Cheltenham Festival contenders, Epsom Derby hopefuls and future stars in the making among 10 to follow in 2022 | Racing News

With the new year underway, horse racing fans ‘thoughts soon turn to the next Supreme Novizis’ Hurdle winner, Gold Cup winner or Epsom Derby hopeful.

We’ve taken a look at some of the horses that will be of interest as we head into 2022 …

American Mike (Gordon Elliott)

A point-to-point victory in Cork by 20 lengths and a price tag of £ 195,000 indicated that American Mike could be something special and looks more likely with every run.

His rules debut was a dominant seven-length success at Down Royal under Jamie Codd, with the same driver leading the four-year-old to a 17-length scrapping in a Navan-listed bumper.

Rightly leading the Champion Bumper market, Gordon Elliott appears to be sending him straight to Cheltenham, where he would have every chance before overcoming obstacles in the 2022 backend.

Please use the Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky Sports Racing presenters outline their hopes for 2022, including the return of a “bigger and better” Racing League

Bravemansgame (Paul Nicholls)

Paul Nicholls appears to have another star hunter on his hands, with comparisons already made to Gold Cup winner Denman.

If he’s half the career the legend has had, Nicholls’ team would almost certainly have taken him, and he’s on the right track.

Two compelling wins in the chase followed with Ahoy Senor’s grade one rout in Kempton on Boxing Day, with options in Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown now all available to the Ditcheat manager.

Bravemansgame jumps the last one to Kempton free from Ahoy Senor
Image:
Bravemansgame jumps the last one to Kempton free from Ahoy Senor

Coroebus (Charlie Appleby)

The first of Charlie Appleby’s two horses to appear on this list, Coroebus looks very progressive and one to watch for next year’s Classics on the Flat.

After winning on his debut, he was overwhelmed by the Royal Patronage late at the Royal Lodge Stakes in an extraordinary way, but got back on track in the Autumn Stakes last time.

All of his runs were over a mile, so he could look to escalate the trip, with the 2000 Guineas a potential starting point before a possible tilt at the Epsom Derby.

NEWMARKET, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09: William Buick riding Coroebus (blue) wins the Emirates Autumn Stakes at Newmarket Racecourse on October 09, 2021 in Newmarket, England.  (Photo by Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images)
Image:
William Buick riding Coroebus (blue) to win the Autumn Stakes in Newmarket

Inspiral (John and Thady Gosden)

Filly Frankel Inspiral remains undefeated in four starts for the team from Gosden and Cheveley Park Stud, who can now boast a number of stars on both the plain and obstacles.

The three-year-old’s pick is Inspiral, who moved well through the ranks and completed her two-year campaign with an impressive win in the Fillies’ Mile.

Assuming normal progress resumes in the off-season, it definitely appears to be a favorite for the 1000 Guineas and possibly the Epsom Oaks if they choose to step it up on the journey.

Frankie Dettori and Inspiral reach out to win the May Hill Stakes in Doncaster
Image:
Frankie Dettori and Inspiral reach out to win the May Hill Stakes in Doncaster

Jonbon (Nicky Henderson)

Has Jonbon finally dropped the label of Douvan’s brother? A win at the Cheltenham Festival in March would certainly do the job, but it can’t be far off after a couple of perfect obstacle courses at Newbury and Ascot.

The latter was particularly impressive with a slow pace, accelerating excellently to solidify its position at the top of the supreme beginner hurdles market.

Stablemate Constitution Hill may be a live threat alongside Sir Gerhard from the Willie Mullins shipyard, but they will all need to meet the high standards set by Jonbon.

Please use the Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Coach Nicky Henderson described Jonbon as an “extraordinary pro” after overcoming the Kennel Gate novice hurdle at Ascot.

I travel with me (Henry de Bromhead)

This undefeated five-year-old appeared to have sneaked under the radar when he came out of second favorite behind Grade One winner Kilcruit, but turned out to be the best when he overtook his rival and came out clear in the final stages over the holiday season.

That win, albeit in a first hurdle, sent him straight to the top of Ballymore’s beginner hurdles market at the Cheltenham Festival.

He appears to be following the same path as last year’s Ballymore winner Bob Olinger for the same owner-manager combination and will definitely be worth seeing if he shows up at the Dublin Racing Festival and again in Cheltenham.

Journey With Me and Rachael Blackmore (right) win for coach Henry de Bromhead of Minella Crooner and Kilcruit
Image:
Journey With Me and Rachael Blackmore (right) win for coach Henry de Bromhead of Minella Crooner and Kilcruit

Classic Dream (Willie Mullins)

It would probably be a little hard to describe Klassical Dream as a conundrum, but it sure has its own way of doing things, and so far it’s proving profitable.

Fresh off the Punchestown Stayers Hardle win in April, he returned with an overall win in Leopardstown ahead of the Stayers Flooring Porter Hardle winner, sending him to the top of that market.

Trainer Willie Mullins felt the horse would have some improvement on the way, which would be a worrying note for his rivals at the end of this season.

Klassical Dream and jockey Paul Townend celebrate
Image:
Klassical Dream and jockey Paul Townend celebrate victory in Leopardstown

Life is beautiful (Todd Pletcher)

A neck defeat of Jackie’s Warrior is the only blemish on the Life Is Good formbook, which currently sits at the head of the Dubai World Cup market after a bloodless success in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

He’s also a favorite for the Pegasus World Cup alongside Knicks Go, so the three-year-old will have plenty of options for coach Todd Pletcher, who may be ready for another great season.

Luxembourg (Aidan O’Brien)

Another two-year undefeated, Luxembourg took the top spot of all Classic markets with a Group One win at Doncaster in the Vertem Futurity Trophy in October.

From what we’ve seen so far, it looks like a true Derby prospect for Ballydoyle’s team, especially if it shows the winter improvement that many from the Aidan O’Brien battalion show two to three.

He is definitely one to note in all of the first Derby rehearsals in April or May.

Luxembourg and Ryan Moore towards victory in the Vertem Futurity in Doncaster
Image:
Luxembourg and Ryan Moore towards victory in the Vertem Futurity in Doncaster

Path of the natives (Charlie Appleby)

Two-year Colt of the Year champion, Native Trail was the icing on the cake for Charlie Appleby’s team who enjoyed a simply fantastic 2021.

A stunning defeat of Aidan O’Brien’s Point Lonsdale in his own backyard highlighted Native Trail’s prowess, which later knocked out the Dewhurst Stakes to complete a flawless 2021 campaign.

If it can stay at that level and perhaps find further improvements, Appleby must definitely hold the key to the 2000 Guineas in Newmarket in the spring.

Leave a Comment