Horse Racing Tips: Timeform’s 4 dark horses to storm the 2020 Flat season

An awesome foursome to follow.



Born With Pride

BORN WITH PRIDE defied odds of 20/1 to win a Listed race on her debut at Newmarket in November, and it was arguably a clue in itself that she was making her first racecourse appearance at such a high level. William Haggas has only done it with one other horse previously and that was Moselle in the same race 20 years earlier. There was certainly plenty to like about the way Born With Pride went about her job though.

Soon in front under Tom Marquand, she wound things up gradually from three furlongs out and kept going well to repel a whole host of challengers on the uphill climb to the line, ultimately winning by a neck from the fast-finishing Peaceful.

Born With Pride is from a good middle-distance family, with her close relations including the smart pair Raheen House (winner up to a mile and three-quarters) and Shraaoh (winner up to two miles).

Given that she too is likely to come into her own over longer trips, it bodes well for the future that Born With Pride has already demonstrated such a high level of ability. She rates as an exciting prospect for 2020.


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It would be pushing it to say that DAVYDENKO is under the radar, given that he won four of his five starts last season, but he boasts a useful pedigree and the physical stature to believe there’ll be a good deal more improvement to come from him as a four-year-old.

He was very green on his sole juvenile start at Salisbury, but he kicked off his three-year-old campaign by winning minor events at Windsor and Thirsk – beating plenty of rivals who have progressed well since.

The only disappointing effort on his record came in the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot, where he seemed to find the rough and tumble of that race too much at the still-early stage of his career.

That he was sent off at just 10/1 for that race however, demonstrated the regard in which he’s held, and he justified that faith in two subsequent starts in 2019, improving chunks to win handicaps at Newmarket and Doncaster.

Davydenko took the step up to a mile-and-a-quarter in his stride on the second occasion, ultimately well on top at the finish as he beat the smart Certain Lad by a length-and-a-half.

That opens up plenty of options for this season, and his high cruising speed and sharp turn of foot should continue to stand him in good stead, with further handicap success looking a formality.


Invincible Bertie

INVINCIBLE BERTIE failed to trouble the judge on all six starts as a two-year-old, even failing to beat a rival on his first two outings at Haydock and York.

However, it is fair to say he didn’t enjoy the best of fortune later in 2019, with variations of the phrase ‘not seen to best effect’ appearing in all three Timeform race reports during a late-summer nursery campaign.

Invincible Bertie’s first three goes in handicaps – an outing at Wolverhampton sandwiched between visits to Musselburgh – all followed a familiar pattern, finishing hot on the heels of the principals after encountering a degree of trouble in-running on each occasion.

He probably would have been at least challenging those who beat him with a bit more luck, which suggests that the handicapper has taken a chance by subsequently dropping him 2lb to a BHA mark of 53.

Invincible Bertie has raced exclusively at or around the minimum trip and remains likely to be campaigned as a sprinter, though he’ll certainly be worth trying over slightly further based on what we’ve seen. Invincible Bertie will have more going for him than most he’ll be meeting in his grade and we expect him to pick up a race or two at the very least.

Eve Johnson Houghton


KIEFER’s breakthrough at Newbury last year was achieved in the style of a youngster with many more wins in the locker. Yet a combination of ill-luck and rides that didn’t get to the very bottom of a staying type – plus a couple of tasks beyond him at that stage of his development – meant he drew a blank during the summer and autumn.

That, of course, comes with one obvious upside. Kiefer will return this year for the Jedd O’Keeffe yard, having been sold for big money from Eve Johnson Houghton on a potentially lenient mark – one trimmed 2lb in fact since his write-off performance in the valuable Old Rowley Cup at Newmarket on his final outing.

Siblings Boz and Bauer notched nine wins between them in their three-year-old campaigns, so Kiefer’s ‘haul’ could be considered paltry in comparison.

However, that pair started from significantly lower bases than his opening BHA mark of 78 and both still did better again as their careers wore on. Boz improved another 10lb in his four-year-old season and Bauer as much as 28lb during the course of his next two years on the track, culminating with an agonising second in the 2008 Melbourne Cup.

Replicating that sort of achievement seems unlikely, but what can be said with a far greater degree of certainty is that Kiefer will end 2020 rated a good deal higher than he started it. Only one of his five handicap starts so far having come beyond a mile-and-a-half when stamina very much looks his most persuasive asset. He’s certain to stay long-distances on the flat, and the more galloping the track the better for him.


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