Well, the 2019 Flat season has certainly delivered.
We have seen the emergence of some potential superstars, both equine and human. Whilst recognisable names like Enable, Stradivarius and Crystal Ocean – but to name a few – further enhanced their status amongst the horse racing elite.
Here at myracing, we have picked out five of our highlights from the 2019 season. But, don’t panic Flat fans, we still have Ascot’s Champions Day and the final Group 1 of the season – Doncaster’s Vertem Futurity Trophy – coming up in our ITV racing tips within the next fortnight.
No better place to start than the race that got everybody talking, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
We had not seen a battle like this since Grundy and Bustino famously fought out the finish back in 1975 in a King George that is often described as the “Race of the Century”.
Forced to race wide throughout having been drawn in stall 11, John Gosden’s Enable still had plenty of rivals to pass turning for home.
Sir Michael Stoute’s Crystal Ocean hit the front first and rallied gamely once put under pressure by Enable, but ultimately, the five-year-old mare was too strong for him – pulling clear to score by a neck, with a certain Waldgeist occupying third. What a race.
It has not just been equine excellence that deserves a mention this season, the 2019 campaign has seen the emergence of some top-class young riding talent.
In Britain, both Cieren Fallon and Sean Davis have battled it out for the Apprentice Jockeys Championship, with the former seven wins clear of his rival at the time of writing.
Whilst across the Irish Sea, Andrew Slattery continues to impress. Having ridden his first winner aged just sixteen, Slattery now looks on the verge of a maiden apprentice title, and he rode his first Group winner at the Curragh earlier this season.
It will be fascinating to see if these riders can pick up where they left off next season.
Godolphin juveniles are like buses, you wait for a superstar to come along, then three all arrive at once.
Pinatubo, Earthlight and Victor Ludorum have provided the boys in blue with Group 1 juvenile victories this year – with the first-named Pinatubo’s ninth-length National Stakes demolition likely to live long in the memory.
Keeping these three unbeaten colts apart will be the main challenge for Godolphin next season.
When he’s good he’s very good, isn’t he?
Charlie Hills’ stable star Battaash scorched the Knavesmire turf to land the Nunthorpe in August, lowering the legendary Dayjur’s track record in the process.
Although a disappointing run in the Abbaye followed, that performance looks easy enough to forgive. Battaash’s powerful connections will undoubtedly still have plenty to look forward to when this gelding comes back to begin his six-year-old campaign.
If the British flat racing Champion Trainer title was decided on the number of winners – not the amount of prize money – achieved during the season, then Mark Johnston would have had this year’s title sewn up by now.
The Middleham-based Johnston has – at the time of writing – recorded a remarkable 233 wins in 2019, with eight of those coming from the upwardly mobile King’s Advice.
The five-year-old by Frankel joined Johnston’s yard on a rating of 71, but those eight victories have catapulted him up to a mark of 111.
Another major success story for the stable has been that of the two-year-old filly Rose Of Kildare. This daughter of Make Believe was picked up for just €3,000 as a yearling, but she has amassed over £115,000 in prize money this season – winning Group 3 contests the last twice.