At number 60 on my list is the sprinter Hitchens. Good enouh to finish second in the Goffs Million at the Curragh as a juvenile this 4 year old son of Acclamation rediscovered his form after a move to the stable of David Barron. He started the season with a win in a 4 runner conditions event at Thirsk beating Knot in Wood then followed a run of 7 defeats. A drop in the ratings from 110 to 95 put him on an interesting mark come the autumn and he duly landed the Manchester Evening News handicap at Haydock in September by a short head at 7/1. Perhaps my write up the night before could have been a little more confident – “Hitchens continues to creep back down the weights and has an each way squeak in the 3.00” but I will still claim a winning tip!
Hitchens ended the season with 2 wins from 10 starts. The horse at number 59 was more consistent finishing the season with form figures of 22211. Blue Nymph had gone into my notebook having made late headway into 5th place in a Nottingham maiden, his only run as a two year old. After having to settle for the runners up slot he was not winning out of turn when landing the odds in a 12 furlong Kempton maiden in September. He followed up with a win in handicap company, again on the all weather but this time on the “other” surface at Southwell and over 2 furlongs further.
I was reading an article by Ian Carnaby the other day about horses with cleverly thought out names. He cites Gary Moore’s Wait for the Will, who is by Seeking the Gold out of You’d Be Surprised as one of his favourites. I rather like Cloudy Start who is by an Alleged mare called Set Fair and lived up to his name by taking a couple of runs last season before reaching the winner’s enclosure. In the end he proved a very profitable horse to follow though as he won twice at the rewarding odds of 5/1 and 10/1. The first win came in a handicap at Epsom where he was ridden by Tom Queally who had such a good season and he followed up in a decent conditions event at my lucky track, Kempton Park. He failed to add to his winning tally in 3 subsequent efforts but anyone following him would have ended the season very much on the right side.
Cloudy Start is number 58 and at 57 I have chosen Nehaam. John Gosden’s colt gave me an early season winner when accounting for Monitor Closely in the valuable Tattersalls’ Timefrom 3 year old Trophy at 8/1. After a couple of disappointing runs he returned to Newmarket at the end of the season to finish runner up in both the Noel Murless Stakes and the Group 3 Jockey Club Cup.
Shamali went into a few notebooks when winning at Wolverhampton in November ’08. He only ran 4 times during the turf season but continued to progress winning his last two starts, both in Ascot handicaps.
Ruth Car took over the trainer’s license from her grandfather David Chapman a couple of years ago and has enjoyed a successful start to her training career. She did particularly well with the likes of Ninth House and Raccoon but my favourite from the yard was Moheeb (pictured below with trainer and jockey) who landed handicaps at Haydock, Thirsk and Ripon. With the wins coming at 13/2, 6/1 and 7/1 he proved a very profitable horse to follow.
Shamali is number 56 and Moheeb is 55. For the number 54 slot I have chosen Apple Charlotte, a horse that featured in my 2008 article on unraced 2 year olds, a year in which she won her only start. The Royal Applause filly won her first two races as a 3 year old, the second a listed race at Newbury and she returned to the Berkshire venue only losing out to Splashdown by a short head. She was only out of the first 3 once when contesting the American Oaks at Hollywood Park.
Trainer Willie Haggas enjoyed another successful campaign in 2009 and his fast ground performer Musaalem is number 53 on my roll of honour. The sort of horse that you need to catch on a going day he is always likely to pop up at decent odds. He was an easy winner of a 7 furlong handicap at Doncaster in July, a track that seems to suit him but disappointed in his next race when last of 15. He finished his campaign well though. After a promising 4th in a strong Doncaster handicap he won the listed Guisborough Stakes over 7 furlongs at Redcar at 14/1 on his favoured fast ground.
Judge ‘n Jury was one of the most improved handicappers in training in 2008 and I was hopeful that he would pay to follow again in 2009. In the event he proved not quite up to listed or Group 3 level although he ran 2nd to Reverence in a Group 3 at the Curragh in soggy conditions. He did pay his way though as he landed a heritage handicap at Ascot at 14/1 when the handicapper dropped him a few pounds. He is number 52.
At 51 I have chosen another sprinter in Amour Propre, trained by Henry Candy. A winner of his last 3 starts as a juvenile, including the Cornwallis Stakes he got his 3 year old career off to a flying start when winning the Palace House Stakes, a Group 3, at Newmarket. He drew clear of his field staying on strongly despite drifting in the market to 7/1. He was found to have ripped a front shoe off when below form in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot on his next run but he travelled well for a long way when 5th to Borderlescott in the Nunthorpe on his third and final start of the season when he reportedly returned with bruised feet.
Photo courtesy of Ruth Carr Racing.