Douvan, arguably the horse of the season, leaves everything in its wake as the highest rated jumps horse in training and by some margin too. Now, Douvan didn’t really perform and meet the full expectations expected of him over the course of the season but he did outclass Gold Cup winner Sizing John in a Grade 1 Christmas meeting at Leopardstown.
It was a National Hunt season that broke the mould in some respects with a novice chaser triumphing in a King George by December. It was also a time for change when it came to trainers with Gordon Elliott wrestling control from Willie Mullins.
It was a time for change as well in many senses with Thistlecrack for one making history but it was Sizing John that really upset the apple cart. Many believe after losing out to Douvan in the Grade 1 at Leapardstown over the festive period, it forced him to take an alternative route, which led to a prestigious Gold Cup win at Cheltenham.
There are a few good prospects ahead of the next jumps season. Charli Parcs, trained by Nicky Henderson, is suggested to be a future superstar so it will be interesting to see how he fairs.
Like Charli Parcs, Le Prezien is also owned by J P McManus and there are high hopes for him too. Many suggest he could be a force in the BetVictor Gold Cup and also the Gold Cup in December at Cheltenham. So, from that you’d certainly expect JP and his chosen trainers to enjoy success this coming campaign.
Flat (speed racing)
Over the course of the falt season we saw some terrific performances, none least that that of Lady Aurelia, trained by American Wesley Ward. In the Queen Mary Stakes she left her rivals for dead, finishing 7 lengths clear, as people watched on in pure amazement.
As expected Aidan O’Brien Group 1 were the dominant force in Britain as well as Ireland. Minding was victorious in 5 Group 1 races over 3 different distances. The distances being 1m, 1m2f and 1m4f. She’s expected to go well once again in the 2017 flat campaign.
Another filly, Found, was runner-up in no less than 5 consecutive Group 1 races but was finally victorious in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the biggest stage of all.
As ever, looking forward to the new flat season, it would be foolish to look past Aiden O’Brien keeping a firm grip on proceedings, especially in the classics. His 9th juvenile champion over the last 18 years, Churchill, is already in solid form and is expected to continue in the same manner.
Keep an eye on northern based trainer Richard Fahey, who could rival Aidan O’Brien, Richard Hannon and John Gosden for the trainer’s title, especially if Ribchester performs well.