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2019 Racing Predictions - Six things we expect to happen during the New Year

Racing Tips Staff 8 Jan 2019
Charlie Appleby (right) and his Godolphin partners celebrating their Derby victory at Epsom in 2018.

Our writing team have put their heads together and listed six things they expect will happen in jumps and flat racing during the New Year.

2019 promises to be an exciting year in the world of horse racing, both for National Hunt racing fans and flat racing aficionados. To celebrate the start of the New Year, our experts have each listed three things they expect to see during 2019.

Brian Healy's 2019 Predictions

More Classic success for Appleby and Godolphin

The unbeaten Dubawi colt has proven himself as a horse of real potential, demolishing a strong field at Newmarket during the July Meeting when powering to an almost-four lengths’ defeat of Cape Of Good Hope to win the Group Two Superlative Stakes, overcoming experience.

Sent to the Curragh and the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes for his next start in September, he struck again to land a first Group One success at the expense of Anthony Van Dyck and others.

Sure to have plenty of improvement this coming flat season, he looks a horse to keep on the right side of.

Hollie Doyle to collect Group success

Hayley Turner and Josephine Gordon both have Group success to their name, and the third member of the triumphant 2018 Shergar Cup team can emulate her teammates by landing a first Group winner this coming Flat season.

Hollie Doyle has emerged in the past couple of seasons as one of the best young riders around, riding more than 50 winners in each of her past two campaigns; but a Group win eludes her thus far.

That could all change this season for the 22-year old who has the backing of the likes of Richard Hannon, Archie Watson and Gary Moore amongst others, and she is certainly up to the task of riding Group winners.

Winx to continue winning streak and retire

Australian wonder-mare Winx is being primed by trainer Chris Waller for what is likely to be the Street Cry mare’s final run of appearances following her continued dominance of the sport in her native country over the past four seasons.

While critics outwith Australia continue to crib the accomplishments of Waller’s superstar who is on a 29-run unbeaten streak, it is hard to argue with a record which includes 22 Group Ones and the seven-year old is set to make her awaited return to the track in mid-February where she will be chasing a 30th successive win in what would be her 40th career run.

A light campaign is likely to follow, and Waller has earmarked the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes, the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes and her potential finale in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 13 as her final season appearances, so let’s enjoy her while she can, and she can bow out unbeaten.

Could Altior be this year's King George winner?

Jon Vine's 2019 Predictions

Rachael Blackmore to ride a winner at the Cheltenham Festival

Rachael Blackmore’s rise to the head of the jockey ranks over in Ireland has been one of the stories of the National Hunt season so far and the 28-year-old’s progress is showing no signs of stopping. 

Blackmore has established herself as one of Gigginstown’s go-to jockeys – alongside Davy Russell and Jack Kennedy. She did, however, manage to upset her main employers by guiding Bedrock to WKD Hurdle victory over Gigginstown’s pin-up boy, Samcro. Blackmore may have added plenty of Graded titles to her resume in 2018, but this year will be the time when the Tipperary native will flex her muscles on a big Festival stage.

Over the past couple of seasons, Gigginstown have ruled the roost at the Cheltenham Festival. Michael O’Leary’s boys look just as strong this term and will travel to Prestbury Park with a large army of talented jumpers in toe. While Blackmore is sure to pick up some important rides in the Grade Ones, it’s the handicaps where Irish raiders must be feared most and I’d be amazed if Rachael Blackmore didn’t return to Ireland with at least one Cheltenham Festival trophy in her clutches.

Archie Watson to saddle his first Group One winner

2018 was a break-out year for Archie Watson. After enjoyed an extremely fruitful winter on the all-weather, Watson’s success flooded into the regular turf season. Not only did Watson’s prize money scale the £1m barrier, but 29-year-old managed to reach the 100 winners mark in a claenadar year for the very first time.

Watson’s fantastic form continued at Royal Ascot, where Soldier’s Call’s victory in the Windsor Castle Stakes ensured he entered the Winners’ Enclosure at the Royal meeting for the first time. Archie Watson may now be considered one of the best trainers in the country, but there is one thing missing from his CV – a Group One victory.

Soldier’s Call came agonisingly close to achieving that feat in the autumn, coming up a neck short of Mabs Cross in the Prix l’Abbaye. While he could be a horse to follow in the sprinting ranks this year, Watson’s strike rate with two-year-old’s last season was impeccable, so races like the Middle Park and Cheveley Park Stakes may provide Watson with viable winning opportunities.

Altior to win the 2019 King George

Undoubtedly the best horse currently in training, Altior’s reign of dominance is expected to continue throughout the first half of 2019, where further victories in the Game Spirit Chase, the Celebration Chase and the Queen Mother Champion Chase look a mere formality. There are no horses in the two mile ranks who can hold a candle to Altior at the moment. So, to give his all-conquering charge the chance of immortality, Nicky Henderson may have to look further afield.

The Seven Barrow’s maestro has always been confident Altior has the ability to stay further than two miles, he’s simply never had the opportunity to test out his theory. Might Bite has been Henderson’s top gun over staying trips for the past couple of years, but with the ten-year-old now seemingly on the decline and with no-one - barring Santini - seemingly ready to step up, the Champion Trainer may finally turn to Altior in 2019.

I’m not saying Altior is a possible Gold Cup winner, that’s a stern test of stamina that only the most natural stayers are suited to. Yet, Kempton is the perfect course for a horse like Altior to make the transition from two to three miles, it’s a track he loves – having won all four of outings there – and, most importantly, Henderson seems keen to take on the challenge. 2019 will be the year Altior is crowned king of Kempton Park.

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2019 Racing Predictions - Six things we expect to happen during the New Year

Our writing team have put their heads together and listed six things they expect will happen in jumps and flat racing during the New Year.

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