Time to dream

As the sun sets on the Dubai Racing Carnival on Saturday, so it rises on a new English flat turf season with Doncaster hosting the traditional curtain raiser and featuring the opening highlight the Lincoln handicap first run in 1853. It is always fitting that Town Moor welcomes in the new season as home to the world’s oldest classic the St Leger, and so begins a new chapter and countless stories prepare to unfold in the coming months. I have always had a soft spot for the Lincoln as it provided me with my first big race winner back in 1968, Frankincense trained by John Oxley but remembered for head lad Barry Hills' huge coup - it was selected from the newspaper at the age of 4 but I have to confess there was little form study involved, I just liked the name. This year’s renewal looks as competitive as ever, although if there is a potential improver in the field it has to be the Charlie Appleby trained Auxerre who looks sure to go off favourite and has a great chance of giving jockey James Doyle a second successive winner in the race. 

Whatever the outcome of the Lincoln it is surely the best time of the year for all lovers of the English turf – in just over a month the first of the classic generation will be crowned at Guineas weekend, every 2 year old yet to see a racecourse  is a possible winner, and untold handicappers are waiting to have the their lenient marks exploited. Unlike the jump season where all roads lead to Cheltenham over the winter and then on to Aintree for a final hurragh, the flat season has a long and winding narrative that ebbs and flows over the 7 months from the Guineas to the Epsom Derby meeting, Royal Ascot to Newmarket’s July meeting, Glorious Goodwood, on to York in August and to Doncaster’s Leger meeting before the final blast of Champions day in October at Ascot. The beauty of now is that all is before us and we have a chance of backing every big race winner although reality and experience tells us while that is mathematically possible it is unlikely to happen. However, it is always enjoyable to take out the crystal ball along with the form book and look at what could happen – will Too Darn Hot from the even hotter John Gosden stable progress from his electric 2 year old form and take  home the 2000 Guineas before moving on to the Derby, or is there a jewel or two in the massed ranks of Aiden O Brien’s Ballydoyle battalion’s ready to step up and spoil the party? Will Charlie Appleby and William Haggas build on their excellent seasons in 2018 ? And what does the future hold for the star performers from last year Enable, Sea of Class and Stradivarius, all thankfully kept in training and due to return and build on previous triumphs?  

The coming season looks very bright – time to dream indeed…                


Paul Stanley

Min kärleksaffär med hästkapplöpning började när jag var tre år gammal och såg det på TV tillsammans med min farfar uppkrupen i hans knä. När min far några år senare tog mig med på mitt första live race var jag helt såld. Jag växte upp i England och hade lyckan att besöka många galoppbanor över hela Storbritannien och under 40 år har denna fantastiska resa fortsatt till Frankrike, Irland, USA och även Barbados. Jag har fått uppleva några av världens bästa galopptävlingar, från Chetenham Festival till Breeders Cup, och Royal Ascot till Prix de l’Arc Triomphe. Det är omöjligt att välja ut en enstaka häst eller dag, men två höjdpunkter måste bli Frankels överlägsna prestation under en känslosam dag på Juddmonte International 2012 och med vilken lätthet som Montjeu krossade King George-fältet på Ascot 2000. Efter flytt till Sverige har jag kvar samma passion för vår underbara sport och jag är glad över att vara en del av den spännande riktning som svensk galoppsport nu tar. Jag är övertygad om att kommer att bidra till att galoppsporten blir ännu roligare och mer spännande för oss entusiaster och även locka nya att förälska sig i sporten precis som jag gjorde en gång för länge sen.