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Keep tabs on these future champions over the year ahead
In horse racing, there are some names that become so well-known that they surpass the sport itself and become household names even to those who have little or no interest in placing a bet or watching a race. Desert Orchid, Nijinsky, Red Rum immediately spring to mind. Some, like Seabiscuit and Phar Lap have even been memorialised on the silver screen.
They are to horse racing what Pele is to football or Fangio is to motor sport. But for those in the know, the real fun is watching the novice runners and spotting the legends of the future.
How to spot a legend in the making
In years gone by, it was only the die-hard race fans who were likely to spot the up and coming talent. For the rest of us, the first we would know about them would be when they had already arrived on the scene. But today, we have technology on our side. Social media is a powerful thing, and the Twitter feed Racing Tips has up to date information on which horses are being backed by tipsters to achieve great things. Whether you are looking to make a shrewd bet at the bookmakers or simply want to spot the next big star in the making, here are five horses they believe are destined for the very top.
Any horse trained by Nicky Henderson is always worth a second look, but he has so many in his stable, they can’t all become legends. However, the man himself is not given to hyperbole, and he was describing Charli Parcs as a superstar in the making from the word go. The horse won first time out at Kempton on Boxing Day 2016, but a fall in April seemed to affect his confidence, and he has struggled since. Still, Henderson remains confident that this is the real deal, and at five years old, there is plenty of time for him to be proven right.
Here’s a horse that is coming into form at just the right time. Trained by Paul Nicholls, he won back to back races at the latter end of 2017 at Cheltenham and Exeter. Since then, opportunities have been limited, but when put up against the best, he has shown he’s got what it takes. Watch out for him in the Ryanair Stakes on Day Three at Cheltenham, where he could just pull off an upset. That’s just the sort of victory that could propel him to stardom.
This four year old gelding is trained by Mags Mullins and has caused a stir wherever he has raced. On his debut at Naas, he finished in second, and five lengths ahead of bookmakers’ favourite Le Richebourg. While the Boxing Day outing at Leopardstown was something Mullins would rather forget, all that can be made right with a good performance at the Dublin Festival over the weekend. If that goes well, Cheltenham is just around the corner, and the boisterous crowds are certain to fall in love with the little grey.
Another from the Nicholls stable, Movewiththetimes won his first flat race at Wincanton and then proceeded to blow away the opposition over the hurdles. All good things come to an end, however – he struggled towards the end of last year and additional woes in the form of a minor injury have ruled him out of the Cheltenham Festival. Nicholls is disappointed, but at the same time confident that Movewiththetimes will be back to full fitness in time for Aintree, and is more than capable of carving a name for himself.
Here’s another horse whose early progress was stymied by injury. This time last year, he was beating all comers, but then came a fateful meeting at Punchestown. Fortunately, jockey Mark Walsh sensed something was wrong, and pulled the horse up. As it turned out, the lameness was not serious, and Sutton Place was back to winning ways at Fairyhouse in the New Year. 2018 could be his year.