JOHNB has already posted his 10 three-year-olds to follow in 2017 and here is his list of the top older horses.
EL VIP (IRE) 4yo bay colt
Breeding: Pivotal (UK) – Elle Danzig (GER)
Trainer: Luca Cumani
Owner: Al Shaqab Racing
Rated 94 means we are going to get a right touch on this horse in a handicap. He is far better class and I can see many wins for this horse, I think he will prove that 1m 2f & 1m 4f will be his distances. Last time out he won over 1m, he wasn’t too good away and needed a bit of early encouragement, he was always at the back but it was inside the last furlong that he proved he wants farther by running away from his rivals at the end. It was an outstanding performance as the only 3yo in the race to outbattle more experienced rivals and he is guaranteed to improve, an exciting prospect this season.
KHAIRAAT (IRE) 4yo bay colt
Breeding: Shamardal (USA) – Mumayeza (UK)
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute
Owner: Hamdan Al Maktoum
Beaten on debut by You’re Hired which is good form, he has since gone on to win his next two races with relative ease, winning his maiden at Pontefract before victory at Doncaster last time out. And with a bha rating of 91 we can look forward to a handicap win early season. If it was up to me I would target the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, it’s a race Sir Michael Stoute has won the last three years with Dartmouth, Snow Sky and Telescope. He is in good hands and looks promising.
CHELSEA LAD (IRE) 4yo bay colt
Breeding: Clodovil (IRE) – Yali (IRE)
Trainer: Martyn Meade
Owner: Chelsea Thoroughbreds
I have already advised this horse for the Lincoln, he looks absolutely thrown in off this mark and for the season as a whole he looks probably the best horse to follow in 2017. I can’t emphasise enough how good his last win was, the first time he stumbled could have brought the horse down, then to stumble again straight away really should have made it impossible for any horse to win but credit to Chelsea Lad he battled well and even won a shade cosily. Even on his only defeat he battled all the way to the line and was some way ahead of the rest. Big player this season starting in the Lincoln Handicap.
TO BE WILD (IRE) 4yo brown colt
Breeding: Big Bad Bob (IRE) – Fire Up (UK)
Trainer: Hugo Palmer
Owner: Carmichael Jennings
Two wins from three runs with both victories coming last season over 1m 4f and with ease even though there were signs of inexperience. His last run was the most impressive though with a four length win over Percy Street in second. Not my favourite of trainers but the horse is class.
LIMATO (IRE) 5yo bay gelding
Breeding: Tagula (IRE) – Come April (UK)
Trainer: Henry Candy
Owner: Paul Jacobs
Might seem a strange one to some as I am picking improving horses and he is already a two time Group 1 winner. This horse will improve and we haven’t seen the best of him yet, when you look at what he did to a stellar field in the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket, he absolutely demolished that field and he should do it again this year. If this horse runs on good ground or better there is no horse around that could get close to him. I have already backed him for the July Cup and the Diamond Jubilee which I will be advising when more bookies price up those races but I am happy myself to take a chance on our British weather.
MAZZINI (GB) 4yo chestnut gelding
Breeding: Exceed and Excel (AUS) – Firenze (UK)
Trainer: James Fanshawe
Owner: Mr & Mrs P Hopper, Mr & Mrs M Morris
Two wins from nine starts and the best has been a win in a class 4 handicap which was last time out at Kempton so there is plenty of room for improvement. With a bha rating of 91 that’s probably about right for what this horse has achieved but I can see a lot of improvement in this horse. His dam Firenze didn’t run as a two-year-old and only really started to progress from 4yo onwards and I feel Mazzini can start to push on now. I can see I big handicap win later in the season and possibly a listed win, this is definitely a dark horse that is a gamble but I am confident.
SACRED ACT (GB) 6yo bay gelding
Breeding: Oasis Dream (UK) – Stage Presence (IRE)
Trainer: John Gosden
Owner: Lady Bamford
This horse was my second pick for the Lincoln Handicap and as I said in my Lincoln preview he is a lightly raced 6yo with only five runs to his name. He is a horse that has shown promise but has obviously had his problems. I thought his last run was really impressive, he was slow away but as connections say, he always is slow away, he was held up at the back but was cruising down the straight, Rab Havlin admitted that the horse had got him out of jail. He was still about four lengths down at the half furlong pole but his turn of foot was simply breathtaking. I have probably watched the race about 100 times and I still think he will get beat. He has bags of improvement in him and I can see this horse pushing up into group races, definitely one to keep onside.
JACK HOBBS (GB) 5yo brown horse
Breeding: Halling (USA) – Swain’s Gold (USA)
Trainer: John Gosden
Owner: Godolphin & Partners
Hard to think that a horse that finished second in The Derby could be advised as an improver but I think he will now kick on from his Group 1 Sheema Classic win in Dubai, just like Postponed did last season. He has his sights set on some big middle distances races this season including the Arc and a trip to the Breeders Cup.
SO MI DAR (GB) 4yo filly
Breeding: Dubawi (IRE) – Dar Re Mi (UK)
Trainer: John Gosden
Owner: Lord Lloyd-Webber
My antepost pick for last year's Oaks and she was a pretty short-priced second favourite behind Minding before picking up an injury and missing four months of the season. She came back at Yarmouth to win a listed race beating a couple of decent rivals in Nezwaah & Arabian Queen. She then ran in France and although only third she wasn’t beaten far and she was unlucky as Frankie had to sit and suffer hoping a gap would come. In the end he made his own gap and So Mi Dar finished fast and late but just too late. She can kick on this season and confirm my confidence in her, she will probably end the season winning at the Breeders Cup meeting at Del Mar, a track that will suit her.
VAZIRABAD (FR) 5yo gelding
Breeding: Manduro (GER) – Visorama (IRE)
Trainer: A De Royer Dupre
Owner: Hh Aga Khan
Last season I was all over Order of St George but this year this is the horse to beat him. I think he is a cracking price at 7-1 for the Ascot Gold Cup. He recently won the Dubai Gold Cup for the second year and this year he can add the Ascot Gold Cup as well as the Goodwood Cup. Connections have said the main target this season is Goodwood and I can’t see anyone beating him.
Still waiting for connections of some two-year-olds to confirm the names of the horses but my Ten 2yo’s to follow will be up soon. Remember, these are next year's Classic contenders and there are some very nicely bred fillies and colts out there.
16:00 Royal Ascot - Race: 5
16:05 Newmarket - Race: 7
16:10 Down Royal - Race: 8