Flat Racing Preview: Tom O’Ryan’s ten horses to follow

Gazette & Herald: Red Duke Red Duke

The Press racing tipster Tom O’Ryan scours the North Yorkshire yards to bring you his selection of ten potential stars of the 2012 Flat season.

CROWN CHOICE (Paul Midgley)

Paul Midgley has a knack of finding a tune with horses he gets from other trainers and Crown Choice is an interesting addition to his Westow yard.

Previously trained by Walter Swinburn, and a five-time winner, Crown Choice has had just one outing so far for Midgley, an unplaced effort on the Polytrack at Wolverhampton a couple of weeks ago.

A grand sort, effective over six and seven furlongs, he looks interesting on turf.

DEEPSAND (Tim Easterby)

Owned by Trevor Hemmings, who is better known for his jumpers, Deepsand proved a smart and progressive juvenile last season, winning at Redcar and Ayr and running excellent races in defeat in the autumn at York and Doncaster.

He looks fairly handicapped going into his second season and looks sure to pay his way once more.

EDMAAJ (David O’Meara)

Previously trained by Barry Hills, Edmaaj came within a short-head of losing his maiden tag in one of his three juvenile outings.

He never saw a racecourse last year and changed hands at Newmarket Sales for a bargain-basement 5,000 guineas, a far cry from the 70,000 guineas he cost as a yearling. He has moved to a trainer who does brilliantly with rejects from major yards. Interesting.

HOOF IT (Mick Easterby)

A high-class sprinter, who carries the colours of top golfer Lee Westwood, Hoof It has improved year on year and may now be on the threshold of proving a match for the best in Europe.

Twice a winner at York last season, he was a revelation under top weight in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood, winning with ease under Kieren Fallon.

Although little went right for him in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes on Knavesmire in August, he looked a desperately unlucky loser of the Betfred Sprint Cup, another Group 1 contest, at Haydock the following month, when he failed by only inches after being carried across the course.

Hoof It looks sure to enjoy another profitable campaign.

MASAMAH (Kevin Ryan)

The Hambleton sprinter enjoyed a most productive time in 2011, winning a valuable handicap and a Listed race at York before stepping up to Grade 2 company at Goodwood, where he bagged the King George Stakes.

A speedy, talented horse, whose confidence grew as last year unfolded, Masamah can continue to prove his worth this term.

PEARL SECRET (David Barron)

It was not until York in October of last year that Pearl Secret made his debut.

It was a hugely impressive one. He won a five-furlong maiden in the style of a very exciting and talented horse.

Furthermore, his trainer David Barron spoke of him in glowing terms afterwards.

It will be a surprise if he can not build on that promising start this season.

RED DUKE (John Quinn)

John Quinn, who sent out Countrywide Flame to win the Triumph Hurdle at last week's Cheltenham Festival, has a top-notch three-year-old on his hands in Red Duke, who holds entries in the English, Irish and French 2,000 Guineas.

The US-bred colt proved his worth last season, winning the Grade 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket in the summer and subsequently finished placed in classy company at Goodwood and Doncaster, without enjoying much luck.

The first target for Red Duke is the UAE Derby in Dubai on Saturday week.

SWITZERLAND (Mark Johnston)

Time and again horses campaigned by Mark Johnston on the all-weather tracks during the winter do extra well on turf through the season. Switzerland promises to be another.

He has won twice on artificial surfaces and ran out an impressive eight lengths scorer at Wolverhampton on his latest outing.

A gorgeous-looking son of Shamardal, more will surely be heard of him in the weeks and months to come.

TANGERINE TREES (Bryan Smart)

Once a run-of-the-mill handicapper, who had a particularly good record at Hamilton Park, Tangerine Trees has improved out of all recognition in the last couple of seasons.

Not only did he win the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket and the Beverley Bullet last season, he hit the jackpot at Longchamp in October when winning the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbeye.

As tough as he is talented, he is worth following again.

WARCROWN (Richard Fahey)

It was a surprise to some that Warcrown ended his juvenile campaign still without a win to his name.

He had two races, at Goodwood and Newcastle, started favourite both times and yet failed to finish in the frame.

He was a horse with a good home reputation and he remains held in some regard.

Don’t give up on him yet is my advice.

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