Dirty Dozen 2022 - Girdys Gee Gees 12 Horses To Follow For The 2022 Turf Seaon

Flat Horses To Follow 2022

Three-year-olds  

I could have made a Dirty Dozen of three-year-olds to follow this season as there are a number to look forward to in 2022, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Modern Games an obvious omission from the list. I have ultimately narrowed it down to the usual six three-year-olds. I have also tried to mix it up a little with a couple of pretty obvious ones and a couple that perhaps you might not remember from their two-year-old campaign.  

Native Trail my ante-post punt for the 2,000 Guineas naturally has to be on the list. The colt is by Oasis Dream out of unraced mare Needleleaf a half-sister to the top-class sprinter African Rose. The mare is by top miler Observatory and out of a winning mare in New Orchid and he is actually all about Juddmonte on the breeding, he even has Dancing Brave and Quest For Fame as great grandsires! He was actually bred by Le Haras D'Haspel in Normandy and purchased by Godolphin for 210,000 Guineas at the breeze-up sales he has already proven a bargain; in August this year Godolphin bought his half-sister (by Kingman) for €950,000 at Arqana’s premier yearling sale. Named Cartier Two-Year-Old Colt of the year at the end of his first campaign I am convinced he can win the 2,000 Guineas and hopefully a few other prizes. He will be aimed at the big European three-year-old races but will not be going to Dubai for the Carnival. He may take on the G3 Craven Stakes as a prep race for the first Classic. Charlie Appleby said in November “We won’t be taking Native Trail (to Dubai). He won’t be going anywhere as he’s a handful at Moulton Paddocks, never mind anywhere in the desert.” Big race jockey William Buick said after the G1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes victory “Native Trail is a gorgeous horse with tons of ability. It was a messy race but I expected it – tactically it was hard to get a handle on it. We ended up coming over to the stands’ rail and going slow. Wherever I asked Native Trail to go, he went, and he hit the rising ground really well. He is deservedly Champion two-year-old. He justified what he did in the National Stakes and it’s always great to see it backed up in the Darley Dewhurst. This is the most important two-year-old race for next year and I think he will be just as effective, if not more effective, over a mile. He is a big horse already, who does it all. He minds himself at home then brings it on in the afternoon.”

Coroebus was tipped by me on two of his three starts at two – was unbackable when taking the G.3 Autumn Stakes at HQ in October being odds-on. He started out winning a decent maiden over a mile at Newmarket and probably went for home too soon in G.2 Royal Lodge, I still can’t believe he lost, getting caught close home after idling when clear in front. William Buick said of the colt “He’s a very exciting horse who has proven that he can handle Newmarket. He’s got a lovely bit of scope about him and I am sure that he is going to be even better next year with a winter on his back.”

Antarah ran just once at two in a mile Novice Stakes at Newcastle on the Tapeta in late October. By Sea The Stars out of 1m1½f Listed winning mare Adool (Teofilo) you had to be taken by the way he won, there was little more than hands and heels encouragement from Jim Crowley to register a three-and-a-half length victory on the Shadwell bred colt. Gosden has of course started some famously good ones late in their two-year-old season on the All-Weather and this colt may be another one. You would expect middle distances will prove to be his game looking at his sire and dam and, of course, you have the likes of Urban Sea and Galileo a generation or two back in the pedigree.

Sonny Liston ran just once as a two-year-old at Sandown in July winning a Novice Stakes over seven furlongs. He is by Lawman who you may remember won a number of big races in France a few years ago including the G.1 Prix du Jockey-Club and G.1 Prix Jean Prat. He is out of a Galileo mare Stars In Your Eyes making him a full-brother to one winner and half-brother to another three. It would appear the colt surprised his trainer Charlie Hills winning on debut the trainer saying at the time “While he has always looked like a nice horse, he has never done anything out of the ordinary on the gallops. He’s definitely mentally not quite there yet and was very babyish in the prelims at the races, but he really got his act together in the race.” He is quoted on some lists at around 50-1 for the Derby and he is one I will be looking for in 2022 as you may get some big prices about him. With respect to owners Chelsea Thoroughbreds to the best of my knowledge they have never had one potentially this good and if this one was housed at Ballydoyle and owned by ‘the lads’ for example he would be a lot shorter in the Classics markets.  

Nazanin won two of her three starts at two for trainer Archie Watson finishing her campaign by winning the 6f G.3 Firth Of Clyde Fillies’ Stakes at Ayr’s Western Meeting. The winner of a Newbury novice stakes over six furlongs on debut she went on to finish fourth in the 6f G.3 Princess Margaret Keeneland Stakes at Ascot on her second outing before finishing eighth in the G.2 6f Lowther Stakes at York. Her trainer was immediately thinking of 2022 and stated after her win at Ayr “She has the scope for further so could be a filly to start off in something like the Fred Darling Stakes (6f Group Three) back at Newbury next year.” A homebred for owner Imad Al Sagar at his Blue Diamond Stud in Newmarket connections are no fools, they have had some good ones, and this filly can win races in 2022.  

Ikhtiraaq got off the mark at the third time of asking winning a 7f Novice Stakes at Leicester. Former champion jockey Jim Crowley said at the time "He'll get a little bit further in time but he showed plenty of speed there and he'll be a nice horse next year." With the Shadwell Estate offloading a number of horses following the death of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum this colt was sold at the Tattersalls Autumn Horses-In-Training sale and was purchased by Rupert Pritchard-Gordon for 220,000 Guineas for Robery Ng. Pritchard-Gordon said at the time “He looks like he is going to grow a fair bit more, he’s still quite up behind, hopefully with another winter on his back he will grow into a nice three-year-old. There’s always a chance with a pedigree like that, and he is a really nice mover.”

Older Horses  

I should start by saying I am gutted St Mark's Basilica was retired, I think he could have made a great four-year-old. My old mate and Dirty Dozen regular Space Blues has also been sent off to stud having signed off his career winning the FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile; the Charlie Appleby-trained five-year-old was a great advert for keeping these top horses racing passed the age of three! Another from the list last year, and another allowed to race at five, Tarnawa has also been retired. So, we have some new names to the Older Horses last this year.  

Hurricane Lane did me a number of favours last season and will be running as a four-year-old. A second attempt at the Arc will surely be on the cards come the autumn and all the big middle-distance races will surely be targeted through the summer; an early mile-and-a-half target is the G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud from an interview I read. The fact he proved he stays 1m6f at least with his easy win in the St Leger opens up other options as well and he will surely be winning plenty of big races in 2022.  

Creative Force had a solid campaign as a three-year-old with his trainer Charlie Appleby giving him time and chances to learn his trade. Six furlongs certainly seems to be the ideal trip for the son of Dubawi and he signed off winning the G.1 Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes in October at Ascot. Appleby said at the time "I think with Starman retiring the sprinting division is quite open. There’s a hole there now to be filled and I think this horse is young enough to do that.” It does look as if there is an opportunity and I think this chestnut gelding will be worth following in the months ahead with the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Ascot over the six again, the July Cup and Sprint Cup plus Champions Sprint Stakes all big money targets surely. Charlie Appleby did say in November “The idea with Creative Force will be to work back from another crack at the British Champions Sprint, which will take in races such as the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot, and at this stage we plan to take him out to Dubai where the Al Quoz Sprint should suit him.”

Baaeed is still lightly raced being unraced as a juvenile and did not make his racecourse debut until the week of the Derby. William Haggas said after the colt won the G.1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes “Of course I’m looking forward to next year – as long as he stays right both physically and mentally – and he’s been a delight to train so far. He’ll be a fun horse to have next year.” With the now retired Palace Pier defeated in the QEII Stakes at Ascot this colt looks likely to be the top older miler in Europe in 2022 and a mouth-watering ‘Duel on the Downs’ with Native Trail is a possibility come next summer at Goodwood. It will be interesting to see if they have a go at a mile-and-a-quarter with him as the season progresses and races like the Champion Stakes.  

Minzaal clearly had his problems following a promising two-year-old season in which he won the G.2 Gimcrack and was third in the G.1 Middle Park Stakes. He only run twice at three following a freak injury sustained in his box, finishing second in a Listed heat at Ascot in October before returning to that track to finish third in the G.1 Champions Sprint Stakes. If Owen Burrows can keep him fit as a four-year-old he will surely pick-up a few sprint prizes in 2022. When quizzed after Champions Day the trainer mentioned the plan was to look towards Royal Ascot and the July Cup next summer adding “He's got a great temperament on him, and nothing fazes him, so hopefully that will stand him in good stead for next year."

YesYes is a Juddmonte Farms owned and bred filly that I did tip once last year, she lost, but I have been keeping an eye on. Unraced at two as a three-year-old she came up just short of Group One class but it was noted John Egan said of her when winning the 1m6f Listed Chester Stakes "She is a very big filly and did very well to win round here when she's fully matured, she'll be very, very nice. I wouldn't say she needs cut, but she went on it. She may go equally as well, if not better, on good ground and I think she's got a nice future." So do I and hopefully we’ll see a fair bot of her in 2022.  

Sacred was put away for the winter rather than a tilt at the Breeders’ Cup Mile and it can pay dividends for connections in 2022. The William Haggas trained filly ran three time as a three-year-old winning the 7f G.3 Nell Gwyn Stakes and the 7f G.2 Hungerford Stakes with a seventh-place finish in the 1,000 Guineas sandwiched in-between. Cheveley Park Stud managing director Chris Richardson said in October “We’ve decided not to go (to the Breeders Cup). We would have got our ground – but she’s a very special filly, and Mrs Thompson took the view she’s staying in training next year, and we didn’t want to travel her. If all is well, and she’s still in competitive heart, we will consider it as a four-year-old. She’s back here (at Cheveley Park Stud) for her holidays. Let’s hope she develops physically and we can stretch her to a mile, which would be good. We’ll see how we get on. The programme is a little easier for those fillies.”