It wouldn't take very long to discuss the highlights of Ahead On The Flat during 2021 with the exception that William Haggas nominated the unraced Baaeed as his horse to follow. The son of Sea The Stars didn't make his racecourse debut until the 7th June but it is fair to say he has made up for lost time in no uncertain terms. He is now arguably the hottest property in Flat racing having won all six starts, including twice at Group 1 level. Following Listed and Group 3 wins at Newmarket and Goodwood respectively, he won the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp last month by a length and a quarter. Even better followed at Ascot on champions day over the weekend when inflicting Palace Pier to only his second defeat of his career in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Racing on ground which was softer than ideal, Jim Crowley's mount travelled powerfully before unleashing his trademark turn of foot to get the better of the Gosden trained runner by a neck. They are two outstanding milers but the young gun prevailed to protect his flawless record. Bred to want in excess of eight furlongs, Baaeed has speed and a blistering change of gear and is likely to remain over a mile for the time being. One would imagine the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury will be his first target. It will be interesting to see if connections are tempted to try him in something like the Eclipse or Juddmonte International next summer though.
The Shadwell owned colt won't be the only exciting four year old in training at Somerville Lodge in 2022. Dubai Honour began his three year old campaign with a rating of 91 finishing fourth in the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot. However, the Pride of Dubai gelding hasn't looked back since stepping up to a mile and a quarter winning a handicap at Newmarket's July meeting followed by a couple of Group 2 events in France. Tackling Group 1 company in the Champions Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, he came from a long way back to finish three parts of a length second. Indeed, James Doyle's partner looked like winning approaching the final furlong but was outstayed late on by Sealiway. With only nine career starts to his name, he has plenty more to offer.
Switching codes, the Top 40 Prospects in OJA made an indistinguished start with a disappointing performance - it was a strange effort to say the least. A big drifter before the off, he was taken wide and held up (his trainer's horses are rarely ridden like that) and inevitably faded in the homestraight. He must be a lot better than that.
However, the Talking Trainers section continue to shine with Glory And Fortune (11/2), Pic D'Orhy (11/4) and Senior Citizen (9/2) all winning on Saturday and Sceau Royal (7/4) was a ready winner on Sunday. Tom Lacey has his team in fine fettle and Glory And Fortune provided the yard with more success in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las. Seven days earlier, Tea Clipper won on his chasing bow in a Listed novice at Chepstow. Thankfully, there appears to be rain forecast this week which will hopefully mean we will get some bigger fields over jumps and the season can really step up a gear or two. Cheltenham stage their first meeting on Friday, which is always exciting, and I am heading to Aintree next Sunday for the Grade 2 Old Roan Chase. In the meantime, I suggest readers have a look at Gary Moore's runners at Plumpton on Monday. The Sussex based handler could be in for a productive afternoon at one of his local tracks.
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