al Dabaran.
A month later he was in the Group Three Acomb Stakes at York, finishing 2 ¾ lengths third of nine to Valdermoro.
For all of his fine efforts in Pattern company, Ropey Guest remained a maiden.
He was expected to break that hoodoo in a minor Ascot contest in September, but arguably ran his worst race since his debut, in finishing 3 ½ lengths fifth of eight – albeit to the useful Cherokee Trail.
From then onwards, Ropey Guest only ran in Group Three contests, running well to finish 8 ¼ lengths third of six to Wichita in the Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket, in late September.
He tackled a mile for the first time, in the Autumn Stakes, at the same venue, on Future Champions Day. Whilst Military March and Al Suhail had the race between them, Ropey Guest was best of the rest and stayed on for third.
He had one more contest in 2019 – and came agonisingly close to victory.
Despite his long season, Ropey Guest maintained his level of form and with a furlong to run, looked set to break his maiden in the Group Three Horris Hill Stakes. However, late on, Kenzai Warrior came on the scene to deny him by ½ a length.
It was an amazing campaign in many ways and Ropey Guest not only showed durability and ground versatility, but an ability to mix it at a high level.
He is simply too good to not win races and being out of an Oratorio mare, could get 1 ¼ miles in time. Margarson has trained placed horses in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas before and it would be no shock to see Ropey Guest running a big race on the Rowley Mile next spring.
Joseph O’Brien enjoyed another hugely successful year and in Desgraves, looks to have a colt with Classic potential for 2020.
The son of Camelot ran fourth of 19 to Lady Jane Wilde on debut, at the Curragh, in early August.
A couple of weeks later he ran in a similar contest and finished 2 ¾ lengths third of 16 to the useful Sinawann.
After a little break, Desgraves got off the mark at Navan in early October, beating Chiricahua by 2 ½ lengths.
O’Brien gave his charge one more start, in Leopardstown’s Group Three Eyrefield Stakes over 9-furlongs.
Desgraves showed a nice turn of foot to go on with a furlong to race and held off the late charge of Persia by ½ a length, with the useful Justifier back in third.
He is out of a Danehill Dancer mare and should be at his best over 10-12 furlongs.
Gravity Force ran a belter in the Horris Hill Stakes, coming home 4 ½ lengths fourth to Kenzai Warrior.
The Karl Burke-trained son of Fountain Of Youth was a promising 1 ½ lengths second to Ascension on his racecourse debut, at Newcastle, in early September.
He built on that run to defeat El Naseri by ½ a length at Ayr, later in the month.
Gravity Force encountered heavy ground at Redcar in early October and finished a length second to Embolden.
Once again the ground was heavy when he headed to Newmarket for the Horris Hill, but he ran a fine race.
Gravity Force showed a good level of consistency and should be effective over a mile.
There were signs that the French juvenile colts might have more strength in depth in 2019, than in previous years.
Ecrivain looked a smart prospect and lost little in defeat on his final run.
The Carlos Laffon-Parias trained son of Lope De Vega, landed a Deauville contest in late August by a head from Legende D’Art.
In early September he headed to ParisLongchamp for the Group Three Prix des Chenes, showing his class to defeat Hopeful by a length, with Al Dabaran ½ a length back in third.
That set Ecrivain up for a tilt at the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc Day at the Paris track.
Encountering very soft ground, he ran on well to finish with the leading pack, just a length down on Victor Ludorum, in finishing fourth.
Ecrivain is out of a Danehill Dancer mare and the French Guineas and Prix du Jockey Club must come into calculations for 2020.
Mkfancy seemed to improve with each run and landed a Group One for Pia Brandt at the end of the season.
The son of Makfi ran a promising race on debut to finish 5 ¼ lengths third of eleven to subsequent Group One winner Victor Ludorum, in September at ParisLongchamp.
He got off the mark next time out with a 3-length defeat of Firstman in a Saint-Cloud maiden at the end of the month.
A month later, he showed stamina to be his forte, as he outstayed Arthur’s Kingdom to land the Group One Criterium de Saint-Cloud, over 1 ¼ miles in heavy ground, by three lengths.
Mkfancy looks to be a Derby candidate and it will be interesting to see if connections favour the shorter Prix du Jockey Club or bring their horse to Epsom over 1 ½ miles.
Former Champion Jockey Richard Hughes has been waiting a long time for a potential Group star among his stables and in Brentford Hope there is cause for real excitement.
The son of Camelot was pitched into a good looking Newmarket maiden in late October, on soft ground, over 1 ¼ miles.
Coming out of the Dip, there was the extraordinary sight of Jamie Spencer, sat motionless on the inside, as his rivals were all under pressure.
Brentford Hope travelled smoothly and with beautiful balance and it was just a question of when Spencer asked him the question. He sat patiently, in classic Spencer style – and when he finally asked he mount, the response was eye-catching.
With the minimum of effort, Brentford Hope pulled five lengths clear of Princess Bride in exciting fashion.
Hughes could not contain his enthusiasm afterwards and admitted he had ridden the colt at home.
Clearly stamina is not an issue and there is a big engine in place. Brentford Hope is out of a Ravens Pass mare and he ought to stay 1 ½ miles well and could develop into a Derby candidate. He holds an Irish Derby entry at this stage.
A’Ali proved one of the speediest juveniles around during 2019 and put together a fine sequence of runs which eventually took him to Santa Anita and the Breeders’ Cup.
The Simon Crisford-trained son of Society Rock is out of a Motivator mare and in theory, ought to be more effective over further.
However, he came to hand early and had an abundance of speed, winning at Ripon on debut in early June.
Just over a fortnight later, he landed the Group Two Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot by a neck from Ventura Rebel.
A month later, Crisford sent his charge to Deauville and he duly landed the Group Two Prix Robert Papin by ¾ lengths from My Love’s Passion.
To that point, unbeaten in all three starts, including two Group Two races, A’Ali had pretensions to be the leading juvenile of the year.
In August that theory was put to the test in a heavy ground renewal of the Group One Prix Morny at Deauville. Stepping up to six furlongs, A’Ali’s speed was blunted and he came home five lengths fifth of eight to Earthlight.
Contrasting ground met A’Ali in September at Doncaster, as he readily defeated Dream Shot by a length in the Group Two Flying Childers Stakes.
That booked his place in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint in early November. However, as is often the case for European juveniles in these contests, he was towards the rear from an early stage and never a factor, eventually finishing 5 ¾ lengths tenth of 12 to Four Wheel Drive.
All of A’Ali’s victories came over no further than 5 ½ furlongs although as already stated, on pedigree he should get further. The Temple Stakes, Commonwealth Cup, King George V Stakes and Nunthorpe look likely races for him in 2020.
The Joseph O’Brien-trained Alligator Alley took on A’Ali a couple of times and was another to finish down the field in that Breeders’ Cup contest.
The son of Kingman took a couple of runs before the penny dropped and landed a Navan maiden in mid-July.
That saw O’Brien send Alligator Alley to Goodwood for the Group Three Molecomb Stakes, where he ran a belter to finish a length second of 13 to the smart filly Liberty Beach.
In late August he headed to York and won the Listed Roses Stakes by a length from Dr Simpson, proving he was one of the fastest two year-olds around.
However, he failed to fire in the Group Two Flying Childers Stakes in September and was beaten five lengths by A’Ali, before disappointing in Santa Anita.
Alligator Alley is out of a Cape Cross mare and whilst he raced over no further than six furlongs – and showed his best form over five in 2019, there is no reason why he couldn’t step up in trip in 2020.
Plenty went wrong for Tsar on debut in a competitive maiden at Newmarket’s July Festival.
He eventually finished 2 ¼ lengths fourth of 14 to Al Madhar and Al Suhail, having been very slowly away, before making headway late on.
At the Newmarket Open Weekend, when pressed for a juvenile name to look out for, Lord Grimthorpe, representing owner Prince Khalid Abdullah, nominated Tsar.
The son of Kingman was not seen for virtually two months, returning to action on the Newcastle all-weather in early October.
Whilst taking time to get into his stride, Tsar lengthened well before holding off the late challenge of Glenties by ½ a length at Newcastle.
He is out of a King’s Best mare and is likely to be effective at a mile to 1 ¼ miles. John Gosden had taken his time with him and with no Classic entries, he could be one to note for Royal Ascot.
Tammani had a good first season and wherever the ground comes up soft, looks to be a real threat.
The William Haggas-trained son of Make Believe was pitched in at the deep end in a high-class maiden at Newmarket’s July Festival, finishing eighth to Al Madhar on debut.
He stepped up for that experience to beat Riot by a neck at Sandown Park towards the end of July.
After a break, Tammani was pitched into Listed level at Haydock Park, over a mile, running 2 ½ lengths third of 8 behind Pyledriver.
In late September, Tammani headed to Chantilly for the Group Three Prix de Conde. A sprint finish did not play to his strengths but he was a creditable ¾ of a length fourth of six to Hopeful and Al Dabaran.
Tammani built on that run and in late October returned to France to win a Listed mile contest at Deauville, by a dominant four lengths from Celtic Art, in heavy ground.
It was an eye-catching performance and when the Vertem Futurity Trophy was re-opened and contested at Newcastle, Haggas put Tammani in the race.
Tammani travelled well in the race and had every opportunity with a quarter of a mile to race, but like the rest of the field, had no answer when Kameko burst onto the scene – and eventually faded to finish a well-beaten ninth.
Perhaps that run – at a higher level, came too soon after France – and maybe the heavy ground victory took more out of Tammani than first thought.
Even so, he seemed to progress for each run and certainly looks a Group standard colt.
Ralph Beckett enjoyed a terrific end to the turf season, with his juveniles making good strides.
Chief among these was the impressive Listed Zetland Stakes winner Max Vega.
The son of Lope De Vega was not seen out until early September, when finishing a neck second to Kenzai Warrior in a Salisbury contest. That form by the end of the season, looked very smart.
Max Vega made no mistake on his second run, defeating She’s A Unicorn by an emphatic six lengths at Pontefract, in late September.
Just over two weeks later, Becket stepped his charge up from a mile to 1 ¼ miles for the Zetland, at Newmarket.
Soft ground proved no problem in what proved a test of stamina – and inside the final furlong, Max Vega drew clear to win as he liked, by three lengths from the filly Miss Yoda.
Max Vega looked all about stamina that day – and being out of a Dalakhani mare, the Derby trip and some ease in the ground should all be in his favour.
If he strengthens up over the winter and comes to hand in the spring, he looks an interesting Derby prospect. Beckett has often run his Epsom Classic hopefuls at Lingfield in May and it would be no surprise if that was the case with Max Vega.
Kinross looks a terrific prospect for 2020 and did his reputation no harm in finishing fifth in the Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy at Newcastle.
The son of Kingman is beautifully-bred, out of a Selkirk mare.
He made a brilliant debut when landing a Newmarket contest by 8 lengths from Raaeb, in early October.
Beckett had the option to test his inexperienced colt in the Group Three Horris Hill Stakes at Newmarket, a month later. Instead, he pitched him into the Group One race and Kinross showed great promise to finish 6 ¼ lengths fifth to Kameko.
What was really pleasing was how he finished behind more experienced, proven Group runners – and the first five were well clear of the rest.
Kinross looks to have a big future and could be a Guineas horse if he comes to hand early in the season.
Tomfre seemed to thrive for his racing and ran seven times in 2019, winning on four occasions and seeming particularly effective at Newmarket.
The son of Cable Bay won on three occasions at Newmarket; a novice contest and two nurseries, with his big success coming in October, when he defeated Milltown Star by ½ a length.
In September he stepped into Listed company at Doncaster, running last of five – but only beaten 4 ½ lengths by Molatham.
On his final start of the campaign, Tomfre finished 5 ¼ lengths sixth of 11 to Kenzai Warrior, in the re-routed Group Three Horris Hill Stakes.
Tomfre may be just short of top class but he looks to be up to Listed standard if he progresses from a busy season.
Verboten was only seen on the racecourse twice at two – but was highly-tried by trainer John Gosden and is a name to note for 2020.
The son of No Nay Never got off the mark at the first time of asking, when defeating the useful Spreadsheet by ¾ of a length, at Great Yarmouth, in mid-July.
He was not seen again until taking his chance in the Group One Vertem Futurity Trophy at Newcastle, in early November.
Against vastly more experienced juveniles, with proven Group form, Verboten acquitted himself well to run a respectable 11 ½ lengths seventh of 11 to Kameko.
Gosden could have run plenty of juveniles in this race but chose to give Verboten the experience, suggesting he is highly-regarded – and there should be more to come in 2020, when, being out of a High Chaparral mare, he should stay 1 ¼ miles well.
Alan King is of course best known for his National Hunt horses, but his exploits on the flat should never be underestimated, as he showed with the likes of Beringer and Tritonic in 2019.
Tritonic, a son of German Derby winner Sea The Moon, ran a promising fourth to Fred on his debut at Haydock Park, in late July.
A month later, he got off the mark with a ½ a length defeat of Skontonovski at Ffos Las.
That saw King set his sights higher, with the always informative Haynes, Hanson & Clark Stakes at Newbury, in September. Tritonic went on with over a furlong to race and showed plenty of stamina to hold off the highly-regarded Man Of The Night by 1 ½ lengths.
Tritonic had one more start, stepping up to 1 ¼ miles for the Listed Zetland Stakes at Newmarket, in early October. He ran a reasonable race to finish 9 ¼ lengths fifth of 8 to Max Vega.
He is out of a Selkirk mare and stamina should prove his forte in Group races during 2020.
Owner Sheikh Obaid Al Maktoum spread his horses across a number of trainers during 2019 and one of the most promising juvenile colts was the Kevin Ryan-trained Juan Elcano.
The son of Frankel made a winning start when beating Subjectivist by a neck in a Haydock Park contest in early June.
The following month he ran well in the Group Two Superlative Stakes, finishing a length second of 8 to Mystery Power, on the July Course.
Juan Elcano had one more start – and again acquitted himself well when a length third of five behind Threat, in the Group Two Champagne Stakes, at Doncaster, in early September.
He is out of a Daylami mare and 10-furlongs could see him in his prime in 2020.
OTHER HORSES OF NOTE FOR 2020
There as always, were plenty of juvenile colts who showed great promise during the year, without hitting the headlines.
Here are a few names that made a mark on us and could have lots of improvement to come in 2020.
Charlie Appleby’s Al Dabaran looked a very useful recruit when landing a Newmarket contest by 2 ½ lengths from Ursa Minor, in late June.
The son of Dubawi followed-up in a Listed Ascot contest a month later, beating Sun Power by a neck.
In early September he headed to France for the Group Three Prix des Chenes, his first attempt at a mile. He failed to pick up in the Longchamp straight and stayed on at the one-pace to finish 1 ½ lengths third to Ecrivain and Hopeful.
Just over three weeks later, Al Dabaran returned to France for the Group Three Prix de Conde, at Chantilly. This time he cut out the running, but had no answer to Hopeful’s finishing kick and was again beaten ½ a length.
He is out of a Manduro dam and should be effective at 1 ¼ miles.
Secret Victory ran twice and showed improvement on his second start. The son of Dubawi is out of a Shamardal mare and ran fourth on debut at Chelmsford. He looked much more forwards next time out, in what looked a really good Newmarket maiden in late October, finishing 1 ¼ lengths second of 13 to the exciting filly Trefoil. Conceding five pounds to fillies, the next best colt placed fifth.
Native Tribe looked a very useful horse on his debut when finishing 2 ¼ lengths second of 14 to Encipher, at Newbury, in July.
The son of Farhh built on that run to defeat Dubai Mirage by a nose in a Sandown Park maiden in early August.
We didn’t see Native Tribe again in 2019, but being out of a Nayef mare, he should have plenty of progression to come.
Path Of Thunder was an early season juvenile who got better the further he travelled. He finished 5 ½ lengths third to Threat, over five furlongs, on debut at Newmarket’s Guineas meeting in May.
A couple of weeks later at Yarmouth, he was ½ a length second to Maxi Boy, over six furlongs.
In early July Path Of Thunder stepped up to seven furlongs at Haydock Park and landed a minor contest by a length from Encipher. He built again at Newmarket, later that month, to defeat Light Angel by ¾ of a length in a nursery.
We didn’t see Path Of Thunder again, but this gelded son of Night Of Thunder should be useful over a mile.
Godolphin’s Blue Point enjoyed a terrific 2019 sprinting, culminating in his dual success at Royal Ascot. In Lazuli, they could have a colt to try to follow in his footsteps.
The Charlie Appleby-trained son of Dubawi got off the mark at the first time of asking, winning a Newmarket contest by 2 ½ lengths from Hello Baileys, in early August.
At Doncaster’s St Leger Festival, he followed-up with a nose defeat of Misty Grey.
Those two contests came over six furlongs on a good to firm surface.
He had one more start and disappointed when a well-beaten eighth to Good Vibes, in the Group Three Cornwallis Stakes at Newmarket, in October. That final start came on good to soft ground over five furlongs and perhaps did not suit.
Lazuli is out of a Fasliyev mare and six furlongs on a fast surface could prove his optimum in 2020, with the Commonwealth Cup an obvious target.
Well Of Wisdom had six starts at two and only one real blip.
The son of Oasis Dream beat Electrical Storm on debut at Newmarket’s Craven Meeting in April.
A month later he stepped up to six furlongs at Newbury, for a valuable conditions race, coming home a short neck third to Temple Of Heaven.
He disappointed in the Group Two Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, finishing 4 ¼ lengths 9th of 17 to Arizona.
A month later, in mid-July, Well Of Wisdom stepped up to seven furlongs and won a Listed contest at ParisLongchamp, by a neck from Helter Skelter.
Two weeks later he returned to France for the Group Three Prix de Cabourg, at Deauville, over six furlongs. He ran with credit to finish four lengths second of five to the top class Earthlight.
Well Of Wisdom had one more start, in late August, in a Group Three race at Baden Baden, finishing two lengths second of 10 to the top class Alson.
Those final two starts came against Group One winners, suggesting Well Of Wisdom has considerable talent. He is out of a Sunday Silence mare and should stay a mile well – and holds an Irish 2,000 Guineas entry.
There was plenty of interest ahead of Volkan Star’s racecourse debut, as Godolphin had purchased the son of Sea The Stars for 1 million guineas as a yearling. He ran well on the July Course in early August to finish a neck second to Cepheus.
A couple of weeks later, Volkan Star looked very smart as he slammed Hold Fast by six lengths at Goodwood, over a mile.
He had one more contest in 2019, as Appleby stepped him up to 1 ¼ miles for the Listed Zetland Stakes at Newmarket, in October. In soft ground he proved disappointing, finishing a remote sixth of 10 to Max Vega.
Volkan Star is out of an Azamour mare and should stay 1 ½ miles well and perhaps a sounder surface will play to his strengths. He holds an Irish 2,000 Guineas entry.
King’s Command looked a useful horse when landing a Newmarket contest by a neck from Al Namir in June.
The following month he bombed out when last of 8 behind Mystery Power, in the Group Two Superlative Stakes, at the same course.
In August he travelled to Deauville for a Listed contest, running better to finish 4 ½ lengths third of 6 to Happy Bere.
But it was his final start – in very soft ground, where King’s Command made his biggest impression, winning the Group Three Prix Thomas Byron Jockey Club de Turquie by 3 ½ lengths from Royal Crusade.
The son of Dubai should stay 1 ¼ miles in 2020.
Saqqara King made headlines as the first son of American Pharoah to win on a British racecourse.
He had run a close fourth to Full Verse at Doncaster on debut, before winning a minor Newmarket contest by ½ a length from Mass Media, in late June.
In mid-July, Appleby sent Saqqara King to ParisLongchamp, for a Listed contest – but he failed to quicken in the straight, finishing 5 ¼ lengths third of 5 to stable mate Well Of Wisdom.
A month later, over a mile, he improved in a Listed Deauville contest, coming home 3 ½ lengths second of 6 to Helter Skelter.
Saqqara King took a massive drop in class or his final start of the year in a Chelmsford conditions race – but perhaps failed to handle the surface, coming home last of three to King’s Caper.
He is capable of better than that and should stay a mile to 1 ¼ miles well in 2020.
Boccaccio looks a very exciting prospect and is two from two.
The son of Dubawi is out of the smart mare J Wonder, a daughter of Guineas winner Footstepsinthesand.
He made a winning debut when defeating Dramatic Sands by 1 ½ lengths at Great Yarmouth, in late May.
Boccaccio wasn’t seen out again until November, when he recorded a very taking 3 ¼ lengths victory over Juan Les Pins at Kempton Park.
Boccaccio may not have had a straight forward training routine during 2019 but clearly has plenty of ability. He holds an Irish 2,000 Guineas entry and whilst that level is significantly higher than he has currently competed at, there should be plenty of improvement.
Man Of Promise looks a really interesting colt. He ran ½ a length third Mums Tipple and Molatham in an Ascot contest in late July, with both the first two going on to bigger things. We didn’t see Man Of Promise again, but he holds an Irish 2,000 Guineas entry.
Other Charlie Appleby horses to keep an eye on in 2020 include: Law Of Peace – impeccably bred, being by Shamardal, out of the top class Certify. He ran second twice and fourth once in three juvenile starts. Story Of Light was well beaten on debut but recorded a 2 ¾ length victory over Irish Acclaim at Chelmsford in November. His pedigree suggests he will be most effective of 6 to 7 furlongs. Desert Peace made a winning bow when beating Nugget by 1 ¾ miles at Kempton in early October. The son of Curlin was then 2 ¼ lengths third of 9 to Battle Of Liege, at Chelmsford, in early November. He could be one for the Dubai Carnival.
Saeed Bin Suroor has been happier with his two year-old batch this term and looks to have a nice prospect in First View.
The son of Exceed And Excel was not seen until early October, landing a minor Kempton contest over a mile, by ½ a length from Stanford.
A month later he returned to Kempton and beat First Receiver by the same distance, over the same trip.
First View is out of a Singspiel mare and whilst he seems well-suited by a mile, could get a little further.
Laser Show looked a useful debutant when landing a Sandown maiden in early July, by a neck from Riot.
The son of New Approach was not seen out again until November, when he ran a length second of 14 to the useful-looking Hukum, in a Kempton Park contest over a mile.
He is out of a Street Cry mare and holds entries in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and Derby.
Other Bin Suroor horses to keep an eye on in 2020 include:
Dubai Mirage – twice-raced and ran well on both occasions. He was a nose second to Native Tribe at Sandown Park in early August and then ran 2 ½ lengths third of 14 to the smart Molatham, in the Convivial Maiden Stakes at York, later that month. This son of Dubawi, out of a Shamardal mare, has very useful ability already and is likely to progress.
Live Your Dream was placed twice in his first two starts, before slamming Warranty by 6 lengths at Newcastle, in early October, when stepped up to 10 furlongs. This son of Iffraaj could be very interesting over 12 furlongs or further in 2020.
Many of Roger Varian’s 2018 juvenile colts needed time to make their racecourse debuts, but he had a much more forward bunch in 2019. Whilst Pierre Lapin and Molatham took the headlines, there is strength in depth and plenty of potential at Carlburg House on the Bury Road.
Khaloosy looked a useful colt on debut, when finishing a length second to the more experienced Count Of Amazonia at Newcastle, over seven furlongs.
In late November, he headed to Wolverhampton, for what looked an interesting race on paper, against several well-bred juveniles from big yards.
Racing over further than a mile, the grey travelled well throughout and swept into the lead in the home straight, pulling clear with the minimum of effort, to defeat Summit Reach by 4 ½ lengths in the manner of a smart colt.
Khaloosy is bred for stamina, being by Dubawi, out of a Dalahani mare. He holds a Derby entry and it would be no surprise to see him lining up in a Derby trial in the spring.
Premier Power put up a very promising performance on debut, at Newmarket’s July Course, in August.
The son of Siyouni looked all-set to win, but late on was caught by the more experienced Powertrain, going down by a head.
He was not seen out again until early October, when he slammed future Newmarket winner Tom Collins, by five lengths at Kempton Park.
On pedigree, Premier Power looks to be effective at a mile and might get a little further.
We had to wait until late November to see Montather, but the son of Dubawi made a very pleasing start, beating Majestic Noor by ½ length at Kempton Park.
He is out of a Zamindar mare and might get a little further than a mile in 2020.
Magnetised was another who was not seen out until late in the year.
This son of Shamardal, out of a Barathea mare, made a winning debut when defeating Beauty Choice by a neck, over seven furlongs at Doncaster, in heavy ground, in late October.
He showed plenty of resolution that day and should stay 1 ¼ miles well in 2020.
Mottrib was seen just the twice and not after June, suggesting he had one or two issues. The son of Invincible Spirit landed a Newbury race on soft ground, in mid-June, beating Baadirr by a comprehensive 2 ¾ lengths. He headed to Leicester two weeks later, coming home 1 ½ lengths third of 8 to Fred. Mottrib is out of a Dalakhani mare so a mile should be no problem and there should be more to come.
King Ragnar showed lots of talent in three starts. The son of Hot Streak ran 1 ½ lengths second of 15 to Theotherside, at Newbury, in September. He was not seen out again until early November, this time finishing 6 lengths second to the impressive Ottoman Court at Chelmsford. He got off the mark at the third time of asking, when landing a Newcastle contest by ½ a length from Glen Force later that month and could be a useful sprinter.
Waleydd goes into 2020 still a maiden, but after two highly promising starts. The son of Nathaniel was beaten just a head when second of 13 to Acquitted, in a Newbury maiden in late October, on heavy ground. A month later he stepped up to 10-furlongs at Newcastle, coming home 1 ¾ lengths second of 12 to English King. He is out of a Halling mare and should do well with time and trip and holds an Irish Derby entry.
Hibernian Warrior showed plenty of ability in two starts, running third to New World Tapestry in a competitive Newmarket maiden in late September and then finishing a short head second to Fruition, at Lingfield Park, in mid-November. The son of War Front should have learned plenty and looks set for a good 2020.
Solar Screen is impeccably-bred and ran a quiet race to come home sixth behind Trefoil, in a competitive end of season maiden at Newmarket. He is closely-related to top level winners Lumiere and Sheikha Reika, but looked a big, unfurnished type. He lacks the precocity of Lumiere but with a big frame to strengthen into, will improve for time and trip. He holds a Derby entry but that may come too soon.
Desert Emperor did not race in 2019, but the Derby entry is an interesting colt, by Camelot, out of a Big Shuffle mare. He could make his mark in an early season maiden.
Postileo is similarly unraced at two but holds English and Irish Derby entries and is by Galileo, out of an Indian Ridge mare.
Restrospect is an unraced son of Frankel, out of a Stravinsky mare. He did not race in 2019 but holds a Derby entry and looks the type to do well at three on pedigree.
Aidan O’Brien has plenty of firepower in his Ballydoyle stables which remains relatively unexposed.
Celtic High King came on for his debut run to win a Leopardstown maiden by 1 ¾ lengths from Nobel Prize, in October. The son of Galileo, out of 1,000 Guineas winner Homecoming Queen, was then pitched into the Group One Criterium de Saint-Cloud in late October. In heavy ground, over 1 ¼ miles, he was perhaps not best equipped for the task, trailing in last of 8 to Mkfancy. However, he should have learned plenty and is clearly held in high regard, to take his chance at Group One level. He could be seen in Derby trials in the spring.
Arthur’s Kingdom ran an absolute screamer in the same French Group One. The son of Camelot may not have been the highest profile juvenile of the year at Ballydoyle, but he came as close as any of his juvenile stable mates to landing a Group One.
He ran a length second to Toronto on debut at Leopardstown, in late June. A month later he filled the same spot, beaten a nose by Baby Zeus at Killarney.
Three months later Arthur’s Kingdom returned to action on heavy ground, to beat Zoheyr by 1 ½ lengths at Gowran Park.
That set him up for a tilt at the Group One Criterium de Saint-Cloud in late October – also on heavy ground.
The step up to 1 ¼ miles seemed no inconvenience and he plugged on at the one-pace in testing conditions, to finish three lengths second to Mkfancy.
Arthur’s Kingdom is out of a Grand Lodge mare and whilst he seemed to lack brilliance on a sound surface, he could make up into a smart stayer in 2020. Races like the Curragh Cup and St Leger could well be within his compass and if he came to hand early in a wet spring, a Derby tilt could not be ruled out.
Nobel Prize was well beaten on debut behind Mogul, in late August, but improved with each start and could make up into an interesting middle distance campaigner in 2020.
The Aidan O’Brien trained colt is a son of Galileo out of a Danehill mare, suggesting he will stay further in time.
He was not seen out again until October, running a much better race to finish 1 ¾ lengths second of 13 to another stable mate, Celtic High King, at Leopardstown.
He got off the mark at Naas, in early November, in heavy ground, beating Chiricahua by a head.
Nobel Prize holds entries in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and the English and Irish Derbies and he will need to improve next spring to figure, but could have plenty more to come.
Mythical looked very much in need of the run when sixth of seven to stable mate Cormorant, at Leopardstown, in early August.
The son of Camelot looked an exciting colt when landing a Gowran Park maiden by 8 ½ lengths from McCabe, in late September.
That saw O’Brien step his charge up in class and trip, for Newmarket’s 10-furlong Zetland Stakes in early October.
The race did not really pan out well for Mythical and he found himself short of room at a critical point, coming home 6 ½ lengths fourth to Max Vega, after his chance had gone.
Mythical was back in action towards the end of the month, in the Group One Criterium de Saint-Cloud, again over 10-furlongs, this time on heavy ground. The colt was always prominent and looked a major contender in the home straight, but could not live with Mkfancy, eventually coming home 3 ½ lengths third of 8.
Mythical is out o a Cape Cross mare and should stay 1 ½ miles well. He holds an Irish Guineas entry but his best performances suggest he is unlikely to drop in distance and he is more likely to take up his entries in the English and Irish Derbies, with a trial race a likely starting point in the spring.
Santiago showed plenty of promise in all three starts as a juvenile, never finishing out of the first two.
The son of Authorized finished ½ a length second of 14 to Howling Wolf, in a Leopardstown maiden in July. A couple of weeks later he was 3 ¼ lengths second of 11 to Alpine Star at Galway.
Santiago got off the mark when taking a Listowel mile maiden by 1 ½ lengths from Sunchart in September.
Santiago is out of a Cape Cross mare and holds Guineas and Derby entries in 2020. Should he come to hand early in the spring, he could be a dark horse to emerge from Ballydoyle and there should be lots of improvement to come.
Sherpa showed very little in his first two starts, but looked a potentially smart prospect in his final race of 2019.
The son of Zoffany beat Maker Of Kings by 2 ¼ lengths at Roscommon in August and was not seen out again.
He holds Classic entries in 2020 and will need to improve.
Vatican City is beautifully-bred, being a son of Galileo out of the top class You’resothrilling.
He raced with promise when fifth of 12 on debut at Newmarket, behind Kinross, in early October. The winner franked that form subsequently.
Vatican City made no mistake on his next start, landing a Dundalk maiden by 2 ½ lengths from Psyche at the end of that month.
He holds an Irish Guineas entry along with English and Irish Derby ones and looks the type to improve over a trip.
If breeding was a guarantee of success, then Cabot Hills is a name to note. The son of Gleneagles is out of the champion Peeping Fawn.
He showed promise when 5 lengths second of 8 to Free Solo on debut at Leopardstown, in late July.
The following month he disappointed and came home in mid division in a Curragh maiden won by Sinawann.
We didn’t see Cabot Hills again but he could be interesting in a maiden contest in the spring where he could gain more experience. It should also be remembered that his dam showed nothing until midway through her stellar three year-old campaign.
Kipling is another O’Brien inmate that goes into 2020 still a maiden.
The son of Galileo ran well on debut to finish 3 ¾ lengths second of 8 to smart stable mate Lope Y Fernandez, in a Curragh maiden in early June.
A month later, he headed to Newmarket’s July Festival for a renowned maiden, finishing 3 ¼ lengths fifth of 14 to Al Madhar and Al Suhail.
The latter race has worked out well and Kipling looks an interesting horse with plenty of scope for improvement in 2020.
Russian Emperor was raced just once in 2019, finishing a promising two lengths third of 12 to Iberia, in a Curragh maiden in late July.
The son of Galileo is well entered in 2020 and being out of a Fastnet Rock mare, should be effective at between 10 and 12-furlongs.
Iberia was well-exposed in 2019, beating Jungle Cove on debut before finishing a remote seventh to Armory, in the Group Two Futurity Stakes at the Curragh.
The son of Galileo was then a remote fifth of 8 to Pinatubo in the Group One National Stakes in September, at the same track.
A couple of weeks later, he showed improved form over a mile, when finishing 1 ¾ lengths third of 7 to Royal Dornoch, in the Group Two Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket.
He rounded off his campaign with a solid effort to finish 1 ½ lengths second of 5 behind Stela Star in the Group Three Kilavullan Stakes at Leopardstown, in October.
Iberia has the Galileo-Danehill cross and should stay 1 ½ miles in 2020.
Tiger Moth was once-raced and showed ability when ¾ of a length third of 14 to Ten Year Ticket in a Curragh maiden in late October.
He is a son of Galileo and holds Classic entries in 2020.
Similarly Yankee Stadium ran third on his only start and holds Guineas and Derby entries for 2020. The son of Galileo ran 5 lengths third of 8 to Free Solo, in a Leopardstown maiden in late July and could be open to any amount of improvement.
Keats had two promising starts and looks one to improve with time.
The son of Galileo is out of the very fast Airwave. He ran 2 ¾ lengths fourth of 14 to Ten Year Ticket, in a Curragh maiden in late October. Just over a week later, he headed to Newmarket for an interesting maiden, running 8 ½ lengths fourth of 10 to Louganini.
Keats took time to come to hand but could be the type to make rapid strides at three. He holds Derby entries in England and Ireland.
Other Ballydoyle names to note for 2020 include:
Knight Of Malta, a son of Oaks winner Was, who ran fourth to Hong Kong, on his only start at two and Dawn Patrol, fourth of 11 to Sunchart on his only start at two. He is bred for stamina and looks one for staying races in 2020 and should get better with time.
Aside from Siskin, Ger Lyons had a good crop of juvenile colts in 2019.
Justifier made his mark from an early stage and the son of Free Eagle landed a Leopardstown maiden in mid-June by a length from Potala Palace.
A couple of months later, he won the Listed Caravaggio Stakes at Tipperary, by 1 ½ lengths from Harpocrates.
Justifier’s unbeaten record went in the Group Two Futurity Stakes at the Curragh in August, as he came home 4 ¼ lengths fifth of 8 to Armory.
He was next seen in a Listed contest on the Dundalk all-weather, in early October, finishing a length second to Fort Myers.
Towards the end of that month, he had his final start of the campaign, stepping up to 9-furlongs for the Group Three Eyrefield Stakes at Leopardstown, running a solid length third of 5 to Degraves.
He is out of an Invincible Spirit mare and ought to stay 10 furlongs.
Pablo Diablo very much falls into the “could be anything” category, having won a traditionally strong Leopardstown maiden, on his only start.
The Ger Lyons-trained gelded son of Zoffany, beat Louisiana by ½ a length, finishing strongly over the seven furlongs, in heavy ground.
As mentioned, he is a gelding, so his options may be more limited next year, but there is plenty of ability. Out of a Sadler’s Wells mare, 1 ¼ miles could be his optimum trip in 2020.
Camorra got off the mark at the first time of asking when landing a Killarney maiden by ½ a length from Delta Dawn, in August.
Just over a month later, the Ger Lyons youngster lined up in the Group Two Beresford Stakes, but struggled in the heavy ground to come home 10 ½ lengths fourth of five to Innisfree.
The son of Zoffany is clearly well thought of and should be effective over a mile next term.
Lough Cutra put up an eye-catching debut performance when ½ a length second of 14 to Ten Year Ticket, in a Curragh maiden in late October.
The son of Oasis Dream is out of a Shamardal mare and should make up into a lovely miler.
Jim Bolger had a relatively quiet season but in Ten Year Ticket, has a juvenile colt of some promise.
The son of Rock Of Gibraltar won a Curragh maiden in late October by ½ a length from Lough Cutra. Being out of a Byron mare, he looks likely to be most effective over a mile.
As always, John Gosden has plenty of firepower at his disposal and a solid team of juvenile colts who turn three in 2020. Whilst nothing matched the exploits of Too Darn Hot in 2018, here are a few to make a note of.
Former Clarehaven Stables inmate Kingman, enjoyed a terrific year. His son Palace Pier is perhaps one of the most exciting current inhabitants at his old haunt.
Palace Pier made a stunning debut when landing a Sandown maiden in late August by 3 ¾ lengths from Mascat.
He returned to Esher just under three weeks later for a novice contest, quickening well to slam Mars Landing by 4 ½ lengths.
At that point he was being compared to Too Darn Hot – but we did not see him again and he was not tested at a higher grade.
Palace Pier is out of a Nayef mare, so in theory he ought to get 10 furlongs very well and could stay the Derby trip. He holds an Irish 2,000 Guineas entry but we will not find out his true ability until he is tested in the spring.
Cherokee Trail looked another colt of enormous promise when winning at Ascot on debut in early September.
The son of War Front defeated What An Angel by ¾ of a length and two weeks later followed up with a length defeat of Imrahor at Newbury.
In early October, Gosden stepped Cherokee Trail up to a mile for the Group Three Autumn Stakes at Newmarket, but in soft ground he struggled and trailed in a remote seventh of 8 behind Military March.
Bring a son of War Front, it could be that the combination of ground and track played against Cherokee Trail on his final start and as a son of the talented Galileo mare Moth, he could play his part in Derby trials next spring.
Cape Palace made headlines with a scintillating debut in late August, beating King Carney by 8 lengths at Newcastle.
However, any talk of him being the second coming were dispelled in the Haynes, Hanson & Clark Stakes at Newbury, the following month, as he came home 2 ¾ lengths third of 8 to Tritonic.
Cape Palace is a son of Golden Horn, out of a Selkirk mare. He will most likely make up into a far better three year-old and although he needs to improve to justify his Derby entry, there is every hope that he can do so.
Enemy is an intriguing horse from the first crop of Champion Sprinter Muhaarar.
He made a winning start at Ascot in early September, beating Law Of Peace by a neck, over seven furlongs.
That was his only start and it is interesting to see that he holds a Derby entry. On pedigree, being out of a Dansili mare, he is not guaranteed to stay 1 ½ miles and we think he could be most effective over 10-furlongs.
Al Rufaa is another interesting son of Kingman. He ran with promise on debut, to finish 4 ½ lengths fifth of 12 to Rovaniemi, in a Lingfield Park contest in early October.
Nine days later he headed to York and defeated Fox Duty Free by a neck.
Al Rufaa does not hold any Classic entries and could be a horse for Royal Ascot next season. He is out of a Cape Cross mare so should be at his best between 8 and 10-furlongs.
Encipher showed a fair amount of ability in two runs in quick succession, but was not seen after July.
The son of Siyouni ran well on debut to finish a length second of 5 to Path Of Thunder, in a Haydock Park contest in early July.
Just over a fortnight later he landed a 14-runner Newbury event by 2 ¼ lengths from Native Tribe.
Encipher did not race again, but being out of a Nayef mare, he could be useful over middle distances.
Ursa Minor showed plenty of promise in his first two starts, converting that into victory on his final start of the campaign.
The son of Sea The Stars ran well to finish 2 ½ lengths second of 6 to the useful Al Dabaran, in a Newmarket contest, in late June.
Gosden’s charge returned to the July Course a month later and was 2-lengths third to the smart Military March.
It was nearly two months before Ursa Minor ran again, taking his chance in an always-informative juvenile contest at Great Yarmouth’s Eastern Meeting, in September. In the event, his experience counted as he defeated Hlaitan by 1 ¼ lengths.
Ursa Minor would not need to improve too much to already be a Pattern performer. He is out of a Kingmambo mare and holds a Derby entry for 2020.
King Leonidas looked an exciting prospect on his only start of 2019.
The son of Kingman lined up for an 11-runner novice contest at Newmarket, in late October. He stayed on well to beat Evening Sun by two-lengths.
King Leonidas is out of a Galileo mare and could be most effective at middle distances. He does not hold any Classic entries but could be progressive over middle distances.
On breeding, Tuscan Gaze is going to be a three year-old and a middle distance performer, so his debut victory, must have been hugely pleasing for connections.
The son of Galileo landed a Newmarket contest in late November by a length from Photograph.
That race came over just seven furlongs, but the John Gosden colt is out of a Rainbow Quest mare and ought to be more effective over much further. He holds a Derby entry and could well turn up somewhere like Sandown or Chester next spring.
Another to make a huge impression on debut was Waldkonig.
The son of Kingman didn’t race until early December, when he contested a minor Wolverhampton race over just over a mile.
What followed was a demolition job, as Waldkonig beat Zoran by 9 lengths.
The likelihood is that he didn’t beat top class horses, but the manor of the victory stamped Waldkonig as a potentially smart horse. He is out of a Monsun mare so should get better with time and trip and has the potential to justify his Derby entry, if coming to hand early in the spring.
After showing promise in his first two starts, Mishriff was a runaway winner of a Nottingham contest.
The son of Make Believe had three runs in quick succession, finishing fourth of 10 to Society Lion, at Great Yarmouth, in mid-October.
Around two weeks later he was 3 ½ lengths third of 13 to Acquitted at Newbury.
Mishriff then made his mark at Nottingham, in early November, landing a minor contest by 10 lengths from Spanish Persuader.
All three of Mishriff’s starts were on heavy ground but being out of a Raven’s Pass mare, he should be effective on a sounder surface and he holds and entry in the 2020 Irish 2,000 Guineas.
Celestran was not seen until late in the year but looked a useful recruit.
The son of Dansili ran well on debut when 3 ½ lengths third of 10 to Louganini, at Newmarket, in early November.
He built on that run to land a Wolverhampton contest by ½ a length from Kipps, later in November.
Celestran is out of a Selkirk mare and a mile should suit him well.
Galsworthy ran with promise in two starts, filling second behind Tom Collins in a Newmarket maiden in late October. The son of Dansili was then third to English King at Newcastle, in late November. He is out of the smart Gallipot and should make up into a nice middle distance horse next term.
On Guard showed a degree of ability when 4 lengths second of 6 to He’s A Keeper in a Haydock Park contest in August. The son of Invincible Spirit did not race again but could make up into a decent 10-furlong horse in 2020.
Others to note include: Pyramid Place, Haqeeqy and Almighwar, a son of Dubawi and Oaks winner Taghrooda.
Louganini was not seen out until very late in the turf season. The Roger Charlton-trained gelded son of Zoffany landed a 10-runner Newmarket maiden by 2 ¾ lengths from Naizagai, in early November. With no Classic entries, he could be a horse to consider for Royal Ascot.
Evening Sun showed promise in both starts and should be winning races in 2020. The son of Muhaarar ran fourth of 9 to Cherokee Trail, at Newbury in September. In late October he headed to Newmarket for a competitive heat and ran well to come home 2-lengths second of 11 to King Leonidas. He is out of a Galileo mare and could be a progressive type for Roger Charlton next spring.
It was a relatively quiet season for Brian Meehan, but Cepheus could be a name to note in 2020.
The son of Sea The Stars made a winning debut when beating the highly-regarded Volkan Star by a neck in a Newmarket contest, in early August.
He was not seen again, but should be effective over a mile.
The Marco Botti-trained Malotru looked a very useful prospect during 2019.
The son of Casamento got off the mark at the first attempt, when beating Nat Love by 3 lengths at Chelmsford, in late May.
A month later he won a Group Three at San Siro in Italy, by 2 ½ lengths from Sicomoro.
Botti’s charge had a two-month hiatus before running 5 lengths fourth of 12 to Threat, in the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes at York.
Malotru had one more start and was not disgraced in finishing 4 lengths fifth of 8 behind Pierre Lapin, in the Group Two Mill Reef Stakes, at Newbury, in September.
Malotru is out of a Dubawi mare and should get further than the six furlongs he was campaigned over in 2019. He might be a horse who goes on his overseas travels in 2020 and is a name to keep in mind.
Joseph O’Brien enjoyed another fine year and in Degraves, has a very interesting middle distance horse to campaign.
The son of Camelot ran fourth on debut before finishing 2 ¾ lengths third of 16 to Sinawann, in a Curragh mile maiden, in late August.
He got off the mark with a 2 ½ length victory over Chiricahua, in a Navan maiden, in early October.
Later that month, Degraves looked smart when beating Persia by ½ a length, in the Group Three Eyrefield Stakes, at Leopardstown.
That latter contest came over nine furlongs in heavy ground and suggests stamina will be Degraves’ forte. He holds an Irish Derby entry and looks to have live credentials.
Crossfirehurricane only had the one start, when beating Marchons Ensemble by a length at Limerick, in mid-June. The son of Kitten’s Joy was not seen again but holds entries in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and Irish Derby and could be anything.
Big Call was another of Joseph’s to make a quick impression and looked potentially smart on debut. The son of Animal Kingdom slammed Hong Kong by three lengths at Limerick, in October. He doesn’t hold any big entries at this stage and could be one for Royal Ascot.
Ralph Beckett’s strong juvenile team also included the useful Wyclif. This son of the much-missed Archipenko, beat Sea Trout Reach by an impressive 3 ¼ lengths on his debut, at Doncaster, in early August.
Later that month he ran two lengths third of 18 to Escape Proof at Leicester.
He got back to winning ways with a neck defeat of Vega Magic, at York, in early September.
Beckett stepped Wyclif up to a mile for his last start of the year, when he finished ¾ of a length second of 6 to King Carney, in a Listed contest at Pontefract, in October.
Wyclif proved a consistent type in 2019 and being out of a Montjeu mare, could be seen to best effect at 10-furlongs and above.
Mascat is another very interesting horse that Beckett can look forward to. The son of Zoffany made a promising debut when 3 ¾ lengths second of 12 to the exciting Palace Pier, in a Sandown maiden in late August.
A month later, Mascat got off the mark when landing a Newmarket contest by ½ a length from Discovery Island, over a mile.
He is out of a Peintre Celebre mare and should be at his optimum over 10-furlongs.
Sir Michael Stoute will have high hopes for Highest Ground in 2020, but one thing is for sure, he will take his time with his horses.
Another juvenile colt who showed useful ability in 2019 and is likely to improve with time, is Her Majesty The Queen’s Vindicate.
This son of Lope De Vega was a green sixth of 9 behind Cepheus, on his Newmarket debut in early August.
Later that month, he looked much straighter when landing a Chelmsford contest by a neck from Live Your Dream.
The form is miles away from Group One company at this stage, but Vindicate is likely to develop and holds a Derby entry.
Stoute will also be looking forward to Society Lion, after two lovely runs as a juvenile.
The son of Invincible Spirit was far from disgraced when finishing 5 ½ lengths fourth of 8 to the useful and more experienced New World Tapestry, in a Newmarket maiden, in late September.
The following month he looked a useful horse when winning at Yarmouth, beating Jumaira Bay by 2 ½ lengths.
Society Lion does not hold any Classic entries and could therefore be targeted at Royal Ascot if he comes to hand early enough in the spring. He should be effective from a mile up to 10-furlongs.
Prince Imperial was never in contention when slowly away and racing green, when last of nine on his Newmarket debut, in late August.
However, the son of Frankel looked a different proposition at Chelmsford, in early October, beating Buwardy by 1 ¼ lengths.
His dam Proportional, won the Prix Marcel Boussac and Prince Imperial holds a Derby entry.
Sir Michael’s reputation of course stretches worldwide and perhaps that is one of the reasons he was entrusted guardianship of the Japanese-owned colt Satono Japan.
The son of Deep Impact made the perfect start to his career when beating Raatea by ¾ of a length at Kempton Park, in late October.
He holds a Derby entry and will of course have to show much more improvement to figure at Epsom, but could be open to any amount of progression.
Law Of One is another Stoute inmate with a Derby entry and shaped well when second on his only start. Chichester ran green on his only start before finishing fourth and is another likely to improve in 2020.
Charlie Hills enjoyed Classic glory in 2019 and will be hoping his juveniles can bloom in 2020.
One of his leading horses was Persuasion, who moved to Hills from Jeremy Noseda, before his debut. He made a winning start when defeating Celtic Art by ½ a length in a novice context at Glorious Goodwood, in early August.
Persuasion then disappointed when only sixth to Valdermoro in the Group Three Acomb Stakes at York.
A month later he looked improved when chasing home Wichita, finishing seven lengths second of six in the Group Three Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket.
Persuasion is a son of Acclamation, out of a Galileo mare, so he should stay a mile to 10-furlongs in 2020.
Royal Commando was clearly highly thought of by Hills and ended his campaign in the Dewhurst Stakes.
The son of No Nay Never was just ¾ of a length fourth of seven to King’s Command, on his racecourse debut at Newmarket, in late June.
Two weeks later, he got off the mark when beating Imperial Gloriana by 3 ¼ lengths at Doncaster, over 6 ½ furlongs.
At the beginning of August, Hills through Royal Commando into Group Two company in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood – where he ran 7 lengths eighth of 13 behind Golden Horde.
That performance was a little disappointing, but Royal Commando showed more ability a few weeks later in the Group Two Mill Reef Stakes, coming home 2 ¾ lengths fourth of 8 to Pierre Lapin.
He was then upped to seven furlongs for the Group One Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, but failed to figure, coming home a remote eighth of 9 behind Pinatubo.
Royal Commando is out of an Acclamation mare and looks likely to excel around seven furlongs, with the Jersey Stakes an obvious early season target. He fell a little short of top class in 2019, but Hills clearly had plenty of belief in his ability.
Mark Johnston enjoyed another record-breaking year in 2019 and his juveniles played their part.
Visinari made his mark from an early stage of the season, beating Ottoman Court by 3 ½ lengths at Newmarket, in early June.
The son of Dark Angel was thrown in at the deep end for his next start, in the Group Two July Stakes, at the same track, a month later. He performed well to finish a neck third of seven to Royal Lytham, in a blanket finish.
At the end of July, Johnston stepped Visinari up to seven furlongs for the Group Two Vintage Stakes, but he had no answer to Pinatubo, coming home 13 ½ lengths fourth of 7.
He had one more start at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting, in September, finishing 1 ½ lengths fourth of 5 to Molatham.
Aside from that Goodwood run, Visinari was never beaten very far and being out of Sinndar, there is plenty to suggest he will improve at three, for time and trip.
Huraiz won his first two starts at Newcastle and Newmarket in August.
The son of Sepoy lost his unbeaten record but was not disgraced when finishing 1 ¼ lengths third of 7 to Streamline, in the Group Three Sirenia Stakes, at Kempton Park, in September.
A month later, Huraiz was possibly unsuited by the softer ground at York, when three lengths fourth of 12 to Aberama Gold in the Listed Rockingham Stakes.
Huraiz should stretch to seven furlongs in 2020.
Dontaskmeagain looked a very useful colt on his first two starts, before running too bad to be true at Newmarket.
The son of Karakontie beat Awesome Gary by 4 ½ lengths at Brighton, in early Septmeber.
Just over two weeks later he was successful at Beverley, defeating Zegalo by 2 ½ lengths.
Johnston then stepped him markedly up in class for the Group Three Autumn Stakes at Newmarket, in early October. In the event, he ran no sort of race, finishing a tailed-off last of 8 to Military March.
Dontaskmeagain is out of a Swain mare, so stamina should be his forte at three. He holds no Classic entries but can be expected to improve for better ground and trips of 10 furlongs or more.
Subjectivist gained plenty of experience with seven runs in 2019 under his belt. He ran the smart Juan Elcano to a neck and Group Two winner Mystery Power to a length in his first two starts, before romping to a seven-length victory at Chelmsford, in early July.
Mark Johnston campaigned Subjectivist in Pattern races thereafter, with his best run coming when two lengths second of 5 to Mohican Heights in the Listed Stonehenge Stakes at Salisbury, in late August.
Cognac did very little wrong in three starts, winning the second of those and placing twice. Seasony won his only start at Chelmsford in September and the son of Siyouni could make up into a useful miler. Zabeel Champion looked a nice prospect when winning at Bath in mid-September. A month later he ran well when a short head second of 13 to Wadi Al Salaam, at Newcastle. Having run second on debut, Alminoor slammed Bendy Spirit by 4 ½ lengths at Pontefract. However, he has not raced since April 2019. Overwrite improved on each of his three starts and won a minor Brighton contest by six lengths in early October.
When asked earlier in the year, which of his two ear-olds he was looking forward to, Richard Hannon Jr stated Man Of The Night.
The son of Night Of Thunder duly landed his debut contest by 1 ¼ lengths from Ethic, at Newbury, in early July.
The following month, he stepped up quarter of a mile, for the Listed one-mile Stonehenge Stakes at Salisbury, coming home 3 ¼ lengths fourth of 6 to Mohican Heights.
In September he ran well in the Haynes, Hanson & Clark Stakes back at Newbury, finishing 1 ½ lengths second of 8 to Tritonic.
However, in early October, he failed to act either on the track or the ground, when last of 12 to White Moonlight at Newmarket.
That final run seemed too bad to be true and not in keeping with Man Of The Night’s previous efforts. He is out of a Bernadini mare and a mile should suit him down to the ground in 2020.
Fly Falcon and Ajax Tavern – who won on the final day of the year, beating Alborkan, are other Hannon inmates who could make their mark in 2020.
William Haggas had a good year on the track but also the terrible blow of so tragically losing superstar filly Sea Of Class in 2019.
Along with Tammani, the Somerville Lodge maestro enjoyed success with Grand Rock, who proved consistent in four starts.
The son of Acclamation was well beaten when fourth on debut in early July. Towards the end of the following month, he landed a Hamilton contest run in heavy ground, over 8 ½ furlongs, by 3 ½ lengths from Flylikeaneagle.
A month later, he won again over the same strip – once again in heavy ground, at Epsom, beating Night Colours by a neck.
Grand Rock had one more start and fared well when finishing 1 ¼ lengths third of 6 to King Carney, in the Listed Silver Tankard Stakes at Pontefract, in late October.
He should be able to win more races in 2020.
Surf Dancer got to within 3 ¾ lengths of the highly-regarded Mums Tipple and Molatham, when fifth of 7 at Ascot, on debut, in late July.
Whilst the first and second went on to frank that form at York’s Ebor Festival, Surf Dancer recorded back to back victories in August, first beating We’re Reunited by 3 lengths at Leicester and then accounting for Light Angel by ½ a length at Chelmsford.
Surf Dancer was not seen again until early November at Newmarket, when he ran in the rescheduled Group Three Horris Hill Stakes, finishing a well beaten 8th behind Kenzai Warrior, in heavy ground.
Surf Dancer is out of that smart race mare Beach Belle and there should be more to come from him up to a mile. The Jersey Stakes might be an interesting target in the early months for him.
Al Aakif looked a useful early season two year-old, but was not seen out after July.
The son of Acclamation won at Nottingham in early June, defeating Corndavon Lad by 2 ¾ lengths. He followed-up, with a penalty, towards the end of the month at York, when getting the better of Clareyblue by 1 ½ lengths.
Al Aakif had just one more start when Haggas ran him in the Listed Rose Bowl Stakes at Newbury, in July. He lost his unbeaten record, coming home 2 ½ lengths third of six to the useful Shadn.
Clearly things were not straight forward for Al Aakif thereafter, but he showed plenty of pace and ability and a return to form in the early spring could see him emerge for races like the Sandy Lane Stakes and Commonwealth Cup.
Boosala enters the New Year unbeaten in two starts at the height of the 2019 summer.
The son of New Approach landed a Windsor contest in mid-June, by 1 ½ lengths from Raahy.
Just over a month later, Haggas upped him in trip to seven furlongs at York. Boosala impressed in beating Yoshimi by 3 ½ lengths.
That was the last we saw of him, but there should be plenty of improvement to come. Being out of an Azamour mare, he should stay 10 furlongs well.
Johan, bookended his campaign, with two cracks at the smart Military March, with mixed results, looking a smart prospect in between.
His debut run saw him finish 2 ¼ lengths fourth of 9 to the Godolphin colt at Newmarket, in late July.
The following month at Lingfield Park, Johan beat Rovaniemi by 3 ½ lengths. The son of Zoffany followed-up in late September with an authoritative 6-length success over Amaysmont, at Musselburgh.
That saw Haggas run Johan in the Group Three Autumn Stakes at Newmarket, in early October. However, he failed to figure, eventually coming home 17 ½ lengths sixth of 8 to old foe Military March.
Johan is out of an Oasis Dream mare and should get a mile well, although further might have to be taken on faith. There should be nice prizes to be won with him in 2020, possibly overseas.
Knight Shield took an unbeaten record into 2020, having made his mark on summer ground.
The son of Starspangledbanner landed a Windsor maiden by a short head from Tambourine Girl, in June.
Haggas then sent him to Newbury a month later, where he followed-up with a 1 ½ length defeat of Cotai Again.
We didn’t see Knight Shield again, but he could develop into a useful sprinter.
Kinsman looked a nice prospect when finishing ¾ of a length third of 12 to Maqtal, at Yarmouth, in September.
The son of Exceed And Excel followed-up with a 1 ¼ length defeat of Well Prepared, at Wolverhampton, in late October.
Kinsman is out of the top class Pivotal race mare Peeress and should stay a mile well in 2020.
Hugo Palmer has a very live 1,000 Guineas contender in Powerful Breeze, while his juvenile colts were perhaps a little quieter in 2019.
However, Acquitted proved to be more than useful, winning twice from three starts.
The son of Night Of Thunder got off the mark first time, when landing a minor Kempton Park contest by 1 ¼ lengths from Byzantine Empire, in early September.
He was then run in the prestigious Haynes, Hanson & Clark Stakes at Newbury, later that month, finishing 4 lengths fourth of 8 to Tritonic.
Acquitted had one more start, returning to the Berkshire course in late October and encountering heavy ground as he defeated Waleydd by a head, over a mile.
Being out of an Authorized mare, he should be effective over middle distances in 2020.
Emissary was only seen once in 2019, but forged a strong reputation. The son of Kingman defeated Glenties by 2 ¼ lengths at Wolverhampton, in October.
With no Classic entries, it will be interesting to see how Emissary progresses; he is out of a Sadlers Wells mare so middle distances should suit him well.
Eastern Sheriff was not seen until November, but was another Palmer inmate to make his mark.
The son of Lawman defeated Hurricane Alex by 2 lengths at Kempton Park. There should be plenty more improvement to come.
Imrahor had just the one start in 2019 but put up a fine performance. The son of Kingman finished a length second of 9 to Cherokee Trail at Newbury, in September. He is out of a Sea The Stars mare and 10 furlongs should suit him well in 2020.
Marcus Tregoning’s Raasel looked a useful horse in two starts. The son of Showcasing landed a Bath contest in mid-October, by ½ a length from Amarillo Star. A couple of weeks later he was three lengths third of 5 to Brad The Brief at Newmarket.
The George Scott-trained Amazing News announced himself a gelding of some talent as 2019 drew towards a close. The son of Toronado had run fourth of 10 at Wolverhampton, in late November. A month later, he slammed Ayr Harbour by 4 ½ lengths at the same venue. There should be a lot more to come from him.
Owen Burrows has an exciting prospect on his hands in the shape of Hukum.
The son of Sea The Stars ran six lengths third of nine to Cherokee Trail, on his debut, at Newbury, in late September.
A couple of months later he beat the more experienced and previously unbeaten Laser Show by a length at Kempton Park.
Burrows was delighted with Hukum and might have a colt good enough to take up his Derby entry in 2020.
Burrows could also have a nice prospect in Itkaan, who ran well when placing on his first two starts in mid-summer.
The son of Gutaifan had a lengthy break from racing and looked a smart horse in early December, when beating Shumba by 5 lengths at Kempton Park.