Twelve Horses To Follow For The 2023 Turf Season
Flat Horses To Follow 2023 - Girdys Gee Gees Dirty Dozen
I have never included a two-year-old in the Dirty Dozen before, and I am not about to, but I have to name drop Treasure Time a colt that I have four shares in (at the time of writing) with the Raceshare organisation. The colt is by second-season sire Time Test, who has made a promising start to his career at stud thus far and had 24 winners from 75 runners (32%) in 2022. Time Test, by leading sire Dubawi, was a dual G.2 winner over a mile to a mile-two-furlongs in his career, officially rated 121 at his best, and boasts a top-class Juddmonte pedigree on his dam side being out of their G.1 winning two-year-old Passage Of Time (Dansili). Treasure Time is the fifth foal out of Penny Drops (invincible Spirit) who was Listed placed five times in her racing career up to 7f and was officially rated 96 at her peak. Three of her four fouls to date have been winners, Equality (OR 104), Outgate (OR 98) and Badri (OR 93); her fourth foal Deceiver ran twice as a two-year-old in 2022 finishing third and seventh in two decent maidens. Update Deceiver won a Novice Stakes at Kempton on his three-year-old debut in late March 2023 (now has an OR of 79) meaning all four half-siblings of Treasure Time are now winners!
Naval Power as my ante-post Derby bet this one has to be on the list. He won the 1m1f Nad Al Sheba on Turf out at Meydan in January and Charlie Appleby said at the time “We are looking at potentially giving him one start in Dubai before looking at some of the Classic trials in the UK.” It’s not unknown for the offspring of Teofilo to get middle distances and on the dam side, there is some stamina in the family, Dubawi is his grandsire being the sire of Emirates Rewards which has to be seen as a plus as well. He disappointed in the G.1 Dewhurst Stakes last bak end, his sole defeat to date, but was reported to have bled during the race and he produced an unsatisfactory scope afterwards so can be forgiven that. He may not stay the 1m4f ultimately but will be winning races I am sure of that.
Mischief Magic won the G.1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint over 5½f on his final start at two and what an impressive victory it was - not just because I tipped him. The colt was behind a wall of horses at one point and showed a turn of foot and real guts to burst through and get up on the line. He improved nicely throughout 2022 from a debut third through wins at Goodwood and Newmarket before taking the G.3 Sirenia Stakes at Kempton. He was then fourth in the G.1 Middle Park at HQ before crossing the pond for the Breeders Cup victory. I would expect to see the son of Exceed and Excel remain at the shorter distances this year and the Commonwealth Cup looks an obvious target to me. There is plenty of speed in the pedigree.
Tahiyra has to go on the list. Dermot Weld appears to have another good one for the Aga Khan Stud operation and the old shrewdie will have been plotting a campaign for this daughter of Siyouni over the winter. A half-sister to multiple G.1 winner Tarnawa a lot will be expected no doubt. An impressive winner of her maiden at Galway in July she then won the G.1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh in September; both over seven furlongs. After her win at the Curragh Weld said “I've always said what a beautiful filly she would be next spring. We've a lot to look forward to" take note!
Chaldean was one I talked of a fair bit during his two-year-old campaign and he is one that will surely pay to follow in 2023. Brought along steadily by Andrew Balding the Juddmonte owned chestnut was fifth on debut over six-furlongs before winning a fair Novice Stakes on his second start at Newbury. He then won the G.3 Acomb, G.2 Champagne Stakes and the G.1 Dewhurst Stakes (all over seven furlongs) on his next three starts before being put away for the winter. All the connections including Juddmonte racing manager Barry Mahon, trainer Andrew Balding and Frankie Dettori have all described him as a 2,000 Guineas colt and it’s the obvious aim for the season; on pedigree I would suggest a mile will be perfect.
Silver Knott was one I tipped on all six of his starts as a two-year-old including when beaten the width of a fag paper in the G.1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf over a mile in November. The colt may be best at 1m2f as a three-year-old and as he didn’t appear to enjoy soft going in the Champagne Stakes when behind Chaldean there will be a few summer targets no doubt. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Prix du Jockey Club was under consideration at Chantilly weather permitting and he may be one that makes a few trips across the pond to America from Moulton Paddocks.Dramatised is a filly that should be capable of winning a sprint prize or two in 2023 especially getting the various allowances as she will. Having won the 5f G.2 Queen Mary at Ascot she disappointed a little in the 6f G.2 Lowther Stakes when fifth (Karl Burke put it down to the step-up to six). She finished her season just missing out in the G.1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint over 5½f, Mischief Magic grabbing her on the line. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her aimed at something like the G.2 Temple Stakes at Haydock early in the campaign.
Noble Truth the four-year-old is becoming a bit of a seven-furlong specialist and was being campaigned out in Dubai at the Carnival meeting early in the season; he ran terribly in the G.2 Al Fahidi Fort fading out of contention fast and scoped purely afterwards. Charlie Appleby mentioned in a pre-season interview he expects some improvement from him as the season progresses and I think he is definitely one to keep on side. Options are of course limited over seven-furlongs but the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood must be high on the agenda.
Ikhtiraaq was on the list as a three-year-old last season and perhaps didn’t progress as hoped, only in fact ran four times, but he won twice suggesting there is talent in there. He was moved to the yard of Sir Michael Stoute by new owner Robert Ng last spring and that has to be seen as a positive for the now four-year-old over the coming months with the old masters record with older horses. Gelded in July last year it’s all about winning races for him now and he should pick up a big handicap or two over a mile or mile-and-a-quarter this year.
Kyprios I don't win many many points here for originality but this one is surely going to be the stayer they all have to beat in 2023. The Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, Goodwood Cup and Qatar Prix du Cadran will all be in the plan for 2023 once again I assume and there is the chance he may be even better this year.
Anmaat Owen Burrows stated on his website in October that the obvious aim for next year is to make him a Group One winner! Ran just three times last year winning the John Smith's Cup Handicap, G.3 Rose Of Lancaster Stakes and G.2 Qatar Prix Dollar on Arc day. No doubt a plan is being hatched by Burrows and Shiekha Hissa over at his Lambourne base for the five-year-old which may include races such as the Eclipse and the International at York. As he has shown he can go on slower ground the Champion Stakes at Ascot may be the ultimate aim.
Adayar is one I hope we will see a bit more of in 2023 than we did in 2022. Confined to just two runs last season he proved he still has plenty of talent when second in the Champion Stakes at Ascot. Maybe this year it will be third time lucky for the son of Frankel in that race? All the Group One middle-distance races will no doubt be under consideration and with so many of the older generation retired over the winter he could be vying for top-rated thoroughbred honours come the end of the season.La Yakel begins the year as a lightly raced four-year-old, he didn’t see a racecourse until he was three, but was one that caught the eye more than once in his five starts last year. After a couple of runs over a mile he stepped up to 1m3f to win at Southwell before taking a decent handicap over 1m4f at Ascot in September. Finished his campaign with a fourth-placed effort in the Old Rowley Cup Handicap at HQ and the gelding could take a decent prize or two over middle distances this season. Currently rated 92 I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he has a few pounds of improvement in him; William Haggas and Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum might have one to have some fun with.