By News Team
12th June 2020
The Flat racing action has come thick and fast over the past week, with two Classics and the Group 1 Coronation Cup already run, while Royal Ascot kicks off on Tuesday.
The Derby, Oaks and Eclipse are all on the horizon too, so we’ve pulled out a few notebook performers that could be set to stake a claim over the coming weeks.
Eye Of Heaven
Mark Johnston’s two-year-olds have started the season with plenty of promise and none more so than Eye Of Heaven.
The son of Exceed And Excel looked physically more forward than his rivals at Newmarket on his racecourse debut, and when the gates opened he did not disappoint. He clearly knew his task from the off and stomped away from his rivals impressively under Frankie Dettori.
While it’s hard to know at this stage of the season what to make of these novices, all of whom were seeing a track for the first time, it looked a strong Newmarket maiden with all the top connections represented and he did more than enough to be pencilled into the notebook.
Possible target: Norfolk Stakes – Royal Ascot
While the all-weather at Newcastle may not be the obvious place for spotting future top-level winners, the racing up there on June 1 was very competitive and Frankly Darling’s win in the penultimate race of the day was hugely impressive.
John Gosden’s three-year-old stretched away from the field in great style to record a five-length victory despite being a little green and racing three-wide round the home turn. The daughter of Frankel, out of a stamina-laden mare, hit the line strongly over 1m2f and there could be more to come over further distances.
The Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot could be her next assignment, while stablemate Miss Yoda could be saved for The Oaks next month.
Possible target: Ribblesdale Stakes – Royal Ascot
The ground was quick at Newmarket for their opening meeting and he had things all his own way out in front, but watch Ghaiyyath’s win in the Group 1 Coronation Cup and try not to be impressed.
Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck, whose powerful finishing kick helped him secure last season’s colts’ Classic at Epsom, did his best to bridge the gap late on, but Ghaiyyath just kept on finding.
He was setting red-hot sectionals, but the tank didn’t run empty when coming uphill out of ‘The Dip’ and he will pose a serious threat to whoever challenges over middle distances this season. The way things are panning out, that could be Enable in the Eclipse.
Possible Target: Eclipse – Sandown
Anthony Van Dyck
As mentioned, Aidan O’Brien’s 2019 Derby winner ran on nicely to take a clear second in the Coronation Cup on his seasonal reappearance and also looks to have a big win in him this season.
While he’s likely to bump into one or two horses in Group 1 company, there’ll be plenty of other prestigious prizes up for grabs as the season progresses and O’Brien is a master at picking the right races for his older horses.
A stab at 2m is not out of the question, though we’re more likely to see him tackle something like the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot before he’s nominated as Ballydoyle’s top stayer this season.
Possible target: Hardwicke Stakes – Royal Ascot
The Lingfield Derby Trial threw up last year’s Derby winner, Anthony Van Dyck, and this season it’s produced another leading contender for Flat racing’s most sought-after prize in the shape of English King.
Like many of Camelot’s progeny, it’s all about how they progress from two to three and Ed Walker’s prospect looks to be doing just that. Last season, English King took some time to come to hand, only seeing a racecourse in late October, before shedding his maiden tag at Newcastle in November.
That win was a bonus, as it was always going to be how he grew over the winter, and the manner of his victory first time up at Lingfield was breath-taking. He ticks all the right boxes and is now set for a stab at The Derby.
Possible target: The Derby – Epsom