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Top 10 horses to follow in 2018

Friday, January 12, 2018

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EDITOR'S NOTEThe Supreme Racing Guide presents the top 10 horses to follow during the 2018 racing season. The choices made below have been well examined and voted on by the team.

Some familiar names will appear on the list, but some will be sure to elicit sceptical comments. These outside choices are placed on the list to add variety and substance. Note too that the horses chosen must have raced before, therefore no horse is included based on exercise reports.

Read, enjoy, and make your own judgement, of our choices on the 'Top 10 horses to follow in 2018' - is but a guide for action and consideration. The horses chosen are placed in random order.

(1) DONTAE — (four-year-old bay colt by Fearless VisionEighteen Karat) — Won four races from 12 starts in 2017, with his last runs being victories. The Anthony Nunes trainee came back and finished second to Awesome Destiny in a close finish on January 1, running at the Overnight Allowance level for the first time. That New Year's Day run solidified Dontae's upward trajectory, and such improvement by this bay colt merits serious consideration for the future, especially over the long-distance races. Dontae is now benefitin g from his many appearances on the race track, and with trainer Anthony Nunes always in good nick, Dontae is worth watching. With the trainers' championship expected to be close again this year, Dontae might well be a key part in the efforts of his trainer to win this prestigious crown.

(2) MY BEIRUT — (three-year-old bay colt by Adore The GoldJadore) —Released the maiden tag over five-and-a-half furlongs (1,100m) on November 4, 2017, and was set to make a mark on the two-year-old races. Ran below par in his next two races, but My Beirut came back and gave a creditable performance in the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes over a mile (1,600m) on Boxing Day behind Marquesas and Brandy. That suggested that he is heading in the right direction and should be a better animal this season. When the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes is fully analysed, it can be clearly seen that the Richard Azan-trained inmate is slowly but surely finding his groove. Follow My Beirut, because he is going to have at least an impact, especially on the three-year-old Classic races. Trainer Azan would readily admit that 2017 was not a stellar year for him but My Beirut seemingly has the potential to brighten his situation in 2018. Follow closely.

(3) BRANDY — (three-year-old chestnut filly by He'stherealthing Skittle Queen) — Easily the best of the fillies among her peers to take to the racetrack to date among the three-year-olds. Brandy has never been worse than third in her five races last year running as a juvenile, winning once, finishing second three times, and third once. She was second to Marquesas in the Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes over a mile (1,600m) on Boxing Day, which says a lot for her potential. Brandy obviously has the class to compete successfully over the longer distances of the Classic races based on her performances to date and has never been beaten by a filly thus far. When a fair assessment is made, it is obvious that Brandy will play a major part in the fortunes of her trainer, the 17th-time champion Wayne DaCosta. Punters are asked to watch her progress carefully especially among the fillies as we are hoping that at some stage the brandy will spill over.

(4) SERGEANT RECKLESS — (three-year-old dark bay filly by Storm Craft Code Star) — Won by a length and a quarter in the Sunnyside Stakes over five-and-a-half furlongs (1,100m) in 1:06.4, after finishing just under four lengths behind Fayrouz on debut. This gave an indication of more than satisfactory improvement, which is likely to continue in 2018 with the experience and patience of her trainer, the wily former champion, Philip Feanny. Sergeant Reckless has talent, and with no real 'big' filly around with Brandy being the main threat, Sergeant Reckless could well develop and have a critical part to play among the three-year-olds. It is based on the factor of her projected growth and having raced just twice, that Sergeant Reckless is listed as a horse to follow in 2018.

(5) MARVELLOUS MARVA (five-year-old grey filly by Adore The Gold Runaway Julie) – This grey filly has really improved tremendously, winning five races from nine starts in 2017. Marvellous Marva's win in the $1.15 million Gladiator Trophy was really a good run, and more than likely she will continue to improve. She seems to have the ability of running close, pretty close most times, to the pace, and should this trend continue, Marvellous Marva is going to be effective from six furlongs up to a mile quite easily. It has taken a while, but 2018 might just be a major breakthrough year for this grey filly. Marvellous Marva is versatile, strong and is sure to rattle some feathers later down in the year and might even make his presence felt at the top level during 2018.

(6) JAMALJAMES — (three-year-old chestnut gelding by Blue Pepsi Lodge She's Traditional) - Running for the second time in the Stewards' Cup, a maiden special weight contest for colts and geldings, JamalJames outpaced a good field by over four lengths to open his account going five furlongs (1,000m) on the round course. The distance was short of his best based on his performance, but JamalJames made light work of the opposition, and it will be interesting to see him over the longer distances of the Classic events. JamalJames has classic pedigree in his DNA, and with the patient trainer Fitzroy Glispie managing his career, he is expected to be well handled to perform at his best every time he hits the racetrack. A shout-out in the Classic races is on the cards for JamalJames, and his progress is going to be very interesting to watch.

(7) LORD ASHTON (three-year-old chestnut colt by Traditional Holy Princess) — Beaten into fourth place on debut behind JamalJames and company in the Stewards' Cup, a maiden special weight contest for colts and geldings going five furlongs (1,000m) round, but Lord Ashton was slowly into stride and was seen making late headway in deep stretch. With steady improvement, he should more than pay his way this year. Right now, at best, Lord Ashton is really an unknown quantity, but the team from the Supreme Racing Guide voted to watch how Lord Ashton develops, in the hope that our assessment is proven right. Lord Ashton is one of two major outsiders on the list of top 10 horses to follow in 2018.

(8) MY ELLE BELLE — (three-year-old chestnut filly by Horse Greeley Fast Actress (USA) —Thought very highly of by her connections and was expected to win comfortably on debut at the back end of last season. Even though this American-bred chestnut filly was beaten by Christilano over the five-furlong (1,000m) straight course, My Elle Belle, as the only foreigner on this list, is almost sure to find the winning post when the time is right. Her first run can be written off, and trainer Spencer Chung is a patient man who will ensure that her development takes place commensurate with her abilities. My Elle Belle is given a unique nod to do well in 2018. Watch My Elle Belle as she makes her way through the classes as being a foreigner she is not eligible to run in the three-year-old Classic races. The sky is the limit for this American filly and hopefully she will have a telling input in the racing product.

(9) DRUMMER BOY — (three-year-old bay colt by Natural Selection Preacher Preacher) — Without a doubt Drummer Boy is going to be the most controversial entry in this list of 'Top 10 horses to follow in 2018'. Drummer Boy has raced only twice — his last effort being on Boxing Day (December 26, 2017) when he finished in fourth place behind Drone Strike, El Professor and Fashionista. Fashionista has since gone on to win quite impressively on Saturday January 6. So why is Drummer Boy given a coveted place on this list? Well, Drummer Boy is a big, good-looking colt. When he ran first time out, Drummer Boy ran very, very green as if he had no idea that he was competing in a race. The same was true on his second effort, yet he did well in the straight to finish fourth. Although a rank outsider to make this particular list, Drummer Boy is expected to gain the experience and to display his true potential when he faces the starter on the next occasion. Plus, he is already showing that he might be able to do well over the longer distances. A risky selection by the panel, but one we make based on our experience. We hope we are right in our assessment of this bay colt.

( 10) DRONE STRIKE — (three-year-old bay colt by Sorrentino Santa Baby) — On December 26, 2018, as a two-year-old, the Patrick Lynch-trained Drone Strike made his debut in a packed event of 16 runners running over six furlongs with the experienced Shane Ellis in the saddle. Coming from well off the pace, Drone Strike literally dropped from the sky in the final furlong to catch and beat El Profesor, Fashionista and Drummer Boy in that final placing order. The final time of 1:13.1 was not the best effort, but the manner in which Drone Strike exploded was a spectacular sight to behold. At this stage, one win from one start is not enough to assess his true potential, but even from this distance, Drone Strike appears to have the winning touch and possibly something beyond the ordinary which can be honed and developed by his inform trainer. A formidable first entry by this bay colt, and the hope is that he will get the experience necessary to have a major impact in 2018 and beyond. Let's see how well Drone Strike will pan out during the course of this season.

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