The Tote Ten To Follow is all about finding winners, but you don’t always want the same winners as the other players.
Seeking out a dark horse or two who could fly under the radar and pick up the points without adding to your rivals’ tallies can often be the difference between victory and defeat.
With that in mind, we’ve picked out five horses unlikely to feature in the top 30 or 40 horses picked for this season’s competition.
With no Magical, Sir Dragonet or Anthony Van Dyck to call upon this year, Aidan O’Brien will be on another horse to fill their shoes in plenty of 10 and 12 furlong Group contests. Group contests like the Mooresbridge Stakes and Tattersalls Gold Cup, of which O’Brien has won 15 of the last 22 combined runnings look to be the sort of races Armory can take this term.
Last year’s Royal Whip winner was third behind Magical and Ghaiyyath in the Irish Champion Stakes, a Ten To Follow bonus race, and with that pair out of the way as a slightly clearer sight of the prize. He’s consistent and while he often found one or two too good at the top level last season, might well make improve again for another season on the track.
Law Of Indices
Having caused a shock in the Railway Stakes, coming with a late rattle, the remainder of 2020 was a little disappointing for Ken Condon’s colt. He once again did all his best work late in the Phoenix Stakes to finish a never nearer fourth before disappointing a couple of times upped to 7f.
He was weak in the betting for the 2000 Guineas Trial on return before once again leaving it too late to make any notable headway. He could well go for the race itself in May, which boasts bonus race status, but one suspects he may be at his optimum coming through the pack in a strongly run 6f contest. His trainer isn’t frightened to travel his best horses, with Romanised and Success Days chalking up plenty of air miles, so should the mile project be dropped don’t be surprised to see him chasing bonus points in the Commonwealth Cup or July Cup this summer.
John Gosden’s filly showed plenty of inexperience in her trio of outings as a juvenile, but created a very smart impression nonetheless, earning herself a spot as a live Oaks candidate. Trained by a man who has been responsible for the last three British-trained winners of the Classic, she’s in good hands to go well.
She was green under Frankie Dettori when running all over Town Moor en route to taking the Park Hill Stakes in September, improving on a smart Yarmouth debut. In the Fillies Mile she once again took a while for things to come together, but once the penny dropped she stayed on well for second behind Pretty Gorgeous. If she’s wiser as a 3yo, she could be very good indeed.
We only saw Maamora once in Europe last season, so don’t expect her to be in a whole heap of shortlists. Simon and Ed Crisford’s mare finished second behind the smart Lavenders Blue and Terebellum as a three-year-old before progressing nicely to win three races that season.
Having wintered in Dubai she returned a UK racecourse to cause a shock (£16.90) in the Atalanta Stakes at Sandown to beat a field chock full of Listed and Group 3 winners as well as two fillies that had scored at Group 1 level. She may well be underestimated when she hits the track again, and if she continues to improve wouldn’t be out of place in races like the Duke of Cambridge Stakes, the Sun Chariot and maybe the Nassau further down the line.
If Battaash is on song, few can get near him over 5f, but while we wouldn’t talk anyone out of including Charlie Hills’ speedster in their stables, don’t rule out Liberty Beach too. Third in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot last term, expect John Quinn’s filly to be aimed for that bonus race once again, and with the aforementioned Battaash a doubt for the race, the battle for the points looks up in the air.
The four-year-old is a strong traveller, almost too strong for her own good, often finding less than one would hope at the business end. Hopefully with another winter on her back she’s mellowed out just enough to help her settle better and hold something back for the final kick. Having raced in the UK, Ireland and France last season, expect her to be kept busy and find plenty of opportunities for points.