2019 gave racing fans plenty of enjoyment, from Willie Mullins’s overdue first Cheltenham Gold Cup win to a King George battle between Enable and Crystal Ocean likely to live long in the memory.
The new year has now begun, and with it, we have plenty of racing in prospect – all of which will be covered by our free horse racing tips.
Here, our man Joe Eccles has picked out five things he wants to see in 2020, read his thoughts below.
Formerly the highest-rated chaser in Britain, Altior broke the legendary Big Buck’s’ record when gaining his nineteenth consecutive jumps win in the Celebration Chase at Sandown in April.
Many thought further domination was on the cards this campaign, but he found Cyrname too strong on his seasonal reappearance at Ascot in November and missed what looked a penalty kick in the Desert Orchid at Kempton due to an abscess.
Altior fans will be hoping that 2020 can see the now ten-year-old get his career back on track.
The race anybody connected to flat racing wants to win more than most is the Epsom Derby – with Federico Tesio famously stating that the existence of the Thoroughbred is dependent on a piece of wood, namely, the winning post of the Epsom Derby.
Since Golden Horn’s victory in 2015, however, the race has lacked the star quality that it is usually associated with.
Harzand, Wings Of Eagles, Masar and Anthony Van Dyck ran a combined total of eleven times after their respective Derby victories, but Harzand’s odds-on Irish Derby success remains the only win gained.
A top-class 2020 Derby winner is much needed.
Tiger Roll’s re-invention from Market Rasen winning juvenile hurdler to becoming the first horse to successfully defend the Grand National since the legendary Red Rum is nothing short of remarkable.
Despite his connections’ reservations, it would be a surprise if he was not lining up in the race come April – where he will bid to become the first horse ever to win the Aintree feature three times in a row.
One thing is for certain, there is still another chapter to be written in the Tiger Roll story.
With Buveur D’Air’s participation in doubt, and last year’s winner Espoir D’Allen sadly no longer with us – the upcoming Champion Hurdle has the potential for a new hurdling star to be born.
Of the current crop, last month’s impressive Christmas Hurdle winner Epatante seems likeliest to take up that mantle, whilst Willie Mullins is sure to be well-represented in his bid for a fifth win in the race.
Could the fly in the ointment be star novice Envoi Allen? Or will one of the upcoming trials give us a stronger angle on hurdling’s biggest prize?
2020 will provide the answers to those questions.
The sporting decision by Prince Khalid Abdullah to keep star mare Enable in training provides her with another opportunity to make history by becoming the first horse to win three renewals of the famous Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The now six-year-old will have plenty of potential targets prior to that in 2020, with races such as the King George and Yorkshire Oaks likely to be on the agenda.
Here’s hoping that flat racing’s superstar makes it Longchamp safe and sound on October 4th.