So in the UK we are back in action on June 1, and trainers and jockeys will have to be quick off the mark with their string and fitness to be the ones banging in the winners. So here are a combination of six handlers and riders who I can’t wait to follow.
1. William Haggas
The Newmarket-based man has long been one of my favourite trainers, and he can do it at every level of the game, from sellers and claimers to the Derby with Shaamit and Oaks with Dancing Rain.
Haggas’s training of Sea of Class, Chorist and Addeybb has also been outstanding. Addeybb will be back in the UK in 2020 after winning a Group 1 in Australia at the start of the year, but horses of Haggas I am looking forward to include Al Aasy, Born with Pride and Convict. Of his older animals Hamish will have plenty to offer and Skardu can do better as a four-year-old.
2. Tom Marquand
Over the last two seasons Marquand’s reputation has grown fast and his riding has improved very quickly. He was the rider of Addeybb in the Group 1 Down Under and will be one of many riders to be used by Haggas – James Doyle and Cieren Fallon are another two along with Ryan Moore when he is available.
Some have said Marquand is a future champion jockey, and the reigning champ Oisin Murphy will have to be on top of his game to hold Marquand off in the race to be top dog.
3. David Menuisier
Frenchman Menuisier was born in Lorraine, in North East France, into a family of thoroughbred breeders. They bred horses to run on the flat as well as over jumps.
He has learnt his trade from some of the best in the world, including Criquette Head-Maarek, Richard Mandell and John Dunlop. Criquette Head believes in him to such an extent she has a horse in training with the Pulborough-based man.
Menuisier has been training since 2014 and sent out 19 victors in 2019. I would expect him to better than score this term despite the shortened season. He has done really well with animals like Danceteria and Migration and is known to be very patient with his inmates.
4. Daniel Muscutt
Muscutt started 2020 in fine style until the Coronavirus halted his progress. He already has 19 n winners on the board and was hoping to get to 50 for the first time, although that might be hard now with the shortened season.
His momentum has been hindered, but his riding is useful and given the right chances he has more to give. Trainer James Fanshawe will be a big supporter, as will Marco Botti. He’s yet to ride a Group winner in the UK, but that should surely change at some point.
5. Jamie Osborne
A former top-notch jumps jockey riding mostly for Oliver Sherwood and a Group 1-winning trainer with Milk it Mick landing the Dewhurst under Darryll Holland in 2003.
A funny story with that winner is that I booked Holland to ride the horse. He was due to partner the ante-post favourite who got injured just days before the big event. Milk it Mick was the only runner without a jockey so I got the Dazzler on and they scored at 33-1!
Anyway, Osborne remains one of the real characters in the game and watch out for him with cast-offs from other trainers. Remember he has gone very close to landing a Breeders’ Cup Classic with Toast of New York. Osborne can train.
6. Roger Charlton
Firmly established as one of the top men in the game and he’s certainly one of my favourite handlers.
That said, its not always been easy for the Beckhampton maestro, and he went very quiet a few seasons ago. He’s back with a bang now and of course has every chance of landing the 1000 Guineas or Oaks with Quadrilateral, who is already a Group 1 winner. Charlton is a class act and can train anything.
I am looking forward to seeing him again!