Before we dive in, some basic rules for a horses to follow list is to keep them in a tracker and on your radar for the next three runs, bearing in mind ideal conditions across variables like venue, ground, opposition and price are satisfactory to you as a punter. This column should help you build up a list that proves profitable under those circumstances, provides timely reminders to reduce repeated form study and assist with your enjoyment of a season be it National Hunt or Flat racing in the UK and Ireland and sometimes beyond.
If you want to see previous editions check out Donn McClean's library of past horses to follow here.
Al Qareem gave it a good go from the front in the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket last Thursday. Sent to the front from flagfall, they closed on him on the run to the three-furlong marker, and it looked like he was going to be swamped. But he responded gamely to pressure.
Even after Deauville Legend passed him and moved onto the rail across him, he switched left and responded again. He stayed on all the way to the line. It all got a bit tight close home, but he ran all the way to the line willingly, going down by just a head.
It was another gallant performance by Karl Burke's horse. He made all to win a good handicap at York in May over a mile-and-a-half, and he wasn't beaten far in the end in the Group 2 Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot. He should do even better when he can go up in trip, back up to a mile and six furlongs or even two miles.
Contact kept on well to finish fifth in the one-mile-six-furlong handicap at Newmarket last Friday. Settled in mid-division and along the inside in a well-packed field early on, he came under a ride at the two-furlong marker, and he started to make his ground, but he didn't have a lot of racing room. He had to switch back to his right at the furlong marker in order to get racing room, and, once he did, he finished off his race strongly to get up and take fifth place behind Soapy Stevens and Red Flyer. He was just about in front at the pull-up.
It was a sound effort from David and Nicola Barron's horse. He started off his career last season racing over six furlongs, but he stays this 14-furlong trip well, and he shapes as if he could get further. He goes well on soft ground, too, so he will remain of interest as we move into the autumn.
Jimi Hendrix did well to win the Class 2 three-year-olds' one-mile handicap at Newmarket last Friday. He was awkward at the start, which meant he had to settle last of the eight runners early on, which wasn't ideal. Rob Hornby didn't panic, though, as he allowed his horse to settle into his rhythm and moved him towards the near side.
Still second last as they passed the three-furlong marker, the New Bay gelding responded willingly when his rider asked him for his effort. He stayed on well down the near side and just nabbed the longtime leader, Positive Impact, inside the final 100 yards, winning by a short head in the end.
It was a fine effort by Ralph Beckett's horse. He showed a really willing attitude, and the first two came close together close to home, racing on ground that was probably faster than ideal for him. He showed his versatility, too, coming from behind to win, as he did at Haydock in May. He had led from early in the Britannia at Royal Ascot, and he kept on really well to finish third in a race in which seven of the first nine home were held up. The handicapper raised him by 6lb for this, but he is progressive enough to take that type of hike in his stride.
Young Fire ran well for a long way in the one-mile handicap at York last Saturday. Second best of the two David O'Meara horses, according to the betting, and weak in the market beforehand on ground that was probably faster than ideal, he travelled into his race well. One of the only horses still on the bridle as they passed the two-furlong marker, he picked up all right when Jason Hart asked him for his effort, but he couldn't sustain his run, and he wasn't helped by traffic. He just kept on through the final furlong to take fifth place behind Eilean Dubh.
The Fuisse gelding had caught the eye on his previous run too, in a seven-furlong handicap run on soft ground just a week previously at Haydock, when he stayed on well from the rear to take fourth place behind Tacarib Bay in a race in which the pace held up well. The first three home occupied three of the first four places from flagfall.
He is not unexposed at seven now, and he has raced 53 times, but there could be a good handicap in him now when he gets conditions in his favour. Soft ground is important to him, ideally a fast pace over seven furlongs or a mile and he goes particularly well at Haydock. His record there on soft or heavy ground reads 7-1-1-1-4. He has run just three times this season, and he will be of interest when the ground eases again.
Cozone ran a big race to finish third in the two-mile-one-furlong handicap at Killarney on Tuesday evening.
Held up early on by Robbie Colgan towards the rear of the field, he travelled well into the home straight among horses. He went to go outside in order to deliver his run, but his path was blocked by ultimate winner Harry's Legacy, with the result that he had to try to make his ground among horses. He picked up well when his rider asked him to, but he had to switch back inside as they raced inside the two-furlong marker, and he was checked at the furlong pole as No Thanks and Monas Melody came together in front of him, receiving an accidental smack on the nose from a rival's whip for good measure. That gap opened up again passing the 100-yard mark, and while that was just too late, he did pick up well again to go through the gap and claim third place, beaten just a half a length by the winner.
It was a big run by the Pour Moi gelding on just his third run in Ireland. A winner over 10 furlongs as a three-year-old for Amanda Perrett, he didn't win in nine attempts last season for James Ferguson, but he went close on a couple of occasions. He kept on well, too, in a one-mile-five-furlong handicap at Navan on his first run for Matthew Smith, and he left behind a disappointing run over hurdles at Down Royal on his previous run, when he caught the eyes of the stewards.
He was unlucky not to finish even closer than he did, finishing off his race well once he got into the clear, and he was in front at the pull-up. He obviously sees out this extended two-mile trip well, and he will be of interest wherever he goes next. His rating of 77 might just see him sneak in at the bottom of the big Connacht Hotel Handicap for amateur riders on the first day of the Galway Festival, and he could be a lively outsider in that. Galway is surely on his radar, and he will be of interest in whichever race he lines up there.