Can’t wait for the racing to return? Neither can Steven Dowler. He’s put together a list of four reasons to look forward to the 2020 flat season.
Pinatubo’s Classic campaign
There are plenty of exciting horses we can look forward to this season but one who stands above the rest and carries one of the biggest reputations ever to grace a racecourse is Charlie Appleby’s Pinatubo. He is related to some of the best racehorses of all time such as Dalakhani, Giant’s Causeway and Sharmadal.
The progression Pinatubo showed last year was sublime having started his campaign in a class 4 event at Wolverhampton, becoming the highest rated juvenile of the last 25 years by the end of it. Since winning by three lengths on debut at Wolverhampton, Pinatubo didn’t look back, taking the Woodham Stakes, Chesham Stakes, Vintage Stakes at Group 2 level before having his sights set at two major Group 1’s.
His first assignment was the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes and Pinatubo won by nine lengths. He rounded off his unbeaten campaign when making it six from six with victory in the Dewhurst Stakes, where he encountered soft ground for the first time but overcame it in convincing style. He is currently 5/4 for the 2000 Guineas and 7/1 for the Derby, favourite for both. The only question remains is whether Pinatubo will stay the Derby trip.
Even though he is yet to try a trip beyond seven furlongs, Charlie Appleby is adamant he will get the 1m4f distance at Epsom. If he passes the 2000 Guineas test with flying colours then all roads will surely lead to a tilt at the Epsom Derby and we will then find out how good Pinatubo really is for the boys in blue.
Staying champion Stradivarius returns
Champion stayer Stradivarius has become a real fan favourite over the past couple of years and is a horse who we should cherish every time he steps onto a racecourse.
He emerged as one of the greatest stayers in recent memory back in 2018 when securing a £1 million bonus by winning the Yorkshire Gold Cup, Ascot Gold Cup, Goodwood Gold Cup and the Lonsdale Cup in a single season before ending his campaign with victory in the Champions Long Distance Cup.
In 2019, Stradivarius repeated his victories in all four races to claim his second £1 million bonus, a feat which possibly won’t ever be repeated again. With the 2020 campaign on the horizon, Stradivarius is back for more despite his long ten-race winning streak coming to an end in the 2019 Champions Long Distance Cup.
While Stradivarius stands tall at the top of the stayers’ division, the competition looks just as strong, if not stronger this season and we could be in for more stellar races. Kew Gardens is a fascinating addition to the stayers’ ranks having ended Stradivarius’s long unbeaten run.
His other opponents could include Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter, De Ex Bee and last years Irish St Leger winner Search For A Song, whom all look to have more to offer this season. Even so, John Gosden will no doubt be attempting to claim another £1 million bonus with Stradivarius and only time will tell if he can repeat history and achieve greatness.
Queen of racing Enable remains in training
We are privileged to see Enable stay in training for the fifth consecutive season despite suffering an agonising defeat in last year’s Arc when she attempted to become the first horse to win the race three times and cement her place amongst racing’s immortals.
Enable established herself as a once in a lifetime horse when going on a 12 race rampage, compiling one of the most embellished lists in racing history which included the Oaks and Irish Oaks in 2017, followed by stunning victories in the King George and Yorkshire Oaks before claiming her first Arc at Chantilly.
Her four-year-old campaign was held up due to a setback but that didn’t stop her capturing her second Arc and make history by claiming a Breeders’ Cup Turf Success just one month later. She then remained flawless in 2019, winning the Eclipse, another King George in a thrilling battle with Crystal Ocean and then the Yorkshire Oaks again.
Her date with destiny at Longchamp was heartbreakingly denied when Waldgeist swooped late to stop the ending so many wanted. However, Enable is back more this season where she will bid for an unprecedented third Arc in what will most likely be her final season in racing. The big question remains, will the queen achieve the impossible?
Team Moore eyeing Ebor success with Goshen
As we all aware, Goshen has looked an absolute freak so far having slaughtered all opposition on the flat and over hurdles prior to the Triumph Hurdle, where it looked for all the world as though he was going to be a wide-margin impressive winner. Goshen is already second favourite for next years Champion Hurdle on the back of that emphatic performance despite coming to grief at the final hurdle in unforeseen circumstances.
However, trainer Gary Moore revealed his star performer would chase compensation on the flat with the £1 million Ebor at York his main target. At the moment he wouldn’t get into the race with his current rating so connections are aiming to win a few races with him before that engagement. We are more than excited to see if he can carry on his progression by winning York’s major handicap before going in search of next years Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.
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