Racing Returns: Five Flat trainers to follow this year

John Gosden was crowned as Champion Trainer for the fourth time in 2019.
John Gosden was crowned as Champion Trainer for the fourth time in 2019.

With racing looking increasingly likely to get the green light to return on Monday, Nick Seddon has picked out five yards that are worth following this summer...

John Gosden 

It seems fitting to begin this feature with last season's Champion Trainer, who has another stellar squad for the upcoming campaign. The veteran trainer sealed his fourth title by collecting just shy of £8 million in prize money last year, racking up a career best tally of 192 winners to boot, and several familiar names will be back to fly the flag for him this year - none more so than Stradivarius and Enable.

While they are undoubtedly his biggest names in training, Gosden also boasts some exciting four-year-olds in the form of the St Leger hero Logician, three-time Group 1 winner Star Catcher and Lord North - who looked a Group performer in the making when winning the Cambridgeshire Handicap at Newmarket last September. 

Gosden has several three-year-olds in his stable who catch the eye, including the unraced Darain, who is a full brother to Too Darn Hot. Both he and the unbeaten Kingman colt Palace Pier are exciting prospects this season, as is Waldkonig - a half-brother to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Waldgeist, who couldn't have been more taking when winning on debut at Wolverhampton last December. Meanwhile, the two-year-olds Saeiqa and Third Kingdom have been nominated for a run during the first week of the season by their trainer - and it would be no surprise should both play leading roles in the juvenile races at Royal Ascot in mid-June. 

Roger Charlton

Like John Gosden, Roger Charlton is a veteran figure in the training ranks, and he could well be sitting on one of his strongest ever squads this season. His team is headlined by last season's Fillies' Mile winner Quadrilateral, who is the clear ante-post favourite for the 1000 Guineas at the time of writing. She looks to have leading claims of delivering a second career success in a classic for Charlton, while the four-year-old Headman and the seven-year-old Withhold ought to make their presence felt in pattern company this term. 

Meanwhile, several three-year-olds look interesting for the Charlton team, including the well-bred Bullfinch, who looked potentially useful when getting off the mark at the second attempt at Chelmsford last November. The Bated Breath filly It's A Given made a winning debut at Chelmsford during the winter and also looks a good prospect in the sprinting division, while the unraced pair of Conscious (half-brother to Headman) and Mosey (by Dream Ahead and out of the Group-winning mare Mince) also catch the eye. 

Horses To Follow

Archie Watson

It's still very early days in the career of Archie Watson, having only applied for a license in 2016, though he's quickly marked himself out as one of the rising stars of the training ranks. In that time, Watson has quickly developed a reputation for being a dab hand with juveniles, too, and trained no less than 71 two-year-old winners last season.

It was therefore particularly interesting to see him nominate seven horses to be guaranteed a run in the opening week of the season, and the most interesting of those look to be the Qatar Racing colt ScienceIgotatext and Mighty Gurkha - who's bred to have plenty of speed.

Meanwhile, Watson is particularly effective on the all-weather, and it would be no surprise to see the likes of Corinthia Knight and Isaan Queen continue to be productive - while the four-year-old filly Inspired Thought was flying a little too high in pattern company towards the end of last season, but she knows how to win and could prove to be well-treated on an official mark of 90 this term. 

Mick Appleby

The Mick Appleby team has been going from strength to strength in recent years, and produced a career-best tally of 99 winners in 2019, breaching the £1 million mark in prize money for the first time in the process. Appleby is perhaps best known for his exploits at Southwell, but he has built up a particularly good rapport with the particularly shrewd 'The Horse Watchers' syndicate, which includes Racing TV pundits Martin and Chris Dixon. The partnership has gotten a fine tune out of a string of horses in recent years, and it would be no surprise to see Stone Mason improve for the switch from the Roger Charlton yard if making his intended debut for the yard at Newcastle on Monday. 

Appleby's most notable in-mate is perhaps the smart handicapper Danzeno, who will likely once again prove to be a leading figure in valuable sprint events this term. The 11-year-old Caspian Prince is cut from a similar cloth and will likely once again target the Epsom Dash at the Derby meeting - a race he has won twice before - while Kasbaan, another owned by The Horse Watchers, could prove useful this term over middle distances. Meanwhile, Appleby has nominated one two-year-old for a run during the opening week of the season, Katie's Kitten.

Jockeys To Follow

Gary Moore

The dual-purpose trainer Gary Moore is perhaps better known for his exploits over Jumps, though he's also productive on the level, managing 34 winners last season. While Moore will almost certainly find opportunities for the likes of Agent Of Fortune and Capricorn Prince this summer - who have both won on multiple occasions so far this year - his most fascinating prospect is an obvious one, Goshen. The four-year-old stole all of the headlines when dramatically unseating at the last at the Cheltenham Festival back in March, but he was a rapidly progressive type on the level last term, winning three times in quick succession, and Moore hasn't written off a tilt at the Ebor Handicap. Goshen currently has an official rating of 88 on the Flat, meaning he would likely need to win at least once this summer to get himself a run in the £1 million handicap, and it would be no surprise to see him in action next month - perhaps in the Ascot Stakes at Royal Ascot. 

Ascot Gold Cup
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